Nitto Tire Two-Fer

The Insider Take On The Two Newest Grappler Tires

When a tire manufacturer introduces a new tire, it’s a milestone event. The engineering, testing and development to produce a truly new and unique tire take lots of both time and cash, which is why new tire introductions are usually separated by several years. This makes the simultaneous introduction of two new light truck tires from Nitto Tire a unique and exciting event.

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New from Nitto are the Terra Grappler G2 and the EXO Grappler AWT. The Terra Grappler G2 (Generation 2) is an improved all-terrain tire that builds on the well-known Terra Grappler, first introduced in 2001. The Terra Grappler G2 offers several innovative updates to the all terrain design.

The other new truck tire from Nitto is the EXO Grappler AWT, an all-weather tire that can be run all year, even in snow country. If you live in a location that requires snow tires in the winter months, these tires need not be changed for the season.

We had the chance to drive around on both of Nitto’s tires and found them to be responsive and generally low on the noise factor on the pavement. Performance in the dirt and mud was as expected or above. Our testing was done in the late summer, so winter performance was not part of the program. However, we’ll look to do this testing as soon as the snow starts to fall on our local mountains. Here are the details from Nitto for each of these two new tires.

The Exo Grappler AWT is designed to be an all-weather and all-season tire for light trucks. Believe it or not, Nitto actually rates it higher in regards to off-pavement capability than the new Terra Grappler G2. Only the Trail Grappler and the Mud Grappler are said to be better off the pavement and neither of them carry the mountain/snowflake rating for winter use. This is part of the reason that the Exo Grappler AWT has such a high rating for use on less than perfect pavement—and yet is still a quiet tire that’s great for running down the freeway, for your daily commute to the job site or on long family trips.

The Exo Grappler AWT is third down from the top in off-pavement traction in the Nitto lineup. Only the Mud Grappler and the Trail Grappler top it. This tire is perfect for the owner who wants to be ready for the road and trail, regardless of weather.

During our testing, not all the tires were on heavy diesel trucks. The use of smaller trail rigs allowed for testing in more conditions than could be navigated in a full-size diesel rig. As expected, mud and dirt performance of the EXO Grappler AWT was above par.

In keeping with the Nitto Grappler Line tradition, the EXO Grappler AWT features a dual design. Pick your tire’s face and show it to the world.

The Exo Grappler AWT features three-ply sidewall construction, all-new chip resistant all-weather rubber compound, and large, thick sidewall lugs. The tread blocks are computer-designed to reduce the tire noise normally heard at highway driving speeds. In addition, the tire has “gear-shaped block edges” that reinforce center tread blocks. Nitto says this design provides a more stable contact patch while reducing stone retention.

In keeping with tradition, the Exo Grappler AWT has “Dual Sidewall Designs” allowing owners to select the look they like best. A new and more durable compound is used in these tires and is said to improve tire life and increase cut and chip resistance on unpaved gravel roads. The tire features spiral-shaped stone ejectors—another off-pavement improvement feature.

The EXO Grappler AWT has a three-peak mountain snowflake winter tire rating. This logo means you can drive in conditions that require snow tires, without worry.

The highlighted tread area seen here promotes the new tread compound on the EXO Grappler AWT. This is said to be a “Special mix of natural rubber, high-strength polymers, and wear resistant materials.” They are said to enhance “cut and chip resistance on unpaved gravel roads, while also allowing for traction in freezing temperatures.” We can say that we didn’t see any issues on the gravel roads we tested on.

The EXO Grappler AWT has staggered shoulder blocks. This asymmetrical design is said to add biting edges for improved off-pavement traction. The sidewall is a three-ply design that offers improved sidewall strength and puncture resistance.

While we didn’t get to test the EXO Grappler AWT in the snow, the mountain snowflake rating is reassuring. The testing to get this rating is an industry standard that all must meet.

While we didn’t get to test the EXO Grappler AWT in the snow, the mountain snowflake rating is reassuring. The testing to get this rating is an industry standard that all must meet.

Winter Performance

The Exo Grappler AWT carries the three-peak mountain snowflake emblem. This means the tire is rated for winter driving conditions even when snow tires are required. The Exo Grappler AWT sports improved tread sipes and large lateral grooves that are said to provide biting edges as well as water and snow/slush evacuation. In addition, a new durable rubber compound provides improved traction in freezing temperatures. Finally, for those who need even more winter traction, these tires can be upgraded for winter-only use with the addition of TSMI #15 studs, which can be installed by your tire dealer. The EXO Grappler AWT is expected to be offered in 11 sizes, with rim diameters from 17 to 20 inches.

