Today was the first real snow for the STI and after a little reckless driving in a snowing parking lot to get a feel for the STI on stock Dunlop’s I quickly decided that driving in any incliment weather with the OE tires wouldn’t be a safe idea. Normally I would do a ton of research, possibly end up buying a set of dedicated snow wheels and tires however today I felt it was as good a time as ever to pull the trigger.
The wifey and I pulled into a local PepBoys out here in Winchester as we were on our way to the local SPCA to say o’hithere to some puppies and strays. They, PepBoys, had that deal where you got the 4th tire free. Good start? The only tires they had in my requested size of 225/45/18 was the Cooper Zeon Sport AS. I had a set of Cooper tires back in 2000 when I had my first car, an 85 Mustang GT, and they weren’t all that bad as I recalled. OK, let’s take a look at ’em. I hadn’t heard of the tires before and a quick search on my iphone revealed next to zero real reviews(which prompted this article), however the brief ones I did find were positive. The tread pattern looked functional as I investigated closer. Some places won’t install tires that aren’t the same as the OE sizes. Luckily with a little persuasion, and schooling(the salesman told me my speedo would be off), I was set to make the call. I looked back outside at the snow coming down and thought about it a few seconds more. Let’s do it.
Several trips around the animal shelter, a lap around the local thift shop, some snow balls, and a meal at Glory Days later, we were back to pick up the car. I inspected the wheels for installation damage – zip. So far, so good. Went inside and paid the damages which didn’t set me back much. Where can you find a set of new 18″ all-season tires installed for less than $550(after mail-in-rebate)? Better yet, PepBoys has a 30-day guarantee on their tires. If I don’t like them, bring them back. And on top of that, Cooper has a 45-day trial period on all their tires. Not too shabby.
Road test. OK, so the first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t feel a difference in grip between the Dunlops and these new Cooper Zeon tires. Granted it was barely 30 degrees out, but the main roads at this point were pretty much cleared of snow, all that remained was evil salt and gravel. The second, and most noticeable difference, was that these tires were super quiet! No more tire rumble on the highway. Maybe I had just grown accustom to hearing the noise before and never really noticed it, but now with it gone, it was a pleasant experience.
Unfortunately this is the extent of the first part of my review of these tires. My normal commute is 60 miles a day, mainly highway, so the miles will add up quick and I will be able to give better insight to the value of these Cooper Zeon AS tires. In the upcoming weeks I’ll update more, and who knows, maybe I’ll include an autocross review for you spirited driving enthusiests. You’ll get my opinion of these Cooper Zeon Sport AS’s vs the Bridgestone RE960 AS tires which I had on my 350Z, hear my opinion on their fun-factor, and overall value. If these tires work out like I suspect, you may hear quite a bit more about Cooper in the future.