Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar vs Nitto Trail Grappler

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The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R and the Nitto Trail Grappler are two of the top 5 tires in their segment for use on above ¾ ton pickups and in commercial, and of course, tough off-road applications. These tires offer excellent traction and long tread life, but they do have some differences. Let’s find them out!

Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar
Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar

In my expert opinion as a tire engineer, the Goodyear Wrangler M/TR provides better results on highways, better fuel economy and tread life, and snow traction, though compared to Nitto Trail Grappler its not able to offer as much grip on muddy, rocky and sandy terrains with it’s less aggressive sidewalls, though they are pretty tough form inside.

Sizes Facts

The Goodyear Wrangler M/TR comes in average sizes availability, going from 15 to 20 inches (rim diameter).

  • Speed Ratings of Q.
  • Load Range: C, D and E.
  • Weight Range: 47 to 91 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 18, 19 or 21/32″ on all sizes.

On the other hand, Nitto Trail Grappler comes with 53 total sizes in 15 to 26 inches.

  • Speed Ratings: P or Q.
  • Load Range: C up to F
  • Weight Range: 61 and goes up to a whopping 116 pounds.
  • Tread depth: 19/32″ to 21/32″.

Tread Design

The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R has an aggressive asymmetric design, as half of its tread has a different shape from the other half.

Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar

The tire actually makes 4 ribs, each of different shapes and sizes, which generates a lot of randomness over it’s already asymmetric pattern, enhancing off-road bite.

The middle ones have thicker blocks, on one side, forming wider lateral grooves, and narrower elongated on the other, all with full depth notches in them.

The outer shoulder ribs also differ wildly, where on one side, you have lugs with more aggressive biters, while on the other, there aren’t any tread features.

Towards outside, the tire make staggered shoulder lugs, and although the sidewalls are Kevlar reinforced, they sure have very minimalist design on the outside, as there are no lugs the.

(The tire could have done great with slightly bigger sidewall lugs, with lowered air pressure, off-road, that is).

The Nitto Trail Grappler on the other side, is much better on sidewalls, producing dual design with thicker lugs placement.

Nitto Trail Grappler

Joining those sidewall lugs, are it’s staggered shoulders from each side, forming bigger mud scoops (in comparison to Wrangler M/TR).

Going towards the middle, the tire’s straightforward symmetric tread design yields slanted shoulder lugs with slanted full depth slits, acting as notches and siping at the same time.

Then we have 2 ribs in the middle made out of “somewhat” L shaped lugs.

They are also divided down by full depth siping, so each part of the block is able to enhance it’s biters.

Together these lugs make 3 zigzag longitudinal grooves in the middle part of the tread.

Though the lateral gaps between shoulder lugs (where, you also see stone ejectors), form bigger tread voids.

Internal Construction

Durability and the tire’s weight go hand in hand, increase one, and the other will follow.

So the goal here is to make tires durable while keeping them lighter. That’s why the Goodyear Wrangler MTR only gives you a single cap ply of nylon on it’s 3 ply polyester casing and 2 steel belts, whereas Nitto Trial Grappler provides dual layers (with similar structure under them).

So Nitto tire is slightly more durable in comparison, though it’s weight is of course a little more as well which compromises on some performance areas, as you’ll find out shortly.

Dry Traction

The section width and tire’s footprint are the most significant factors that impact grip, and although other dimensions such as weight, and rubber composition are also impacting, you’d be surprised to note that both tires show up with very alike values in them all.

Though still out of both tires, you see quicker stopping on Wrangler M/TR (braking distance is the direct measure of directional grip).

This tire is better, because it simply provide you with a lot more contact patch with it’s compacted lugs placement, (they get to produce more rubber to road contact and with it grip).

The second part of traction is handling which is calculated with lateral g forces, and here against the bigger piece of the pie is taken by Wrangler M/TR.

The Nitto Trial Grappler although provides slanted/elongated shoulder lugs, they are still not ample to provide as much grip as the M/TR, as with more voids around, a lot of rubber is taken away which could have been in contact with the road.

The Wrangler M/TR that’s why also provides quicker response times, and steering sensitivity as well, as it get to provide a more consistent connection with the surface during rolling.

