Kenda Klever R/T KR601 Review – 2024 Rugged Tire Test

Robert Herrera-COR-Wheels

By Robert Herrera

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When we mention R/T tires, Kenda Klever R/T might not instantly come to your mind; after all, the tire does not come from a reputable brand. Nevertheless, customer reviews gathered from our survey were surprisingly positive, as most drivers were satisfied with the tire’s all-season traction, riding comfort, and off-road abilities.

This article will discuss whether those positive comments for Kenda Klever align with our real-life test results. 

Kenda Klever R/T KR601 Specifications & Features

Kenda Klever RT
Kenda Klever RT
Tire TypeRugged All-Terrain
Tire Size16″ – 24″
Load RangeC, D, E, F
Speed RatingR, Q

The Kenda Klever KR601 is a rugged-terrain tire designed to help 4x4s, like light trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps, travel both on- and off-road without sacrificing riding comfort.

  • The advanced all-weather compound increases traction on off-road terrain, particularly dirt roads.
  • Its 3-ply, triple-threat sidewalls promote exceptional durability. 
  • Interlocking center tread blocks, aided by the high sipe density and the studdable design, improve the tire’s stability on snow and off-road terrains.
  • Wide groove volumes in the tread design reduce hydroplaning while improving traction on muddy and wet roads.
  • There is a rim protector that shields the rim and bead area from road obstacles.

Kenda Klever R/T Review & Performance Test Results

In the 2023 COR Wheels Tire Test, we used the 245/75R17 tire size version of the Kenda Klever KR601 on our 2022 Jeep Wrangler

1. Dry Performance: 7.9/10

Dry Traction: 8.2/10

Kenda Klever R/T did not handle sharp corners and high speeds well, resulting in occasional, unpredictable shudders that threw us off-guard when we traveled on highways and through mountain passes. This off-road tire also seemed to drag heavily when loaded with extra cargo, forcing us to reduce its weight to less than 1,000 lbs.

On a brighter note, this all-terrain tire will be excellent if you do not usually travel at high speeds. Its wide shoulder blocks created more surface areas, gripping on dry roads excellently at 40 to 45 MPH and only shaking slightly when the heavy vehicle started to ascend/descend. The braking distance was also impressive, considering the simple design.

Kenda Klever RT dry test
Kenda Klever RT dry test

Corner Stability: 7.7/10

Like on straight roads, the Kenda Kelver struggled with high speeds when cornering; we could feel the tire shaking and wavering a lot as the car revved past 50 MPH. It also took a lot of time to recover from understeering/oversteering and abrupt accelerations, so heavy towing and loading resulted in lots of unnecessary gliding.

Fortunately, once you return to the regular driving rates, Kenda Klever KR601 regains confidence and performs quite well. On our test track, as long as we changed the speeds gradually, handling tight corners at 50 to 55 MPH was not entirely impossible. 

Steering Response: 7.7/10

Kenda Klever’s steering response left little room for complaint. Sure, they did not feel sharp around tight corners and through highway curves due to the aggressive tread pattern, but the response delays were still acceptable and rarely put our car in actual danger. 

Higher-speed maneuvers surprisingly did not reduce the steering accuracy as much as we expected on straight roads, so we only needed to pay more attention when going uphill and downhill. Thanks to this impressive confidence, you should have no trouble navigating unexpected roadblocks or changing lanes when necessary.

2. Wet Performance: 7.6/10

Wet Traction: 7.5/10

Although the Kenda Klever was not too impressive in rainy seasons, its wet traction was still comparable to dry road traction. Therefore, our car could transition between dry and wet surfaces at 40 to 45 MPH without much drama. We also appreciated how the tire stayed balanced when going through gentle curves, as it did not require much push-pull steering or downshifting to maintain strong connections with the roads.

On another note, you might experience unpredictable shudders when exceeding 50 MPH, like in dry weather. The Kenda Klever KR601 might also slip a lot in deep water beyond 5 inches. 

Hydroplaning Resistance: 7.7/10

Kenda Klever R/T’s wide grooves did not resist hydroplaning effectively much at high speeds and in deep water (5+ inches). 

Fortunately, it was not entirely uncontrollable; we could still use strong, consistent push-pull to lessen the heavy drag. If you return to paved roads while reducing your driving speeds to below 45 MPH, the Kenda Klever KR601 is actually stable and redistributes rainwater through the grooves and sipes quite well. 

3. Off-road Performance: 7.9/10

Dirt Traction: 8.1/10

We were impressed with Klever’s off-road dirt traction, all thanks to the open grooves, innovative 3-ply, triple-threat sidewalls, and interlocking center blocks that helped stabilize this Kenda tire. Our car had no trouble breezing through thick gravel roads and only took seconds to shake hardpack dirt off the contact patch. Acceleration and deceleration seemed easier here than on dry surfaces, allowing us to experiment with different steering techniques.

If you are a beginner, cornering on off-road dirt surfaces might still feel challenging at higher speeds (55+ MPH). But the traction losses are brief and not dangerous, so there is hardly anything to worry about.

