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Is there a big difference? Which one looks better?
Differences:
- Handling
- Weight
- Cost
- Tires

Looks:
- Subjective. Do you like it? There's your answer. [:D]

Personally, I look how 18's look but don't like the sounds of how they drive. If I had glass smooth asphalt maybe, but not where I am now. Too many different types of roads and conditions.
 

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I went from 17"s on my 2012 Focus SE to 18's on my new Focus ST

The 17s were smooth and decent handling.
No problems with them at all.

the 18's are razor sharp handling and a lot harsher ride on poor roads. On good roads they are also smooth riding.
As mentioned 18's are heavier and more expensive, and 18" tires are more expensive, with a smaller selection of brands, sizes.
18's are easier to have bent wheels and blown tires. And unless you pay a lot of attention to tire pressures, are a lot easier to run too low and damage them.
 

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And how many "good roads" are you actually driving on in the real world. My STI is much more comfortable with it's winter tires on 17" rollers but in the summer when the 18"s go on (And on Michelin Pilot Sports) the handling obviously becomes more direct but just driving around on most roads except for the highway the harshness does get a bit old.
 

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I think the 17"s are the best all around.

However, tires can make a big difference in terms of ride quality between brands. My 17" Generals give a better ride quality (softer) than my 16" Continentals did. With better performance and traction.
 

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-----<M>-----
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I went from 17"s on my 2012 Focus SE to 18's on my new Focus ST

The 17s were smooth and decent handling.
No problems with them at all.

the 18's are razor sharp handling and a lot harsher ride on poor roads. On good roads they are also smooth riding.
As mentioned 18's are heavier and more expensive, and 18" tires are more expensive, with a smaller selection of brands, sizes.
18's are easier to have bent wheels and blown tires. And unless you pay a lot of attention to tire pressures, are a lot easier to run too low and damage them.

You're not comparing apples to apples. You went from the soft SE suspension and (presumably) all-season tires to the hard ST suspension with its summer tires. Can't do a fair comparison of rim sizes with all those other variables.

I did the same thing going from my SEL with 17" all-seasons to the Ti with 18" summers. It's all the things you said, but I can't say how much of it is due solely to the rim being 1" greater diameter (and wider).

As for expense, the popular Continental ExtremeContact DWS is only $14 for the 18" on tirerack right now. Not bad at all.



No one has mentioned the extra safety provided by the wider 18's. Significantly shorter stopping distance and greater roadholding in emergency maneuvers. Safer for the kiddies in the car.
 

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Keep in mind the brand/type of tire you use is almost as important. My car started out with 16's had 17's for nearly 70k miles and I just bought a set of 18 black Fusion wheels. The small decrease in ride quality i feel now i put down to now having a 40 series tire as opposed to the 50.
 

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It depends on what matters most to you. If you want a smooth ride using smaller wheels and tires will, because of the taller sidewall, result in a smoother ride. If, OTH, you prefer the look of bigger wheels then 18's are about as big as I'd go to minimize the chance of wheel or tire damage. Bigger wheels/tires tend to result in more responsive handling but not necessarily faster handling. The wheels on F1 cars are 330mm or about 13 inches and they're pretty much the fastest road race cars on the planet.

I have 17's on my Ti HB and on open roads with smooth pavement the ride is just fine, but in town where the roads tend to be not so good the ride can be pretty rough. For me, 17's are the best choice.


Brian
 

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No one has mentioned the extra safety provided by the wider 18's. Significantly shorter stopping distance and greater roadholding in emergency maneuvers. Safer for the kiddies in the car.
Higher probability to hydroplane at lower speeds due to a wider contact patch with very sharp corner which doesn't evacuate water as well.
Also shorter stiffer sidewalls can be damaged easier by road debris and would be scary at hwy speeds.
Why do autoxers generally go to a smaller tire package vs their larger street set? In most cases weight which really would create a longer stopping distance.

So,point us to some links for to prove this on like cars,just curious since I've read conflicting facts. 18"s do look much better.
 

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Higher probability to hydroplane at lower speeds due to a wider contact patch with very sharp corner which doesn't evacuate water as well.
Also shorter stiffer sidewalls can be damaged easier by road debris and would be scary at hwy speeds.
Why do autoxers generally go to a smaller tire package vs their larger street set? In most cases weight which really would create a longer stopping distance.

So,point us to some links for to prove this on like cars,just curious since I've read conflicting facts. 18"s do look much better.
I can't post Consumer Reports ratings summaries, but looking at the top 10 summer tires vs the top 10 "performance all-seasons", the advantages of summers are crystal clear.

Summary of the summers (including the Michelin Pilots and Goodyear Eagles):
Dry braking: All excellent
Wet braking: All but one excellent
Handling: half excellent, half very good
Hydroplaning: all excellent

Summary of the "performance all seasons" including Continental PureContact and Michelin Primacy):
Dry braking: All very good
Wet braking: half excellent, half very good
Handling: half very good, half good
Hydroplaning: half very good, half good

The summers have a clear advantage in every category.

