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Wheels+tires make all the difference?

I have a question. I recently purchased my first new vehicle, a Honda Fit Sport, after driving an 89 Toyota Camry for the last six years. I was planning on saving some money by getting a base model Fit after test driving the Fit Sport and being blown away by it’s tight steering, thinking it would be the same. But sadly, it wasn’t; the base didn’t have the smooth and precise handling of the Sport. There was a lot more play in the steering.

The only major difference between the Sport and the Base on the specsheet seemed to be 15" alloy wheels + tires vs. 14" steel wheels + tires. Would that difference alone account for the noticably different handling?


The Sport’s tires are probably wider and have a lower profile thereby providing more steering response. The Sport model could have some suspension tweaks too that are not on the standard model.

The Sport has tires that are 20mm wider and are of a lower profile , and are of a higher speed rating. That is probably the only difference.

That’s often the major difference with a handling package. You can do the same thing, if you have the $$.

The wheels and tyres are likely the biggest, but not only, difference. Keep in mind that those performance wheel/tyre packages are prone to damage if you live in a pothole area, I would certainly avoid them.

Simply upgrade your rims/tires and you will get that difference. It may be possible to get high performance or ultra high performance tires for your 14" rims.

I forgot to mention modifying the size slightly to 185/60/14 will open you up to more performance choices (Bridgestone RE960 Pole Position) and give you slightly less profile which translates to better handling typically all things being equal.

Thanks for the responses. I didn’t know that tires + wheels could possibly make that much of a difference. I guess it makes sense, though, because they are the only parts of the car that effect ground contact the most.

I’ll keep that fact in mind when I have to replace my tires + wheels. I sadly live in an area with a lot of potholes, hopefully they will still last a while.

Wish I had posted this earlier.

I’d take Andrew’s advice - go to and see if there are high-performance tires in your 14" size. That way you don’t compromise the pothole-handling!

I already did a quick run though on their site. There is maybe 1 tire that’s halfway decent all around for the all seasons for all 3 sizes for the Fit(14, 15 and 16"). You’ll hafta go aftermarket and get 17 inch to get any decent all season like the 960 pole position or General Altimax HP