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Discussion Starter #1
I'm about to order a Titanium Hatchback and I can't make up my mind about the wheel size choice. I know I'd appreciate the handling upgrade with the 18's, but I'm concerned about general ride quality. I've never drive a Focus with the 18's and doubt that I'll have the opportunity where I live. I'm aware of the extra cost of replacing the tires on the 18" wheels.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Gary
 

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Id personally go with the 18's, i love how they look. The sidewall is large enough to not have diminished ride quality.
 

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I've got a Ti with the 18s, and I definitely love it. The car's ride is very comfy IMO, but it's very tight. Definitely not mushy. Then again I'm comparing it to my old car which was an 03 Vibe lol.
Plus with the 18s I think you get some sort of upgraded suspension bits, probably a bigger anti-roll bar or something.

The tires they give you on the 18s are pretty wicked tires actually, They're Michelin Pilot Sport 3's.... 235/40/18, and according to tirerack.com, they are $275 each! Gasp! Well, when it comes time to replace them there's always cheaper alternatives. Definitely worth the $430 upgrade price for when you buy the car though.
 

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The handling upgrade is not so much the wheel size, but in the tires which are very sticky (for on OE tire). The price of entry is pretty good for what you get with the 18" option. As tire makers continue to push into larger sizes, it is likely that when you're ready for new tires, you'll have some affordable options for a performance street tire.

I really can't comment on ride quality of 17" vs. 18"
 

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Some things to consider before choosing.
1. high performance tires wear much quicker than all seasons. The wear rating can be 1/2 of what the all season tire will have.
2. The high performance tires don't work well in cold climates so even if it doesn't snow but gets down into the 30's they will lose much of their grip advantage.
3. The 40's series on an 18" rim won't ride as well as as a taller profile tire on a 16" or 17" wheel and will be much more susceptible to rim damage from pot holes.

You should weight those down sides verse the appearance of the tire and wheel combo and the improved traction of the Michelin tire. Remember if you drive at or near legal speeds you won't ever take advantage of the capabilities of the tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all your input!

One advantage to the Handling Package w/ 18's is the full size spare, which I appreciate. I notice, though, that the "Cargo Area Protector" (whatever that is) is not available with the Handling Package.

So, does the full size spare somehow compromise the cargo area?

Thanks,

Gary
 

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It raises the floor. Unless the full size spare comes on a matching rim it is still just a temporary wheel/tire.
 

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Remember if you drive at or near legal speeds you won't ever take advantage of the capabilities of the tire.
I disagree with this statement; I’d be autoxing on crap Chinese all season’s if that was true.

Higher performance rubber will offer you advantages at everyday commuting speeds. Emergency stopping the car will be improved, especially from highway speeds (watch your review mirror though). Emergency lane change maneuvers can be done quicker with more confidence. You can also take corners faster and save gas, well maybe that’s just me :D

But like it was said before, tires can be more expensive, and will wear faster. Also, some top level performance tires may not be as good as some all seasons in heavy rain.
 

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Bingo, you said it; you autox. Your needs/wants are very different than an average driver.

Emergency braking and Emergency lane changes are holy s$&t reactions and the average driver will never know that one tire is performing better than another. Plus many high performance tires when they reach there limit let go much more dramatically than lower performance tires. Which means in an emergency situation you could exceed the high performance tires limits and find yourself spinning off into the ditch where the all season will be howling and skidding but still generally going in the direction you want.

Any DOT approved tire will allow you to corner far inexcess of the posted legal speed so like i said if you drive at legal speeds you won't take advantage of the high performance tire.
 

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+1 to cornering quicker to save gas. I love not having to reaccelerate after a corner :).

For what its worth, 18s are the route to go for the price they give you. If later on you don't like them, sell them to someone on here for a fraction of the OEM price, still profit from it and move to 17s. I feel like moving down to 17s would be way cheaper someday than moving up to 18s.

On the other hand, if you plan on lowering or any suspension mods, I would do 17s or you'll end up rubbing with any lowering more often than not. So in short, if you're looking for handling/driving the crap out of this car, go 18s. If not, stick with the 17s and mod the suspension later.

Or just go with the cooler looking ones :)
 
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