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Wheel Sizes?

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Hi all,

I've been looking around the forums for sometime now with great interest and picking up a few pointers along the way.

I currently drive a 2.0 diesel auto mpv but because I've unfortunately developed a long term significant back problem my driving habits have changed a lot whereby now the majority of my journeys are short (often only a couple of miles or so).

This plays havoc with the diesel particulate filter even though I still do a 100 mile round trip every 2 weeks ( half the time I'm bunny hopping down the road .... really good for the back!) and so I need to change to a petrol engine with auto.

I started looking around at various cars a while back but was astonished at the poor mpg returns of petrol automatics ( at least on reasonable sized cars) and given that fuel costs can only only rise substantially in the long term, it becomes a major factor when choosing a car now (rather stating the obvious :) ).

I went to my local Toyota Dealership, initially to look at the Verso 1.8 CVT but ended up going for a drive in a Prius.

Undoubtedly the lower roofline (having been used to an MPV) did present quite a problem for me getting in and out and you can always find fault with any car .... trim quality etc. but I was incredibly impressed by the overall package and in particular the seemless way it drove and the ride comfort provided.

Despite the access problems, the Prius ticks so many other boxes that I have decided to get one .... although strangely, in general conversation the dealer was rather vague about delivery times!!

My problem now is which model to go for? I really don't need all the bells and whistles of the T Spirit or maybe even the T4 because cruise control for example wont get used.

But where I am a bit of a numpty on this sort of thing is the wheel / tyre sizes. The T3 has 15" alloys (195/65R15) and the others 17" alloys (215/45/R17) and although I know what the various measurements mean, what I don't know is how they equate in the real world of driving!

I'd greatly appreciate any thoughts, opinions and experience on the differences, particularly in terms of:

Ride comfort

Road grip

Noise

Wear

Thanks

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I've test driven both since I was considering the solar package and that only comes with 15" wheels...

According to your criteria the 15" is more comfortable, got the same levels of grip, just slightly less noisy, and wear well that really has nothing to do with the size but everything with the tyre you get and your driving style...

However whilst I really really wanted the solar package I couldn't because of the 15" wheels but then again your criteria don't state the look...15" wheels just don't look right on that car, I think it looks very very silly...And then there is the handling, I couldn't deal with the soapy handling the 15" wheels give don't like that at all....

So for me whilst it ticks all your boxes, I could never ever go for them....

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The 15" alloys will also be lighter and therefore return slightly better MPG if the driving style remains the same.

As for handling, if the 15" are too soft, at least you can add more air pressure into the tyres, unfortunately with the 17" you are pretty much stuck with a harsh ride as you can't really let more air out to go below the manufacturer's guidelines apparently unless you're a Toyota Dealer and use trainees to check the tyres :rolleyes:

I guess I am the only one who thinks that the 17" alloy wheels look ugly? I think in terms of looks they would look more at home on a steam driven traction engine:)

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That's steam driving traction engine will have the smallest wheels I've ever seen yahoo.gif

They only will be better in mpg if everthing else is the same...so when you order the excellent solar pack which only comes with 15" you cancel out the effect...

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It could be a toy traction engine, or scale up the wheels...it was more the proportion of rubber tyre to alloy that reminds me of a traction engine.

As a for sun roof, I think :giljotiini: would be best :balloon:

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Ah :-) So you like more rubber on a wheel then?

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I have the 15 inch wheels and find the comfort level of the car to be excellent. The handling isn't all that bad either for the type of car it is. I guess if you have a back problem then a more comfortable will have top of your list. You also get better mpg's with the 15 inch wheels and the tyres are cheaper too and will be more forgiving should you hit one of the many potholes out there.

I too was looking for a smooth automatic larger type car and wanted to avoid diesel due to dpf problems. That's one of the reasons I went for the Prius. I would add though, that the Prius does take a couple of miles to warm up before it starts to offer its best fuel economy, but can still offer good fuel economy in the warm up stage if driven carefully. I would also double check that the Prius offers good comfort considering your back issues as the Prius steering wheel adjustment isn't fantastic for everyone.

Ask a local dealer if you can test drive one for a day to see if it's the car for you.

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In my case, it has always been cars that have an adjustable lumber support that I've found become very uncomfortable if I sit in them for more than an hour. The Gen 2 does have padding that sticks into my side, but it is very squashy foam, and has been fine. I understand the Gen 3 has lumber support so if past experience is anything to show it wouldn't fit me :(

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In my case, it has always been cars that have an adjustable lumber support that I've found become very uncomfortable if I sit in them for more than an hour. The Gen 2 does have padding that sticks into my side, but it is very squashy foam, and has been fine. I understand the Gen 3 has lumber support so if past experience is anything to show it wouldn't fit me :(

Gen 3 has electrically adjustable lumber support so you can adjust it off if you don't like it.

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In answer to the OP, you are in the same situation I was, except mine is an intermittent Knee problem that makes pressing a clutch quite painful when it comes on.

I mainly do short journeys, my commute to work is only 3 miles and I had a Mk3 Ford Mondeo TDCi manual, which I traded for A Mk4 Mondeo TDCi Auto and went from 44mpg down to 30mpg, the short journeys were killing the economy (and probably the DPF). Looking round as you did I saw the Prius and it was exactly what I was looking for, an economical automatic petrol car. It tick all the boxes for me and I've never looked back.

