Pirelli Scorpion ATR Review: All-Terrain Tire Designed Mainly for ON-Road Duties

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  • Very good on-road stability and handling
  • Safe handling and braking on wet pavement
  • Quiet for an all-terrain tire, even at higher speeds
  • Comfortable tide over uneven surfaces
  • Good performance on hardpacked surfaces
  • Excellent treadwear warranty and treadlife
  • Snow traction and braking are far from impressive
  • Off-road traction is lower than most competitors
  • Unusable in deep mud or over large rocks
  • Not as tough or durable as expected from an all-terrain tire
  • Not a lot of sizes available

Not a lot of SUV or truck owners go off-roading with their vehicles. Moreover, those that do usually spend 95% of the time on the road. However, everyone loves the capability of these vehicles, even if they use it only 5% of the time.

And, for light off-roading, there are multiple SUV and truck options on the market. Each vehicle that has an all-wheel-drive powertrain should be capable of tackling hardpacked surfaces and light mud. That is, of course, if you install tires that can provide you with enough traction.

For those reasons, most people opt for all-terrain tires. These tires are designed to provide the driver with better traction on slippery and loose surfaces, without damaging the on-road dynamics much.

One of the more popular all-terrain tires is the Pirelli Scorpion ATR, a model that has been present over a decade on the tire market. Through the years, the Scorpion ATR earned a largely positive reputation, especially for its on-road dynamics.

The thing is, Pirelli already launched a successor, called the Scorpion All Terrain Plus. Moreover, other competitors in the segment also launched newer all-terrain tires, all of which come with more advanced tread compounds and tread patterns.

Which inevitably brings the question – is the Pirelli Scorpion ATR still a viable alternative for SUV and truck drivers in North America? I’ll try to give you a detailed answer to the question in my Pirelli Scorpion ATR review.

In this review, I’ll talk about the on-road dynamics of the tire, and specifically how it fares against the more modern competition. Furthermore, you can learn about the off-road capabilities of the tire, again, compared to other all-terrain tires, the treadlife, and snow performance.

Now, Pirelli made some moves in its lineup, so the Scorpion ATR doesn’t compete with its newer brother, the Scorpion All Terrain Plus. Both tires are available in different sizes. The Scorpion ATR is more geared towards older trucks and SUVs and mostly comes in LT-metric sizes.

The Scorpion All Terrain Plus, on the other hand, is available in many more sizes, including those that fit newer SUVs, trucks, and crossovers. By doing this, Pirelli ensures that both tires have their place on the market.

As expected, the newer model is also more expensive. The Scorpion ATR, despite being a premium product, is closer to mid-level tires in terms of pricing.

With that out of the way, let’s see what features Pirelli utilized in the Scorpion ATR to make it a viable option for people that want safe on-road dynamics and usable off-road traction.

According to Pirelli, the Scorpion ATR is a tenacious and reliable tire that provides drivers with on-road comfort, excellent traction, and resistance to wear.

Moreover, they say that the tire “facilitates the most demanding off-road driving and resists the hardest shocks on uneven surfaces.”

The company further markets the versatile nature of the tire, telling us about the safe braking and cornering on the road, excellent hydroplaning resistance, and low rolling noise.

Also, they brag about the self-cleaning tread pattern, which should protect the tire from damage while driving on hardpacked surfaces.

To achieve all these things, the company started with a silica-enhanced tread compound, which at the time when the tire was launched, was very advanced.

The compound is molded into a quiet-running symmetric all-terrain tread pattern, which should be noted is not as aggressive as some other options on the market.

The tread pattern features a virtually continuous center rib and large stable shoulder blocks, which provide straight-line tracking, good steering response, and high-speed stability.

Additionally, the interlocked independent tread blocks in the center tread area, and curved central grooves promote a quiet ride and acoustic comfort, even wear, and enhanced traction on loose and slippery surfaces.

Moreover, Pirelli employed robust carcass and reinforced sidewall area for higher resistance to damage, such as cuts and chips. For even better off-road capability, the engineers utilized wide, rugger shoulder blocks.

For better wet traction, Pirelli utilized sweeping circumferential grooves and lateral shoulder grooves, which help with water evacuation and hydroplaning resistance.

