This is an initial review of the Cooper Zeon LTZ
on a 2011 Hemi Grand Cherokee 4x4 Limited with standard suspension and rear load-leveling shocks (tow package). Miles driven: 1130 miles over a one week trip. Tires installed and balanced, taxed: $995 out the door. I highly recommend these as an "all terrain" solution for a Grand with 20" wheels. Long term wear rating is TBD. Full initial review and more pics below.
WHY -- The stock Forteras work well for me on the road, but I wanted a more aggressive tire for light trail use that wouldn't be too loud and still provide decent road performance. Several Land Rover LR3 people I've gone "off-road" camping with use Cooper Zeon LTZ tires so after some further research it was an easy pick. Other tires considered were mainly Nitto Terra Grapplers (really noisy, short life), Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor (disappointing performance), Cooper AT3 (not aggressive enough) and a few others far off my short list. I wanted to keep the 20" wheels so choices were limited obviously. Thanks goes out to my old cross-town neighbor and forum friend, BMWister, for hooking me up with people who owned these comparison tires.
THE FIT -- Perfect. I bought a second set of 20" wheels and TPMS sensors because I'll still run the Forteras for summer road duty. The Zeon LTZ in 275/55/20 fit perfectly on the stock 20" Jeep wheels and add about 3/4" more tread and section width to provide more rim protection. The overall wheel diameter increased to 31.5" from ~30", so that gives another 3/4" of extra road clearance and only results in ~4% lower speedometer reading (60mph indicated = 63mph actual). The sidewalls of the Zeon LTZ are very thick and firm -- I didn't measure with a caliper but they felt as meaty as BFG All Terrains I had on another vehicle. There is no rubbing or clearance issue at any angle and they look good on the Grand, IMHO. Note that new OEM-replacement TPMS sensors were recognized after sitting several minutes once mounted and without any "programming".
PERFORMANCE ON ROAD-- All the reviews say they're quiet, and the are for an AT tire, but the Zeon LTZs do have a mild hum. At about 65-70mph the hum is more noticeable but not like a mud-tire and not objectionable. Over hard bumps the Zeon LTZs are actually quieter than the Forteras. Handling is better than the Forteras in wet/dry and they really stay glued in the turns with less floating feel than the Forteras. On wet roads the Zeon LTZs stuck like a rain tire and never broke loose even with traction control set to "off". The lugs and voids are big but never had any gravel sticking/flinging. The tread stayed clear of gravel and debris. No noticeable loss of power from the minor increase in diameter and the ride comfort is still excellent, I'd say even better, considering the firmer sidewall. Very cool!
PERFORMANCE OFF ROAD -- No off-road events on this long trip but, due to a good rain storm while up north, I went in search of some mud. All I could find was some mild dirt "access roads" in a place we weren't supposed to be, so no pics from there, sorry. The Zeon LTZs did cake up with some clay but quickly self-cleared and the traction and steering control was really great. On a short rocky climb out of the access road they grabbed really well on the wet rocks. I've had BFG All Terrains (different truck) in the same kind of muck before and I believe they would have fared no better and possibly worse in the clay mud. This off-road part will get updated when I get a chance or when the fall and winter weather hits if I can ever get away to do some proper testing. I think the Zeon LTZs suit the Grand well for road and moderate trail use.
DEEP lugs but angled just right to let gravel and mud slip out. Good rain channels too.
Still has a stock look but tires are no longer wimpy. I didn't want to stand out when I go to church. Extra sidewall height is noticeable and welcome.
Rear view look. They stick out a tiny bit more than the Forteras but not like SRT8 reps (I considered them) that push sidewalls to the edge of the wheel well lips -- paint will stay better protected by using the stock 20" wheels. I balanced form and function without going to an 18" wheel set.