Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Ridiculous OEM Wheel Size?

H3 Wooden Wheels

Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena California is the primary route of the venerable New Years event known as the Rose Parade. That route, and the blocks even farther east along the boulevard were once peppered with used car lots. I have a friend who grew up in the area in the ’60s and ’70s and he used to reminisce about these lots. A huge fan of British steel he said that they were at that time full of Jag XKs – 120s, 140s and 150s – sleek cats that at the time he said were just quirky old cars that were expensive to keep up, and one of the issues that drove that was their large for the time wheel and tire size.

Those sixteen inch tires were a lot more expensive than the 14″ jobs most American cars of the time used, and as such, so said my bud, the Jags ended up cluttering up Colorado Blvd’s numerous used car lots. I wonder about that today because while standard wheel sizes have grown significantly – the average is now 16 or 17-inches – there are a number of cars and trucks that offer as optional equipment substantially bigger wheels and meats.

Considering those wheel sizes, both small and large, what factory rims do you think are the most ridiculous? I mean, which are the ones that are either far too large, or are so small they get lost in the wheel wells? What car or truck do you think has the most ridiculous OEM wheel size?  

Image source: Motor Trend

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74 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Ridiculous OEM Wheel Size?”

  1. Devin Avatar

    With the disclaimer that I have yet to see one in person, with the base wheels the new Corolla sort of looks like it's on the tiny casters of a desk chair.
    <img src="http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/wp-content/uploads//2013/06/2014-Toyota-Corolla-06.png"&gt;

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Is that a Zanax-spec Kia Forte?

    2. skitter Avatar

      I'd say it's the first new car in a long time that looks… normal, instead of trying to be a disproportionate happy-meals toy.

      1. Devin Avatar

        There's some stuff that's new that looks normal with smaller wheels – the Hyundai Accent looks fine with 14" I'd argue – but a combination of a high beltline and massive openings for the wheels Toyota actually wanted to put on this thing makes the smaller options look comically small to me.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          In Norway, the same car is called "Auris" and comes with 17'' wheels.
          <imgs src="http://www.technologicvehicles.com/Content/news/2157/New_Toyota_Auris_Hybrid%20(2).jpg" width="600">

  2. P161911 Avatar

    GM full size trucks and SUVs. Even the base Work Truck has 17" wheels, which end up making the truck 3-4" taller than models from even 7 or 8 years ago. I have seriously considered retrofitting 16" or even 15" wheels on my Silverado, just to lower it a few inches. 4WD Escalades can come with 22" wheels, you can even get 20" wheels on a 4X4 Chevy pick-up. 20" wheels on a vehicle that is SUPPOSED to be taken off road. It is a good time to be in the wheel straightening business.

    1. GTXcellent Avatar

      To be fair though, the Dodge I used to have had 20" rims and I never had any issues with them – and I needed to use 4 low more than once. From deep rutted muddy logging roads, and glorified cattle trails that passed as roads to blazing trails on frozen lakes going ice fishing, never a problem with the wheels. Tires are a different story though, and a 20" rubber band tire with highway tread is less than ideal when the proverbial sh*t gets deep.

      1. Alff Avatar

        I think low profile tires should be reserved for sporting cars that will benefit from reduced sidewall flex. Trucks that see offroad use ought to go the opposite direction, particularly those that see slick rocky terrain where you want the ability to reduce tire pressure. The dealer's aftermarket guy tried to upsell me those 20" rims for my Dodge. It was a very short conversation.
        Relevant to today's question, the proportions of the Ram's fenders and suspension actually make it look undertired with OEM 17 inchers. Replacing them with a set of gnarly Treadwright retreads dramatically improved the appearance.

    2. pj134 Avatar

      Check the gap between your caliper and wheel before you order. They have gotten rather enormous lately and I think that has been necessitating the larger wheels. Plus, making one 17" base wheel that can be used on a multitude of trucks is cheaper than making multiple sizes, so the diesel might have made your 17's the most prudent choice for them.

