By on June 10, 2015

06 - 2013 Scion FR-S - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden

Regulation. It dictates the majority of modern car design. Whether it be for pedestrian safety, crash worthiness, economies of scale, or fuel efficiency, the basic building blocks of modern cars are decided well before pencil is met with freshly-bleached paper (or, these days, before stylus meets tablet).

That last item – fuel efficiency – is as much a matter of aerodynamics as it is what’s under the hood, and aerodynamic efficiency isn’t just about fenders and trunk lids.

Which brings me to wheels – specifically, OEM wheels – and how absolutely ugly they’ve gotten the last few years.

Honda-Accord-Coupe-2000-1680x1050-001

Back in 2000, the Accord Coupe rocked some simple, stylish, but decidedly less flat-faced wheels. Assuming you can find a set that hasn’t been oxidized to the point of resembling Brittany Spears’ pre-Proactiv face, be prepared to pay dearly as they still command over $100 a corner on eBay.

2015 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe

Even the latest Accord Coupe, official subject of many a Jack Baruth editorial, has some of the most handsome wheels on the market today fitted to a car priced significantly less than a Vanderbilt nut. They give the Accord an upscale appearance without relying too much on what’s fashionable now but won’t be this fall. Hopefully, like their predecessors, these dubs will age well with time.

Also, knowing Honda, the wheel design probably exceeds any aerodynamic specs given to the Engineer in Charge of Precision Circular Metallic Tire Mounting Apparatuses.

Unfortunately, this kind of design foresight isn’t always the case.

2013 Subaru BRZ. Photo courtesy Subaru.

I’ve never seen a wheel design that’s so unnecessarily fashion-driven while still being utterly yawn-worthy as the wheel used on the Toyobaru twins with its H&M painted pockets and overall Overstock.com cheapness.

For starters – and this isn’t the fault of the wheel design, but – on a sports car, the last thing I want is a wheel to sit way inside the fender. If the wheel face isn’t flush with the fender, I want it to be damn close to it. The rear wheel on the Toyobaru twins look like a cowering dog hiding in the corner after eating the entire thanksgiving turkey.

Secondly, this wheel design makes the twins look like they’re riding on casters, no doubt accentuated by rubber that’s seemingly narrower than the wheel itself.

And, to top it all off, why – WHY – couldn’t Toyota and Subaru design One. More. Wheel? Looking at a BRZ and FR-S from a side profile perspective, one can only differentiate the two by their center caps. And if you’re going to pick just a single wheel design, why go with one that makes the rest of the car look cheap?

Every single time I see a BRZ or FR-S from the front, I think, “Hrrmmm, why haven’t I bought one of these?” And after realizing it’s because I’m poor but I could still, probably, maybe, possibly justify living in automotive enthusiast indentured servitude, I look at the side of one of these cars and go, “Nope. This is cheap. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.”

Same goes for the new Scion iM, from concept to reality…

2014_LAAS_Scion_iM_Concept_015

EXPENSIVE!

2015_NYIAS_Scion_iM_003

CHEAP!

What wheel do you think completely ruins the overall design of its respective automobile?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

109 Comments on “QOTD: What OEM Wheel Designs Make Their Respective Cars Look Cheap?...”


  • avatar

    Hands-down this wheel set…

    http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/buick/park-avenue/1998/oem/1998_buick_park-avenue_sedan_base_fq_oem_1_300.jpg

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I find Prius wheels generally look like kast off krap.

  • avatar

    Big cars need 20’s with a lot of spokes. EXAMPLE: 2006 300SRT8

    Showing off big, brightly colored brake calipers speaks to speed, and wide open, symmetrical spoke designs speak to “speed” as well.

    GM’s wheel designs most suck.
    Ford’s mostly suck.
    BMW, Mercedes, Audi’s, Chrysler’s: mostly awesome

    • 0 avatar

      And Buick LaCrosse.

      • 0 avatar
        PRNDLOL

        Funny you should say that. A few weeks back I found 19″ Buick LaCrosse rims and tires in near brand new condition on Kijiji and installed them on my Cadillac CTS. The result is pretty nice for GM OEM wheels:

        http://tinyurl.com/psc3xsu

    • 0 avatar

      Is this the same Chrysler that decided it was fashionable to shod 17″ steelies with Chrysler-embossed PepBoys wheel covers on the Fury 2.7…I mean, 300 LX?

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      My favorite Chrysler 300 factory wheels were on the mid 2000’s Touring model:

      http://imganuncios.mitula.net/2005_chrysler_300_4dr_sdn_300_touring_brilliant_black_crystal_99421867696065181.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      GM certainly has some loser wheels, but there are a lot of fine examples. The trucks, Corvette, Regal, and Cadillac have nice rollers. The ELR turbines are my favorite stock wheel of the past decade on any car.

      Lot’s of madness going on over at Kia. My sister’s Sportage is one hideous offender.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    TL;DR: Instead I went searching for the regulation which requires “economies of scale.”

    • 0 avatar

      Regulation certainly drives economies of scale through platform engineering, parts sharing, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Naw, I’m with Tosh.

        It’s not regulations that require economies of scale; economies of scale justify *themselves*.

        I’d just modify the sentence to make it clear that economies of scale are a sibling to regulations in their pressure on design, not a product of it.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nearly all the entry level wheels for all German brands. They do it on purpose in order to encourage buyers to opt for expensive options packages. One of the saddest examples are the BMW X3 entry level rims.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    I think many see design as piece meal. As in “those wheel/vents/lights are cool” but they don’t work with the car design as a whole.