The EXO Grappler AWT is rated with the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol that denotes use for winter driving. The deep tread sipes and large lateral grooves provide
biting edges as well as water and snow/slush evacuation. In addition, this tire comes
pre-molded for optional TSMI #15-sized studs.

Nitto’s next generation all-terrain light truck tire is the Terra Grappler G2. This tire complements but, for now, does not replace the original Terra Grappler. The Terra Grappler G2 is a balance between a street tire and a trail tire. As expected it’s a tire for all seasons and all reasons, rain or shine, commuting to work, towing a trailer or having fun off the tarmac.

The Terra Grappler G2 features an all-new rubber compound for the Grappler line. This is said to increase tire treadwear life while maintaining versatility and traction on conventional road surfaces. The Terra Grappler G2 is the first all-terrain tire offering from Nitto to be backed up with a limited treadwear warranty, which provides coverage for 50,000 miles for LT-metric and floatation sizes and 65,000 miles for hard metric sizes.

The Terra Grappler G2 is at home on the road and off pavement.

The new Terra Grappler G2 is the ideal tire for use in all but the worst of winter.

On the technical side, the new Terra Grappler G2 has several improvements to offer. The first is the reinforcement of the “coupling joints.” In a tire, these connect the outermost tread blocks to the center blocks to increase the block edge rigidity.

Full-depth sipes are also part of the new Terra Grappler G2. The sipes or grooves in the tread blocks help with traction, and they usually only go part of the way from the tread top to the tire cap. The new full-depth siping is said to offer better traction as the tires wears. In addition, they help to retain the look of the tread design as the tire wears.

Nitto’s new Terra Grappler G2 is the first of their all-terrain light truck and SUV tire lineup to offer a tread mileage warranty. This is either 50,000 or 65,000 miles depending on the tire type.

Terra Grappler G2 features “staggered hill and valley shoulder lugs.” This is said to offer additional biting edges in off-pavement use.

A standard for Nitto light truck tires is their dual-design sidewall. You can face the side you like out, or mix and match to really mess with peoples’ heads.

The Terra Grappler G2 features full-depth sipes in the tread. This provides the functional benefit of increased all-season performance. On the aesthetic front, the tire will maintain the appearance of the tread design throughout the tire’s life expectancy, even as the tire wears down.

Other features of the new Terra Grappler G2 are staggered shoulder lugs and variable-pitch tread blocks that are “computer analyzed” to reduce tire noise normally heard at highway driving speeds.

As with the other Terra Tires from Nitto, the Terra Grappler G2 is a dual-sidewall design. One side plays homage to the original Terra Grappler design by incorporating a thunderbolt pattern that’s similar to that of the original Terra Grappler, now raised for a more aggressive look. The obverse side has a new aggressive “blade” design with integrated sidewall lugs that run all the way from the shoulder tread block down to the sidewall. The Terra Grappler G2 is expected to be offered in 55 sizes, with rim diameters from 17 to 22 inches. DW

SNOW TIRES REQUIRED!

In the not-so-distant past there were summer tires and winter, a.k.a snow tires. Dedicated winter tires were the answer for anyone who lived and worked in locations where snow is a fact of life. These tires were made from special rubber compounds, and while they were great on snow and ice, they wore quickly on dry pavement. This meant having two sets of tires for your rig, one to run and one to store until the weather changed. Dedicated snow tires are marked with a mountain/snowflake symbol on their sidewall. With this symbol you can drive in conditions that are posted as “Snow Tires Required” with confidence and without fear of a ticket for the wrong tires.
Today, there are non-winter tires that meet the tire industry’s severe snow service standards. These “Qualified” winter/snow tires can be run all year long. They offer improved winter capabilities, compared to standard and even all-season tires. These tires also have the mountain/snowflake marking on their sidewall. This symbol indicates that the tire has a higher level of winter capabilities, including better traction in snow and on ice than a tire marked with an M/S.

PERFORMANCE RATING COMPARISONS

Nitto’s News Tires

Note: The max possible rating for any category is 5

EXO Grappler AWT
DRY 4
WET 4
COMFORT 3.5
QUIETNESS 3
OFF-ROAD PERFORMANCE 3.5
UTQG TREADWEAR N/A
TRACTION N/A
TEMPERATURE N/A

Terra Grappler G2
DRY 4 WET 4
COMFORT 3.5
QUIETNESS 4
OFF-ROAD PERFORMANCE 3
UTQG TREADWEAR 600
TRACTION A
TEMPERATURE B

Terra Grappler (Original)
DRY 4 WET 4
COMFORT 3.5
QUIETNESS 4
OFF-ROAD PERFORMANCE 3
UTQG TREADWEAR 500
TRACTION A
TEMPERATURE B

SOURCE

Nitto Tire
714-252-0007
www.NittoTire.com
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