Wheel size

Why, besides appearance, would I buy larger wheels for a new car when they are an option? In other words, why spend the money for 17 in. wheels instead of 16 in. wheels? Is it performance, comfort or …?

As the wheel increases in diameter the tire decreases in sidewall height. This has performance benefits that include sharper streering response, better steering feel and less sidewall flex during cornering. While people may prefer the actual look of larger wheels they carry actual advantages. However they also decrease ride comfort over bumps, the tires are more costly, and it makes it easier to damage a wheel on a pothole.

This is a case of “If you have to ask they’re not for you”. You sound like you just want transportation and could care less about performance, so get the standard wheels and drive happily.

Thanks for the great advice!

So that when you replace the tires, you can spend more for less rubber.

the tires are more costly

…and the wheels are far more costly. You’ll find that out when you damage one in a pothole or on a curb. Don’t forget that these are always expensive alloy wheels, not cheap stamped steel. Low profile tires (big wheels) are strictly a fashion statement. There are no advantages (and plenty of disadvantages) in normal driving.