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Old 03-27-2013, 01:32 AM   #1
sager
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Default 17" vs. 16" vs. 15" rims and tires

Hi there -

I have a 2012 Sport Hatchback 2.0. In general, I like the car but it has a few foibles, namely rattles and interior noise.

In addition to the above, I feel that the tires a bit "clompy" over small, sharp-edged bumps and other abrupt imperfections. I am thinking of Continental DWS tires for a replacement (eventually) since they are reputed to be a bit quieter, more capable in inclement weather and softer ride quality.

In fact, I was thinking of upgrading size from 205/50/17 to 215/50/17 to help give just a bit more sidewall to help impact harshness.

This led me to wonder if anyone (perhaps a Subaru employee or salesperson) has ever driven a base with 15" back to back with a mid-line with the 16" wheels back to back with the 17" wheels from the Sport...and could comment.

I think the additional rotational mass and sheer weight of the largest wheels contributes to this clompiness, but I am wondering if it is a large difference or a small one.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:54 AM   #2
danstheman7
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I had 15" steel wheels on the stock YOKO tires, and they were terrible. The smaller tire (it was 195) made the ground clearance slightly lower, for starters. They were decently quiet on the highway, though.

I made the jump to 16" 205/50/16 Continental DWS and the difference is quite big. In the snow, this car is amazing, though on the highway, at speeds over 70 you can feel the difference slightly (a bit of shaking). Not a big deal, just something to note if you're someone who speeds a bit.

I wouldn't think that the slight weight difference would effect how the car feels and rattles, nor have I experienced any change personally.

Last edited by danstheman7; 03-27-2013 at 01:55 AM. Reason: forgot to answer your question!
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:10 AM   #3
stevehnm
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We test drove Impezas with both the 15" and 17" wheels. We bought the Sport - with 17" wheels. The car handles much more precisely. I don't know if there are any other adjustments to the suspension with the Sport, but we much preferred it. No issue with vibration.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
I am thinking of Continental DWS tires for a replacement (eventually) since they are reputed to be a bit quieter, more capable in inclement weather and softer ride quality.
When people call DWS's 'softer', they're talking about the tread being soft/grippy, they will wear a little faster than what you have now.

DWS's, however, are not softer in ride quality than what you have now. If anything, they have a stiffer sidewall to enhance cornering feel, which will translate to a harsher feel in the steering over bumps, and will 'pull' (or tram) in highways with ruts from heavy traffic/18-wheelers. Don't get me wrong, they're damn good tires for all seasons... had them on my Pontiac G8, but in reading and trying to grasp what you're looking to do, they're definitely not for you. They're better for those that prefer spirited driving (more driving feel, imprefections, vibrations, will be translated to the steering wheel).

Quote:
205/50/17 to 215/50/17
Keep in mind if you are to do that, your speedo will be off a bit (1.6%). So if your speedo is saying 65, you're actually doing 66.

If you want more sidewall softness, look at downsizing to a 205/55-16. You'll have more sidewall, in addition to more sidewall flex, and the speedo will be close to accurate.

Maybe you should define 'clompy' better? What are you feeling, and what do you NOT want to feel?

--kC
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danstheman7 View Post
I had 15" steel wheels on the stock YOKO tires, and they were terrible. The smaller tire (it was 195) made the ground clearance slightly lower, for starters. They were decently quiet on the highway, though.
I think you have it backwards. You're now effectively lowered your car 1/2" with the NEW tires.
The stock 195/65-15 tires are 25" in diameter. The new 205/50-16s you put on (as mentioned in your post) are 24.1" in diameter, and a shorter sidewall to boot.

Quote:
I made the jump to 16" 205/50/16 Continental DWS and the difference is quite big. In the snow, this car is amazing, though on the highway, at speeds over 70 you can feel the difference slightly (a bit of shaking).
What kind of shaking? Vibration in the wheel? Your wheels aren't balanced properly then. (And DWS's are rather particular in getting the balance right)

And now about that drastic change in size... I would re-check your tires. Are you SURE they're 205/50-16 and not 205/55-16?

If they are 205/50, read on why those are a bad idea....
Did the company that sold you these tires tell you this was a good course of action? You now have a tire that's 1" SHORTER than what your car came with. Per mile, each tire has gone from 808 revolutions per mile to 838 revolutions per mile. When your speedo is indicating 60mph, you're actually only doing 57.8. 70? You're only doing 67.5mph. Ever feel like you're going slower (or everyone is marginally faster?) than you on the highway? Well, there's your reason. It's a 3.6% difference in height!

