Both tires although from the same parent company, are very different. Here the Ridge Grappler is a hybrid tire and the Toyo AT3 is an all-terrain tire.
Both of the tires are designed to handle all kinds of terrain while providing sufficient on road performance as well.
If you want a quite all-Terrain tire but also like the aggressiveness of a Mud terrain, then it cant get any better than the Nitto Ridge Grappler. They have a perfect off road traction combined with on road comfort.
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Design Comparison of both tires:
The Nitto Ridge Grappler has a dynamic hybrid tread which is a mixture of mild-tempered on-road variable pitch design patterns.
Variable pitch allows this tire to hit the surface its on at different times. It’s basically designed to keep the tire noise low.
The tire is also seen equipped with deep tread voids and aggressive staggered shoulders like a mud tire.
These size alternating shoulders are further combined with lugs and the sidewall which is again very aggressive and has a two pattern design on it.
The central part of the tire has blocks with deep cuts & side steps/biting edges which are able to grab into any kind of terrain easily.
Looking at Toyo Open Country AT3 on the other hand, you get to see less aggressive sidewall and shoulders overall.
The shoulders have less groove voids in them but are staggered like the Nitto Ridge.
(The overall tread depth is also less in all available sizes comparatively).
The central part of the tire has recognizable “S” shaped blocks with side steps which looks like a Superman’s logo.
These blocks are further surrounded by others who have deep biting edges in them. And together they make a web of interconnected longitudinal and lateral grooves.
Prominent siping is also seen everywhere and is greater comparatively.
Overall, due to more aggressive tread design and killer looks, Nitto takes the cake here.
OFF Road Performance with these tires:
The Ridge Grappler does an amazing job when it comes to mud. With its wider shoulders which alternate in size consecutively, they are easily able to get out of any tough situations.
Even when the tire is aired down deep in mud the alternating shoulder blocks enables the tire to maintain its traction.
The shoulder lugs/extended blocks that reach deep in to the sidewall is another advantage to this tire as they again are more aggressive comparatively. They not only protect the tire from getting punctured but also scoop away the dirt/mud efficiently.
The sharp central blocks also come in handy here as they help bite through the soft surface of the mud quite easily maintaining the needed traction.
Coming to Toyo Open Country, this tire too has pretty ample mud traction on its own.
Here it’s smaller tread block provide the necessary bite to the mud.
The tire’s staggered shoulders and edged blocks efficiently cut through the deep mud just like the Ridge Grappler.
Overall, Nitto Ridge is better when it comes to muddy terrains.
Both tires are great here too but the Nitto Ridge Grappler tends to slip a bit more on snowy conditions.
This is because the tire doesn’t have enough siping throughout.
The tire is also not Severe Snow Rated.
On the other hand the Toyo AT3 tires are qualified for 3PMSF (3 peak mountain snowflake). That’s why the tire has smaller braking distance on packed snow.
The tire also has deep 3D sipes all over the tread which keeps the friction with the snow.
So overall a greater snow traction is seen on these tires compared to Nitto’s.
On Rocky terrain:
The hybrid design of Nitto Ridge allows this tire to have lateral traction which is highly needed in this terrain.
Along with that, the alternating groove pattern of the shoulders.
The tire also has a softer material which causes a sticky effect and enhances the tire’s grip further.
Toyo AT3 on the other hand, also has enough traction with its slightly larger grooves and step blocks.
These blocks are equipped with deep cuts and sipes which hug the surface of the rocks firmly.
Both of these tires have different methods of griping rocks but in the end they are almost equal.
Side Note: Dropping these tires pressure to 18 psi further enhances their traction.
Both tires are also puncture resistant with high turn up ply casing designs.
But the sidewall of Toyo AT3 is a little more vulnerable here. This is because the tire lugs are not as aggressive as the Nitto Ridge.
The central part of both are chip/cut resistant. They are both equipped with stone ejectors and perform really well on high speed gravel surfaces.
Note: During high speed gravel test, we found the cornering on Nitto Ridge a little harder comparatively.
On Road Traction of both
The Nitto Ridge, where it has some common features with mud terrain tires, is still having a harder compound.
Because of this, it doesn’t feel unstable on road like an average mud terrain tire would feel. The rubber however, still feel sticker compared to Toyo AT3.
The tire also has a lot of contact with the road in the middle.
The Toyo AT3 also has ample contact with the road and its biting edges of tread blocks allows this tire to have sufficient grip on road as well.
Overall the grip of both tires on dry roads are almost equal.
But we felt more confident with Toyo AT3 as the truck was more responsive on them, with better handling. (This has to do with the bigger shoulders of Nitto Ridge)
Which tire provides better comfort/Noise?
The Ridge Grappler, being a member of a Rugged Terrain (RT) tires, are surprisingly silent on road.
They produce a mild humming noise unlike the roaring sound you get with other RTs and MTs.
This is because of its variable pitch design that allows it to hit the surface at different times. And this quieten the tires to great extend. (Out of all the RT tires we reviewed, none was able to have better noise levels than this tire).
In case of Toyo AT3, the tire would feel more noisy up till 30 mph and then they would get better (silent) comparatively.
But as both tires get older and start to wear, the Toyo AT3 (like most other AT tires) would loose its sound levels but that’s not the case with Ridge Grappler.
So overall, we have to give equal scores to both tires here.
In terms of comfort, the Toyo AT3 is better on road comparatively.
This is because of the stiffer tread compound of the tire combined with smoother cornering.
On the other side, the Nitto Ridge is more comfortable off road.
The sticker material of the tire gives it cushion against rigid surface,and the ride feels less bumpy overall.
durability and Tread Life:
Both tires are tough in terms of composition. With similar interior structure and manufacturing both tires are long-lasting, giving a tough competition to each other.
Most tire sizes of both have 2 ply steel wrapped with 3 ply polyester, which is covered by 2 ply nylon. This provide ample protection against the tough sharp rocks, minimizing the chances of them getting punctured.
The imperial sizes of both are also F rated. (12 ply rating) but they are only 3 in case of Toyo AT3 compared to 15 of Ridge.
In terms of durability the important thing to note is that the sidewalls of Toyo AT3 are more vulnerable to cuts. The bigger lugs and aggressive dual sidewall design of Nitto Ridge on the other hand push away any sharp rock that may puncture the sidewall.
In terms of tread wear, both tires are again very similar each giving up to 50k miles on average.
Nitto has more available sizes overall.
Here Toyo Open Country AT3 offers 127 sizes and gives out 50k miles warranty for LT tires and 65k miles for P metric tires (ranging from 15 to 22 inches diameter sizes).
So, what the verdict here?
Lets simply things:
- have equal performance on rocky terrains.
- have same on road grip.
- and have almost the same overall average tread life.
Nitto Ridge here has better mud traction and durability.
And Toyo AT3 has better snow traction and overall comfort.