Nitto Terra Grappler G2 vs BF Goodrich KO2 T/A

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BF Goodrich KO2 is the most famous tire by far in the category of all-terrain tires, but is it’s price tag justified? What about a good budget option like the Nitto Terra Grappler “G2”, which is now updated to a newer version, coming in with 3PMSF rating like the KO2, and offering just as good a option for your Ram 1500, Ford F-150, Chevrolet, and GMC Sierra. Well, lets find out.

BF Goodrich KO2
BF Goodrich KO2 is most commonly seen on Jeep Rubicon.

In my professional opinion as a tire engineer, the BF Goodrich KO2 offers a better off-road performance with it’s greater durability, powerful sidewall biters, and interlocking groove design. On the other side, the Nitto Terra Grappler G2 is superior (comparatively), on highway traction, though its wet road performance can be improved, that’s because its siping is more optimized for snow performance and its good there with its severe winter ratings.

Sizes Info

Both tires are very different and this even goes for their sizes. Let’s start with BF Goodrich KO2.

  • Tire comes with 90 total sizes, 15″ to 22″.
  • All sizes are M+S as well as 3PMSF rated.
  • Speed Ratings available: R, S, or Q.
  • Load ratings: C to E.
  • Weight range: 35 lbs to 67 lbs.
  • Tread Depth: 15/32″ on all sizes (except 4).
  • 50k miles warranty.

Speaking of Nitto Terra Grappler G2.

  • It comes in 17 to 24 inches rim sizes.
  • They have speed ratings of R, S, T and H.
  • Load Ratings available: SL, XL, D, E, and F.
  • The weight of the tire ranges from 30 to 80 pounds.
  • Tread Depth range: 12 to 17/32 inches.


Off-road tires need to be durable in order to withstand the rough terrain and sharp objects they encounter. And here the sidewalls, in particular, are more vulnerable to punctures/cuts, but why is that?

Well that’s because only polyester casing of the tire covers that area, and the rest of plies only layer underneath the middle part of the tread.

But that’s not the issue with BF Goodrich KO2, as this tire offers 3 ply polyester casing (with 2 steel belts + 2 spirally wound nylon cap plies). So with 3 ply sides, it offers the strongest construction you can get in A/T tires.

Nitto Terra Grappler on the other side only offers 2 ply construction and it’s middle area is also not that durable either, as it’s cap plies of nylon are not spirally wound.

  • Read detailed review of Terra Grappler here.
  • Read detailed review of BFG KO2 here.

Tread Comparison

Starting with Nitto Terra Grappler G2, with this 2nd generation, the tire has an updated tread design, providing better on and off road capability then before.

Nitto Terra Grappler G2
Nitto Terra Grappler G2

It consists of 5 ribs, making 4 circumferential channels, with the inner two being less wide and the outer featuring rugged block valleys of notches and stone ejectors.

(See if you can find these stone ledges, they connect the two outer ribs, placed between the notches).

The middle most rib is slightly wider (this improves directional stability), and it has chamfered edges and slightly bigger traction notches.

Other than this, all lugs carry similar features, including thick siping (which are not interlocking all the way).

Moving towards shoulders, the lugs make a combination of on and off road pattern.

For off road biting, it features dual sidewalls and staggered shoulder lugs.

Whereas to provide ample on-road lateral traction, all its lugs are joined together by a secondary layer running underneath.

On the other side, the good old BF Goodrich KO2 gives you a more aggressive design.

BF Goodrich KO2
BF Goodrich KO2

It’s middle section consists of 3 main ribs, making a very uniform design.

All these ribs are equipped with full depth siping, which offer dual functionality. Besides offering wet traction, they divide these lugs further and this way, they yield powerful off road chewing.

And all these lugs are also equipped with traction notches which adds to that, and surrounding them (on outer margins), there are stone ejectors (of triangular shapes), keeping the tread clean.

Moving towards the shoulders, they are very wild, and its because of them, that this tire get to have such great traction on rugged terrains.

These lugs have huge gaps in between, with bold stone ejectors placements.

Towards inner edges they have powerful full depth notches and on outer, they form traction scoops (staggered design), and thick sidewall lugs joining the two differently shaped shoulder blocks.

Off Road Traction

Off-road tires should have strong self-cleaning abilities and durability to perform well on various terrain types, which I have discussed below.

Starting with the most aggressive terrains of all, mud.

On Mud

On this terrain, a tire’s ability to clear the mud from the tread is crucial for maintaining traction.

And although both tires are not that impressive here, the BF Goodrich KO2 still provides you with far better results.

That’s because the tire although has interlocking ribs in the middle, that are mud trappers, it’s shoulder voids are very open and have bolder stone ejectors. Both of these help in self cleaning, whereas the deep full depth notches there, slash through the thick mud to break it down, so it can pass out more easily.

Moreover, it sidewall lugs and staggered shoulder sides provide mud scoops, and help in taking the tire out out by digging in.

Nitto Terra Grappler has no chance on mud, on the other hand, its lugs on sides are very much packed comparatively. Even it’s middle section is pretty closed up allowing mud to settle in pretty quickly.

So its not surprising why it lacks overall.

On Rocks

In all-terrain tires, you can never go wrong on rocks, going with BF Goodrich KO2. That’s because this tire offers everything you need there.

