The Nitto Trail Grappler is one of the company's most popular off-road tires. But does it perform as advertised? This review has the answers.
The Nitto Trail Grappler is a highly versatile tire that performs well on and off the highway. It delivers top-notch off-roading performance, outstanding wet and dry traction, and composed handling. It also offers superior on-road performance, resulting in a quiet and comfortable ride.
In this Nitto Trail Grappler review, we will take an in-depth look at its key features and technologies, its dry performance, wet performance, off-road performance, rock-crawling capabilities and ride quality. We will also walk you through its warranties and guarantees, sizes and fitment, price range, as well as pros and cons. And by the time you finish reading this review, you will have all the answers you are looking for to decide whether the Nitto Trail Grappler is the best off-road tire for your needs.
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About the Nitto Trail Grappler
The Nitto Trail Grappler is a hybrid all-terrain tire. It's engineered to combine the on-road comforts of an all-season tire with the off-road ruggedness of a dedicated mud-terrain tire.
Since it was launched a few years ago, it has established itself as one of the most popular all-terrain tires. And this can be attributed to its outstanding on-road and off-road performance, combined with its reasonable price point.
According to drivers who have used this tire, it ticks almost all the right boxes when it comes to all-weather, off-road and all-season performance.
It's designed to keep going where most of its competitors will be struggling with grip and traction.
According to the manufacturer, the Nitto Trail Grappler is engineered to deliver a capable off-road performance, combined with a comfortable and quieter on-road ride.
Design Features and Technologies
As mentioned above, the Nitto Trail Grappler is designed to combine the rugged performance of a dedicated mud terrain tire with the on-road comforts of an all-season touring tire.
To achieve these objectives, Nitto has outfitted this tire with an array of advanced technologies and features such as:
Dual Sidewall Designs
Each Nitto Trail Grappler tire comes with two sidewall designs. On one side, there are stylized lettering featuring V-shaped sidewall lugs.
And on the other hand, you will see traditional lettering featuring flat buttresses. This gives you the option to choose how you would like your tires to look.
However, these sidewalls are not for aesthetics only. They also play a vital role in the tire's overall traction while protecting it against rugged elements.
Variable Pitch Tread Pattern
Mud terrain tires and all-terrain tires tend to be considerably noisier compared to all-season tires. And this can be attributed to their aggressive tread design. However, that's not the case with the Nitto Trail Grappler.
Nitto has utilized 3D computer simulation technology to adjust the position, shape and size of the tread blocks. And as a result, this tire is 36% quieter when you are driving at highway speeds and 34% quieter in city driving.
Rugged Tread Pattern
Nitto has outfitted this tire with lateral Z grooves, featuring a zigzag pattern. This tread pattern is designed to increase the tire's lateral bit on the surface for enhanced traction.
The tread also comes with reinforced shoulder grooves, featuring alternating lengths and widths. This unique tread design helps the tire to maintain optimal all-weather traction while helping to remove snow, mud and other types of debris. And this helps the tire to deliver continuous and reliable off-road traction.
All-Weather Tread Design
Nitto has further equipped this tire's tread with step block edges, designed to deliver grip and traction even in extreme terrains. Also, the tire's tread features staggered shoulder lugs to deliver adequate traction in deep snow, muddy conditions and loose sand.
The Nitto Trail Grappler also features deep central siping, which helps to minimize the risk of aquaplaning. And this results in enhanced traction and grip in rainy and wet conditions.
The Nitto Trail Grappler features a three-ply sidewall construction. It also comes with thicker rubber compared to other all-terrain tires.
Inside this tire are two wide steel belts, which provide enhanced stability and strength. This sturdy interior construction also helps to boost the tire's durability, thus making sure you will get value for your money.
So, whenever you are using this tire on off-road terrains, you don't have to worry about punctures, bruises, snags, deformities or other issues that you may experience with other tires.
Nitto Trail Grappler Performance
As earlier mentioned, the Trail Grappler is engineered to deliver the best of both worlds. It's designed to combine the features of an all-terrain tire and a mud-terrain tire.
All-terrain tires are versatile tires engineered to perform well in a wide range of terrains and conditions. On the other hand, mud-terrain tires are specifically engineered to deliver rugged off-road traction, especially in extreme off-road terrains, featuring elements like sand, rocks and mud.
But does it live up to these promises? We installed a set of this tire on a Jeep Wrangler and examined its performance on various terrains and surfaces. And we made the following observations.