  3. Maymar Avatar

    V6 Toyota Venzas come stock with 20"s. I'm just putting that out there. A car that's mostly designed to get empty nesters to and from the golf course does not need a compromised ride in the name of handling, something so ugly doesn't need stylish wheels, and a Toyota doesn't need such an expensive consumable.
    On top of that, a Lexus RX350 (keep in mind, pretty much exactly the same thing, but with an extra inch of ground clearance and slathered in leather) only has 18"s. Even the F-Sport, for whatever mythical unicorn buyer actually wants an F-Sport crossover, only has 19"s. And yet the Venza (expressly designed for the stock couples in Cialis commericals) has bigger wheels.

    1. Alff Avatar

      You hit the nail on the proverbial head with the Cialis comment. Those rims are 20" of compensation.

    2. Kris_01 Avatar

      Even the base spec Venza has 19s.
      FYI, apparently Toyota doesn't like people going to a 16 or 17 for steel wheel/snow tire combos with Venzas. When the Venza first came out, lots of people got tall 16s for snow tire duty – and Toyota made us take them all off in the name of warranty coverage.

  4. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I used to think that the tires on the original VW Beetle were way too tall, not to mention too narrow. Especially for a compact car. Now, it looks like every manufacturer thinks it's clowntime.

  5. Alcology Avatar

    17 and up.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I've got 17" on my Legacy GT and am giving serious consideration to downsizing in the name of ride quality and tire life.

      1. Alcology Avatar

        What's the ride like? I have a 97 legacy with 14" wheels and I get a generally smooth ride over most terrain unless it's pothole central. I was thinking of going to 15" so I can fit some better calipers in the front but so far I haven't felt the need as stopping power is definitely there.

        1. Alff Avatar

          It's a bit harsh, but liveable. The real downsides are tramlining and, on cold mornings, the tires feel like they're square for the first couple of miles on the highway. The rims are a bit more rash prone (especially when my wife drives) and the tires (45 series) are pricier. I can't believe the spec-B came with 18" 35 series. Our midwestern potholes would absolutely tear them up.

          1. Alcology Avatar

            Sheesh, 18" is pretty huge. None of that sounds particularly fun.

  6. Number_Six Avatar

    Anything over 17 is a lie and a conspiracy between auto makers and tire manufacturers to bleed us on replacement cost.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      A quote from one of the guys at my favorite tire shop: "The only reason you need anything larger than 17s is if you have huge brakes and need to clear the rotors."

      1. TurboBrick Avatar

        That's it, turn off the lights, the truth has been spoken.

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    On with the 17" and up band. Seriously, anything larger is obscene.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      It's not the size, it's how you use it. 24's look great in the context of a Royale.
      <img src="http://i477.photobucket.com/albums/rr133/fishhead11/3Schlumpf2Fritz-Schlumpf-with-Buggati-Type-41-Coupe-Napolean-Royale-620×416.jpg&quot; width=500>

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        True. I guess relative to sidewalls, this works great.

  8. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

    The new Golf R, granted these are probably optional, but something that looks like 19" on a Golf is way too much. There's almost no sidewall there.
    <img src="http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18xlz15dl82hbjpg/ku-bigpic.jpg&quot; width="600" height="350">

    1. Number_Six Avatar

      But it'll give that awesome flinty clompy ride we all covet so much! Plus bent rims!

  9. mkep819 Avatar

    Anyone else think that the size of the wheels/tires are proportionally opposite to manhood size? Compensate much?

  10. JayP2112 Avatar

    The rule is- as big a wheel that will cover the brakes.
    When I upgraded my 2005 brakes to 2012 spec, the base 17" wheels wouldn't work. Looked into 19" wheels, but the tires are in that weird zone where the only tires are OEM or $$$. Settled for another set of 18's.
    What was the question?

    1. Alcology Avatar

      What's the story with the brakes that clamp the whole disc? Those seem like they would shrink wheel size back to a reasonable diameter.

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        I haven't seen those in a while. You'd think that would use a smaller disk- but given a 14" rotor, they'll use every square inch.
        Audi came out with some new brakes in the early 90's. Wanting more brake but still using the smaller wheels…
        UFO Brakes.
        <img src="http://ranwhenparkeddotnet.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/dsc00679.jpg?w=300&quot; width="300">
        Fail.
        Warped easily, replacement parts don't exist.

