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17" vs 18" alloys and impact on MPG?


ArkSez
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I'm in the process of finalising  Excel trim specs as I want to buy a 1.8 Corolla to maximise MPG etc etc... but I'm in two thoughts about its bigger 18" wheels which I believe will impact the fuel economy especially in town driving where you have more mass to rotate on stop-go traffic. I've read some feedback of owners here going from 16 to 17 impacting their MPG.

Should I go down to the Design spec that has options for 17" wheels (I'm going for the black rather than the default machined one)? 

It's making the choice hard because the 2021 Design trim has upped its game with better materials for the interior door card and seats as well as having a chrome finish on the door windows. The only thing I would lose is those great looking 18", satin chrome on the bumper, and better headlights.... Why can't Toyota offer 17" for the Excel trim? That's really puzzling me!

 

 

 

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Yeah, that's something that I've always been complaining to Toyota GB about - They say they pass the feedback on to their product team but nothing ever comes of it.

Most recently, I changed the rims on my new Mk4 to 15" rims, (With some help from PartsKing because they only go down to 16" rims in this country and my dealers apparently couldn't get specs or part numbers for 15"s!).

I would have even been fine with 16"'s on the Mk4, but again no option for it - One dealer said they could do it as an aftermarket option, but not on the car delivery as it's not homologated; The kicker was they wanted nearly £2000, when the change from 16's to 17's, which *is* available as an option, is £650 - How does that make sense?! And I would have been punished by insurance for the change too as a lot of the count that as a chargeable modification.

In the end went even lower, to 15"'s and steel because it was a lot cheaper, and because most insurance companies don't have anything on their system for smaller steel rims so they can't charge you more! :laugh:

It's definitely made the ride a lot quieter and less punishing on my spine, especially in the pothole-ridden hellscape that I normally drive through. It also seemed to gave me a couple mpg improvement, but I hadn't done enough miles for that to be a clear difference. Also, after I refuelled last week for the first time on E10-marked pumps, my average mpg seems to have gone down again back to what it was on the 17's so hard to say!

 

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I have an excel with the 18'' wheels. Admittedly I have only had it 2.5 months and not a rapid driver (within the speed limits) but I always get, according to the car computer, low to mid 70 mpg.

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... wheels apart, if you go for the Design you will get / have the option of a spare wheel!

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18” wheels are only head turner, no other benefit from those. Ride quality is worse, road noise and vibrations are more present, tyres are more expensive to replace plus they get kerb super easy and you can easily cut side walls. Best 17” or even 16”, Toyota has some beautiful wheels options as spare parts and not too expensive. Buy excel and change immediately the wheels to 17” by yourself but buy original Toyota. You may need to talk your insurance too. 

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35 minutes ago, TonyHSD said:

Buy excel and change immediately the wheels to 17” by yourself but buy original Toyota. You may need to talk your insurance too. 

Bought after the car has been delivered will mean that the warranty will be the standard Toyota parts/accessory warranty of 12 months. The insurer will want to know about the change in wheels as it is a divergence from standard specification, and they may charge additionally as a modification. Check first.

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Funnily enough, and just to confuse things further, I was talking to someone and they reckon that bigger rims will give better mpg for motorway cruising while smaller rims do better for city driving :wacko:

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3 hours ago, TonyHSD said:

 plus they get kerb super easy and you can easily cut side walls.

Sadly I can already confirm this and no, I didn't take out the optional wheel / tyre insurance.

I can also confirm the scentiments of someone else, sorry I cannot remember who, that the leather seats get a tad hot in this weather!

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I’d love the excel 18s on mine - happy to swap some nearly new mint condition design 17s for your excel 18s! 😃

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I test drove the 2.0 GR today and damn those 18's make the ride pretty harsh and the wider tyres really do make the road noise louder. They look great but I don't think I can live with that harshness. I completely forgot about the MPG worries and ended up worrying about having to live with the harsher unforgiving ride. Perhaps if I was 10 years younger, my younger self would have jumped on aesthetics vs function. I managed to get mid 50's mpg on a 20 minute driver on a motorway section, 40mph, and a bit of traffic which I think was quite impressive... but having seen mid high 60's on a 1.8 for a similar route, I think it will suit me better.. given that there aren't many hills where I live anyway.

