Product review: Kumho Crugen KL33 tyre for SUVs
There are few things more stressful for owners of older cars than the annual MOT test.
My anxiety was heightened this year because I bought a 4×4 in an online auction during lockdown and there’s always that nagging feeling that you’ve unknowingly bought a lemon.
The auction house was nearby so I managed to check out the 2003 Toyota RAV4 before the sale (see below). Just from that viewing and a spin around the car park, I could tell it was solid (if a little tatty externally) and ran smoothly.
Obviously, I also checked its MOT history for free online and studied the documents so I could see the previous owner was local. In other words, I wasn’t buying completely blind.
Externally it needed a bit of cosmetic attention, while the interior was in excellent condition. Shabby alloy wheels and three different brands of budget tyres were its biggest let-down.
A weekend of sanding, priming and painting sorted the wheels (see above), then after some more general tarting up, it was Kumho Tyres that came to the rescue with the offer of a new set of Crugen KL33s – OE (original equipment) for brands including Jeep, Kia, Hyundai and SsangYong and the Audi Q5 in North America.
Specifically aimed at the SUV market, the all-season Kumho Crugen KL33 is a mid-range tyre from the South Korean company, retailing at around £65-70 (excluding fitting). And just in case you’re wondering, Cru-Gen is short for “cruising generation”.
Now, it’s fair to say that any matching set of new tyres would make a difference after the previous mixed bag. What I didn’t expect was for the improvement to be quite so marked.
But let’s start with looks. Unlike some SUV tyres, the Crugen KL33 has a low-profile look with wide, rounded shoulders designed to enhance your vehicle’s overall appearance.
When I set off from the tyre fitter, the improved comfort level was immediately obvious, along with a muffling of road noise.
Nor can I fault the KL33’s dry traction, cornering grip and general handling characteristics.
Wet weather traction was hugely improved, no doubt helped by the asymmetric tread with four- groove design “for optimum aquaplaning suppression”.
I’m looking forward to the winter to test the tyres on snow and ice, but their traction during a little light off-roading and on loose surfaces was promising, even though the KL33 is designed primarily for road use.
And the MOT Test? I’m pleased to report that the RAV4 passed with flying colours, and no advisories.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a new set of rubber for your SUV, and your vehicle spends its life on the tarmac, then the Kumho KL33 is a great value-for-money choice. Smart and rugged, it offers assured all-round grip, good handling and a comfortable ride.