I’m looking at different automakers websites on the internet. I notice the base model always comes with steel wheels (rims), and they always offer an upgrade to alloy wheels (usually an inch or 2 larger as well). My understanding is that the steel wheels are basically functionally better i.e. last longer, more durable for the long haul; and the alloy wheels are more prone to damage if you hit a big pothole, also more prone to pitting from road salt in the winter, but they “look nicer”. Is my understanding correct, or am I missing something? Is that the reason why people pay $700 - $1,500 more to get alloy wheels, just because they “look nicer”? Is there any logical reason for a cheapskate like me to pay extra for alloy wheels?
And WHY are wheels in general getting larger? Used to be almost all cars and light trucks had either 13", 14", or 15" wheels. Even my full size '92 Chevy pickup truck had 15" wheels. (Excepting the early Metros and the 88 - 93 Festivas which had 12" wheels). Nowadays even the smallest cars have 14" wheels with the option for 15" or even 16" alloys, and the big pickups seem to have 17" and 18" wheels and even larger. Is there a legitimate reason for the wheels getting larger, or is it a grand conspiracy to force everyone to buy larger (i.e. more expensive) tires? (Can you tell, I don’t trust the automakers propaganda)
Forgive me if this topic has already been covered ad nauseum and I somehow missed it.