Cooper Evolution H/T Review: Good Performance for the Price

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Wet
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  • Good dry traction, handling, and braking
  • Surprisingly good wet performance
  • Very good high-speed stability
  • Smooth ride
  • Quiet on the highway
  • Wallet-friendly pricing
  • Light-snow traction is only average
  • Not suitable for long off-road adventures

Car buyers today have myriad options in the crossover, SUV, and truck sector. Vehicles that sit higher from the ground seem to steal the spotlight from sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons, primarily thanks to their more versatile nature.

In other words, crossovers and SUVs are better suited for driving over uneven terrains, which seems to be very important to buyers. Moreover, SUV and crossover vehicles have minivan-like practicality and room inside.

Nonetheless, these vehicles don’t have the same driving dynamics as cars that sit lower to the ground. Fortunately, you can mitigate some of these disadvantages by installing good tires on your vehicle. And, like with the vehicles themselves, there is no shortage of SUV, crossover, and truck tire options.

Cooper tire is a manufacturer that has the most extensive tire portfolio designed for SUVs, trucks, and crossovers. They not only offer excellent all-terrain and mud-terrain models, but they also have multiple highway tires and touring tires.

One of their most popular products is the Cooper Evolution H/T, a tire that tries to combine good overall performance with low purchasing price and ownership costs. This model is not the only touring all-season tire from Cooper – it’s joined by the Discoverer EnduraMax, a tire made for driving over rough terrain, and the Discoverer SRX, a more upscale touring option.

So, the Cooper Evolution H/T sits at the low-end offering of the manufacturer, which some buyers may interpret as a disadvantage. However, Cooper already proved to us that they could make excellent touring tires at lower price points, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt here.

To appeal to most SUV, crossover, and truck owners in North America, Cooper offers the Evolution H/T in many popular sizes. Interestingly, the company offers the tire in 15-inch wheel size, which covers many smaller crossovers, and up to 20-inch wheel size, which covers some behemoths.

Having said that, the Evolution H/T isn’t available in LT-metric sizes, which is why it only gets touring all-season tire classification (highway all-season tires come in LT-metric sizes). Therefore, this shouldn’t be your first option for towing large trailers or hauling very heavy cargo. Also, commercial work should be out of the question.

Pricewise, the Cooper Evolution H/T sits on the lower end of the spectrum, competing with the likes from General Tire, Hankook, Kumho, and Firestone.

The only question left unanswered is – how does it stack up to the competition? I will try to fully answer that question in my detailed Cooper Evolution HT review.

Before we jump to the real-life conclusions, though, let’s see what the main features of the tire are.

According to Cooper Tire, the Evolution H/T is a mid-range highway tire for crossover vehicles, sport utility vehicles, and light-duty pickup trucks. The tire was developed for all-season performance, superior handling, and a comfortable ride.

To achieve these things, the Evolution H/T utilizes a high-silica tread compound that works in a wide temperature range, achieving the all-season moniker. Many new touring tires also employ high-silica tread compound, but few of them are offered at the price of the Evolution H/T.

The tread compound is molded into a symmetric tread design. According to Cooper, the tread pattern makes side-to-side rotation more convenient, which promotes even wear. To further improve wear performance, Cooper also employed a specifically-designed tread profile.

Moreover, the tread design of the tire has specifically positioned elements to minimize tire noise, which is not something you’d expect at this price.

Even more surprising, the tread profile is designed to prevent noise increasing as the tire wears down, something that we often experience with cheap touring tires.

The high-silica tread compound, as reported by Cooper, provides grip on damp surfaces, which is an area where all-season tires usually struggle.

Handling and stability in very wet conditions are covered with the use of four wide circumferential grooves on the tread pattern that evacuates water from the contact patch, thus limiting hydroplaning.

Furthermore, the company employed its proprietary 3D Micro-Gauge Siping further helps on slippery surfaces by providing more biting edges needed for traction and braking.

The sipes should also help over light snow. However, the Evolution H/T doesn’t have the zig-zag sipes from the EnduraMax, which proved to be very good for harsh wintry conditions.

