Jumping into a search for all-season tires can seem more overwhelming than trying to decide what to eat at a Cheesecake Factory. Not only are there hundreds of all-season tires on the market, just within any one manufacturer’s tire lineup you’re likely to find a wide selection.
Cooper is guilty of adding to the menu with the CS5 Ultra Touring and CS5 Grand Touring, two American-made all-season tires. They’re similarly named, both are intended for cars, minivans, and SUVs, and both are touring all-season tires. They’re relatively close in performance characteristics as well. But if you’re looking for a resolution to the CS5 Ultra Touring vs. CS5 Grand Touring question, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are the facts and distinguishing features to help you decide which of these two Cooper all-season tires is the best fit for you.
Both the CS5 Grand Touring and CS5 Ultra Touring will deliver surefooted grip on dry and wet roads, but the CS5 Ultra Touring is the more developed tire in terms of handling, agility, and maximum traction, particularly on wet roads.
Both tires feature 3-D micro-gauge siping that helps the tires maintain a stable shape in dynamic driving situations, but the CS5 Ultra Touring adds Cooper’s Stabiledge performance tread technology that interlocks the tire tread for maximum responsiveness and handling stability. The CS5 Ultra Touring features a more advanced, performance-oriented tread compound as well.
“After 3000 miles up and down the Pacific coast, my CS5 Ultras surpassed my expectations! They’re on a Hyundai sedan which is not the best handling. The Ultras improved handling, braking and most of all a new quieter, smoother ride.” – TireBuyer.com Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring customer review
It’s not by a wide margin, but the CS5 Ultra Touring edges the CS5 Grand Touring on a pure performance basis on dry and (especially) wet roadways.
The CS5 Grand Touring and CS5 Ultra Touring achieve their performances with asymmetric tread designs. (For more info, see Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Tires.)
We’d be splitting hairs to establish an advantage for either tire when it comes to ride comfort and quietness.
Both receive Cooper’s top internal rating for quiet ride and were engineered to accrue miles with limited noise production and cabin intrusion.
If comfort is a high priority, the CS5 Ultra Touring and CS5 Grand Touring are definitely well suited to the daily commute, family road trips, and anytime you’re looking to achieve a quiet, peaceful ride.
The CS5 Grand Touring and CS5 Ultra Touring are equipped to deal with light wintry conditions, and each has received respectable marks from wintertime users.
But like many other all-season tires, these tires require measured winter performance expectations.
In keeping with the CS5 Ultra Touring’s slight edge in performance and agility, this tire also has the higher speed ratings (H-, V-, and W) as compared to the CS5 Grand Touring’s T rating.
Is there any practical application to the CS5 Ultra Touring’s higher speed credentials?
Well, truth be told, unless you’ve found an American Autobahn, not really. The CS5 Grand Touring’s T-rating means it will facilitate speeds of up to 118 mph. In other words, probable jail time on any American roadways.
But the enhanced speed ratings of the CS5 Ultra Touring underscore this tire’s slightly more sporty edge and construction.
Increased tire performance almost always comes at the expense of some tire life and mileage, and the same rule applies to the CS5 Ultra Touring and CS5 Grand Touring.
The CS5 Ultra Touring is warrantied up to 50,000 miles in W speed rating specification and 70,000 miles in V or H specification.
Those are strong tread warranties indeed, but the CS5 Grand Touring, with its slightly lesser performance orientation, boosts that treadwear protection up to 80,000 miles.
“I’m sold on Cooper CS5 Grand Touring tires and am now on my third set over two Chrysler Town & Country minivans. The tires are a great value being moderately priced, extended wear life (65k-72k miles on first two sets), good handling, nice ride and relatively quiet on highways, good handling in rain and snow.” – TireBuyer.com Cooper CS5 Grand Touring customer review
If you’re not one to appreciate the finer points of tire performance and would exchange some outright performance for maximized tire life, then the CS5 Grand Touring is probably the more suitable option.
Both the CS5 Ultra Touring and CS5 Grand Touring are attractively priced all-season tires, with neither offering a decisive economic advantage.
But whereas the CS5 Grand Touring is offered in sizes ranging from 15-18-inches in wheel diameter, the CS5 Ultra Touring adds several 19-20-inch sizes. With many modern vehicles trending toward larger, more stylish factory wheels, the CS5 Ultra Touring’s larger sized options could be the right match for your vehicle. And if your vehicle is running 19-20-inch wheels, then the added sportiness of the CS5 Ultra Touring will complement its sharper performance and handling characteristics as well.
Still not sure whether the CS5 Grand Touring or CS5 Ultra Touring is the right fit for you? We can be the deciding vote – give our team of tire experts a call for a final nudge one way or the other: 866-961-8668.