For every 1000 miles, your odometer will read 1036, as if you did an extra 36 miles per 1000. So you're actually adding more miles onto the car than necessary. And then you have the MPG issue. Take what you're getting, and subtract 3.6% from miles travelled and THEN do the math. Say your odometer says 400 miles at your next fill. You actually only did 385.6. (3.6 miles less per 100 miles than indicated.)

Did you buy these online or through a local store? The local store should have told you the difference before selling them. But, I'm willing to bet you just buoght them because they came with the wheels you wanted.

Quote:
I wouldn't think that the slight weight difference would effect how the car feels and rattles, nor have I experienced any change personally.
It shouldn't, when balanced properly.

--kC

Last edited by KC; 03-27-2013 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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wait...are you sure the stock 15's are 65?
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by danstheman7 View Post
wait...are you sure the stock 15's are 65?
Yep. http://techinfo.subaru.com/proxy/695..._21.pdf?page=8

--kC
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:13 PM   #8
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Hi again -

In reading through the many comments and "reviews" on the Tire Rack website plus this forum, I do think people have said that the tire has a bit more sidewall flex, leading to a slightly less impact harshness. I do think the additional 1.6% speedometer error is negligible. "Clompy" is my attempt at onomatopoeia since the thing I am trying to describe is as much auditory as a sensation through the steering wheel. It is just that the wheels and tires feel a bit "late" to react to the sharp edged bumps. The feeling is similar to the run-flat tires on our E90 in some respects. I was wondering how the different sidewall heights and stiffness, coupled with the larger un-sprung mass of the larger and larger setups would impact the ride and if anyone could comment on this effect.

This is all idle thoughts really...I will not be buying new tires for a while. One year anniversary of taking home the '12 Sport Ltd is next weekend and I just rolled over 12k miles, so we've got a few years yet.

Thx
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sager View Post
This is all idle thoughts really...I will not be buying new tires for a while. One year anniversary of taking home the '12 Sport Ltd is next weekend and I just rolled over 12k miles, so we've got a few years yet.

Thx
That's what I thought - but at 16k, the wifee hit something in the road and it left a little bubble in the sidewall. So, I had to get new tires. 4 new tires, since it's AWD. I went to Discount Tire and got the Pirelli P7 All Season Plus - specs looked good.

Does anybody have any experience with the Pirelli? Several years ago I got some for a Saab. They handled well, but wore out quickly... Anyway I went through Discount, they always been berybery good to me.

I spent the extra $86 and got the free replacement warranty - I figure with 50 aspect tires it won't take a very big rock to bust another sidewall...
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sager View Post
It is just that the wheels and tires feel a bit "late" to react to the sharp edged bumps.
Softer/taller sidewalls will delay/prevent even more 'feel' from being transferred to the steering wheel. So, taller sidewalls will make the effect your feeling effect greater, called late reacting.. because it delays the transfer of vibration "feel" from steering wheel to actual input, and vice versa from tire to steering wheel.

IOW, a late reacting tire is a 2-pronged equasion. 1) squirmy tread blocks and 2) soft sidewalls. It could be either/or ... or both. More marshmellowy. (new word!)

Quote:
The feeling is similar to the run-flat tires on our E90 in some respects. I was wondering how the different sidewall heights and stiffness, coupled with the larger un-sprung mass of the larger and larger setups would impact the ride and if anyone could comment on this effect.
It sounds like you want to feel the road better and have more communicative tires?

Then either putting on stock-sized summer tires (not all seasons, meaning you have a set for summer and a set for winter) or... "performance" all-seasons (Continental ExtreamaContact DWS) are what you're looking for... the tires will be a LOT more communicative and you will feel the bumps more, and at the cost of increased Noise/Vibration/Harshness (NVH). It's all a trade-off.

You cannot go to a softer/taller sidewall and at the same time increase road/tire feel. Doesn't wok that way. In fact, it's the opposite.

--kC
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by stevehnm View Post
That's what I thought - but at 16k, the wifee hit something in the road and it left a little bubble in the sidewall. So, I had to get new tires. 4 new tires, since it's AWD. I went to Discount Tire and got the Pirelli P7 All Season Plus - specs looked good.

Does anybody have any experience with the Pirelli? Several years ago I got some for a Saab. They handled well, but wore out quickly... Anyway I went through Discount, they always been berybery good to me.

I spent the extra $86 and got the free replacement warranty - I figure with 50 aspect tires it won't take a very big rock to bust another sidewall...
So what happened to wifes A through D (if you're up to wifee now)?

I've always stayed clear from Pirelli. Overpriced for the quality, capabilities.

I've always gone to tirerack.com and looked at the survey results of the category of tire I'm interested in getting and went based on their rank vs price.

