Make Mine a Metric: How the All-New Ridge Grappler Shaves Weight & Increases Performance
Resting between the race-proven Trail Grappler and legendary Terra Grappler is Nitto’s Ridge Grappler tire. The hybrid all-terrain combines off-road prowess and all-season performance in a way no other tire ever has. While the Light Truck (LT) version of the Ridge Grappler has proved its capabilities from the deserts of Baja to the icy tip of Alaska, the latest P-Metric version aims to continue the performance streak. Originally found on lighter vehicles, as they were not engineered to carry the heavier loads required from larger trucks and SUVs, Passenger (or P-Metric) tires have become the norm for most modern mid-sized trucks and SUVs, along with ½-ton trucks.
While OEs will offer an assortment of reasons why, it really boils down to the fact that P-Metric tires are lighter and tend to ride smoother over a traditional LT tire. This ultimately equates to the P-Metric tires offering better fuel efficiency and comfort over an LT equivalent. Understanding that many truck and SUV owners are simply looking to replace their vehicle’s treads with a tire that has similar attributes—but better tread life and performance—Nitto expanded the Ridge Grappler line to include OE-replacement P-Metric sizes.
With thousands of trouble-free miles logged on the LT version of the Ridge Grappler, we were eager to see how the latest P-Metric version would do, so we strapped a set of 285/70R17s under an ’18 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Since this is a direct-replacement size tire, we were able to compare how they did versus the original set, along with putting the tires to the test over a variety of terrain. Though you can catch our full video review of the JL, we’re breaking down some of the highlights in this article.
Lighter Tire, Same Great Performance
The P-Metric Ridge Grappler doesn’t equate to a watered-down version of the original, but rather a lighter one that’s focused more on on-road efficiency and comfort. Our 285/70R17s not only took less weight to balance, but despite having a more aggressive tread pattern, didn’t change the fuel economy from the OE tires.
Your tire’s overall weight plays a major role in the vehicle’s efficiency. Compared to the Light Truck (LT) version of the Ridge Grappler, our 285/70R17 P-Metric tires are a full nine pounds lighter! That’s roughly the equivalent of pulling out 220 pounds of sprung weight from the Jeep. While the tire sizing is the same between the LT and P-Metric, the tread depth is slightly different (16.4/32 vs. 13.5/32 of an inch). This means you’re getting a slightly deeper tread block with the LT, but it was hardly something we noticed off-road.
Performance On- and Off-Road
Thanks to a variable-pitch tread pattern and lateral Z-grooves, the Ridge Grappler is extremely quiet on the highway. The gracious siping and circumferential grooves running throughout the tire also increase grip in wet conditions both on- and off-road.
With exception of snow, we’ve been able to test the all-new Ridge Grappler in just about every terrain imaginable. Given it’s a mix of an all-terrain and a mud-terrain, we’ve found the tire a great pairing with the already outstanding out-of-the-box capability of the Wrangler JL. Dropping the tires into the teens off-road definitely accelerated the performance.
The big takeaway of this tire has been increased performance without the penalty of adding weight. With more than 20 sizes currently available, and more coming, Nitto is doing a nice job of expanding its most versatile Grappler tire.