Nitto adds two tires to the Grappler line
The Terra Grappler G2 and the Exo Grappler AWT bring a tread wear warranty and severe snow service certification to the Grappler line of all-terrain tires from Nitto Tire USA Inc.
The Terra Grappler G2 tire is the first Nitto all-terrain product to be backed with a mileage warranty. The tire uses a new rubber compound unique to Nitto’s current Grappler line to improve tread wear. The limited tread wear warranty covers 50,000 miles for LT-metric sizes and 65,000 miles for hard-metric fitments.
Although the G2 visually resembles the original Terra Grappler, the tire has been re-engineered inside and out, according to Nitto. Retailers told the company that many customers base their purchase decision on how the tire looks in the store, says Alan Ngo, senior staff engineer.
“But once they are driving on the product and it starts to wear, the design starts to change. A lot of the siping goes away and a lot of the high bars in between the tread blocks become exposed.”
He says the company’s focus on maintaining the tire’s looks and performance as the tread wears led to full depth siping. A new feature, full depth siping, helps maintain the appearance of the tread design as the tire wears and wet and winter traction throughout the life of the tire.
To minimize highway hum, Nitto gave the Terra Grappler G2 noise-canceling variable-pitch tread blocks. Handling is improved both on- and off-road with balanced void ratios. For uneven conditions off-road, alternating shoulder blocks that create more biting edges increase traction.
A tire with different sidewall designs is a signature Grappler feature that carries over to the Terra Grappler G2. The company says a thunderbolt pattern on one G2 sidewall is similar to the original Terra Grappler, though the G2 version is raised to look more aggressive. The other side of the G2 sidewall has a “blade” design, which integrates the tire’s sidewall lugs and shoulder tread blocks.
Stephen Leu, assistant manager, brand publishing-digital, says the mileage warranty is one of the G2’s compelling selling points.
“To have that kind of mileage warranty on a true all-terrain product that delivers an excellent balance of on- and off-road performance is something that’s very unique. A lot of all-terrain purchasers never see a trace of off-road. They really focus on street driving and really care about the appearance of their tires,” he says.
Two features of the Terra Grappler G2 will appeal to drivers focused on the look of the tires, according to Leu. “The full depth sipes have an aesthetic benefit, meaning that as the tire wears down the sipe patterns will still be there so the appearance of the tire will not change. The other feature is the dual sidewalls. The dual sidewalls allow them to have a choice between a more conservative type versus a more aggressive, radical type.”
The Terra Grappler G2 is manufactured in the U.S. and Japan. It is available in both OE-replacement and plus-size fitments covering standard SUV applications to leveled and lifted pickups.
Exo Grappler fills product screen in many ways
Leu says Nitto is seeing a shift in the marketplace. “A traditional all-terrain is not aggressive enough for a lot of truck enthusiasts. They’re looking for an all-terrain and mud terrain hybrid tire.”
Nitto’s answer is the new Exo Grappler AWT, which is aimed at consumers who drive on the highway but have significant recreational, utility or agricultural off-road uses, as well as drivers who want winter traction.
Lessons from Nitto’s mud terrain products and research at drilling and mining work sites helped guide the development of the new Exo Grappler AWT, according to Ngo. The company learned many people use their work trucks to get back and forth from job sites as well as for daily personal driving.
“With this being a new segment for us and a new unique customer base with unique demands, we had to create a new compound formulated for cut and chip resistance and also to maintain flexibility when the temperature drops,” says Ngo.
Leu says the Exo Grappler fills a dealer’s product screen in multiple ways beyond heavy-use applications.
“There are traditionalists who want the all-terrain as it exists today with better tread wear. But some enthusiasts are looking for something more aggressive than all-terrain but not as crazy aggressive as mud terrain, and I think the Exo Grappler is a unique fit between those two zones.”
Designed to deliver consistent traction on dirt trails, gravel and farmland, the Exo Grappler AWT also provides driving comfort when cruising at highway speeds. The tire is certified for severe snow conditions and bears the three peak mountain snowflake winter tire emblem. Aside from dedicated winter tires, it is the only Nitto product certified for severe snow service.
Nitto says a number of advanced technologies give the Exo Grappler superior off-road and on-road capabilities, even in freezing temperatures. For off-road conditions, staggered shoulder blocks provide increased traction in loose dirt while the integrated stone ejectors reduce stone retention and drilling.
Additionally, the tire’s three-ply sidewalls with large sidewall lugs add strength and guard against unwanted punctures, according to Nitto. The Exo Grappler’s gear-shaped block edges reinforce the tread blocks and provide a more stable contact patch for better control when driving on pavement. Computer-designed variable-pitch tread blocks reduce tire noise at highways speeds.
Specially designed sipes also help create better biting edges and water evacuation on icy surfaces while the tire’s large lateral grooves help evacuate snow and slush. The tire also has molded stud holes that are compatible with TSMI #15 sized studs.
The Exo Grappler’s winter traction does not depend on studs, according to Ngo. “The winter capability comes mainly from the tread design. The sipe design, the block shapes and the biting edges give traction in winter conditions. You don’t need to pin it to have that winter capability, but people who want extra ice traction have that option.” ■
Terra Grappler G2 size fitments
The Terra Grappler G2 will be available in 55 sizes for 17-, 18-, 20- and 22-inch fitments by January 2015. It is currently available in 20 sizes:
265/65R17 116T XL
275/65R18 116T XL
305/60R18 116S XL
265/50R20 111S XL
LT265/70R17 E 121S
LT285/75R17 E 121S
LT275/70R18 E 125S
LT325/60R18 E 124S
LT285/55R20 E 122S
LT305/70R17 E 121R
LT285/60R18 E 122S
LT325/65R18 E 127R
305/50R20 120S XL
LT285/70R17 E 121S
LT275/65R18 E 123S
285/60R18 120S XL
35x12.50R18LT E 123R
35x12.50R20LT E 121R
Exo Grappler AWT size fitments
All Exo Grappler tires are produced at the Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. plant in White, Ga. The tire is available in 11 LT-metric and flotation-metric sizes in 17-, 18- and 20-inch diameters:
LT235/80R17 E 120Q
LT275/70R18 E 125Q
LT275/65R18 E 123Q
LT305/55R20 E 121Q
LT275/65R20 E 126Q
LT265/70R17 E 121Q
LT245/75R17 E 121Q
LT285/70R17 E 121Q
35x12.50R17LT E 121Q
35x12.50R18LT E 123Q