Head for The Hills or Anywhere Else: Testing Nitto’s New Nomad Grappler Crossover-Terrain Tires on Local Adventures
We are all looking for the perfect combination of everyday function with the ability to let loose on the weekends when it comes to shopping for a truck/crossover-utility vehicle (CUV). With the introduction of Nitto’s new Nomad Grappler crossover-terrain tire, the possibilities of commuting comfortably to work Monday-Friday and heading out to explore the great wide open on Saturday and Sunday gives this exciting new tire option the ideal flexibility you’ve been looking for.
Not Just for CUVs and Small SUVs
We recently met up with Chris Hodge—an everyday family man like many of us who was in the market for a pickup truck that he could rely on to handle light hauling duties when he needed it, as well as the right amount of agility to take his tribe out into the great outdoors for a dose of adventure when needed. He ultimately decided on a 2022 Ford Maverick FX4, which really was the perfect match for his situation.
Since the Maverick sits atop the same platform of the new Bronco Sport, Chris made yet another wise decision—to ditch the factory equipped A/T tires that came with his truck, and upgrade to the Nomad Grappler based on its increased all-around performance on paved roads as well as on light off-road situations that were designed specifically for sporty CUVs, which the Maverick is in close relation to.
The Right Tire for The Right Truck
Chris went with the 245/65R17 size Nomad Grappler tires that measure 29.53 inches in overall diameter (OD)—about an inch larger than his Maverick’s factory-equipped rubber. Now, that increased size immediately gave the truck more ground clearance without introducing any tire rub issues or a change in speedometer reading. Future plans to install a front leveling kit are in the works to make even more clearance as well as give the Maverick a slightly more aggressive appearance.
Real World Experience: The Sound of Success
Wanting to put the new Nomad Grappler tires to the test, Chris and three of his pals packed up for an extended fishing trip up to June Lake, California where he anticipated encountering a mixture of unimproved roads as well as light off-road paths, but first they’d have to drive a long stretch of highway to get to the lake.
Nitto equipped the Nomad Grappler to better that highway experience with a variable pitch tread pattern that utilizes slightly different sized tread blocks, which ultimately reduces noise frequencies. Since the Nomad Grappler is still an all-terrain tire, there was some subtle road noise present. “The ride was smooth and as far as the sound of the tires, I felt that the Maverick’s EcoBoost engine was actually louder,” Chris says about his initial introduction to the tires. “I’d say that’s a win there for sure.”
Cool and Confident on All Terrain Types
When Chris and his boys passed the point where the pavement ended, the Nomad Grappler continued to impress. “I definitely felt more confident driving on looser surfaces knowing that these tires could handle it and then some,” Chris added. That confidence that he experienced is in thanks to Nitto developing the tire with staggered sidewall lugs and zigzag lateral grooves—an ideal combination for added traction in off-road scenarios. Driving the capability of the Nomad Grappler even higher is its 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMS) rating that ensures top-notch performance in all weather conditions.
Dressed to Impress
Even though this tire had already hit all the marks that were important to Chris, the much more aggressive style of the Nomad Grappler was an absolute bonus. Nitto gives all Grappler family tires two unique sidewall designs to choose from, which is a pretty cool option to have. “I get lots of compliments on the look of these tires,” Chris boasts. “They have a pleasing visual aesthetic that looks as great as these things performed during our trip. Also, it’s cool to seem them mounted on an actual truck.”
While Chris took it easy on this trip, his set of Nomad Grappler tires are capable of much more rugged excursions And while many would think that Nomad Grapplers only work for crossovers and select SUV models, it worked perfectly for a compact pickup truck like Chris’ Ford Maverick. These tires assured him that he could make his weekly work commute in peace without extra road noise on the streets and freeways around town. On the other hand, the Nomad Grappler gave Chris the ability to take his family to much more exciting places of wilderness than the parking lot of the local amusement park.