And here are some tidbits from tirerack.com:

I often hear customers say, "It rains a lot where I live, so I need to have an all-season tire." While the name all-season implies that a tire might be the best tire for every season, the reality is that the compound and tread pattern of an all-season tire is actually a compromise between wet, dry and snow capability. Each of these conditions have different requirements, so an all-season tire actually gives away some wet and dry traction to gain light snow traction. Summer tires are the ultimate wet weather performers. They have sticky compounds to grip wet pavement and tread patterns designed to let water flow through and away from the contact patch. The current class leaders in wet and overall traction are the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and Bridgestone Potenza S-04. - See more at: http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/bens-blog/best-tires-for-rain#sthash.Cljv8uqk.dpuf

And:

A summer tire, like the Bridgestone RE760 Sport, will perform better in dry road cornering and braking than an all-season tire. Summer tires also perform well in the rain; wet traction isn’t an exclusive all-season characteristic. Because it rains in summer, summer tires are made to be quite capable in the wet.
- See more at: http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/ethan...mmer-vs-all-season-tires#sthash.2IV35hW0.dpuf
 

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Wasn't RonMaiden still asking about wheel size?

Tire type in another discussion....
 

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I can't post Consumer Reports ratings summaries, but looking at the top 10 summer tires vs the top 10 "performance all-seasons", the advantages of summers are crystal clear.

Summary of the summers (including the Michelin Pilots and Goodyear Eagles):
Dry braking: All excellent
Wet braking: All but one excellent
Handling: half excellent, half very good
Hydroplaning: all excellent

Summary of the "performance all seasons" including Continental PureContact and Michelin Primacy):
Dry braking: All very good
Wet braking: half excellent, half very good
Handling: half very good, half good
Hydroplaning: half very good, half good

The summers have a clear advantage in every category.

And here are some tidbits from tirerack.com:

I often hear customers say, "It rains a lot where I live, so I need to have an all-season tire." While the name all-season implies that a tire might be the best tire for every season, the reality is that the compound and tread pattern of an all-season tire is actually a compromise between wet, dry and snow capability. Each of these conditions have different requirements, so an all-season tire actually gives away some wet and dry traction to gain light snow traction. Summer tires are the ultimate wet weather performers. They have sticky compounds to grip wet pavement and tread patterns designed to let water flow through and away from the contact patch. The current class leaders in wet and overall traction are the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and Bridgestone Potenza S-04. - See more at: http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/bens-blog/best-tires-for-rain#sthash.Cljv8uqk.dpuf

And:

A summer tire, like the Bridgestone RE760 Sport, will perform better in dry road cornering and braking than an all-season tire. Summer tires also perform well in the rain; wet traction isn’t an exclusive all-season characteristic. Because it rains in summer, summer tires are made to be quite capable in the wet.
- See more at: http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/ethan...mmer-vs-all-season-tires#sthash.2IV35hW0.dpuf

I thought the question was about tire SIZE and not about tire COMPOUND.

Summer/performance tires will use a softer compound that is stickier but wont last as long and tends to cost more.

But, comparing apples to apples and using the same compound would 18"s be faster than 17"s -- probably not! Why? Weight and moment of inertia!!!


Brian
 

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Rebecca
2016 Focus ST
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I went from stock 16's to stock 18's (with all season tires) in a Michigan winter. Stock 16 is 205-55-16. stock 17 is 215-50-17, and stock 18 is 235-40-18. Truth be told, I blew two tires in potholes this winter so far, in Michigan, where our roads are literally worthless. That being said, I said "Gee, would I have better luck with a smaller 17 inch wheel?" The 18 inch tire is so insignificantly smaller than the 17 inch tire that it wouldn't had mattered hitting the craters I did. Last week, my boss with a GMC Terrain, with big fat tires on 16 or 17 inch rims blew two tires hitting a pothole. While Michigan's roads really suck, anything can happen. But to answer your question, go with whatever you think looks best ion your car. Personally, I wanted the TI wheels, and i got them painted PVD black chrome. My second choice was the dark split 17 inch stock wheel. Go with what you like.

factory 18s, just painted . . .

 

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I was comparing 17" vs 18" using the same tires not performance vs all seasons.
 

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Rebecca
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well if you are going on what I think you are, the 17 and 18 tire sidewall is within half an inch of one another, 4.2 inch height on the 17, vs 3.7 inch height on the 18. If you are taking different sized tires that aren't factory calibrated, the speedometer is going to be off one way or another. Those tire sizes are comparable and so close that I don't think it matters being that they are factory options.
 

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Weight is the biggie and the larger contact patch with most 18"s. Switching between the sizes on my Subi I can really feel the diff.
 

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I love my 18's with Michelin Pilot tires. The car looks good and handles like it's on rails. The tires have held up very well as I now have 39,000 miles on them. I'm surprised that the soft summer tires have lasted this long.
 

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To me, bigger wheels = more $$ to replace them and since I get a set of tires every ~1.5 years, I will take my 17s. I mean the RS is only going to have 19s and its a freakin' race car. I also think that larger rims will yield a harsher ride which is not interesting to me. But hey...its what you want right?
 
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