Toyo Open Country MT vs Nitto Trail Grappler

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Both the Toyo Open Country MT and the Nitto Trail Grappler are one of the most popular mud-terrain tires in the market. Many don’t know this but both Nitto and Toyo are sister companies, though both tires here perform quiet differently.

Nitto Trail Grappler
Nitto Trail Grappler offers dual sidewall design

Being a tire engineer, from my perspective, the Toyo Open Country MT offers a better dry grip on roads, along with less groove resonance, so it’s quieter. And although wet traction is overall not so great its better in comparison as well. On the other side, the Nitto Trail Grappler offers a slight edge off road, they self clean themselves better and are more gripping on rocks.

Quick Facts

Starting with Nitto Trail Grappler (review), the tire comes in 53 total sizes, with speed rating seen in either P or Q.

P is very low, while Q is okay since it’s average when it comes to mud tires (haven’t seen any above Q).

Load ratings are great, as one would expect going from C up to F but the tire is very heavy, I don’t know why so many folks things is lighter in comparison, it’s not, it ranges from 61 and goes up to a whopping 116 pounds.

And talking about the tread depth, it’s pretty aggressive, where mostly you’ll see sizes having 21/32″, though they also go as low as 19/32″.

Coming to other beast of a mud tire, the Toyo Open Country M/T (review), it offers more sizes in comparison, where you get 83 total sizes, though with same 15 to 26 inches rim diameters.

Speed ratings are offered only in Q, while load ratings are seen with same C to F, but weight range is 50 to 110 lbs, not too heavy, but you get a lot of range with 83 total sizes, so you can have a lighter tire.

Tread depth of this tire is however less, where mostly sizes get to have 17/32″, but they are also available in 18/32″ and 21/32″.

Tread Design

Let’s take a look at what these features these tires have in stock when it comes to their tread, starting with Toyo MT.

Toyo Open Country MT 1
Toyo M/T has a slightly more curvature to its lugs

The Toyo M/T looks slightly more aggressive from the middle.

It’s lugs have more sharpness to them, they are curved, have interlocking sipes and have sharp edges as well.

With more curves, the shoulder lugs are wrapped by the these inner lugs and this provides stability on road as well as a strong bite on tough tracks.

But on sidewalls, the tire is not as aggressive, as it’s lugs are not as thick comparatively.

Also the tire does not offer dual sidewall design like the Nitto does.

So when pressured down, this tire would not be able to provide as much foot print.

Also note, that since it’s rubber is stiffer in comparison, this further reduces the flexing abilities off road.

Moving on towards Nitto Trail Grappler.

Nitto Trail Grappler
Nitto Trail Grappler offer better self cleaning lugs.

You must have already seen the sides of this beast on top (of the page), that image actually shows it’s more aggressive side of it’s dual designed sidewalls.

It’s lugs are very powerful and supply superior flexing when you lower the pressure down (where you can go pretty low on these puppies as they come with powerful rim locks in).

The outer edges of the shoulder blocks are although staggered like the Toyo, the tire offers sharper edges and are not as smooth, these biter with a larger force.

Moving towards the middle, the tire is pretty basic. You get shoulders of a very blocky design with deep slanted cuts in them, and then you get central 2 rims which are also plain, though have off set edges and full depth siping.

It’s obvious the tire is made to stay off road most of the time.

As Nitto Trail yields a softer rubber in comparison, it’s plain lugs stick better off road, especially during climbing even with heavier weight.


Mud Terrain tires are made for mostly off road use, so they have to be tough. And that depends on the tire’s inner architecture.

Both of these tires offer you with a powerful 3 ply polyester casing (where Nitto Trail has high turn up).

This casing is wrapped with broad 2 steel belts, which are then reinforced with 2 cap plies of nylon, where again Nitto provides slightly stronger ones.

So overall durability wise, the Nitto Trail has a slight edge.

The Toyo Open Country M/T is also pretty strong and going to hold up of course, but in comparison, the tire is tiny beat weaker. It’s sidewall lugs are also not as thick, which further adds to durability, though both tires have cut resistant rubber.

For Your Info: Nitto Trail Grappler does not provide 3 ply sidewalls on one of it’s sizes, 15 33×12.50R15LT (which is 2 ply).

On Road Performance:

When it comes to highways, mud tires aren’t ideal, and you can’t expect too much here.

But still let’s analyses both these tire by looking at their grip, handling and steering response.

Steering Response

The steering response is an important aspect of the driving experience. It determines how quickly your car responds to the steering input you provide, as well as how much it turns in towards or away from your input.

With slightly heavier cap plies the mud terrain tires are hard from inside, where they are usually softer from outside, so the steering response on them is always confusing, that’s why these tires don’t go above Q in speed rating.

When it comes to our boys here, comparatively, Toyo M/T is going to do things better, that’s because the Nitto Trail Grappler creates a lag in communication with it’s under-steering.

Under-steering has to do with stiffer cap plies and a softer rubber with a lot of tread depth, the tow layers move differently and hence respond to steering differently.

The Toyo Open Country MT has a more rigid composition of rubber having silica in it, so the tire offer somewhat better satisfactory response.

Traction on dry roads:

On pavements, grip is something you need the most, and here Toyo MT again offers a better design which offers that.

It’s interlocking ribs in the middle are actually surrounded, or should I say wrapped around the shoulder lugs, and they provide a superior directional traction, even with sudden braking.

On the other side, Nitto Trail Grappler does not offer as much rubber to pavement exposure, but still the tire isn’t so bad as it’s tread lugs have very minimal features, so a smooth contact is made.