The Nitto Trail Grappler is more of a hybrid tire. And as earlier mentioned, it blends the performance of an all-terrain tire with the street performance of an all-season performance tire.
During our test ride, we were impressed by this tire's dry performance. While it's not a dedicated street tire, the Nitto Trail Grappler delivers class-leading dry performance.
While it's not a summer tire, the Nitto Trail Grappler delivered capable handling on dry roads. You will also enjoy sporty handling, which is admirable when you consider the rugged nature of this tire.
The Nitto Trail Grappler performed confidently in wet conditions. We subjected it to thorough testing in extremely rainy conditions. And it didn't disappoint, even for a single minute.
Its acceleration traction was outstanding, while the cornering grip was exceptional. Also, its braking distances in extremely wet and slippery conditions were among the shortest that I have recorded for an all-terrain tire.
You can attribute its outstanding wet performance to the full-depth central sipes on its tread. As earlier noted, these sipes help to prevent the possibility of aquaplaning, thus improving the tires' wet traction.
Off-road Driving Performance
Off-road driving conditions are these tire's hunting grounds. Simply put, it's engineered for sand, rocks, dirt and muddy conditions. And as we had expected, this tire didn't disappoint.
In softer terrains such as sand and mud, this tire delivered outstanding grip and traction. We never experienced a situation where the tire felt as if it was hunting for traction. And on more hard-packed terrains, the performance was equally phenomenal.
If you want to get an honest performance of this tire's off-road performance, it would be advisable to shift into two-wheel drive. And that's exactly what we did. Even after doing so, its performance on hard-packed surfaces felt confident.
The Nitto Trail Grappler also performed excellently in muddy conditions. It pulled our vehicle through without any issues, even when we encountered deep and thick muddy conditions.
Furthermore, we didn't experience mud caking, which is usually the case with some all-terrain tires, thanks to its superb mud ejection capabilities.
While the Nitto Trail Grappler may not be the best choice for hard-core or extreme mud bogging, its overall performance in muddy conditions will be more than enough for the majority of off-road enthusiasts.
Overall, whether you encounter loose dirt, mud, rocks, rivers or other off-road conditions, you can expect this tire to pull your vehicle through with minimal fuss.
We also decided to assess its rock-crawling performance. And while the Nitto Trail Grappler is not a designated rock-crawling tire, its performance on rocky technical sections was impressive.
Generally, an off-roading tire requires wider voids so that it can grip rocks comfortably. And while the Nitto Trail Grappler may not have wider voids, its alternating groove pattern plays this role equally well. It helps to provide the bite it needs to grip rocks.
Furthermore, extra grip on its sidewall also helps to enhance its rock-crawling capabilities. And on top of that, the additional sidewall tread helps to protect this tire against tearing whenever it's sliding over rocks.
After we've had our fun tackling different off-road terrains and conditions, the Nitto Trail Grappler was ready to carry us home. And it performed exactly as advertised.
On the highway, it delivered elevated comfort levels. It remained quiet all through, despite its chunky and aggressive treads.
However, it's worth mentioning that you shouldn't confuse the Nitto Trail Grappler with a designated on-road tire in terms of road noise.
However, it remained surprisingly refined on the pavement. It delivered a confident and smooth ride in both wet and dry conditions.
Compared to the majority of the mud-terrain tires that we've used on the highway, we can confidently say that the Nitto Trail Grappler is one of the quietest in this category. Also, it's notably quieter than most of the other Nitto all-terrain and mud-terrain tires.
Nitto Trail Grappler Warranties and Guarantees
Nitto stands behind its tires with solid warranties and guarantees. And the Trail Grappler is no exception.
It comes with a workmanship and materials warranty as well as a uniformity warrant. So, what do these warranties cover? Let's take a closer look.
Workmanship and Materials Warranty
As this name suggests, the workmanship and materials warranty is designed to cushion you against complete loss in case your tire becomes unserviceable due to workmanship and materials defects.
Under this warranty, Nitto commits to replace your Trail Grappler with a comparable new tire if it becomes unserviceable due to workmanship and materials defects. And as for the replacement, either you will get a free tire, free of charge or Nitto will replace it on a prorated basis.
If the tire becomes unserviceable with less than 25% of its tread worn or within 60 months from the date of purchase, Nitto will replace it with a comparable new tire, free of charge.