Rock Traction: 7.7/10

Klever’s sipes and grooves struggled slightly on stacked rocks and gritty surfaces and couldn’t eject large stones; rather, they got lodged into the tread voids, heightening the risk of punctures and uneven rides once transitioning to paved roads. 

But when reducing the extra cargo weight to below 200 lbs, we noticed a slight improvement in traction. The Kenda Klever KR601 was balanced and well-controlled, easily adapting to sharp turns, tight corners, and rough speed changes without too much protesting. Your car can also easily climb steep slopes and dry rock ledges, which are only challenging under heavy rainfalls and storms. 

Mud Traction: 7.9/10

Though not as strong as dirt and rock traction, Klever’s grip on muddy terrains satisfied us. The mud and debris still clung onto the sidewalls, but our tire grooves distributed them well enough, allowing for clean, powerful strikes through deep pits and ruts. We traveled between 40 and 55 MPH quite uneventfully and managed to rev up to 60 MPH in shallow puddles.

Still, if you are a beginner, be careful with the extra sticky mud in marshy areas; inconsistent steering inputs and reckless downshifting might get you stuck there.

Kenda Klever RT mud test
Kenda Klever RT mud test

Sand Traction: 7.9/10

Klever behaved more or less the same on sand as on mud (since both are loose terrains). 

This robust tire seemed to struggle slightly on thick sand but did not lose as much traction as we expected, so our car still connected well with the roads at regular driving speeds. We also had little trouble going through gentle corners, and such stability allowed us to carry cargos of 300 lbs quite comfortably. 

You only have to pay more attention during ascending/descending since the car might slip and shudder. 

4. Winter/Snow Performance: 7.6/10

Light Snow Traction: 7.7/10

Klever KR601 continued its impressive clawing actions on off-road dirt to light snow, resulting in our smooth, uneventful rides on both straight and winding roads. 

The tire shuddered more aggressively at higher speeds, but we could solve that with strong snow chains and extra studs. Traveling on rough, snowy mountain passes while carrying light cargo is unlikely to dampen your car’ stability.

Deep Snow Traction: 7.5/10

The wide grooves with high sipe density took longer to process and distribute the snow here, so we did not experience the same solid traction as in light snow. 

Thankfully, the Kenda Klever KR601 still behaved quite well at 35 to 40 MPH, rarely slipping or gliding unless we turned or accelerated too sharply. Aggressive over-reactions at high speeds around corners also leave little to worry about once you use snow chains and studs.

Kenda Klever RT snow test
Kenda Klever RT snow test

Ice Traction: 7.6/10

The tire-road connection became significantly weaker on ice than on snow. Therefore, while Kenda Klever KR601 was still rideable on straight roads, we still had to watch out for constant slippages and jostles. Handling tight corners was possible but still risky due to understeering and oversteering; despite our years of experience, our team had to play it safe by keeping our speeds below 10 MPH.

On a brighter note, you will likely have much less trouble with thin ice buildups (below 3 inches). Better yet, once your steering stabilizes along the way, slippages and vibrations become delightfully less frequent.

5. Comfort: 7.6/10

Ride Quality: 7.5/10

Kenda Klever KR601 did not handle road cracks well at high speeds, and this lack of cushioning only worsened in wet weather and snow despite low speeds. 

In compensation, the tire composed itself well on paved roads at casual driving speeds – good news if you are not an aggressive or demanding driver. Even steep ascents surprisingly did not result in as much vibrating as we initially thought – provided that our steering was consistent.

Road Noise: 7.7/10

This road tire was not exactly quiet; worse, its tread noises struck randomly most of the time and were quite hard to predict, especially on off-road dirt and mud trails. This might be because of the larger void-to-tread ratio that allows more air particles to collide with the tread.

Luckily, you will experience less tire noise on paved or straight roads with no twists and turns. Reducing extra cargo/passenger weight to less than 300 lbs also helps.

6. Treadwear and Durability

Kenda Klever adapted well to different temperatures, road textures, and steering techniques. 

However, it did not stay strong against sharp debris and rocks and clearly weakened while traveling through extremely deep ruts and dunes at high speeds. So, if you venture off-road more often than on-road, you probably should expect serious treadwear issues after 4-5 years. 

Kenda Klever R/T Pros and Cons


Consistent traction performance on dirt and rock

Pretty good traction on loose surfaces

Decent dry/wet traction (on-road) and short braking distance on dry roads

Quick steering response

Decent tread life and treadwear warranty

Fairly smooth rides

Decent light snow traction


Traction issues still occur on ice

Braking distance on wet surfaces is slightly underwhelming

Occasional hydroplaning issues

Unpredictable tread noise

Not handling high speeds on rough terrains well 


The Kenda Klever R/T KR601 is clearly much more competitive on off-road terrains than on-road, though you can still manage decent traction for the latter when traveling at low/average driving speeds. Its studdable design also comes in handy in winter (even better with snow chains), but remember to be more careful around corners on icy roads.

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Robert Herrera

President & Automotive Expert at COR Wheels

Robert Herrera has been with COR Wheels for 17 years and has a great passion for the automotive industry. During his time at COR Wheels, he has driven and test-driven a variety of vehicles.

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