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Hi All,

I have not had a chance to drive a Focus with the 18" sport rims. Can anyone describe the drive feel of the 17" vs the 18"?

When I drove the SEL with 17", it seemed tight but comfortable (ie not punishing the kidneys with every bump). The car was loaded with three big guys when I test drove it.

The 18" rims look better IMHO, but if the ride is going to be punishing, I'll stick with the stock 17" rims. This car will be 90% commuting to and from work on the highway. We may take it on a few short trips where we don't need much luggage...again, all highway.
 

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I'd probably recommend the 17 rims" - I have the 18" rims which come with stiffer springs. While it looks better and can handle turns better, if you're going to be doing a lot of commuting I think you'd appreciate the softer ride.
 

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I have an 03 PT Cruiser that came with 215/50-17 tires. In the 100,000 miles the original rims got ruined by pot holes and the second set of after market 17" rims have several dents from pot holes.

If you live in an area that has pot holes I would recommend staying with the stock 16" wheels. When we ordered our SEL we stayed with the stock 215/55-16 wheels and tires to get some more sidewall for pot hole protection.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have an 03 PT Cruiser that came with 215/50-17 tires. In the 100,000 miles the original rims got ruined by pot holes and the second set of after market 17" rims have several dents from pot holes.

If you live in an area that has pot holes I would recommend staying with the stock 16" wheels. When we ordered our SEL we stayed with the stock 215/55-16 wheels and tires to get some more sidewall for pot hole protection.
Not many potholes in my neck of the woods. I have a 2002 Maxima with 17" tires and have not had any issues with them.
 

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I have an 03 PT Cruiser that came with 215/50-17 tires. In the 100,000 miles the original rims got ruined by pot holes and the second set of after market 17" rims have several dents from pot holes.

If you live in an area that has pot holes I would recommend staying with the stock 16" wheels. When we ordered our SEL we stayed with the stock 215/55-16 wheels and tires to get some more sidewall for pot hole protection.
I didn't have any problems with the aluminum alloy rims on my '03 Focus other than a tiny bit of road burn from toll booths and drive throughs. This car had 15 inch wheels I believe.

On my '01 Focus which had Steelies I think I went through 4 of them. I dented both from wheels hitting a curb after slipping on the ice. I also dented both passenger side ones on a bad pothole on the mass pike, popped both tires too. This car had 14 inch wheels I believe.

My '12 had 16' on Steelies with Aero covers. If I can find a good looking set of Aero Rims, I may try that out and use my current ones for my snow tires, but otherwise, I am not big on deviating from OEM, with the exception of Tire Brands.
 

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Generally wheels with 50 series tires are not gonna have too many problems.
The 17" wheels with 50 series tires is the ideal setup IMO for big size, vs not rubber band tires. [driving]
So i am happy with the compromises on my Focus with the 17" wheels and 215.50.17 tires.
The amount of air in the rear tires is more important for ride, that is the tire size.
And i would say having to use 39psi in the 18" is going to be a harsh ride over any bad pavement.
The base psi for the 17" tires of 36psi is pretty good compromise between solid feel and soft enough not to annoy.
For that i would say go with the 17's
Also when you have to buy tires. the 17" wheels are going to have more optiona and better pricing.
45 series 18"s cost a lot more than 50 series 17's for the same tires.
below is the link for my particular preferred comparision for my 17" 2012 Ford Focus tires. All the info:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=UHPAS

PS and just because one particular tire of a brand is best in a catagory, does NOT mean others of that brand are any good at all. Conti is #1 here, but the brand has dogs rated at the bottom of the ratings in other areas.. so do your homework!
 

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I have an 03 PT Cruiser that came with 215/50-17 tires. In the 100,000 miles the original rims got ruined by pot holes and the second set of after market 17" rims have several dents from pot holes.

If you live in an area that has pot holes I would recommend staying with the stock 16" wheels. When we ordered our SEL we stayed with the stock 215/55-16 wheels and tires to get some more sidewall for pot hole protection.
Or you could try to avoid potholes and not hit them at high speeds? I live in Cleveland, which is *relentlessly* known for its potholes and constant construction (because of our harsh winters and hot summers the roads wear out quickly). I've never dented a rim from a pothole. Why? Because I slow down before making contact so that it doesn't do damage.

Either way, the tires that come with the 18" wheels on this car actually have quite a bit of sidewall and a large amount of overlap. You'd have to *really* hit a pothole to actually damage a wheel.
 

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i love the handling of my 18's, not tried the 17's so I am kinda partial to 18's.... but I am looking for a set of 17's for winter tires...
 

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If you are considering the Handling Package with the 18"s that includes the full size spare, understand that the full-size wheel, takes up a lot of additional cargo room that would otherwise be yours to fill with cargo. The floor is raised up at least an additional 3-4". That is why I stuck with the 17"s on my Ti.
 

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Or you could try to avoid potholes and not hit them at high speeds? I live in Cleveland, which is *relentlessly* known for its potholes and constant construction (because of our harsh winters and hot summers the roads wear out quickly). I've never dented a rim from a pothole. Why? Because I slow down before making contact so that it doesn't do damage.

