Cooper Evolution Tour Review: Only Really Usable on Dry Pavement

Dry
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Wet
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Snow
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Comfort
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Noise
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Treadwear
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  • Outstandingly quiet and comfortable
  • Excellent handling and braking on dry surfaces
  • Long treadlife and good treadwear warranty
  • Fuel efficient design
  • Fair price
  • Compromised wet handling and braking
  • The tire is slow to respond to steering inputs
  • Light-snow traction isn’t impressive

Today, there is no shortage of touring tires designed to give the owner usable traction and handling on most surfaces, and also a very comfortable ride. Absolutely every tire manufacturer has a competitor in this category, which is expected given the popularity of these tires.

In order to attract buyers, tire companies often market their products as superior in many categories, such as dry and wet handling and braking, comfort, and durability. The truth is, though, that not all tires provide the promised performance.

That said, by now, we learned that we could expect high levels of performance from certain manufacturers, even some that compete in the budget segment. One of those companies is Cooper Tire, an American manufacturer that produces high-quality tires at lower price points than the premium competition.

One of the most popular models in Cooper’s lineup is the Evolution Tour, a touring tire designed for drivers that want a dependable and comfortable all-season solution.

Available in many sizes, this tire will fit a variety of different vehicles, including compact cars, mid-size sedans, sports sedans, crossovers, minivans, and even SUVs.

The Cooper Evolution Tour compares favorably to premium tires in terms of price, while also promising excellent comfort, all-season traction, and low-rolling resistance. In other words, if you value comfort and quietness more than performance, then this tire might be for you.

Obviously, we suggest first reading our detailed Cooper Evolution Tour review, where we will uncover how the tire performs in a variety of tests, including dry and wet performance, snow traction, comfort and quietness, and durability.

Unlike other Cooper products, we were surprised to see the Evolution Tour score badly in some tests. You can find out everything that we learned from our testing down below. Before we do that, though, let’s see what Cooper says about their new all-season touring tire.

On Cooper’s website, you will be greeted with an explanation that the Evolution Tour is an all-season tire that allows you to tackle the seasons with confidence and gives you the smooth and comfortable ride you depend on. The tire also features a fuel-efficient design, which should improve the fuel economy of any vehicle.

Like most modern Cooper products, the Evolution Tour features the Stabiledge Performance technology that improves the cornering performance and the stability on dry roads. The technology achieves that by reducing the flex inherent to the independent tread blocks, interlocking the tread elements for better responsiveness and cornering stability. Technologies like this one are often used in high-performance tires, and it’s good that we see them here.

The Cooper Evolution Tour features a modern touring tread compound that focuses on even wear and long tread life, while also providing a quiet and smooth ride. The tread compound is molded into a pretty standard-looking tread pattern with coupled tread elements for better handling, and ribs and grooves for enhanced wet performance. Moreover, the symmetric tread pattern allows for easy cross-rotation, which combats uneven wear and extends the treadlife of the tire.

The full-depth 3D Micro-Gauge siping is another proprietary tech from the company. Essentially, the tech consists of deeper sipes over the entire tread to create biting edges for better grip and traction in low-friction surfaces, such as light snow, but also to improve wet traction.

The internal construction of the Cooper Evolution Tour is standard for a touring tire. Inside, the tire consists of a high-turnup single-ply polyester casing, with two steel belts that serve as additional support. Additionally, the tire is equipped with a spirally wound nylon reinforcement, which additionally helps with handling and stability.

The Cooper Evolution Tour is available in sizes ranging from 14-inches to 18-inches. That should be enough to cover most sub-compact cars, such as Honda Fit and Nissan Versa, compact cars, such as Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, mid-size sedans such as Chevrolet Malibu, and compact crossovers and SUVs, such as Chevrolet Trax and Honda H-RV.

That said, if you have higher-end versions of those vehicles with 19-inch wheels or larger SUV, you should look elsewhere.