Nitto will also cover mounting and balancing charges, while you will be responsible for applicable state and federal taxes, as well as related service fees.
If your Nitto Trail Grappler tire is removed from service with more than 25% of its tread worn or after 60 months from its purchase date, Nitto will replace it on a prorated basis. In this case, you will contribute a percentage of the tire's replacement costs at the time of its replacement.
An authorized Nitto tire dealer will determine the amount you will pay by multiplying the percentage of the original usable tread worn off the tire by its current selling price.
For example, your 20-inch Nitto Trail Grappler may become unserviceable due to workmanship and materials warranty when its tread is worn by approximately 60%.
Assuming that the dealer is currently selling the tire at $400, the amount you will pay at the time of its replacement will be $240, while Nitto will cover the rest. You will also cover the tire's mounting and balancing costs, as well as applicable taxes and miscellaneous service fees.
The Nitto Trail Grappler also comes with a uniformity warranty. So, if your tire is removed from service due to uniformity issues like pulling, out-of-balance or out-of-round, Nitto will replace it with a comparable new one, free of charge.
Also, Nitto will cover the tire's mounting and balancing costs, while you will be responsible for applicable taxes and related service fees.
Coverage under this warranty extends for the tire's first 1/32-inch of its original usable tread.
Almost all the mud-terrain tires you will find on the market don't come with mileage or tread life warranty. And this is also the case with the Nitto Trail Grappler. It doesn't have a mileage warranty.
But according to off-roaders who have used this tire, you can expect it to service your vehicle for several years before its tread is worn down to its tread wear indicators.
While Nitto commits to replacing your tire if it's removed from service due to workmanship or materials defects, some tires may not be eligible for this replacement.
Nitto will not replace any tire removed from service due to any form of misuse, abuse, misapplication or improper storage.
Also, Nitto will not replace Nitto Trail Grappler tires removed from service due to damage caused by chemicals, corrosion, or extreme temperature exposure.
Furthermore, tires removed from service due to damage caused by an improper mounting, incorrect dismounting, damage caused by improper repair materials or procedures are not eligible to be replaced under this warranty.
So, if your tire develops a puncture or any other issue, it will be highly advisable to take it for repair to an authorized Nitto tire service shop to ensure it's well repaired. Doing so will ensure the tire's well repaired. Also, it will prevent the voiding of the tire's warranty.
Nitto Trail Grappler Sizes and Fitment
The Nitto Trail Grappler comes in a vast selection of sizes, ranging between 15 inches and 24 inches. Here are some of the vehicles that it can fit.
- Ford F-150, Expedition, F-250 Super Duty, Bronco, and F-350 Super Duty
- GMC Yukon, Sierra, Canyon, Yukon XL 1500, Sierra 1500, Yukon XL 2500, Sierra 1500 Limited, Sierra 3500 HD and Sierra 2500 HD
- Toyota Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Tacoma and 4Runner
- Chevrolet Colorado, Suburban 1500, Silverado 1500, Tahoe, Silverado 3500 HD, Suburban 2500, Silverado 1500 LD and Avalanche
- Nissan Xterra, Armada, Titan and Frontier
- Suzuki Equator
- Ram 3500, 1500, 2500 and 1500 Classic
- Jeep Wrangler JK, Gladiator and Wrangler
- Hummer H3
The Nitto Trail Grappler is currently retailing at approximately $300 on the lower side to $1500 on the higher side. The actual cost for the tire will depend on your vehicle's wheel size.
Nitto Trail Grappler Pros
- Outstanding wet and dry traction
- Superior off-road performance
- Quiet and comfortable on-road ride
- Sturdy and durable construction
Nitto Trail Grappler Cons
- No mileage warranty
Should You Buy the Nitto Trail Grappler?
The Nitto Trail Grappler is one of the best off-road tires on the market today. It does everything that you may expect from an off-road tire. It will tackle mud and clay with ease, tackle hill climbs and rocks confidently and give you a comfortable ride on your way home. Simply put, there are no compromises with this tire.
However, you should also note that this tire is slightly pricier than some of the other options on the market. But when you compare its advanced features and technologies, its exceptional all-season performance and its durability, you can rest assured that you are getting value for your money.
So, if your SUV, Jeep, or truck doubles up as your commuting vehicle during the week and your off-roading vehicle over the weekends, then Nitto Trail Grappler will be the perfect match for your vehicle.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding