Only recently, drivers that wanted a high-quality set of tires on their cars needed to pay a lot of money. Tires from premium manufacturers often cost a lot, especially if you have a car with larger wheels. Fortunately, companies like Cooper Tire emerged by offering excellent products at much lower prices than the premium competition.
Now over five years old, their grand-touring offering called the CS5 Ultra Touring is a perfect example of that. When it comes to pricing, this product undercuts many premium tires and even some newer budget-oriented tires. Despite the low price point, many owners of these tires report that they are fully satisfied with the performance and durability, even on some sporty cars.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you should buy the CS5 Ultra Touring if you own a sports car. This is a grand-touring tire after all, which means that it’s designed to offer a mix of good performance on dry and wet tarmac, quiet and comfortable ride, and long-lasting treadlife. Of course, if you own a coupe and value comfort rather than performance, the CS5 Ultra Touring might be a good bet for you.
In the Cooper range of tires, the CS5 Ultra Touring sits above the CS5 Grand Touring, which is a touring tire, despite the naming. The Ultra Touring model comes in larger dimensions and higher speed ratings and has some advanced technologies that improve the overall performance.
Due to that, we think that this tire is a better fit for more powerful mid-size sedans, like V6 or turbo versions of Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, but also sports sedans such as Lexus IS, BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes C Class. These tires might also be a great choice for drivers of compact crossovers and SUVs that want more responsive handling than what a normal touring tire would offer.
But, how does this tire compare when it comes to real-life scenarios? We prepared a detailed Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring review to give you that answer. In this review, you will read about the dry and wet performance of this tire, comfort levels, durability, and snow traction.
Before we jump to our views, though, let’s see what Cooper Tire has to say about the CS5 Ultra Touring.
What are the features of the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring?
According to Cooper Tire, the CS5 Ultra Touring is specifically designed for exceptional traction in all weather conditions, superior handling, cornering and stability, and an ultra-quiet and smooth ride. This is an all-season grand-touring tire, which has the M+S rating for light-snow traction. That said, the M+S rating doesn’t make it usable in severe wintry conditions, unlike tires with the 3PMSF rating.
Unlike the less-expensive CS5 Grand Touring, this model comes with Cooper’s Stabiledge Performance technology that improves the cornering performance and the stability on dry roads. This technology also reduces the flex inherent to independent tread blocks, interlocking the tread elements for better responsiveness and cornering stability.
Furthermore, the tire is made from a modern tread compound, which combines even wear and longer treadlife. Like most other Cooper products, the CS5 Ultra Touring also comes with full-depth 3D Micro-Gauge siping on the entire tread depth create biting edges for better grip and traction in low-friction surfaces, such as light snow.
Wet traction and braking are covered with the broad outboard shoulder blocks that feature less void area for better lateral traction, as well as the center ribs and inboard shoulders with higher sipe density. The CS5 Ultra Touring is also equipped with three circumferential grooves, which should help with hydroplaning resistance.
Like most grand-touring tires, the internal construction here consists of a high-turnup, single ply polyester casing, with two steel belts that serve as additional support. The firmness is further boosted by the spirally wound nylon reinforcement, which additionally helps with handling and stability.
The Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring is available in a wide assortment of sizes, ranging from 15-inches to 20-inches. This covers many cars, including sub-compact and compact vehicles, compact and mid-size sedans, sports sedans, sports coupes, crossovers, minivans, and SUVs.
What are the maintenance indicators?
Cooper was one of the first value-oriented manufacturers that began to put maintenance indicators on their tires. Naturally, the CS5 Ultra Touring has these indicators, which are built right into the tread.
These indicators are very important not only to show the owner how many miles the tires have left in them but also for safety. If the tires don’t have sufficient tread depth, the wet and snow traction will be severely worsened. Like most tires, the minimum tread on this tire is 2/32 inch.
Cooper calls its technology Wear Square Indicators. Basically, they are small rubber inserts built into the circumferential grooves on the tread pattern. These indicators can be slightly seen when the tire is new, but they will be recessed.
However, over time, they will become more and more visible. That’s normal – it just shows that the tread wears with the mileage. That said, when the tread becomes flush with the Wear Square Indicators, the tires should be immediately replaced. Naturally, we recommend doing that a little sooner – never wait for the tread to be fully worn out.
Fortunately, the CS5 Ultra Touring has a very good treadlife, especially for the price. The company offers a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on V- & H-Speed Rated models for an unlimited time, which is comparable to some premium tires. W-Speed rated models, though, only come with a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is lower than the best in the category.
Apart from the warranty, people that already owned this tire say that they have no issues with accelerated tread wear, especially if the tires are rotated every 10,000-miles.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
We didn’t expect sporty handling in our Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring review, especially given the price of the tire. However, the product managed to surprise us with its excellent handling ability, even when driven really hard through the corners.
The CS5 Ultra Touring is a very responsive tire, especially on larger sizes with smaller sidewalls. Sure, you can get better responsiveness by high-performance tires, but this is as good as it gets in a grand-touring one.
Moreover, the tire grips the road very well. High-speed cornering feels natural to the tire, even when driven at the limit. Traction is also excellent, even on some more powerful V6 or turbocharged cars.
Behind the wheel, the tires feel direct and enjoyable, unlike some comfort-oriented budget grand-touring models.
Braking is another area where the CS5 Ultra Touring scores highly – the stopping distances are very short. Moreover, the CS5 Ultra Touring performs admirably on the highway – the stability is very good indeed.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should use the CS5 Ultra Touring for track days. Everything that we said only applies to street driving. This is no high-performance tire, and it shouldn’t be treated like one.
That also means that you shouldn’t consider this tire if you own a high-performance sports car. Despite its qualities, the CS5 Ultra Touring won’t be a match for very powerful cars.
Overall, though, the tire impresses with its handling abilities when compared to similarly-priced products. Of course, as always, you will get better performance from some premium competitors, but that is expected.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
Cooper’s focus on improving wet performance compared to previous generations really paid out here. In our Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring review, we found that it performs very well on damp, wet, and very wet tarmac.
Thanks to the modern tread compound, the tire maintains its excellent handling ability on damp tracks, giving the driver a lot of traction and grip.
On wet tarmac, the CS5 Ultra Touring still performs admirably, accelerating, and braking with no issues. Lastly, the hydroplaning resistance in very heavy rain is excellent, especially given the price point.
With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?
The CS5 Ultra Touring is an all-season tire, which in theory, should mean that it can be used throughout the winter. However, it really depends on the type of winter here. If you live in areas with little to no snow in the winter, then the CS5 Ultra Touring might be a great choice for you.
Conversely, if you live in areas with harsh wintry conditions, you should look elsewhere. This tire lacks proper traction in light snow, and it is almost unusable on ice. Moreover, very deep snow should be out of the question – the tire completely loses its traction and grip there. Braking on snow and ice is also not the best.
For serious wintry conditions, we always recommend going for a proper set of winter tires.
Is it comfortable and refined?
While the CS5 Ultra Touring isn’t the quietest, nor the most comfortable grand-touring tires around, it’s still pretty good for the price. The ride quality is fine over uneven surfaces, and there is not much noise on the highway.
You can see more tire review here: Video created by Alex on Autos
Should I buy the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring?
Well, if you are in the market for a budget-friendly set of grand-touring tires, you should at least shortlist the CS5 Ultra Touring. Apart from the slightly worse snow traction, Cooper’s product competes favorably to its competition in terms of handling and wet traction. On top of that, the tire is very durable and comes with an excellent treadwear warranty.
LIST OF COOPER TIRE REVIEWS