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Nitto Exo Grappler AWT Tire Test - Grappling With Success

Posted in Product Reviews on January 2, 2015
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We thought that Nitto had all the bases covered with the Terra Grappler all-terrain tire (now available in the G2 flavor with revised tread design and compound), the Trail Grappler, which has become our tire of choice for the Ultimate Adventure, and the uber-aggressive Mud Grappler. Yet Nitto saw room in its product line for a tire that is more aggressive than the Terra Grappler, with excellent wet-weather performance and high load ratings. The Exo Grappler AWT (All Weather Tire) is currently available in 11 sizes total for 17-, 18-, and 20-inch rims. All sizes are rated Load Range E and come with a Three Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, exceeding the industry standard for a snow tire.

The interlocking tread blocks ensure that rubber is always on the road, providing a stable contact patch and cutting down on road noise. The tread consists of natural rubber, wear-resistant materials, and high-strength polymers over a three-ply radial carcass with a 10-ply equivalent load rating.

Nitto is targeting the commercial and service market with the Exo Grappler AWT, so we mounted a set on our ’06 Chevy 2500, which sees daily driving and towing duties and acts as a chase truck for desert racing. While we did not get the opportunity to test the Exo Grappler in snow and ice before we went to print, this truck lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains and sees plenty of adverse road conditions. We found the E-rated Nitto Exo Grapplers to be stiffer than the all-terrain tires we replaced, which provided increased confidence when we were towing but made tire pressure critical for a comfortable ride when off-road. This was a small price to pay for having a stronger tire, and we would expect to see more Exo Grappler AWT tires on more work trucks in the future. Nitto might not have had a gap in its product line after all but, rather, created an entirely new segment designed for trucks that work hard regardless of weather conditions.

We must confess, our Duramax truck spends more time on the pavement than it does in the dirt. Often with a trailer in tow. The E load range rating of the Exo Grapplers offered a welcome increase in sidewall stiffness over the tires we were previously running, but were slightly louder as a tradeoff for the added traction and stability.

What Does It Take to Get a Three Peak Mountain Snowflake Rating?
You may be familiar with mud and snow (M+S) tires, but Three Peak Mountain Snowflake takes winter traction to a whole other level. In 1999, the U.S. Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) created a performance based standard based on a traction index. 100 was considered the reference for traction, and tires that obtained a traction index of 110 or greater in ASTM traction tests on packed snow received the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake rating. Most of these tires are dedicated snow tires, making it even more impressive that Nitto was able to engineer the Exo Grappler AWT with a tread pattern and compound that perform so well in freezing temperatures while still excelling on the pavement and dirt, resulting in a traction index of 120 or higher.

The Exo Grappler AWT’s generous siping and large lateral grooves provide biting edges that evacuate water to resist hydroplaning and remain surefooted in snow and ice. These tread features are combined with a new compound, resulting in the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake rating. For even more traction on ice, the Exo Grappler accepts studs as well.

Tire Specifications
Make/Model: Nitto Exo Grappler AWT
Size Tested: 35x112.5R17
Type: Commercial Grade All Weather Tire
Load Range: E
Max. Load (lb): 3,195 @ 65 psi
Sidewall Construction: 3-ply radial
Approved Rim Width (in): 8.5-11
Tread Depth (in): 19.3⁄32
Tread Width (in): 9.94
Section Width (in): 12.52
Diameter Overall (in): 34.76
Weight (lb): 71
Sizes Available (in): 32 to 35 inches for 17-, 18-, and 20-inch rims

PhotosView Slideshow

Check out a video of the Nitto EXO Grappler and Terra Grappler G2 putting in some trail testing!


Nitto Tire
Cypress, CA 90630

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