I have the T-Spirit and the 17" alloys ride fine if you keep them at the manufacturers recommended pressures, the seats are comfortable and have a good range of adjustment, the only niggle is that the steering wheel doesn't pull out quite far enough for my liking although I can put up with it.

I'm currently on average 59mpg but I've only had the car since May so it has mainly been warmish weather, I expect the mpg will go down in the winter but hey it's still going to be better than any other petrol auto.

Take a test drive in both 15" wheeled T3 and the 17" T4 or Spirit to see if you like the ride. I don't think the 15" wheels look right because of the trims they put on they would look better without the trims but apparently it upsets the economy if you remove them.

Another (and slightly cheaper) alternative is the new Toyota Auris Hybrid, same drivetrain as the Prius but a smaller car.

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I don't see how adjusting it off would make any difference, as I've tried that in the previous cars that I've owned?

I came up with the hypothesis that seats with a lumber support mechanism, must lose the some foam padding that would have been there had it not had the lumber support. I've not tried a Gen 3, so who knows it could be different this time, some one might have actually designed a lumber support that works for me!

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I know what you mean about other cars, but in the Gen 3, by adjusting off the lumbar support (lump in the backrest), it retracts right back into the seat and there is plenty of padding in the Gen 3 seats so the seat feels exactly like a seat with no lumbar support (i.e the same as the passenger seat and SWBO's Gen 2 seat).

Also the height of the lumbar support is good for me, in other cars I've had (mainly Fords), the lumbar support was either too low and pushing my backside out or too high up the back of the seat and bending the middle of my spine.

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Good to know about the lumber support adjustment options. Sorry to the OP for veering off on a tangent, hopefully the info has been useful to some, ta.

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I don't think the 15" wheels look right because of the trims they put on they would look better without the trims but apparently it upsets the economy if you remove them.

Mine are removed are I am still getting 60mpg (in the warm). Prius chatters have done some testing and the difference in mpg is minimal. Tyre pressure has more of an effect.

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Thanks everybody for your comments .... much appreciated.

I have driven the Auris HSD and although the access was a bit easier than the Prius (slightly higher roofline), my overall opinion was that it was a bit too small for me, the boot in particular is significantly compromised by the Battery. With a back problem you also tend to notice every bump and thud and the ride is not very comfortable in my opinion ..... I think in very general terms, the longer the wheelbase, the more comfortable the ride.

I did drive the Prius at my local dealers and it was the T Spirit. I thought the ride was reasonable but my thinking was that the 15" wheels might be even more comfortable and thus an even better option, provided the handling and grip isn't noticeably compomised? Unfortunately, my dealer does not have a Prius with 15" available so it looks like I will have to go further afield to do a comparison.

As for the aesthetics of the 15" which have been commented on, I have had some fairly exotic cars in the past and have sort of moved on from that now and provided I don't look a complete plonka then I will be reasonably happy ...... anyway, I can always wear a hoodie ;)

The various comments on lumbar supports are intersting. I have driven cars where they are quite good but likewise, where they have been either too high or too low ....... that became particularly noticeable when manufacturers started fitting airbags in the seat sides. The main thing though is that we are all different shapes and sizes and implementing a 'one size fits all' approach is plainly wrong. The key is to try and keep the natural lordosis shape of the spine (the inward curve of the lower spine/lumbar region) and it is often the case that people who have a low back problem have a more flattened lordosis. Imho, manufacturers should build car seats that provide good support for the lumbar region without making them too firm or too prominent and providing adjustments further muddies the water. There are numerous and varied products on the market that can be bought for those that require additional support such as lumbar rolls of differing sizes.

Oooops, just realised I've been rambling ......

Anyway, thanks again everyone for your comments.

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In my opinion, the change of wheels from 16" for the Gen II to 17" for the T4 and T-Spirit is a retrograde step. The economy is worse (which seems an odd choice for the Prius) and the ride is less comfortable (but still way better than my earlier Honda Civic, with the same profile tyres). Very much a triumph of design over function.

I assume, not having tried one, that the 15" wheels are more comfortable still. I don't know what the roadholding trade-offs are, but I don't hear too many complaints here from T3 owners.

I'd have been far happier with decent looking 16" or 15" wheels on the T-Spirit.

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In my opinion, the change of wheels from 16" for the Gen II to 17" for the T4 and T-Spirit is a retrograde step. The economy is worse (which seems an odd choice for the Prius) and the ride is less comfortable (but still way better than my earlier Honda Civic, with the same profile tyres). Very much a triumph of design over function.

I assume, not having tried one, that the 15" wheels are more comfortable still. I don't know what the roadholding trade-offs are, but I don't hear too many complaints here from T3 owners.

I'd have been far happier with decent looking 16" or 15" wheels on the T-Spirit.

I guess that change had made it more available to a larger group in society, a group who do enjoy driving and like something looking nice. Upto the gen3 I was never ever interested purely because of the cheap car looks, that really did not appeal in downsizing to this level of car.

Anyway good there is choice.

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... but I don't hear too many complaints here from T3 owners.

No complaints here :thumbsup:

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