Dry highway Handling:

Handling has a lot to do with tire’s weight and contact on the shoulder lugs, though middle part is important as well, but most of the tire’s weight is emphasized on sides when these tires turn.

Both tires here are going to perform very similarly, the Toyo MT has the advantage of having a rigid compound, and interlocking design,

The Nitto Trail Grappler on the other side, does not offer as much rubber to road meet up as its balder here, though, it’s minimal tread features combined with its softer lugs still provide you with good enough traction.

It’s not dry with these tires that you need to worry about, because overall there’s isn’t going to be too much difference, and they still perform somewhat okay here,

Where on wet, you can not drive these tires with traction control off, as they slip.

Wet Performance:

On wet highways, there are 2 main key areas to focus on, one has to do with overall architecture, which includes water evacuation tread design (hydroplaning) and the other is linked with sipes.

Let’s talk about both of them one by one.

Wet Traction:

Both tires here are almost equal, but they provide grip in very different ways.

The Nitto Trail Grappler is lacking severely in terms of siping, the shoulder lugs may seem to have these but they are not full depth, and it’s central lugs although have 3D siping, they are very ineffective, as they stiffen up while the tire is under heavy pressure (especially during cornering).

But the tire has one advantage of having silica rich rubber, which is better at soaking water off, and giving the sipes flexibility, so the little bit of wet traction that you get is achieved from there.

On the other side, the Toyo Open Country MT although offers better interlocking sipes which stay flexible during heavy braking and cornering, the tire’s overall rubber is not that elastic.

So either way, both tires offer similar wet performance, which is not so great.

Note: Don’t drive this tire without your traction control off


Hydroplaning resistance is where most of the wet traction for these boys come from. The wide grooves of the tire offer faster water evacuation, so this avoids the tires to float over standing water (that’s why its measured with float speeds).

Both tires offer very voided area for decent water cleaning, so you don’t have to worry about hydroplaning with either of these tires.

Though I’ve noticed that the curved planing is better on Nitto, at it offer bulkier lugs, but the difference is very marginal.

Snow Performance:

Although both of these tires are not 3 peak mountain snowflake rated, they are still okay with deeper snow, as their lugs lugs scoop the snow out and backwards and create forward momentum.

But here the Nitto Trail is still a better pick overall, as it’s rubber doesn’t become a rock like the Toyo MT.

In other words, the Toyo MT is not good at enduring freezing temperatures, though the tire does offer better snow grabbing abilities, but it’s of no use, when things get below 5 degrees.

Off Road Traction:

Off road is where these tires shine. But there are a lot of terrains here to consider.

So let’s get to it.

Performance on Rocks

The Toyo MT is a good tire for gripping on rocks, it’s interlocking lugs offers a good efficacy overall, but still you are going to see a better climbing capability on Nitto Trail Grappler.

Nitto basically sticks better, it’s although very heavy, it’s stickier and spongier composition molds over the rocky surface. Think of it as it’s lugs more capable of wrapping around the rocky surface.

The tire also provide better traction from sidewall lugs, where again it’s softer rubber provides flexing abilities and it’s thicker lugs chew with lower pressure.

The Toyo Open Country M/T although provides a good traction overall, it’s harder compound does is a little hard to control in comparison, though you can achieve similar traction but lowering down the air pressure more.

Mud Performance

Muddy terrains require self cleaning grooves, and here you can never go wrong with any “mud” tire. And when it comes to mud tires the most popular ones are these we are talking about.

Here both are simply great, as both offer scooping lugs which simply throw the mud around with staggered sides, where their wider grooves self clean simultaneously.

Sand Traction

On sand you need a softer tire which is capable of providing ample footprint. You also need mad driving skills as well, as it’s a very tricky terrain.

Nonetheless, mud tires make things quite easier for even amatures.

But still overall, if sand is where you want to spend most of your time, and you need a mud tire, go with Nitto Trail Grappler, the tire offers better footprint with it’s pulpy lugs.

Tread Wear & Fuel Consumption

Tread life of the tire highly depends on rolling resistance which is basically a measurement of how much friction the tire makes with the ground.

So here Nitto Trail Grappler being a heavier tire produces larger rolling resistance values, as it’s sloppy rubber glues with more force.

On the other hand, the Toyo Open Country MT is slightly lighter and does not want to settle down on road, so less energy is required to “roll” them, which means less fuel would be consumed.

Moreover, it would also help the tire with wear, as with less friction it’s rubber wouldn’t rub off that quickly.

For Your Info: If mileage is what you seek, check out Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 (Review), it’s one of the best in the mud terrain category.

Ride Quality:

The ride quality of the tire is directly proportional to how bald a tire is.

That’s why passenger tires are the most comfortable, and if we go towards balder tires, you go through HT tires, AT tires, RT tires and then comes MT, the most aggressive and most balder tires out there.

So a little compromise has to be made here for superior off road capabilities.

This ride quality is dependent on two things, the comfort and the noise.

In term of comfort Nitto Trail Grappler does better with it’s soaking abilities, whereas for noise, Toyo M/T provides better effectiveness, though none of these tires are “comfortable” overall.

In The End

Overall the Toyo Open Country MT offers a better gripping on dry roads, but the tire is very confusing on wet, as its not able to provide a good enough lateral stability.

The Nitto Trail Grappler is also same here, though it does better with hydroplaning.

On the other hand, if talk off road, things are seen better on Nitto Trail Grappler, as it offer a superior self cleaning tread.

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