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16'' vs 17'' wheels

796 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DerGolfGTI
Is there any advantage to having the 17'' wheels over the sdt 16'' wheels? I happen to like the looks of the std 16'' better than the 17'' that the dealer has on
all of the 1.8 gas turbos (GLXs) at an additional cost of over $400.
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Re: 16'' vs 17'' wheels (Carroll Floyd)

If you like the looks of the 17's (which I understand you don't), the $400 upcharge is a very good deal.
The advantage of 17s:
large contact patch: so you almost never see the traction control activating. When I had 16s on my Jetta, it was a fairly easy to get the ASR light to come on around corners. Part of that is the crappy tires VW puts on the 16s. The 17's get michilin pilot sports, which are a very well regarded tire ($200 a copy to replace). So even if you don't like the particular 17s that VW is selling, but you want 17s its still a deal just for the tires (i.e a $400 option for $800 worth of tires).
You could always spend the $400 on the 17" wheel and tire package, get $800 worth of tires, sell the 17 wheels for say $500, and then use that $500 to help buy 17 wheels you like.
Sport Suspension: not sure about the NB, but on the Jetta and GTi the 17 wheel and tire package come bundled with the sport suspension (not available at all with 16s). So if you've test driven both the 17s (with sport) and the 16s (regular susp) and prefer the slightly firmer ride of the sport suspension and 17s, I'd get it.
Disadvantages of 17s
Winter driving: You can't mount snow tires to 17s, and even if you wanted to its a bad idea since in the snow you want narrower tires to cut through the snow (i.e. 16s or preferably 15s). The 17s have tires that are 225 mm wide, 16s have tires that are 205 mm wide, and 15s use tires that are 195 wide. Thus more pressure is exerted with 15" tires because there is less area for the same amount of weight to be distributed over.
Tires: 17" tires cost more than the 16" tire of the same model from the same manufacture. Figure 17" tires will run $110-$225 a copy depending on what you get.
Ride: a little more vibration is transfered through the 17" tires since the sidewalls are firmer.
Hope that helps

[Modified by BoraVR6, 4:00 PM 12-2-2001]
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