    2. Andy Avatar

      I agree. I had a g35 with the sport package 19" wheels… I will never get a car with 19" wheels again; the cost of tires is ridiculous. Even the tires for 20" wheels were cheaper.

  11. datsunofmine Avatar

    Is this the time and place to bitch about trying to get tires in anything under 15"? I don't want my old school jap cars looking like donks with 16's and up, and i want to be able to run something wider than a 185 or so…

  12. dukeisduke Avatar

    Anything over 17s on a pickup is absolutely ridiculous. Also, the larger the rim diameter, the more expensive the tires.

  13. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    <img src="http://www.electricscooterparts.com/images/RGKmed.jpg"&gt;
    Ridiculously small wheels, even by go-kart standards.
    <img src="http://www.dvice.com/sites/dvice/files/images/Chariot-Skates-by-Michael-Jenkins.jpg&quot; width="450">
    And I think this one can be safely added without further explanation.

  14. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Okay, in a more serious automotive vein, this always looked wrong to me.
    <img src="https://sphotos-a-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/p480x480/1044864_10153026534685271_1212016035_n.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      And, to a lesser extent:
      <img src="http://www.davesdiscountautoparts.com/wimages/Festiva.jpg"&gt;
      EDIT: Not to suggest I am making fun of the Fiesta. I had a '93 LX and it was a helluva good car.

      1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

        I had a turbo Festiva for a while, and it was magical how much better it looked on some 15's. I had the Lancer OZ Rally edition 15x7s on there with some 205's, and the change was unbelieveable. They look awful and cheap on the stock 12's (yes, you read that right. 12's). It looked a lot better on the 14" steelies I ran for a little bit. But then the change to the 15's made that thing look like a proper little hot hatch. It's a surprisingly great looking little car with the proper stance.

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          While screwing around, avoiding work- found this while searching for small box's. Now I'll spend all day avoiding work and looking for small hatches.
          <img src="http://www.designfactoryart.com/images/design_project_5a.jpg&quot; width="300">
          Found from http://www.designfactoryart.com/
          Which also has this!
          <img src="http://www.designfactoryart.com/images/splash4.jpg&quot; width="300">

      2. dukeisduke Avatar

        The Festivas were good cars. Plenty of Mazda DNA in them, and great rat racers.

    2. MVEilenstein Avatar

      Yes, but on what other car could you change a tire and put it in the front seat?

  15. Sjalabais Avatar

    Imho 17'' wheels are way too big. They are used on compacts like the Auris, too, and eat up valuable interior space. Huge expensive wheels scraped up curbside and low profile tires making the ride less enjoyable are consequences. Then there are the garage guys who say that 17'' tires will be cheap, since everyone uses them. Still, 14'' were cheaper, when everyone used them.
    That said, seeing myself as a knight of rationality and efficiency, things can be taken too far, too. I still almost throw up everytime I see one of the most rational utilizers of interior space ever made. Rolling on tiny wheels, obviously:
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/Suzuki_Wagonr_2003.jpg&quot; width="600">

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        You win. =8^)

  16. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Every once in a while, ridiculous is also exactly correct.
    <img src="http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/sub-g1-three-wheel-roadster_100214897_m.jpg"&gt;

    1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar

      Ah, but motor-sickle wheels be different, yo.

  17. LTDScott Avatar

    I think the Venza as mentioned above is probably the best answer, and add me to the "Hate bigger than 17" wheels" club.
    Unfortunately my Mazdaspeed3 came with 18" wheels stock, which I was not happy about when I needed new tires. I seriously considered getting some 17s instead, but the cost of new tires AND wheels was more than just sucking it up and buying a set of new 18" tires.

  18. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Alright then, time for a new standard: 13 inch wheels, aspect ratio of 90, and inboard disc brakes.

