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Nomad Grappler Review: 10,000 Miles And 2 Winters On The Perfect CUV Tire

Over the past 11 months, we’ve racked up 10,000 miles in the quiet, comfortable and capable hands of Nitto’s new crossover terrain, the Nomad Grappler. Mated to the factory 17-inch wheels aboard our ’16 Toyota RAV4—a daily driver trapped in the four-season paradise that is central Illinois—they’ve propelled us through snow, found traction in sleet, maintained their sharp performance in rain and shown exceptional treadwear thus far. Now, we’ve returned to where we started our Nomad Grappler journey back in March, in the snow once again…

2016 Toyota RAV4 CUV

In fairer weather, we tried our hand playing in the sand with the Nomad Grapplers and were pleasantly surprised with what they could do. Aside from a bit of soft-roading, highway runs with intentional steady-state cruising turned in better than 28-mpg—not bad for tires that measure an inch larger in diameter and five pounds heavier than the factory rubber. At this 10,000-mile checkpoint, we’re spotlighting the design aspects of the Nomad Grappler that make it such a great all-around performer.

Tire Specs

Size: 245/65R17
Inflated Diameter: 29.53 inches
Inflated Width 9.76-inches
Max Air Pressure: 50 psi
Load Index: 111
Carrying Capacity: 2,403 lbs/tire at 50 psi
Factory Tread Depth: 12.9/32”
Miles Tested: 10,000 miles

Well-Deserved 3PMSF Rating

Nitto Nomad Grappler 3PMSF Snow

We may have only been campaigning the Nomad Grapplers for a little over 11 months, but in that time they’ve seen two snow seasons—and the second one is just beginning. On every occasion so far, they’ve delivered constant traction when accelerating but also had zero issues slowing the RAV4 down. Judging by our experience in the snow, it’s obvious why the Nomad Grappler enjoys a 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, the 3PMSF rating meaning they’re fit for severe snow conditions. If you’re switching from an all-season tire, we’re confident the manner in which the Nomad Grappler handles itself in wintry conditions will impress you.

Increased Fuel Efficiency—A Pleasant Surprise

Toyota RAV4 Odometer Mileage

While the Nomad Grappler isn’t billed as a tire that boosts fuel economy, that’s exactly what it did in our case. Despite being larger than the factory tread (225/65R17 vs. 245/65R17), they’ve helped us squeeze everything possible out of expensive gasoline. Around town driving returned 24 to 26 mpg, but 28.5 mpg was regularly achieved out on the highway. The previous all-terrains we’d stuffed under the little Toyota yielded less than 27-mpg on similar highway trips—along with being much more vocal when humming down the highway.

Minimal Tread Wear

Tread Wear Nitto Nomad Grappler

To date, tread wear has been uniform across all four tires and above average in my opinion. We started with 12.9/32” of tread depth and still have more than 11/32” left. Granted, most of our miles accumulate on the pavement and along two-lane highways which surely helps aid tire longevity, but regular tire rotations (ours are performed every 5,000 miles) have also played a role. For anyone wondering, Nitto offers a 60,000-mile limited treadwear warranty on the Nomad Grappler—and judging by the looks of things so far we’ll have no problem getting 60K out of them.

Keeping Tabs On Inflation Pressure

Nomad Grappler Tire Pressure

On top of regular rotations, we check air pressure monthly—and bi-weekly in colder temps (when pressure loss is more likely). Luckily, we haven’t had to fire up the air compressor yet. Like all but two sizes do, our 245/65R17 Nomad Grapplers have a maximum pressure rating of 50 psi, and when aired up to the maximum their load carrying capacity is 2,403 pounds apiece.

Just Getting Started

RAV4 Odometer Speedometer Gauge Cluster

With 111,000 miles and change on the odometer of our ’16 RAV4, we’ve had three sets of tires now—and we can say, unequivocally, that the Nomad Grapplers are the best all-around performer this CUV has seen. They’re as quiet as an all season on the highway, transform into an all-terrain in dirt, sand and snow, and seem to bring the crossover to a stop quicker than other tires we’ve used. And with the aforementioned limited tread wear we’re seeing, our crossover terrains should be in service for many years to come.

In The Sand

Crossover Terrain Nitto Nomad Grappler Sand

There is a reason Nitto targeted the CUV crowd with its Nomad Grappler. Crossovers are immensely popular. They’re lightweight and economical yet many are all-wheel drive and can haul (at least) a group of five. By catering to CUV owners and creating a tire specifically for them Nitto hit a homerun. On top of traversing light mud and snow, we put them to work in moderately loose sand shortly after obtaining them. Without airing down, we were able to work through it at low speeds in our all-wheel drive RAV4.

Why It Works So Well

The Nomad Grappler is a great all-around performer. With zig zagged lateral grooves, triangular-shaped sipes, staggered sidewall lugs, wide circumferential zig zag grooves, reinforced circumferential stepped grooves and tapered tread blocks making it into the tire’s design, you can see that traction was a high priority for Nitto. But with its variable tread pitch pattern and double shoulder edges you can also see that engineers worked hard to develop a quiet tire. If you’re in the market for fresh rubber, don’t overlook the Nomad Grappler. It will excel in every test you put it through.

  • Our journey with Nitto’s new crossover terrain tire began here, with a CUV that’s required to perform rain or shine—and through all four seasons.
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