17 vs 18 inch wheels - ride quality

thespicemustflow

Active Member
Feb 24, 2024
62
36
I have the optional 18" wheels on my Leon, and whilst I quite like the look of them, I'm not overly bothered about them. The bigger thing for me is ride quality.

I regularly drive on truly shocking quality roads - even for UK standards - and after driving a friends car with 16" wheels and normal softer suspension, i realised I way prefer driving that car purely because it doesn't rattle my spine to dust.

Has anyone ever downsized from 18s to 17s on their FR and has it made any noticeable difference in ride quality?
I know a lot of it is down to suspension etc but if I could buy a set of 17s for a half decent price and sell on my 18s and it makes the car a bit more pleasant to drive long distances I'd be chuffed. (I also get a bit annoyed by the road noise in my car, I have good branded tyres but they are still pretty loud!)
 

H Rafiq

Active Member
Jan 5, 2022
928
371
I’ve downsized from 19 to 18 inch wheels. Means I can get an tyre with a higher profile. Which definitely helps with comfort and ride quality. Also protects the alloys n suspension more against potholes etc.
 

LeylandVCDS

Active Member
Apr 20, 2015
284
154
Leyland, Lancashire
My last 64 plate SE Tech had 16 inch wheels with 205/55 tyres. My 2019 current SE Dynamic has 17 inch wheels on 225/45 tyres. Ride quality was far superior on the 16 inch.
I've found best pressures to run on is 34psi all round on the 16s, 39psi all round on the 17s
 

moriarty

Active Member
Apr 6, 2015
98
14
Edinburgh
I use 16" winter wheels with 205/55R16 winter tyres on my 1.5 FR ST and on previous 1.4 ACT FR. I always notice that the car rides better on urban roads with the smaller wheels with deeper tyres side wall.
It will be time to change back to the standard 17' wheels in next couple of weeks and I know I will become even more aware of the atrocious roads around Edinburgh.
 

Glosphil

Active Member
Nov 10, 2004
416
180
Gloucestershire
My summer wheels/tyres were the standard 225/40-18 & winter were 225/45-17. Ride better on the latter but I think tyre type probably responsible as much as size.

Now on Michelin Crossclimate 2s 225/40-18 & ride as good as previous 17s.
 
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thespicemustflow

Active Member
Feb 24, 2024
62
36
Would you guys say its sensible to either, swap my 18s or 17s, or buy a set? worth the money?

A chap near me is selling the 'normal' FR 17s with tyres for £300....
 

SuperV8

Active Member
May 30, 2019
1,342
593
I'm not sure going from 18 to 17's will be night and day difference - like the 16's and comfy suspension.
The 17's are still classed as a 'sporty' tyre.
I used to change my previous Audi A4 tyres from winter 17's to summer 18's and never noticed a huge difference.

How many miles has your car done?
My car feels worse/more bumpy recently since my dampers have deteriorated. Planning on changing then when I get a spare weekend,
 
Last edited:

Jay5959

FR 184
Apr 26, 2020
500
257
Would you guys say its sensible to either, swap my 18s or 17s, or buy a set? worth the money?

A chap near me is selling the 'normal' FR 17s with tyres for £300....
I changed my 17s for 18s because 18s look better. There’s really not much in it at all comfort-wise. Save your money mate.
 
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Dec 29, 2023
5
0
I'll be interested to hear how you get on if you do swap wheels as I'm in exactly the same boat.

I bought my car (1.4ACT FR on 18's) just after Christmas and find the ride quality terrible. My previous car was a Golf Mk5 GTI which was pretty firm, but the FR is way worse. You feel every pea-sized ripple in the tarmac and pot holes send a shock through the entire chassis, especially at the back with the lower weight and torsion beam suspension.

The car is 6 yrs old with just 19k on the clock, so I doubt the suspension is worn and I've tried raising and lowering the tyre pressures, but it made no difference at all. Fitting Goodyear Asymmetrics made a big difference to the Golf, but if that doesn't work on the FR (it is currently on Yokohama BluEarth 'eco' tyres), I may well move it on.

Note to self: Do a proper road test before buying next time, y'idiot! :p
 

Mo_86

Active Member
Sep 25, 2023
105
33
UK
I went from 17s to 18s on my FR ST, there was only a slight difference going the other way, the suspension is pretty stiff so you'd have to get 16s with a 50 sidewall to have a noticeable difference compared to 18s.
 
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moriarty

Active Member
Apr 6, 2015
98
14
Edinburgh
The car is 6 yrs old with just 19k on the clock, so I doubt the suspension is worn and I've tried raising and lowering the tyre pressures, but it made no difference at all. Fitting Goodyear Asymmetrics made a big difference to the Golf, but if that doesn't work on the FR (it is currently on Yokohama BluEarth 'eco' tyres), I may well move it on.

Note to self: Do a proper road test before buying next time, y'idiot! :p
When I got a puncture on the last car the tyre place fitted Yokohamas, they were XL load with a stiffer side wall and I'm sure they were noisier too than the original Bridgestone.
Could be the tyre construction of the Yoko's plus the smaller side wall is what makes it worse than your GTi?
 

Glosphil

Active Member
Nov 10, 2004
416
180
Gloucestershire
Buy 2 or more Michelin tyres & you will receive up to £100 cash back direct from Michelin. Amount of cash back depends on number & size of the tyres.

Details on Michelin website.
 

G.P

Active Member
Sep 3, 2011
1,243
38
Worcestershire
Brand of tyre, touring tyre/sport tyre also make a difference to sidewall strength which changes ride/noise/feel..
 
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