  19. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/2009_Ford_Edge_Sport_NY.jpg&quot; width="600">
    The Ford Edge Sport and it's ridiculous 22s. Sorry, but anything over 18" on a midsize CUV is stupid looking. It's a real shame too, because they're really good looking wheels, just a few inches too big in diameter.

    1. Number_Six Avatar

      Every time I see one of these clown cars on the road I do a double-take. Like, what the hell are those even for???

    2. BobWellington Avatar

      This is the exact car I thought of when I saw this thread. They are nice looking wheels, but definitely too big. Though it does help that the Edge kind of looks fat.

  20. GTXcellent Avatar

    I don't necessarily agree with the Hooniversal dislike of wheels bigger than 17 inches. Most cars today have huge wheel well openings and to me, do not look right with a smaller wheel – (I also personally do not like a huge pizza cutter wheel either). I think it all comes down to the vehicle in question. The new Challengers look great with 18"s and even the 20"s on the SRTs, Toyota Venzas, not so much. I personally prefer the 18" rims on my F-150 than the stock 17"s. All that being said, what I hate with a passion, is '60s, '70s and early 80's classics on anything bigger than a 15" rim. Just remember – beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Well, why do they have big wheel openings?

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        touché – although, compare the size and bulk of anything made today – say a 2013 Accord to the size and bulk of a 1988 Accord. There's so much more sheet-metal on the current car, that styling wise it would look really clownish with 185 series 14" tires and wheels.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Agreed. I'm a bit in pain about the new Mazda 6 here: It is imho one of the most beautiful cars designed lately, and it comes – and needs – its huge wheels.
          <img src="http://bilde.dinside.no/pr%F8vekj%F8rt+nye+mazda+6+.jpg?o=4543002&w=&h=&ee=1350244929&quot; width="600">
          The same goes for the pleasantly designed Suzuki Kizashi:
          <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SxOmt5UrK28/TnyGqoSvjDI/AAAAAAAAAsY/yzSQdBDEfiQ/s320/2011-Suzuki-Kizashi-Sport-AWD-Review-4-4e28d48fd8701.jpg&quot; width="600">
          That said, cars managed to be beautiful, spacious and well-made also before wheels sizes exploded. I'd vote to apply more mind-wiggleroom.

    2. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      I have to agree with this. My 2006 Mustang GT looks terrible with anything less than an 18 on it just because the wheel wells are HUGE. I run a 275/40/18 on the back, hardly a small tire, and it still looks kind of lost in there. Pretty much all the modern pony cars look good on 20s. Like you said, the Challenger looks really good on 20s, as does the Camaro. Either looks faintly ridiculous on 17's. I wish they'd back off this trend, so 17s would look normal again.

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        My '05 had the 17" silver Torque Thrust wheels and with the stock 55 series tires, it looked pretty good. Filled the wheel wells up with that fat tire. The 255/45/18s fill the same space.
        What wheels are you using with the 275s?
        Tirerack has a sale on Hankook 18's but 235 was about all that was left. I didn't want to go that small.
        The Camaro race cars- they look like they're on stilts with the low profile slicks. Enough space in the wheel well to take a nap.
        <img src="http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/news/chevrolet-camaro-factory-race-car-to-be-auctioned-next-month-photo-gallery-63984-7.jpg&quot; width="400">

        1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

          The problem with the 17's on the Mustang is if you want any width you can't get any height. The second you pass 245 in width it gets impossible to find something that isn't less than 26" tall or more than 28". I wish they made something like a 305/40/17, but no one seems to make anything like that. And if you want to run any of the 14" brake kits (I had the Steeda kit), 18's are the minimum.
          I'm running Nismo LMGT4s, 18×9.5 all around. Had them left over from a 240SX project, and besides having to get the center bore expanded slightly, they fit PERFECTLY. And 18 lbs a wheel for a 18×9.5 isn't too shabby either. I've been running 265/40/18 Kumho Ecsta LE Sports on the front and 275/40/18 Nitto NT555's on the back. Seems to be a good combo for street duty.
          And lol, that's the exact car I was thinking about when I was saying that 5th gen Camaros look terrible on 18's. Only time I've ever seen Fikse FM5S wheels look bad.