Back on the topic of wheels.... I think I'm going to downgrade to the Dynamic (not so bothered about the satin trim, but losing the projector headlight is making me nervous) and spend the extra savings on getting the red paint and black 17" alloys which I hope will look good in real life as I haven't seen this spec'd in any used cars/show cars that I have been browsing so far.

 603880841_Designblack.thumb.PNG.a6bbae981aa7049e024281c7bfc49f70.PNG

What a shame Toyota, the entire 17" alloy range should be an accessible option for the Excel trim.

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8 hours ago, ArkSez said:

What a shame Toyota, the entire 17" alloy range should be an accessible option for the Excel trim.

Especially as 17s are standard on the TS. 

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15 hours ago, Cyker said:

Funnily enough, and just to confuse things further, I was talking to someone and they reckon that bigger rims will give better mpg for motorway cruising while smaller rims do better for city driving :wacko:

That will depend on tyre size, not rim size.

A tyre with a bigger rolling radius than OE gives better MPG, at the expense of acceleration, and will of course affect the gear ratios, which in turn affects the MPG.

I went from 205/45/17, to 225/40/18, regretted it immediately, and then bought 225/35/18 within a few days. After a couple of years, went back to 17's..lesson learnt.

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I agree with the above generalisations I've gone to 18s from 16 s and 17 s mainly for cosmetics and it might give you slightly 'longer legs' if your driving on motorways, but less nimble if you do more stop/start urban driving, but it's the overall diameter and weight of the wheels and the tyres that count and I don't know which is heavier, lightness is pretty much always gonna be better looks are obviously gonna b subjective

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My test drive was in an Excel with 18'' rims and that was what I ended up with. To me, at 65 years old, they feel fine, no banging, crashing or uncomfortable ride as experienced by others. I haven't experienced any other size rim so maybe a smaller one would be even better?

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11 hours ago, ArkSez said:

Thanks for the feedback guys. I test drove the 2.0 GR today and damn those 18's make the ride pretty harsh and the wider tyres really do make the road noise louder. They look great but I don't think I can live with that harshness. I completely forgot about the MPG worries and ended up worrying about having to live with the harsher unforgiving ride. Perhaps if I was 10 years younger, my younger self would have jumped on aesthetics vs function. I managed to get mid 50's mpg on a 20 minute driver on a motorway section, 40mph, and a bit of traffic which I think was quite impressive... but having seen mid high 60's on a 1.8 for a similar route, I think it will suit me better.. given that there aren't many hills where I live anyway.

Back on the topic of wheels.... I think I'm going to downgrade to the Dynamic (not so bothered about the satin trim, but losing the projector headlight is making me nervous) and spend the extra savings on getting the red paint and black 17" alloys which I hope will look good in real life as I haven't seen this spec'd in any used cars/show cars that I have been browsing so far.

 603880841_Designblack.thumb.PNG.a6bbae981aa7049e024281c7bfc49f70.PNG

What a shame Toyota, the entire 17" alloy range should be an accessible option for the Excel trim.

This configuration looks stunner. Red car with black wheels, Design trim with 17” wheels could not go wrong, also the design has more comfortable seats over excel or GR, if you do long drives and like to have rest in the car in other top two specs seats are ok for seating but , hard on the sides, they are proper sport seats. If I have to pick Corolla now for myself would be TS in Design or Trek variants, or Design saloon. 👍

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11 hours ago, Scarlett Arrow said:

That will depend on tyre size, not rim size.

A tyre with a bigger rolling radius than OE gives better MPG, at the expense of acceleration, and will of course affect the gear ratios, which in turn affects the MPG.