You get countless biters everywhere, in the form of notches in the central ribs, full depth sipes (which let those ribs to open/close, and chew on the surface), staggered shoulders for lateral traction, powerful sidewalls for protection, the list goes on.

And all of this is enhanced by airing down the tire, where it’s (3 ply) sidewall lugs come in to action, giving you amazing gripping values plus the protection, that no other tire can compete with.

And so it makes sense why Nitto Terra Grappler is not going to be efficient on this terrain as well, with almost non-existent sidewalls, less no. of biters and missing lug splitting sipes.

On Sand

Sand is a unique terrain that requires tires with a large contact patch and bead locks to allow for lower air pressure for maximum traction.

And this is the only terrain where BF Goodrich KO2 lacks in comparison.

Although its lighter in weight, it’s 3 ply sidewalls and spirally wound nylon cap plies make it’s shoulders very stiff and this combined with its such sharp biting shoulder lugs, it digs on sand a lot.

And digging is the worst enemy of sand traction.

That’s why Terra Grappler with it’s smoother sides, does better.

Moreover, it also has more section width on average, so with less skinnier tire, it gets to put much less pressure on sides, allowing to move forward in a better way.

Highway Performance

When it comes to driving on highways, there are several factors that contribute to optimal performance, including dry grip, handling stability, and steering feedback.

I have discussed them all one after another, below.

Dry Grip

All-terrain (A/T) tires may struggle with dry traction due to their bolder design, which doesn’t always grip the pavement effectively. Though some are more oriented towards road gripping and Nitto Terra Grapple belongs in that category, that’s why it offers speed ratings of up to H.

Here, the main thing to consider is the middle area of the tread, because that’s what decides the grip, or should I say directional grip.

The central portion of the tread basically has the most pressure on it (because of the tire’s geometry), so here, Nitto Terra Grappler offers a rib with wider blocks, so that they can make a better connection with the road.

On the other side, the BF Goodrich KO2 has to compromise a lot of it’s tread to grooves, so its not able to meet up with the surface its on as effectively.

Dry Handling

Handling is largely determined by the sides of the tire as during cornering, the whole tire’s weight shifts towards the shoulder lugs.

So here, again BF Goodrich KO2 with such voided blocks can not make a consistent contact with the tar. With so much spacing between the lugs, the cornering energy is wasted in to flexing of these blocks.

That’s why with firmer contact, the Nitto Terra Grappler provides better lateral traction, as all of it’s lugs are joined together on a continuous running rib underneath.

Wet Traction

Wet performance is divided into two dimensions: wet traction and hydroplaning resistance.

Out of them, hydroplaning (resistance) is typically not difficult for all-terrain tires to achieve, but grip can be more challenging due to the compound and tread structure of the tire.

Let’s check out both.

Wet Grip

Wet traction is influenced by the compound stiffness and sipe density.

That’s because sipes wipe off water by soaking it’s particles in it’s slits, and it needs flexibility to do that efficiently.

Both these tires are not good in this department, that’s because others in the catgeory get to have a lot better wet braking distances, handling times and lateral traction values.

So I am going to rate these tires below average, though still comparatively, you can say BFG KO2 does slightly better, and that has to do with it’s more number of sipes.

Terra Grappler on the other side, has a poor sipe design and a stiffer composition, so water has a hard time channeling out.


Aquaplaning, also known as hydroplaning, occurs when a tire is unable to clear water from its tread quickly enough and begins to float, resulting in a loss of traction.

Nitto Terra Grappler reason for lacking on wet, can also be explained by this.

As its shoulder lugs are closed up, it’s water evacuation is not as hurdle free as the BF Goodrich KO2 (which has a map of grooves running in all directions).

So less water removal means more water is there for the sipes to clean off, and this limits the tire’s traction further.

Fuel Usage

All-terrain tires may not be as fuel efficient as other tire types, but this can vary depending on the vehicle, driving habits, and road conditions.

Keeping all other factors constant, the BF Goodrich KO2 is able to show better results.

This is because the tire has less weight, and it’s tread composition is more elastic, and both these factors decrease its rolling resistance values.

Terra Grappler on the other side, has more of it, as its asymmetric design is not as streamlined in comparison.

Winter Capability

The performance of a tire in snowy conditions is evaluated based on its ability to provide stability while stopping, maintain control during turns, and accelerate effectively on both shallow and deep snow, as well as ice.

And although both tires have 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings, the Nitto Terra G2 is better with lighter terrains, whereas the BF Goodrich KO2 does better with deeper snow.

The goal of these tires is to trap in the snow particles to make snow to snow exposure, as rubber to snow is not ideal for winter traction.

That’s why with closed up lugs, the Terra Grappler is able to grab and hold snow on less deeper tracks, whereas KO2 can go deeper, where it’s interlocking ribs lodge the softer snow in the grooves.


Although you get a very good budget pick on Nitto Terra Grappler, there are a few things limited on it. And that includes, wet traction, fuel consumption, tread wear and of course off road performance.

And although lacking off-road performance is understandable compared to beast of a tire BF Goodrich KO2, the lacking wet traction becomes a really bad news for it.

Though it’s sipes are better on winter traction, and it brands this tire with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating like the KO2.

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