Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 vs Cooper Evolution MT tires

Last updated 5/29/2024 - Originally published 5/29/2024
Written by SimpleTire

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For drivers who like to take their 4WD trucks way, WAY off-road and into remote backwoods, rough jobsites or rocky trails, most all-terrain tires are just going to fall short of actually getting the job done. The truth is, there’s really one common denominator in these situations: mud. If your tire can’t clear the mud out of its treads and dig in for some real traction, it doesn’t matter how much ground clearance, torque, or horsepower your truck has – you’re going to find yourself with mud-slick tires spinning in place and your truck hopelessly bogged down and in need of a winch. Over the years, mud-terrain tires have darned a bit of a reputation for being noisy, a little twitchy and touchy on the pavement, difficult to balance because of their size and weight, and cumbersome when it comes to handling. Fortunately, the latest generation of mud-terrain tires have been able to successfully get around many of those problems.

That brings us to our comparison of the Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 vs the Nitto Trail Grappler M/T. These are both very capable premium mud-terrain tires, and they both come with their pluses and minuses that we’ll delve into in this head-to-head comparison test. In the course of this review, you’ll see us make frequent reference to their SimpleScore numbers; if you’re not familiar with SimpleScore, it’s a resource that the team at SimpleTire has developed to give you an at-a-glance idea of what a tire is all about.

SimpleScore takes into account a tire’s specs, data points, manufacturer info, and reviews and then distills that information down into a 1-10 numerical value for the categories of traction, durability, and longevity as well as an overall average SimpleScore. For the Cooper Evolution MT and Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629, the SimpleScore rating breakdown as follows:

Nitto Trail Grappler M/T

  • Traction: 8.4
  • Durability: 8.5
  • Longevity: 8.9
  • Overall average SimpleScore: 8.6

Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629

  • Traction: 7.7
  • Durability: 7.6
  • Longevity: 8.0
  • Overall average SimpleScore: 7.7

As you can see, the Kenda Klever M/T KR269 and Cooper Evolution MT are both pretty closely matched when it comes to SimpleScore rankings. As useful as SimpleScore is, though, it’s still the 30,000 foot view that doesn’t give you the in- depth analysis of a tire’s strengths and weaknesses. Let’s break that information down a little more with a head-to-head comparison of these two premium mud-terrain tires.

Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 tires


So what’s the story on the Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629? We’re impressed with the innovative tread design of the Klever; its open shoulders and interlocking tread blocks with a high void ratio all work as a system to deliver confident grip in mud, loose dirt, snow, sand, and gravel. It’s built for all the punishment you can send its way, too, with a damage-resistant tread compound, a strong rib that helps protect the casing and aggressive sidewall that resists cuts, punctures, scuffs and impacts. The high void ratio and deep grooves are designed to easily shed mud, gravel, snow, and debris so there’s always a clear section of tire that easily digs in for grip as the wheel turns. 10-ply construction and a deep 18/32” tread depth help round out the package, and the 8-pitch tread of the Kenda is designed to help cancel certain frequencies and overtones to keep road noise low and limit the vibrations and roughness passed on to the passenger compartment. SimpleTire’s price on the Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 starts at $248.38 per tire.

Cooper Evolution MT tires

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It’d be natural to assume that the MT in the branding of the Cooper Evolution MT would stand for Mud Terrain, but actually it’s Maximum Traction - and you’d be right either way. The Cooper Evolution is designed with a symmetric mud-terrain tread with beefy, oversize lugs and shoulder blocks with alternating scoops to resist damage claw down into soft surfaces to dig their way out of ruts. Trail Grip Sidewall construction guards against impacts, scrapes, punctures and abrasions, while giving the Evolution MT the durability it needs for aired-down operation over rocks and obstacles.

Cooper’s innovative Mud Slinger design helps tread grooves easily fling out mud, stones and debris. The Evolution MT has the M+S rating for mud/snow traction and is pre-drilled for easy installation of studs in case of severe winter weather. Depending on tire size, the Evolution MT is available with an outlined white letter (OWL) or black sidewall. SimpleTire’s price on the Cooper Evolution MT starts at $128.69 per tire.

Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 vs Cooper Evolution MT tires on traction

In the traction category, it’s not real close between the two tires: the Cooper gets a SimpleScore of 8.4 vs 7.7 for the Kenda. The Kenda is capable off-road and performs well in mud or aired-down over steep rocks and boulders, but the Cooper has the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating for severe winter service and is also pre-drilled to make it easy to install studs in case of icy road conditions. The alternating scoops and Mud Slingers give the Cooper Evolution MT unbeatable confidence and grip in some of the most challenging terrain, and those SimpleScore numbers don’t lie. Our decision:

ADVANTAGE: Cooper Evolution MT

Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 vs Cooper Evolution MT tires on durability.

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How do the Kenda and the Cooper look when compared with each other for durability? Again, not even close, with a SimpleScore of 8.5 for the Cooper and 7,6 for the Kenda. The reinforced Trail Grip sidewall of the Cooper is practically armor-plated, and its reinforced tread blocks and damage-resistant off-road tread compound make it one tough customer. That kind of durability (especially for the sidewalls) is extra important for aired-down performance while rock crawling. Our decision:

ADVANTAGE: Cooper Evolution MT

Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 vs Cooper Evolution MT tires on longevity


When neither tire has a limited manufacturer’s tread life warranty (like most mud-terrain tires don’t), longevity becomes rather a subjective thing and we have to defer more to customer reviews while thinking about SimpleScore ratings. In this case, the Cooper gets a SimpleScore of 8.9 vs 8.0 for the Kenda. Not much of a competition between the two when it comes to longevity, so our decision.

ADVANTAGE: Cooper Evolution MT

When to use each

It all depends on what your needs and your expectations from a tire and your truck. If you work in construction or ranching or the oilfield, or if you love taking your truck way back into the backwoods and getting in some good times in deep, sticky mud, then mud-terrain tires like the Kenda and Cooper could both be great choices for you. If, on the other hand, you want mud-terrain tires because you think they’d make your truck look cool (even if you spend most of your time on city streets), then you should probably give some pretty serious thought about whether mud-terrain tires are the best choice.

Yes, mud-terrain tires have come pretty far over the years and tire manufacturers have addressed many of those complaints about noise, ride quality, vibration, harshness, handling, and wheel balance. Still, for daily driver duties, you really should give some consideration to whether you’d be better off with all-terrain tires or mud-terrain on your vehicle – unless you have a real need for that added off-road traction.

Which one should you choose?

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Usually in these head-to-head product comparisons, the differences between the two tires are fairly narrow and both tires stack up pretty well against each other when it comes to SimpleScore rankings. That’s not the case here – while the Kenda Klever M/T2 KR629 is a capable and tough tire, the Cooper Evolution MT handily outperforms and outranks it in all the SimpleScore categories as well as overall average SimpleScores. Traction, durability and longevity are all clearly superior with this tire, thanks to its tough construction, innovative tread features, damage-resistant tread formulation, and excellent workmanship. On top of that, with a starting price of $128.69 per tire vs $248.38 per tire for the Kenda, the Cooper is almost half as expensive right out of the gate. For us at the SimpleTire team, this one’s kind of a no-brainer; we’d have to recommend the Cooper Evolution MT.

Still not sure which tire to buy? Fortunately, SimpleTire is here to help as our helpful agents are more than happy to assist you in selecting the right tire for your ride and budget.

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