  21. Kris_01 Avatar

    My 2000 Focus wagon came stock with 185/65R14s. Stepping to a 185/65R15 made a big difference in handling and road feel – in other words, for the better. My '03 Focus ZTW came stock with 205/50R16s, and I think that's about as far as I'd want to go. I think some of the recent year Foci came with 17s, but that'd be overkill.
    Still – the Focus was the best handling car of its type when it first rolled out and is still pretty competent today.

    1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar

      My -03 Focus wagon currently has the stock 15" wheels with GY NCT5 tyres(195/55 iirc), and it still works well enough.. Though the outside front tyre does scream the entire time I take a corner at speed, which is sort of fun on a 270° on ramp. At least I know I'm going exactly as fast as humanly possible. So about 10kph over on tighter ramps.
      I had 17" Superleggeras(215/40) and 18" Ultraleggeras(215/35) on it and didn't have any problems, except 800€ for a good set of tyres for the 18" wheels. Even a few cops complimented the wheels on routine traffic stops..Anyway I grew up and sold those and put the stock wheels and suspension back. I would also say 16" is the sweet spot for the Mk1 Focus.
      The most recent Focus on 16" wheels feels much, much floppier and more understeery. Some very sticky 16" tyres or 17" wheels minimum if I bought one of them. The steering also lacks feel and the cabin is cramped but that's a different matter..

  22. I_Borgward Avatar

    For me it was the factory 16.5" rims on one of my old Econolines. I swapped them out for a pristine set of 16" factory steelies, take-offs from someone's pickup… I love it when what I want is unfashionable and cheap!
    Humungo rims and steamroller tires on anything but a competition car or a serious off-roader seem quite silly to me. Higher unsprung weight, lower gas mileage, crappier ride, higher replacement cost… what's the draw?

  23. K5ING Avatar

    The Tesla Model S P85 comes with 21" wheels as stock. I'd prefer the 19" rims, however.
    <img src="http://autoweek.com/storyimage/CW/20130513/CARNEWS/130519937/AR/0/2013-Tesla-Model-S_1.jpg&quot; width="600">

  24. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar

    The 17" staggered wheels on my '05 STS are the largest I ever want, and while I was looking for one with the more performance-oriented 1SG package, which came with larger Brembos and 18" wheels, I'm quite glad I went this route.
    Even with semi-tall sidewalls, which I NEVER thought I'd say about 40 & 35 series tires, I've cringed a couple of times after spotting large holes in the road a second too late.
    Have yet to bend one…which wasn't 100% my fault…but I'm surprised.
    The 16" wheels on my wife's '02 RX300 AWD wear the OEM-sized BFG A/T's quite well…and it does go off-road occasionally, so it's nice to know we're unlikely to kill a tire doing what any rental car has likely done.
    All automobiles made between the years 1947 and 1995 should have a tire size between 14" and 17", with exceptions, of course. However, your 1967 Riviera on 22" wheels looks positively fucktarded, yuh idjit moron.
    Sorry for the language…that donk crap pisses me off to no end.

  25. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar

    Most modern cars are just designed to look good with 18"+ wheels. Sticking 15" wheels on the just looks stupid. 16" wheels are pretty much required to clear the brakes on a D-segment or larger car anyway.

  26. marmer01 Avatar

    We just bought new tires for our daughter's bone stock '93 Camry wagon and the local Goodyear shop was scratching their heads trying to find a matching set of 14's. I think they had to scrounge all over Houston, or maybe they had one in the back that was mis-labeled, or something. I thought it would be no big deal and it turned out to be kind of an issue.

  27. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I think, when we all agree that anything bigger than 17inches is pure folly, but that todays cars have massive wheelwells and thus necessitate enormo-rimz; what we mean is all cars built after 1999 are rubbish.
    Hoopties for the win.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      It takes that whole 57" wheel just to clear the planetary gear reduction in the hub.
      In smaller wheel loaders, 25" is the norm:
      <img src="http://www.casece.com/en_us/Gallery/Photo/WL_921F/WL_FSeries_921F_Photo_5_500x333.jpg"/&gt;

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