It’s been a few years since I’ve purchased a newer car. I like to wear my old one out before having to buy another. Anyway, I just purchased an '07 Honda Accord EXL. It has 17" wheels with 50 series tires. Why the move toward low profile tires for the newer cars? 70 and 60 series tires performed well in the past. Is there really a technical advantage to this move, or is this just a ploy by the tire and wheel manufacturers to scam the public and make more money?
While there’s been a slow move for decades to lower profile tires, it really took off over the last 10 years or so, when they became a fashion statement. They do offer a improvement in handling to some degree, at the expense (sorry) of ride, weight, and cost. 50 series aren’t too bad, get below that and more frequent rim damage is also a problem. There was a good article recently in Car and Driver comparing 15/16/17/18/19" rims on a VW Golf:
I believe on many cars the major reason is simply styling. The second reason is more cars use better performing brakes with larger disc rotors that need larger wheels to accommodate. 70 & 60 series tires do not always fit in wheel wells with the larger rims.
There is no scamming by tire or wheel makers as the car maker chooses the tire and rims sizes.
Lastly you as a consumer have a choice. They make a lower level Accord in 2007 with 15" rims I believe. They may fit on your car if you choose.
I have a the same year S E model with a 6 cylinder. It has the same size tires and rims as yours. The steering response and handling are quicker along with being faster.
I never understood why Honda put such a suspensions,tires,and wheels in a “family” car.
On dry roads, you get better traction and feel. On wet roads, … it depends. On snow they give very poor traction. They also tend to give poor life and cost more. If you hit a good pothole etc, you will find out that they are not very durable.
There is also the fact that larger diameter rims allow for bigger brakes. With the banning of asbestos, the bigger brakes are needed. That doesn’t explain all of it, but it seems to have started the movement.
There may be a more subtle reason in addition to styling and the allowance for bigger brakes. Constantly creeping CAFE requirements. Keeping rotating mass down tweaks a bit more mileage out of the car.
I suspect that a wheel/tire combination with a given width and rotating circumference will typically be lighter using a larger rim and lower aspect ratio combination, assuming the same style rim.