With a century’s worth of tire manufacturing experience, Cooper is widely favored by many due to its wide array of reliable performance tires. Meanwhile, although Pathfinder is fairly young, its reputation as an affordable yet dependable brand has done wonders for the company.
Cooper has dominated the Western mid-range market for decades now—will it come out on top in this Cooper vs Pathfinder tires comparison? Or will Pathfinder channel its Eastern supremacy and settle the argument once and for all? Let’s find out!
|Country of Origin||United States||South Korea|
|Short Description||American tire brand owned by Goodyear. Established in 1914 in Akron, Ohio.||South Korean brand established in 1960 and owned by Kumho Tires.|
|Focus||Mid-Range Market||Budget Market|
|Popular for||Off-road Tires||Off-road tires|
|Performance||Cooper is better.|
Table of Contents
Overview of Cooper Tires
Cooper tires is arguably one of the oldest tire brands out there along with Michelin and Goodyear. Established in 1914 in Akron, Ohio, this brand boasts itself as one of the premiere mid-range tires from the Western market—and for good reason.
Cooper tires are commendable in terms of reliability and price, garnering significant attention from everyday drivers and car enthusiasts alike, especially due to their off-road performance from offerings such as the Discoverer series.
Moreover, they were recently bought by Goodyear, which bolstered its reputation as one of the best mid-range tires out there.
Overview of Pathfinder Tires
A very young brand, Pathfinder Tires, was founded in 2005 in South Korea. However, it’s actually a subsidiary brand of Kumho Tires, one of the largest tire manufacturers in the East, if not the world.
Pathfinder caters to the budget tire market for SUVs and Light Trucks and are exclusively sold on Discount Tire. However, this doesn’t mean that Pathfinder tires are terrible, as the brand is fairly reliable and easy on the wallet.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, Pathfinder only makes tires for SUVs and Trucks, which are somewhat limiting in terms of choice for most drivers out there. Regardless, Pathfinder Tires is a brand one can rely on.
Differences Between Pathfinder and Cooper Tires
In this Pathfinder vs Cooper tires comparison, we’ll be testing out the best options for each performance category. And since Pathfinder Tires only deals in SUV and Light Truck tires, we’ll place heavy emphasis on that for this section.
1. Wet performance
All-season tires are undisputed when it comes to wet performance, and we’ll use them for just that. We’ll be comparing the Cooper Discoverer HT3 vs the Pathfinder HT, which are both all-season tires for SUVs and Light Trucks.
And, of course, when it comes to wet performance, it’s all about traction, and both tires delivered excellently. However, The Cooper Discoverer HT3’s biting zigzag edges give it slightly better grip than its counterpart.
2. Dry performance
Since Pathfinder only has three tire models in its catalog, we’ll be comparing the Pathfinder HT once again, but this time, with the Cooper Discoverer Enduramax, another all-season tire from the American brand.
Similar to wet performance, both tires were seemingly tied when it came to dry traction, as both had excellent grip and braking distance. However, when it came to cornering and stability, the Pathfinder HT was slightly muddy at higher speeds.
3. Off-road performance
Since both brands are reputable brands in the off-road market, we’ll be going more in-depth in this category. And we’ll choose none other than the Pathfinder AT and the Cooper Discoverer AT3, the flagship off-road tires from both brands.
Its off-road tire’s performance was above-average, but when it came to wet traction, the Pathfinder was less adept than Cooper at biting slippery terrain, which can definitely make or break an off-road tire’s reliability.
Moreover, the design didn’t do as well as Cooper in dry traction and steering response either.
Lastly, when it came to tread life, the Pathfinder AT’s durability was somewhat compromised after a few rigorous tests on and off-road. On the other hand, the Discoverer AT3 delivered superbly on all fronts.
4. Durability and treadwear
In regards to durability and treadwear, the results can often be subjective, mainly due to how a tire is used and maintained. As such, one of the best ways to measure a tire’s durability and treadwear is its UTQG or Uniform Tire Quality Grade rating.
If you’re not too familiar with this rating, UTQG is the Department of Transportation’s way of objectively rating the treadwear, traction, and temperature tolerance of a certain tire relevant to a government-made standard design.
The first number measures how much longer the tires last (e.g. 300 means three times longer than the standard tire), the first letter is its traction rating, while the second letter is its ability to handle higher temperatures.
With this in mind, Cooper’s tire catalog mostly hovers around the 440 and 740 mark, while Pathfinder is usually around 500 to 680.
In terms of temperature tolerance, Cooper tires mostly have solid A’s on their catalog, while all tires from Pathfinder have a B rating.
As for prices, it’s definitely obvious that Cooper has the more expensive tires, since it’s a mid-range brand, after all. Cooper models range from $70 to $656, while Pathfinder tires are more affordable at $119 to $299.
Pros and Cons
Which One is Better?
Comparison tire reviews like this one can be really tricky, since we’re essentially comparing a mid-range brand with a more budget-friendly one—and, of course, the mid-range tire would objectively be better.
However, if you’re looking for something low-cost with reliable performance to boot, you can’t go wrong with Pathfinder tires. However, since they only cater to SUVs and Light Trucks, your choices are essentially constrained to what type of vehicle you’re driving.
As such, we’ll have to go with Cooper Tires on this one. Not only are their offerings better, but they also offer more choices.
It’s vividly clear that the American brand has the upper edge in this Cooper vs Pathfinder tires comparison—and for good reason. Not only are their tires better in terms of performance, but they also have a more varied catalog.
Of course, we can’t simply dismiss Pathfinder that easily. These tires are one of the most affordable off-road and all-season models you can get and are one of the best deals if you own an SUV or Light Truck.