Generally, When we think about an SUV, We imagine a big vehicle with macho looks & big tyres. But with the recent launches, We have observed that manufacturers are keen on giving their SUV's big wheels. Now large wheels primarily have two benefits-
1. They look amazing.
2. They improve the handling characteristics of the vehicle.
On the flip side, They come with the following disadvantages-
1. Firm ride.
2. Suspension parts wear and tear increases.
3. Damage to wheels due to our pothole filled roads.
Now obviously with a sedan/hatchback, you can compromise on the firm ride for improved handling but it doesn't make sense on a Sports-Utility-Vehicle. A Sports-Utility-Vehicle with 15"/16" wheels with a larger sidewall will have a better ride quality and absorb impact better than an SUV with 17"/18"/19" wheels and a relatively smaller sidewall. This was a tried and tested formula of manufacturers over the years but recently they have ditched it just to improve the aesthetics of their cars. These three launches in the recent times are a proof of the same-
1. Tata Hexa (235/55 R19)
Tata motors have launched the Hexa XT (top of the line variant) with 19-inch wheels. This is the first time a sub-20 Lakh rupee vehicle has got 19-inch rims. According to us not only is it a ridiculous offering but also a pretty expensive move. A tyre change for these wheels is going to cost north of 20k/tyre. The lower variants get the 16-inch wheels which are ideal for our conditions.
2. Toyota Fortuner (265/60 R18)
Yes, The new Fortuner doesn't feel as bumpy as the old one but it's not plush either. The new 18-inch rims are partially to be blamed for this. With 17/16 inch wheels, the ride quality could have been better. The same was suggested to the owners of the old Fortuner.
3. Ford Endeavour (265/60 R18)
The New Endeavour comes fully loaded and has been one of the most appreciated SUV in its class. But we feel the Endeavour could have an improved ride quality and impact absorption ability if it was offered with 16/17 inch wheels. Although thanks to Ford for not bringing the 20-inch wheels which the Endeavour gets in other markets.
Toyota Innova Crysta was launched with 17-inch wheels on the ZX variant which led to a few tyre bursts. Thankfully Toyota has now replaced the 17-inch wheels with 16-inch wheels. For typical Indian Conditions, It's best to have an SUV with 16/17-inch wheels.