Either way, the tires that come with the 18" wheels on this car actually have quite a bit of sidewall and a large amount of overlap. You'd have to *really* hit a pothole to actually damage a wheel.
If you think 35mm sidewall is a lot of sidewall, you're insane! That is NOT a lot of sidewall! 50 is a good medium between lower profile and meaty tires. The 17"s on my SEL feel amazing, the car is very capable through tight cornering without being harsh on the driver.

Also, while the 18" wheels and handling package can handle turns better, how often are you going to be throwing this car into the corners? You don't need an autocross capable setup, so why bother? Harsh ride and expensive tires/wheels? No thank you, already went that route and paid over $600 for a set of tires on my Mazdaspeed 3.

Also, small tidbit... the 17"s will net you a much nicer turning radius, as the 18"s require a steering limiter to avoid rubbing.
 

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I gotta say the turning radius with my 17"s is amazing. I got several compliments one time when I had to make a very sharp turn around on a narrow road.
 

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Also, small tidbit... the 17"s will net you a much nicer turning radius, as the 18"s require a steering limiter to avoid rubbing.
Well, [:)][:)][:)][:)]! Is that why my turning radius is so bad? Are these easy to remove?
 

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Generally wheels with 50 series tires are not gonna have too many problems.
The 17" wheels with 50 series tires is the ideal setup IMO for big size, vs not rubber band tires. [driving]
So i am happy with the compromises on my Focus with the 17" wheels and 215.50.17 tires.
The amount of air in the rear tires is more important for ride, that is the tire size.
And i would say having to use 39psi in the 18" is going to be a harsh ride over any bad pavement.
The base psi for the 17" tires of 36psi is pretty good compromise between solid feel and soft enough not to annoy.
For that i would say go with the 17's
Also when you have to buy tires. the 17" wheels are going to have more optiona and better pricing.
45 series 18"s cost a lot more than 50 series 17's for the same tires.
below is the link for my particular preferred comparision for my 17" 2012 Ford Focus tires. All the info:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=UHPAS

PS and just because one particular tire of a brand is best in a catagory, does NOT mean others of that brand are any good at all. Conti is #1 here, but the brand has dogs rated at the bottom of the ratings in other areas.. so do your homework!

I think that people are mis-interpting what the size of tires actually are.

On the 18" wheel option the tire is a 235/40/18
235 is the tire section width in mm
40 is the sidewall height percentage in relation to width
and 18 is the rim diameter in inches on which they are mounted

in this case tire section width is 235 mm and sidewall height is 40% of the width, or 94mm
(3.70")

when we compare this to the 17" wheels which are 215/50/17
the tire section width is now 215 mm (20mm less)
50 is the height of the sidewall as a percentage of width.
and the diameter is now 17"

for 17" oem, the sidewall height is 50% of 215mm or 107.5mm (4.23")

thus the difference, between 17" and 18" oem wheel package is 13.5mm or .531 of an inch.

this difference is about 1/2" in sidewall height which if you double it accounts for the difference between 17 and 18 inches.
 

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I'd probably recommend the 17 rims" - I have the 18" rims which come with stiffer springs. While it looks better and can handle turns better, if you're going to be doing a lot of commuting I think you'd appreciate the softer ride.
i read on this site that the SEL and Ti have the same spring rates, the only diff being larger 18" wheels and stiffer shocks/struts on the Ti

Is this correct?
 

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i read on this site that the SEL and Ti have the same spring rates, the only diff being larger 18" wheels and stiffer shocks/struts on the Ti

Is this correct?
There are a few threads that explain this. I believe the standard Ti and SEL have the same spring rates. However, the titanium handling package comes with 18” rims, stiffer springs than the 17” titanium tires, handling struts (revalved or something) as well as steering limiters to prevent rubbing due to the wider tires.

You can check the other threads if you want the exact part nubmers...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you are considering the Handling Package with the 18"s that includes the full size spare, understand that the full-size wheel, takes up a lot of additional cargo room that would otherwise be yours to fill with cargo. The floor is raised up at least an additional 3-4". That is why I stuck with the 17"s on my Ti.

Good point, Thanks!
 

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If you are considering the Handling Package with the 18"s that includes the full size spare, understand that the full-size wheel, takes up a lot of additional cargo room that would otherwise be yours to fill with cargo. The floor is raised up at least an additional 3-4". That is why I stuck with the 17"s on my Ti.
True. But you can always take out the spare and spacer if you REALLY want the 18" rims. I'd only recommend this if you have AAA and nowhere to go. As for myself, I'll just deal with limited trunk space.
 

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235 is the tread width in mm
Incorrect. The first number of a tire size is known as the nominal width and is measured sidewall to sidewall, not tread width.

Just curious as to why nobody is going for the 16s. I find them to be a very happy medium between handling and ride comfort. There's also less rotational mass which = faster acceleration and better mileage (as minimal as it may be).
 
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