The jury is still out on how well the new P7s will perform, but the P6s did not fare that well from ownership survey results. The P7s are Grand Touring all season (very new tires), so will fit within this category...

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/survey....jsp?type=GTAS

One thing I found interesting is there are 3 version of the P7. All season, all season plus and all season run-flat.

I'll usually go for tires that are good in wet and also good in snow (for all seasons). But I'm also rather finicky when it comes to tires and would rather have a set for Spring/Summer/Fall.

I'm in new territory with the XV as this is the 1st car that I won't be preferring higher performance tires in the dry. So we'll see how these Yoko Geolanders do (http://www.tirerack.com/tires/survey...y.jsp?type=HAS). I'm fairly satisfied with them in 7th place... but my real-world experience with the road noise confirms what others have stated in the surveys... they're the loudest of the top 10 tires (loudest of the top 30), and their wet performance is, to me, marginal. But until they have to be replaced, I'll deal with them. ANd one thing is certain, I wouldn't be replacing them at $188/per when there are better, cheaper alternatives (like the Continental ExtremeContact DWS... #1 in the category).

--kC
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:29 AM   #12
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Does anyone experience with the continental extreme contact dws and the conti pure contact with ecoplus? Road noise? Snow traction? Looking at buying one of these. I am looking to reduce road noise but increase snow traction from the stock yokos.

Last edited by RJSoobs251; 04-01-2013 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:08 PM   #13
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DWS on my 2008 OBS and on my 2012 Impreza Sport (Swapped tires before I picked it up - Stock YOKOs, IMHO went against the whole premise of getting a Subaru). Very low noise, a little softer ride than the OEM tires, excellent traction for wet and snow use. I only had them for about 25k on the 2008 OBS and they still look brand new. Have a little over 15k on the Impreza - same thing. Have no comments on the Pure Contacts; although they we considered when I purchased the DWS tires.

Edit: Expect 1 or 2 MPG "hit" for the DWS, depending on how you drive.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:43 PM   #14
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The reason I push the DWS is I had them on my RWD G8 GT (365hp/380tq) and they were still very good in the snow, excellent in the wet and phenomenal in the dry. I'd probably get them once the Yokos are no more.

Ok. So the Conti Pure Contact / ecoplus are new. No reviews. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/survey....jsp?type=GTAS

Looking at the prior Conti tires in the Grand Touring All Season segment, they don't fare well. The question I would have is "is this tire a game changer like the DWS was?" Willing to take that chance?

The DWSs are an excellent and proven tire. It's your choice.

--kC
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:47 PM   #15
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PureContact are at the top of the list on consumer reports and also possess the DWS technology which is why I would rather go with them if they offer a softer ride but not much compromise in snow traction.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:33 PM   #16
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Very good to know.

--kC
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC View Post
Softer/taller sidewalls will delay/prevent even more 'feel' from being transferred to the steering wheel. So, taller sidewalls will make the effect your feeling effect greater, called late reacting.. because it delays the transfer of vibration "feel" from steering wheel to actual input, and vice versa from tire to steering wheel.

IOW, a late reacting tire is a 2-pronged equasion. 1) squirmy tread blocks and 2) soft sidewalls. It could be either/or ... or both. More marshmellowy. (new word!)

It sounds like you want to feel the road better and have more communicative tires?

Then either putting on stock-sized summer tires (not all seasons, meaning you have a set for summer and a set for winter) or... "performance" all-seasons (Continental ExtreamaContact DWS) are what you're looking for... the tires will be a LOT more communicative and you will feel the bumps more, and at the cost of increased Noise/Vibration/Harshness (NVH). It's all a trade-off.

You cannot go to a softer/taller sidewall and at the same time increase road/tire feel. Doesn't wok that way. In fact, it's the opposite.

--kC
KC - actually, I am willing to sacrifice *some* road feel for a concomitant increase in sharp-edged bump comfort. I am not expecting any changes, especially a slight increase in sidewall height (and it will be slight) to enhance road feel.

Anyway, this has been fun, and has generated a bit of good conversation. Thanks all - I will probably try the DWS when the time comes. Although the Bridgestone RE970 does look appealing too....

Sager
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC View Post
Softer/taller sidewalls will delay/prevent even more 'feel' from being transferred to the steering wheel. So, taller sidewalls will make the effect your feeling effect greater, called late reacting.. because it delays the transfer of vibration "feel" from steering wheel to actual input, and vice versa from tire to steering wheel.

--kC
I agree completely. Taller sidewalls are better for offroad, for increased ground contact area therefore increased traction in those conditions, but for feel on the road shorter sidewalls are the way to go. We test drove two Imprezas before we ordered ours, and there was a night and day difference between the 65 aspect tires and the 50 aspect tires.
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