The dual requirement of high conversion efficiency and 50K mile durability for cordierite ceramic converters is achievable through optimization of washcoat and catalyst formulation. This paper presents new data for high temperature physical properties, light-off performance, conversion efficiency and pressure drop through an oval cordierite ceramic converter with triangular cell structure and two different washcoat formulations; namely standard vs high-tech. Both of the washcoat systems have a beneficial effect on strength properties with nominal impact on thermal shock resistance. Both the standard and high-tech catalysts provide identical light-off performance for CO, HC and NOx conversion. The high-tech washcoat and catalyst system, in particular, provides consistently superior conversion efficiency for CO, HC and NOx. The pressure drop across the catalyst depends on hydraulic diameter and is only 8% higher for high-tech washcoat than for standard washcoat. The durability and performance of both catalysts are discussed in terms of interaction between the substrate and washcoat system.