Nitto Ridge Grappler 1,000 Mile Review: Unlocking the Off-Road Capabilities of the Lexus LX570
With the departure of the Land Cruiser from the US market, the newly released Lexus LX600 has seemingly taken over the role as the brand’s high end off-roader. While the big Lexus has always had the chops for adventuring since its introduction in 1996 for the 80 series platform, the marketing has generally played up the luxury aspect of the platform. The new model, at least for the US, continues in that same vein, but enthusiasts still know what lies beneath the shiny exterior thanks to the reputation that the 80, 100, and most recently the 200 series has earned.
Obviously, the LX is no secret to Toyota enthusiasts, with countless older models receiving the full overland treatment with big tires, rugged bumpers, and higher ride heights. But how capable can a bone stock 200 series LX570 be with a set of aggressive tires? We installed OEM-size 285/50/20 Nitto Ridge Grappler hybrid terrain tires on our 260,000 mile rig and hit the Georgia Adventure Trail for nearly 600 miles of off-road driving to see how they performed.
From All-Terrain to Hybrid Terrain
Previously, our LX570 was on a set of Nitto Terra Grappler G2 all-terrain tires in the same stock 285/50/20 sizing. The performed flawlessly for over 50,000 miles, taking the Lexus through the mountain trails of North Carolina, the sandy beaches of North Florida, and ultimately a 3,000 mile round-trip journey to South Dakota towing an 8,000lb RV. As capable as they were off-road, the priority at that time was primarily on-road comfort and longevity, with minimal stints off-road, and to that end they succeeded.
Recently, the LX570 has been relieved of daily duty. When the time came for new tires, we wanted to fit something more aggressive to match the baked-in off-road capabilities of the platform. This was an opportunity to explore more, take trails we previously would have skipped, and attempt new obstacles that would have been avoided. The Ridge Grappler is a hybrid terrain tire that combines the capability of Nitto’s all-terrain and mud terrain offerings, inspiring more confidence off-road.
Built for the Trail, Too
With just a few hundred miles on the brand new Ridge Grappler tires, we picked up the Georgia Adventure Trail in the Piedmont area of Georgia. While this particular area was not a technical challenge for the LX or the Ridge Grapplers, we did get to experience the tires on an extended off-road trail in both wet and dry scenarios. They never failed to be stable in the loose, rocky soil at speed.
The Ridge Grappler improved our off-road experience with deep sidewall lugs and a more aggressive tread pattern that provided biting edges for traction. It was also nice to know that built-in stone ejectors were protecting the bottom of the tread grooves from potential damage.
For the connecting sections of the trail on the asphalt, the hybrid terrain tires felt remarkably similar to a less aggressive all-terrain tire. Gas mileage was about equivalent to an all-terrain tire in our experience, and we averaged about the same mileage after upgrading to the hybrid-terrain Ridge Grappler.
On the second day of the trail, we had a few minutes to play around on some rockier ground to test a small amount of the flex capabilities of the LX570. The tires held traction well, and always found grip on the rocks. Again, this was hardly a stretch for the platform, but for a couple of newcomers to off-roading, we felt comfortable enough to stretch the Lexus further with the more aggressive tread found on the hybrid terrain tire.
Confidence Inspiring Traction
Ultimately, the Georgia Adventure Trail was easy work for the LX570, but perhaps that speaks to the capability of both the vehicle and the tires. Now that the LX570 doesn’t need to handle commuting duties, there's an opportunity to explore more and test the limits of both our ability, and the big SUV’s.
With the combination of the LX570 and Nitto’s Ridge Grappler hybrid terrain tire, the weakest point in further endeavors will almost certainly be the person in the driver’s seat.
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