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Old 03-12-2019, 12:33 PM   #11
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Join Date: May 2011
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What I Drive: 2012 Ford Focus SE

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If I had 17" rims, and another set of mounted snow tires, I would go with 225/45-17's on my Focus in a heartbeat, if I always travelled alone. Since I have 16" rims I will be putting super-light 225/50-16 Continental DWS-06 tires on the car this spring because I'm cheap/I live in Canada/we regularly drive on dirt or rough roads with people and stuff/some people prefer the Focus with Sport Suspension's more comfortable ride to the lowered and stiffened Acura TSX I used to have/I want to improve cornering capabilities/I want the car to accelerate faster.

My nose-heavy 06 Acura TSX came with 215/50-17 tires, on 7" rims and with a 3250 curb weight there was a lot of tire-scrubbing understeer, and only modest cornering grip. I changed the struts, to lower the car, and a thicker rsb, and changed to 225/45-17 tires on the same 7" rims. That combination worked very well, for me. I researched the issue, years ago, and can't recall every seeing a tire manufacturer's website that had a 7" rim in their recommended specs for a 235/45-17 tire; the same generation Acura TL had that tire size on a 7.5" rim, and if you ordered the TSX with the A-spec suspension the car came lowered with 225/45-17 tires on 7.5" rims.

Ford, however, is all over the board with Focus tire sizes. My 215/55-16 tires have a nominal diameter of 25.3", compared to many 215/50-17s at 25.5", compared to many 225/45-17's at 24.9" or 25.0". The most recommend by Ford snow tire size is 195/65-15, with a 25.0" OD, but also the 205/60-16 at 25.7" - the later being the same size as my 205/65-15 tires [less torque at the road works well in snow, and the shape of a 65-series tire means they ARE narrow at the road].

Can I notice a 1/4" increase in wheel gap? Maybe...yeah, but I remember the change in gearing that I could feel, in the Acura, from reducing the tire diameter by that nominal 1/2". Did the loss of that 1/4" in ride height make a difference on the roads I drove on? Yes, it did, but when the roads were bad I would drive more carefully, and when the roads were good I was flying!

Last edited by gdcwatt; 03-12-2019 at 12:43 PM.
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