On the positive side, the 3D Micro-Gauge Siping allows the tread elements to combine for better high-speed stability and larger contact area with the road. This should improve handling, braking, and stability on dry pavement.

In addition, Cooper utilized the StabilEdge Performance technology, which should further enhance handling and stability on dry tarmac.

The internal construction of the Cooper Evolution H/T is pretty standard for a crossover/SUV touring all-season tire. It consists of a two-ply, polyester casing that manages the balance between ride comfort and durability.

The polyester casing is joined by two wide, high-strength steel belts that are reinforced by two nylon cap plies. The steel belts and nylon cap plies are here to stabilize the tread, which is great for high-speed driving but also to increase resistance to punctures.

What are the maintenance indicators?

Cooper Evolution HT Review

Cooper utilizes the industry-standard Tread Wear Indicators (TWI) in all of their touring all-season tires, including the Evolution H/T.

These indicators are essential for safety because they show the driver when the tire isn’t capable of delivering safe and reliable wet or snow traction.

Without sufficient tread depth, even the best tires will become incapable of resisting hydroplaning or delivering good traction over snow and other slippery surfaces.

The minimum tread depth on touring tires is 2/32 inch, but I strongly recommend replacing your tires before they come to this point.

The TWI’s employed on the Evolution H/T can easily show you how much tread it has left. They are essentially narrow bars of smooth rubber that run across the tread.

When the tire is new, the TWI’s are recessed into the tread pattern. You can see them, for sure, but only upon close inspection.

As the Evolution H/T wears down, the narrow rubber bars will start to become more visible. When the indicators are flush with the tread of the tire, it means that you reached to a 2/32-inch point. Once this happens, you should immediately replace the tires.

Fortunately, you can drive safely for 3-4 years before the tread comes to this point. The Evolution H/T comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is good for the price. That said, many premium competitors offer up to 70,000-miles of treadwear warranty.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

The Evolution H/T behaves exceptionally well on dry roads, especially considering the low price. The tire is very responsive and handles almost like its premium rivals.

In tight corners, the handling is as good as you can expect, joined by good levels of grip. Traction is very good as well, while the braking distances are very short.

Now, sure, there are better tires in terms of handling, but they also cost up to 30% more.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

I was pleasantly surprised at the level of sophistication the Evolution H/T showed on wet roads. The tire handles damp tracks with ease, something that many budget-oriented tires struggle to do.

Moreover, Cooper’s touring all-season tire shows excellent resistance to hydroplaning, which helps with handling and braking in very heavy rain. Traction on slippery roads is exceptional as well, even on some more powerful SUVs, trucks, and crossovers.

With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?

Despite being marketed as being useful on roads covered with light snow, all-season tires aren’t the most suitable choice for these conditions.

The Evolution H/T is no exception here. Now, sure, you can drive over light snow, but only if you are extra careful. Traction is good with this tire, but the handling isn’t very impressive, and the braking distances can be long for carefree driving.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

The Evolution H/T has a slightly heavier-duty casing, which should help when driving over hardpacked surfaces. Also, the tread pattern should be sufficient for average traction, handling, and braking over dirt and gravel.

Overall, though, there are much better options in the touring all-season category for off-road driving, namely the Cooper Discoverer EnduraMax. Also, a set of highway tires will do a much better job resisting cuts and chips from abrasive surfaces.

Is it comfortable and refined?

You bet it is! The Evolution H/T compares favorably to similarly-priced products, and it can even compete with some premium tires in terms of comfort.

The ride quality is very smooth, both on the highway and on uneven surfaces. Moreover, the tread pattern seems to do a great job minimizing noise, even at higher speeds.

You can see more Cooper Evolution H/T Review here: Video created by HILLYARD’S RIM LIONS

Should I buy the Cooper Evolution H/T?

Well, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on tires, but still want a safe and reliable solution, then the Evolution H/T is an excellent choice.

This tire isn’t without disadvantages – light-snow traction could be improved further, for example. However, if you mostly drive on the street and highway, I can’t think of a much better solution for the price.

The Cooper Evolution H/T handles everyday tasks with aplomb, which is why it deserves a place on your shortlist.

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