Kumho Crugen Premium KL33 Review: Only Adequate All-Season SUV Tire

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Dry 90%
Wet 85%
Snow 80%
Comfort 80%
Noise 80%
Treadwear 85%
Overall 84%

The tire market today is so overflowed with all-season touring tires that it is very hard to keep traction (pun intended). Starting with the obvious premium competitors like Michelin and Bridgestone, and down to seriously cheap tires that you can find on Amazon. Kumho is a manufacturer that dances in the middle of the road. Their tires aren’t as expensive as the offerings from premium manufacturers, but still offers a wide range of tires that you can trust that will give you a safe and reliable driving experience. As a matter of fact, most of their models are one of my favorites, at least for the price. But, what about their SUV all-season touring offering? You will find out in this detailed Kumho Crugen Premium KL33  Review!

The Crugen KL33 Premium is their premium offering in the all-season touring category, with sizes that cover most crossovers, SUVs, and pickups (16-20 inches). Originally developed for the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kumho decided to widen its appeal for owners of crossovers and SUVs of other manufacturers. According to Kumho, this tire promises high levels of grip and traction in every type of weather you encounter, exceptional comfort and low noise on the highway.

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The Crugen KL33 is also designed to look sporty on modern rims, which makes it a great choice for owners of crossovers and SUVs manufactured in the past five years. That is if you’re only concerned with how your tires look, which in my opinion should be the least important. See, while the KL33 is not a bad tire by any stretch of the imagination, it is easily overdone by most premium rivals in several key categories that I think are important to SUV and crossover owners. Read on to find out where the Crugen KL33 Premium suffers, and where it provides better results than the usual in that price range.

Please note that the Crugen Premium KL33 was renamed to City Venture Premium in 2013, but no changes were made to the tread design or compound. It’s the same tire only with a different name.

Tire Overview

The Crugen Premium KL33 is an all-season touring tire designed for crossovers, SUVs, and light trucks, which means that it is mainly designed to offer the driver a balance between performance and comfort. Due to the fact that it was originally designed for the Hyundai Santa Fe, it should be a good fit for competitors of that vehicle such as the Honda Pilot and CR-V, Toyota Highlander and RAV4, Kia Sorento, Ford Edge, Subaru Forester and Outback, and even Hyundai’s smaller crossover, the Tucson.

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Kumho engineered this tire to handle everyday situations with confidence, which is achieved through the advanced all-season compound. According to the manufacturer, the main challenges when designing the Crugen Premium KL33 were enhanced traction, prolonger tread life, and reduced rolling resistance. The last part may be very interesting to lighter crossover owners because it means that you should be able to see improved fuel economy immediately after installing a set of these tires. Meanwhile, the 6 Years / 60,000 Miles treadwear warranty is a testament to their determination to provide long tread life.

The tire has a pretty standard symmetric variable pitch tread design for reduced noise and quieter ride, and also independent tread blocks separated by wide circumferential grooves for improved wet and snow traction. Like most touring tires in its category, the Crugen KL33 has an internal structure with twin steel belts reinforced by spirally wrapped nylon for added durability and strength, while the polyester cord casing helps the tire achieve better ride comfort.

Let’s see how all of this translates into real life.

Pros:

  • Responsive in dry conditions
  • Excellent traction and braking performance in the dry
  • Quiet on the highway
  • Attractive looks
  • Budget price

Cons:

  • Wet traction is worse than modern competitors
  • Not usable in light snow
  • Fidgety ride over bumps

Kumho Crugen Premium KL33 : Detailed Review

Treadwear and Durability

It’s always hard to get a feeling for how long will a set of tires last by driving it a few hundred miles. From what I’ve seen online, drivers are generally pleased with the tread life, but there are a lot of owners that report quality issues with the casing. Also, while the 60,000-mile treadwear warranty is good for the price, there are touring and grand-touring tires that are much better, some even in the same price range. Overall, the Kumho Crugen Premium KL33 should provide you with good performance for 30,000-40,000 miles.

Dry Traction and Grip

The Kumho Crugen Premium  KL33 looks like a sporty tire from the outside and at least on dry roads, it shows very promising performance. Traction is excellent, even when accelerating hard in vehicles with front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive configurations. Braking performance is also on par with the best premium tires in this category, even on larger and heavier crossovers and SUVs.

In the corners, the Crugen Premium KL33 is also very responsive – better than most tires in its category. This was surprising to me at first, but it’s probably due to the stronger sidewalls. On top of that, grip in the corners is on a very high level, even at lower temperatures, giving the driver a lot of confidence to push his car to its limits. Of course, this is not a high-performance tire and isn’t made to be driven that way, but it’s still nice to see performance improvements in the all-season category.

Wet Traction

While I have no complaints about the way the Kumho Crugen Premium KL33 drives in dry conditions, this tire isn’t the best choice for rainy weather. Even though the tread was designed to resist hydroplaning, I still find it to be the only average in that regard – worse than many premium competitors. On top of that, the Kumho is worse than many newer touring tires in damp conditions, probably due to the older tread compound. Overall, wet traction was disappointing. 

Snow Traction and Braking Performance

Like most all-season touring tires, the Crugen Premium KL33 is also marketed as light snow tire. However, while it does provide some traction in light snow, it is nowhere near the class-best. Braking performance on snow is also only average, worse than many modern touring competitors. I strongly recommend going for a set of winter tires if you own the Kumho Crugen KL33 Premium, especially if you live in areas where it snows often!

Comfort & Noise

The Crugen KL33 is a touring tire, which means that it should be outstanding for long drivers. That’s true, but only if you drive on perfectly smooth highways. Due to the stronger sidewalls, the Kumho can be bouncy and fidgety over potholes, especially when compared to premium tires in the same category. Noise isn’t an issue on the highway, at least in my testing, but there are owners that report degradation in noise performance over time.

Conclusion

To be honest, I expected more from the Kumho Crugen Premium KL33, especially in the wet performance department. Also, despite the fact that it is cheaper than competitors from Bridgestone, Michelin, and Continental, they still offer a viable advantage that makes them a better buy. Still, if you’re on the budget and want a set of tires that will give you responsive and grippy performance in dry conditions, then the Crugen KL33 might be a smart choice!

Checkout another Kumho Crugen Premium KL33 review from Michael Crawford:

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