Wet Performance

Wet traction is calculated by effectively water gets to move out of the tire. So grooves do their part and channel the water out, whereas the little water that’s left behind is cleared off with the help of sipes.

And although both tires have plenty of grooves, they are very limited when it comes to siping.

Nonetheless, the Goodyear M/TR still provides better results when you compare these two tires.

Wrangler basically offers rounded contact patch, and as most of its sipes are in the middle (on tread), they get to wipe off the water more effectively (as with rounded patch the central area of the tread gets to meet up with the road with more solid connection, so you can say Goodyear although gave this tire limited siping, they placed them right where they are the most efficient).

The Nitto Trail Grappler on the other side, suffers with limited siping, and it’s stiffer compound is also not helping as they don’t allow those sipes to have the needed flexibility.

Fuel Efficiency

The more the rolling resistance, the larger the fuel consumption. And that metric gets directly affected by the tires weight.

And even tough both tires are almost similar in weight, (across all sizes), the Goodyear Wrangler M/TR is still able to produce lower rolling resistance values.

That’s because with closed up lugs arrangement (in comparison), the similar weight is put upon more lugs (area). So with less pressure on them, the tire gets to consume less fuel as a result.

Tread Wear

Tread life depends on a lot of things, including durability and rubber composition, and as both tires are chip resistance and have same rubber thickness (tread depth), the only factor left here is the rolling resistance.

And I’ve already explained above how Wrangler M/TR provides you with better.

So you get to see better life with this tire in comparison.

Rugged-Terrain Traction

Mud terrain tires are not just made for mud, but for all types of terrains, let’s discuss them all.

On Mud

On mud you need two things, faster evacuation and paddling, and Nitto Trail Grappler is better here in both key areas.

With a more opened up lugs structure its able to clear out out the muddy stuff out easily, while its’ biters and sharp edges cut through to break it down (so it can leave out without trouble).

Moreover, with elongated and slanted shoulder blocks it’s yields better scooping as well, as they act as paddles, throwing thick mud backwards and creating forward momentum.

The Goodyear Wrangler M/TR in comparison, lacks providing both factors.

It’s middle tread’s area is more closed up, and there are no proper lateral channels on the tire, which basically provides paddling.

Furthermore, it’s thinner sidewall lugs are not helping either, where on Trail Grappler, the dual sidewall lugs takes the tire out even when its aired down deep in mud.

Performance on Rocks

For rocks, as you need more biters from all directions, and thicker sidewall lugs, the overall results are seen slightly better on Nitto Trail Grappler

The tire basically offers better lateral traction with its dual sidewall design having thicker lugs on both sides.

In case of Goodyear M/TR, this tire checks all boxes, expect for the sidewalls.

It’s sides are although pretty strong with Kevlar reinforcements, they don’t get to provide a lot of biters on top. That’s why it although does pretty well with directional traction, it’s lacking in providing the sideways grip.

For Your Info: Top performing tire on rocks is Cooper STT Pro.

On Sand

With Kelver sidewalls, the Wrangler MTR, yields very stiffer sides, and they dig in the soft sand with more force.

Digging is very bad for sand. One might say its the worst enemy for sand traction, as on this soft terrain, you need to mover forward and not towards China.

The Nitto Trial Grappler on the other side, provides better results, as it’s sides are not as digging, and it’s gets to provide an enhanced tread print with lowered air pressure.

For your info: Out of all the mud terrain tires, I’ve rated BF Goodrich KM3 best for sandy terrain.

Snow Performance

Mud tires are not branded with 3 peak mountain snowflake rated, and if you find one let me know. I don’t thick any exist.

And so these tires are although very poor on ice and hard packed snow, you can still work around on deeper terrains, where their swooping lugs provide you with a good enough traction.

And out of the two tires, Wrangler M/TR provides better results, as it’s grooves are better at trapping the snow and make snow to snow contact with the lodged snow.

(With snowflakes having an interlocking design, they get to grip with each other with more frictional force).

To Sum Up

The Wrangler MTR provides good enough grip without compromising on its rolling resistance, so it gets to provide better fuel economy and mileage.

Moreover its biters are very efficient in snow and wet roads (comparatively).

The Nitto Trail Grappler on the other side offers amazing durability and with it superior off road traction.

And although this tire is good enough on dry roads, its wet traction could use a little bump.

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