What are the maintenance indicators?

Like most products from Cooper Tire, the Evolution Tour is equipped with maintenance indicators built into the tread of the tire.

We are big fans of these indicators not only because they show the driver how many miles the tire has left, but also because they improve safety. How? Well, if the tires don’t have sufficient tread depth, the wet and snow traction will be severely worsened to the point of making the tires unusable in those conditions. 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 seen when the tire is new, but they will be recessed into the tread pattern.

However, as the tread wears down, they will become more visible. Cooper, like most manufacturers, recommend that you need to replace the tires once the tread is flush with the indicators, but we recommend doing that sooner. You should never wait for the tire to be completely worn-down if you want a safe and reliable driving experience in wet and snowy conditions.

Fortunately, the Evolution Tour comes with a 65,000-miles treadwear warranty for T-Speed rated models, or a 60,000-miles treadwear warranty for H-Speed or V-Speed rated models. The warranty lasts for an unlimited time, unlike most competitors.

The treadwear warranty is certainly not impressive by today’s standards, but you have to keep in mind that the Evolution Tour is a value-driven tire. In order to get a longer warranty, you need to pay a lot more money.

How does it behave on dry tarmac?

Cooper Evolution Tour Review

The Evolution Tour was designed mostly to appeal to drivers that want a secure, but not an overly responsive experience. That is exactly what you will get from this tire. From the perspective of the driver, the tire is very slow to react, lacking responsiveness for spirited driving in the corners. Moreover, the tire doesn’t communicate very well with the driver, further spoiling the involvement.

Of course, this is not something that you will experience when driving on the street. In everyday driving scenarios, the Evolution Tour performs as you would expect from such a tire. Traction is excellent on dry roads, better than most similarly-priced competitors, and there is a surprising amount of grip in the corners. Braking distances are also very short, affirming the fact that the Evolution Tour is safe and reliable.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

In the past 5-6 years, we were impressed by how Cooper tires performed on wet surfaces, including the hugely-popular CS5 Grand Touring and CS5 Ultra Touring models.

Despite being in the same category, this model faired unusually bad in wet conditions. In our wet Cooper Evolution Tour review, we found that the tire lacks in almost every wet scenario, apart from damp conditions. In light rain, the tire performs reasonably well, albeit not on the level of the best touring tires today.

On very wet pavement, though, the Evolution Tour performs worse than most premium competitors, and a large number of budget-oriented tires. The handling is very unpredictable on wet surfaces – the tire almost immediately loses grip and traction. Braking distances are also longer than the main competition, and traction is limited. The hydroplaning resistance is good, but still not exceptional.

Overall, we must say that we expected more from the Evolution Tour. Yes, we know that this is a low-cost tire, but many similarly-priced competitors offer better wet handling and braking.

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

Cooper Evolution Tour Review

We only had a chance to test this tire over light snow in our Cooper Evolution Tour review, but that was enough to give us the big picture. Despite the all-season moniker, the Evolution Tour is far from usable for driving over snow. Traction is lackluster, while the braking distances are longer than expected. If you live in areas with harsh wintry weather, you should replace these tires with a set of winter tires when the weather gets worse.

Is it comfortable and refined?

In this area, the Evolution Tour is one of the best tires in the touring category. The ride quality is ultra-smooth when driving over uneven surfaces, and it stays like that on the highway. Noise is also very well suppressed – the Evolution Tour is almost inaudible at highway speeds. Overall, this is one of the best experiences we’ve had in terms of comfort.

You can see more tire review here: videos created by Tire Rack

Should I buy the Cooper Evolution Tour?

The Cooper Evolution Tour is a supremely comfortable and quiet tire that offers very good performance on dry roads. Sadly, though, wet handling and braking are severely compromised, which makes it hard for us to recommend this tire. You can put it on your shortlist, but only if you have in mind the limited wet and snow performance.

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