Model Year 2018 and Newer Pros and Cons of smaller wheels

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Thread: Pros and Cons of smaller wheels

  1. #1
    Member Subie_Joe's Avatar
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    Pros and Cons of smaller wheels

    So i said i wouldn't do wheels and tires till my factory tires needed to be replaced. i rotated them last night and realized ill probably need new tires before winter. With that said i have no intentions on lifting but would kind of like to go more aggressive. Was thinking some 15's and some p215/75/15 toyo at's. Whats the pros and cons to running 15's and this tire size? Thanks

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  3. #2
    Senior Member troutbum's Avatar
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    Greetings

    No problem whatsoever, Keep in Mind the OE rolling diameter, make sure to keep close to this size (speedo calibration, and to prevent wheel well rubbing issues)

    Plenty of threads under "Wheels and Tires" lots of photo's of what styles of rims, tires owners are installing, including yours truly (going with 16" Sparco Terra's and Nokian Rotiiva A/T 215-70-16) matte black finish for Tigger

    Please Post pics so all can enjoy

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Cutlass's Avatar
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    The pros of a smaller rim diameter are taller sidewalls, which absorb bumps better. So they tend to ride more comfortably and handle bumps better. They can also take a tire which is better for more aggressive offroading conditions. As the tire has more give to it, and so can take larger rocks. Smaller rims also weigh less, so you can lower the total of what is called 'unsprung weight', which also helps with ride comfort. And might possibly have a, trivial, improvement in fuel economy and acceleration, depending on tires chosen.

    The pros of a larger rim is that a shorter sidewall is better for hard cornering and handling, and it makes room for larger brake equipment.

    So the way more people use the Crosstrek, a smaller wheel makes more sense. The advantages to a larger wheel are mostly styling, when not on a fairly serious sports car.
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    Newbie owner here, and I had I had a similar question (sorry if it is a stupid one)...any clearance concerns going with a 15" wheel? Is there enough room for calipers, etc? I have a 2016 Limited.

    Considering changing summer wheels/tires from the stock 225/55/R17 to a 215/70/R15. The speedometer calc for this change is pretty close (+0.32mph at 80mph).

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass View Post
    The pros of a smaller rim diameter are taller sidewalls, which absorb bumps better. So they tend to ride more comfortably and handle bumps better. They can also take a tire which is better for more aggressive offroading conditions. As the tire has more give to it, and so can take larger rocks. Smaller rims also weigh less, so you can lower the total of what is called 'unsprung weight', which also helps with ride comfort. And might possibly have a, trivial, improvement in fuel economy and acceleration, depending on tires chosen.

    The pros of a larger rim is that a shorter sidewall is better for hard cornering and handling, and it makes room for larger brake equipment.

    So the way more people use the Crosstrek, a smaller wheel makes more sense. The advantages to a larger wheel are mostly styling, when not on a fairly serious sports car.
    I went with 16" wheels. the disadvantages I see are you lose a little firmness in handling but you quickly adjust to it. also I lost about 1 mpg. the advantages for me: more robust tires that're much better off road and more plush always. also better in the snow. there's a better selection of tires at 16" too. another huge positive is a 2-pound weight reduction per corner.

    my goals were: lighter weight, larger sidewalls, better and more comfortable offroad, OEM spec so no lift, no aftermarket mud flaps and able to use OEM spare.

    even with my current set-up I tore out my front drivers side wheel well mud guard in the deep snow so I can imagine with tighter tolerances you'd be at risk for more damage if you actually offroad in your crosstrek.

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by djjackson13 View Post
    Newbie owner here, and I had I had a similar question (sorry if it is a stupid one)...any clearance concerns going with a 15" wheel? Is there enough room for calipers, etc? I have a 2016 Limited.

    Considering changing summer wheels/tires from the stock 225/55/R17 to a 215/70/R15. The speedometer calc for this change is pretty close (+0.32mph at 80mph).
    i knew i wanted more sidewall and i'm glad i chose 16" over 15". why do you prefer 15"? i had bottomed out the 17s a few times but never the 16s.

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    I'm not married to 15's, just considering the options. Some of the other threads I looked at seemed to favor 15's for some reason. I know I want a taller sidewall and don't want to throw off the speedo/odo any more than I have to. The combo quoted above seemed pretty close to stock from that perspective. I will do some calcs with a 16" wheel. Also, the Black Rhino Boxer wheels I was looking at only come in 15, 17, or 18. Thanks for the reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djjackson13 View Post
    I'm not married to 15's, just considering the options. Some of the other threads I looked at seemed to favor 15's for some reason. I know I want a taller sidewall and don't want to throw off the speedo/odo any more than I have to. The combo quoted above seemed pretty close to stock from that perspective. I will do some calcs with a 16" wheel. Also, the Black Rhino Boxer wheels I was looking at only come in 15, 17, or 18. Thanks for the reply.
    they want 15s because they want to run method wheels and oversized KO2s.

  11. #9
    Senior Member troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djjackson13 View Post
    I'm not married to 15's, just considering the options. Some of the other threads I looked at seemed to favor 15's for some reason. I know I want a taller sidewall and don't want to throw off the speedo/odo any more than I have to. The combo quoted above seemed pretty close to stock from that perspective. I will do some calcs with a 16" wheel. Also, the Black Rhino Boxer wheels I was looking at only come in 15, 17, or 18. Thanks for the reply.
    Agree with erader

    Plenty more tire options with 16" rims( over 15") Plenty of styles to choose from, it depends on what-where you are going to be doing the majority of your driving, plenty of A/T brands out there that measure up to what 99.9 % are using the Crosstrek for... Adding the possibility of 16" IMHO adds More Spice to the the Mix

    Pics please once you have decided and installed your new booties
    “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand--and melting like a snowflake...”
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  12. #10
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    In addition to what Cutlass said above, two more pros of smaller wheels:
    1. Tires cost less, even though you are buying more rubber
    2. DIY tire rotations are easier on the back

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