I went from 205/45/17, to 225/40/18, regretted it immediately, and then bought 225/35/18 within a few days. After a couple of years, went back to 17's..lesson learnt.

No.. I mean, yeah, you are right, but I was talking about rim size specifically - The way it was explained to me was that, with a given overall diameter, bigger rims will have a bigger flywheel effect than smaller rims so you don't need to put in as much power to compensate for hills and undulations etc., which is also why smaller rims work better in start-stop; You don't need to put in as much energy to overcome the 'flywheel' inertia of the wheels to get moving, but then they will lose inertia faster requiring more power to compensate.

The differences are not huge tho', maybe a handful of mpg one way or another. My main reason for switching was NVH!

Of course this all assumes the wheels have similar constructions - A 17" forged alloy rim would probably give better mpg and performance than a cheap 15" cast alloy rim! :laugh:

 

Changing the overall diameter of the wheel is a whole different subject - Definitely not for the faint hearted since the speedo will be completely wrong and I don't think you can adjust it on Toyotas. AFAIK it's still the case that nobody can tune or remap a modern Toyota because of the ECU encryption...!

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I currently have an accord with 18" wheels on, and although it has quite a supple ride, I do swear every now and then when I hit the occassional pothole and kerbs. I didn't swear as much on my previous civic which had 17" on them. So based on that anecdotal evidence, I think I've made the right decision.

I've just gone and ordered the spec above. Excited and looking forward to receiving it by middle of August. I think they're great looking cars, and yesterday when I was driving home there was one in black behind me and the reflector LED look menacing, I realised I like the look of them vs the Excel ones especially when the lights are on! And when I do get the car I shall post some pics and report on the MPG I get across various types of driving situations. 

I've been scouring the internet to see used Corollas that have those alloys spec'd but it seems like it's not a popular option (red + black alloys.. or black alloys for that matter)??? 

 

EDIT: Nvm I found a photo from a google search, the alloys are actually a matte finish and the black trim theme surprisingly matches well!

e01_md.thumb.jpg.42782c655eb6dca6e4ad4d3cc5032bd8.jpge02_md.thumb.jpg.a58f4fccc0c5dfc83e06593ec679a06c.jpge05_md.thumb.jpg.ec7ab9c344c990d99978ff78189f05a6.jpg

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Like OP I also went for the 1.8 because I wanted to maximise fuel economy. I then picked Icon Tech specifically because it had 16" wheels; I had noticed that the official figures showed them to be more efficient. If I was going for the 1.8, why compromise its economy with wheel choice, if that was my main interest? I also couldn't see any other equipment on the higher trim levels that I thought would be useful. I was happy to find that Toyota's design of 16s doesn't make the car look under-wheeled.

Potholes are obviously felt with the 16s but I've never winced. However, if you think they're going to be a quiet choice then you'll be disappointed, I think road noise is a problem with the Corolla, particularly at motorway speeds, regardless of wheel size. I once read that torsion beams are easier than multilink (as the Corolla has) to tune for quietness so maybe that's a contributing factor. Although for the cost and market segment it's within my expectations.

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Tyres also make a big difference in road noise - On my old diesel Yaris I went through something like 5 sets of tyres before a certain smeg pot Mayor of London forced me to get rid of it (Khaaaaaaaan!).

Of those 5, the difference in road noise between the best and worse was very noticeable!

Also, one trend I've noticed is tyres with a higher noise rating are quieter than tyres with a low noise rating :laugh:

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25 minutes ago, Cyker said:

Tyres also make a big difference in road noise - On my old diesel Yaris I went through something like 5 sets of tyres before a certain smeg pot Mayor of London forced me to get rid of it (Khaaaaaaaan!).

Of those 5, the difference in road noise between the best and worse was very noticeable!

Also, one trend I've noticed is tyres with a higher noise rating are quieter than tyres with a low noise rating :laugh:

I have a similar-ish experience where a low noise rating at 17" was probably one of the loudest on an 18" set. Bizzarre

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