On top of that, each independent shoulder block features small sipes, which improve traction over slippery off-road surfaces, and also light snow.

Nonetheless, the Scorpion ATR doesn’t feature the more modern zig-zag or waved sipes, which provide even better, more biting edges for better snow traction and braking.

Internally, the Scorpion ATR is similar to most all-terrain tires, utilizing 2-ply twin steel belts with spirally-wrapped nylon cord for safer handling and stability.

Besides that, Pirelli employed polyester cords to make the sidewalls stiffer, while also improving ride quality.

Pirelli Scorpion ATR Review

What are the maintenance indicators?

Pirelli utilized the usual tread wear indicators in its Scorpion ATR. That’s a good move because these indicators are extremely important for safety – they show the driver when the tire isn’t safe for rainy conditions anymore.

According to Pirelli, the minimum tread depth on its products is 1/32-inch. When you don’t have sufficient tread depth, the hydroplaning resistance of the tires will be greatly reduced, which might render it completely unsafe on wet surfaces.

Fortunately, you can use the narrow rubber bars built into the tread pattern to see how much tread it is left. These bars are recessed into the tread, and they become more visible as the tire wears down.

When the tread comes to 1/32-inch, the narrow rubber bars will be completely flush with the tread pattern. That is when you must replace the tires, or you risk severely damaged wet and snow traction.

Fortunately, that won’t happen soon after you replace the tires. Even though the Scorpion ATR is old by now, Pirelli provides an excellent 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on the tire.

Moreover, I’ve heard many users being happy with the treadlife of the Scorpion ATR, especially those that rotate the tires each service interval.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

Pirelli Scorpion ATR Review

Despite the fact that the Scorpion ATR is over a decade old, it still holds its own with the newer competition for on-road driving.

Like many other Pirelli tires, the ATR is very responsive on the street and doesn’t feel cumbersome at all. Driving on these tires feels just like driving on highway all-season tires.

Moreover, the tire provides the driver with excellent stability, good handling and cornering, and strong braking.

Now, sure, you can find newer tires that perform better on the road, but the Scorpion ATR isn’t too far off. Overall, a great showing here.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

The Scorpion ATR continues to impress in wet conditions. The hydroplaning resistance of the tire is excellent, even in very heavy rain.

Moreover, the tire provides the driver with good traction on wet pavement, safe handling, and short braking distances.

Again, you can find a better all-terrain tire for wet driving, but the Scorpion ATR performs excellently for the age.

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

Sadly, this is where the Pirelli Scorpion ATR shows its age the most. The tire is usable for snowy conditions, but you will need to pay a lot of attention to the road and drive really slowly.

Newer all-terrain tires, including the Scorpion All Terrain Plus, perform much better on snow and ice. The Scorpion ATR simply lacks the traction and braking needed for safe driving in the winter.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

Well, if you mostly come across hardpacked surfaces, then the Scorpion ATR will serve you fine. Not great, but good enough to let you push it into the corners without worrying about losing traction.

That said, traction in mud is far worse than the newer competition, especially tires with more aggressive tread patterns.

Additionally, the Scorpion ATR doesn’t feel as sturdy as those models. For example, it lacks puncture resistance. As a result of that, you won’t be able to drive over very large and sharp rocks.

Is it comfortable and refined?

The on-road dynamics of the Scorpion ATR are joined by surprisingly high levels of comfort. The ride quality is reasonably plush, especially on the highway. Moreover, the tire doesn’t produce a lot of noise at higher speeds, and in that regard, it competes with the best all-terrain tires today.

You can see more Pirelli Scorpion ATR Review here: videos created by PirelliNorthAmerica

Should I buy the Pirelli Scorpion ATR?

The Scorpion ATR may be good for drivers that primarily drive on the road, but it falls short in off-road driving. Some drivers might be prepared to accept that compromise, but they should note that more modern alternatives drive equally well on the road, while also being much more usable for off-roading.

On top of that, the Scorpion ATR isn’t available in many sizes, which limits the availability for most SUV and truck owners. Because of that, I won’t fully recommend the Scorpion ATR. Pirelli already has a better product in the lineup – the Scorpion All Terrain Plus performs better in almost every category.

If you are still interested in the Scorpion ATR, be sure that you know the limitations before purchasing. It’s not a bad tire, but not a great one, either.

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