But, the firmer ride is a minor trade-off in our view. The XSTs gave us exhilarating performance during 45-mph lane changes. The response to steering input was quick and sure with predictable traction gain on turn-in and a well-defined adhesive limit during steady-state cornering. We recorded a peak of 0.98 g of lateral acceleration in this test, and the vehicle was very controllable and responded well to steering inputs, even near the limits inspiring confidence, even when drifting around in a 4,700-pound extended-cab pickup throughout California Speedway's skid pad, where the average lateral acceleration was in 0.92 g. That's excellent grip for a pickup.

In our braking test, the OE replacement tires produced 0.98g peak force, with the truck stopping from 60 mph in 135 feet. The Cooper Zeon XSTs performed nearly identically a 0.98g peak deceleration, stopping the truck in 129 feet.

We rarely get to evaluate the wet performance of a tire, since it seldom rains in Southern California. However, over the test period, and well beyond, in fact, it did indeed rain on SoCal. And we got to drive in it-a lot-and we found the XSTs to provide excellent grip in the wet and very resistant to hydroplaning. The tread compound worked as promised, and the deep aggressive tread pattern was effective at pumping water from under the tread to keep us in contact with the road and in control.

So, how does the Cooper Zeon XST stack up? Our experience with the tire is positive. It's a great-handling performance tire that also works great in wet conditions. It provides a firm, even taut ride with our performance suspension, but it's not harsh. In addition, it is quieter than some of its peers we've tested. Cosmetically, we don't find it the most attractive tire on the market. But, given its performance and price point, we can appreciate it for what it is-a light truck tire that delivers sport performance through a wide range of road conditions at a great price.

Performance Summary
Raceline/Cooper Zeon XST combo
Wheel: Raceline Phat Boy Series "Excess" 18x8-inch with 4-1/2-inch backspacing / forged aluminum two-piece welded / polished aluminum finish

Tire: Cooper Zeon XST 255/55R18 109H M+S

Tread: Two-ply steel; two-ply polyester; one-ply nylon

Sidewall: Two-ply polyester

Ratings: Tread wear: 420 / Traction A / Temp A / Max load: 2,271 pounds at 50-psi max air pressure

Available Sizes: 305/35R23 / 295/35R24 / 295/35R24 / 305/35R24 / 305/35R24 / 315/35R24 / 315/35R24 / 305/40R22 / 305/40R22 / 325/40R22 / 325/40R22 / 305/40R23 / 295/40R24 / 295/40R24 / 275/45R20 / 275/45R20 / 295/45R20 / 305/45R20 / 275/45R22 / 275/45R22 / 285/45R22 / 305/45R22 / 285/50R20 / 285/50R20 / 305/50R20 / 255/55R18 / 255/55R18 / 285/55R18 / 285/55R18 / 265/60R18 / 285/60R18 / 285/60R18

Steady-State Cornering: Excellent grip and feel / tires let you know exactly what's happening at the contact patch / good linear response to steering inputs

45-mph Lane Change Peak Force: 0.98 g

Cornering During Acceleration: Excellent grip and feedback, hooks the power, very positive and surefooted

Cornering During Deceleration: Generates lots of grip quickly / great control with ABS activated

Braking: 0.98 g / 129 ft

Road Noise 65-mph Freeway: Very quiet

Ride Quality: Soft / Moderate / Harsh

Comment: Ride vibrates at higher frequency than with stock tires. The attack is harder and it puts more energy into the suspension, with quick positive response to steering inputs.