    As for cheap. It’s relative but given the price I think the stock wheel/tire combo on the luxury line of 3 series is really bad design, if not “cheap”.
    Base Camaro “fuchsia like” wheels are bad too

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    The base model/police hubcaps on 2005 Crown Vics and Grand Marquis look like arse:

    http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/11283266.jpg
    http://s543.photobucket.com/user/443steve/media/fdny991209.jpg.html

    Which is strange because the previous design looks great:

    http://www.featuredcars.com/images/full-2004-Mercury-Grand-Marquis_10265_1.jpg
    http://tenwheel.com/imgs/a/b/p/a/q/2004_ford_crown_victoria_police_interceptor_p71_1_lgw.jpg

    And yes, I am rocking those ugly matte grey hub caps on my MGM.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Go pickup so 2005-2014 Mustang take off wheels from Craigslist. They are direct fit and the 16″ can usually be had pretty cheaply though the same can be said with the 17″ and sometime 18″ wheels too. I picked up a set of Bullitt 17″ for $100 including center caps. One trick is to make sure to search Mustang rims as well as Mustang wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskeyRiver

      You overlooked THIS thing of beauty which appeared on Crown Vics, MGMs and Town Cars with different center caps:

      http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/fDMAAOSwzOxUXFmU/$_1.JPG?set_id=880000500F

  • avatar
    dal20402

    All of the 17″ wheels on Honda Accords. The only Accord wheel design that is even OK is the 18″ on the Sport and the V6 Coupe, and even that (contra Mark) looks cheap to me. I can’t believe you can option an Accord Touring up to $35k and still get rims that look like they came off a four-cylinder EX.

    Most base rim options on German cars also look cheap — but deliberately so, so you’ll fork out a four-figure sum for the upgrade.

  • avatar
    319583076

    BMW likes to put ugly wheels on its cars, although its obvious that their motive is to get you to tick a box or two to replace the stock set with a better-looking and much more expensive set. Of course, most manufacturers have extended this to styling cues – base models are uglier than more expensive trims. People pay attention to this stuff, and more importantly, pay money to address it.

    I’ll give the FR-S/BRZ a pass here because those owners are *far* more likley than most to re-shoe their car with something aftermarket – or just run the stock set on teh street and keep a separate, higher-cost/performance track set.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I agree, but this wasn’t always the case. the e39 540 non-sport rims were way worse than the 528 of the time.

      http://www.dharam.us/sell-540i.html

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I dunno; I think the base BMW wheels are no more ugly than the ones you pay too much for as an add on.

      (I don’t really like most of either. But I’m funny about wheels.

      Some of the things presented as “beautiful” I think are hideous.

      But then, I like *steel wheels*, just fine.

      They’re honest and clean in the way overstyled alloys often aren’t.)

      • 0 avatar
        ex-x-fire

        Yeah, I like steel wheels too. I like the way they can stamp & fold metal into a nice design. The recent Malibu had 17″ steel wheels covered by a chrome cap, they would look nice if they added a center cap, trim rings, & painted them silver.
        I’m on the fence about wheels for my c4 vette, the tire size is obsolete (255/50R16) & I don’t want to use adaptors that’ll allow the use of later c4 17″ wheels. I’m thinking about Chevy rally wheels in 17″, but they are narrow at 8″ & the backspace is off.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      My FR-S is on Enkei PF01 17″x8″ +45 painted Subaru BBS Gold (by an actual shop rather than plastidip!). That is just a hair more aggressive than stock offset but the extra 1″ in width really fills out the fenders without being overkill. The stock wheels are for winter use only.

      To be fair, though, I’ve grown to like the stock wheel design. They look quite nice when clean. If they had a +42 offset instead of the +48, they’d look a lot better as far as fit. I’ve seen a few guys paint the stock wheels a bright silver and it is a very handsome design when just one color. The size is just wrong.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I think the FT86 and its clones look a lot nicer on the Wanatabe-style 16s:
    http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q2/biker_bob/side2_zps9912af17.jpg

    Wheels are one of those hugely idiosyncratic style elements. Everyone has their own particular likes and dislikes. My tastes tend to run towards optional/uncommon OEM wheel styles.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    Much of Ford’s current wheels are pretty bad. The best/worst example being the Taurus SHO wheels. Just awful.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The wheels on the VW Beetles make me as sad as a unicorn that wakes up and discovers it can no longer fart rainbows. They have the stock rims that look like they were inspired by the failed turbine engines used in early jets. Then they have the rims with hubcaps that are very clearly inspired by the poverty-spec rims used on VWs in the early 1970s. Then they have the deluxe rims that lost a sense of proportion.

    A simple five-spoke Fuchs, with both chrome and black accents, would entice me to put a VW Beetle in the driveway, over the protestations of family members who insist we need a four-door car.

    • 0 avatar
      KOKing

      The turbines and dogdish wheels are actually the same underneath, but with a different plastic trim ring. Same thing BMW did on the E34M5 between the throwing stars and turbines.

  • avatar
    mcs

    The BMW E32 750iL wheels get my vote for the top ten ugliest OEM wheels:

    http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/750il-466×350.jpg

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Toyota Tacoma sport wheels look pretty bad:
    http://assets.cobaltnitra.com/teams/repository/export/v/1/0d4/17bd049fd100580da10145efa6b30/0d417bd049fd100580da10145efa6b30.jpg

    Old bottom line Camry wheels were offensive:
    http://marlin-car.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2008-toyota-camry-white-hktpo1yu.jpg

    And since the answer is always Miata:
    http://datastore.autopublishers.com/4915/2707145/f64282e4-ee99-4857-b8d9-541b16da32ec.png

  • avatar
    Chopsui

    All the trendy glossy black wheels you see on performance cars these days. Ugh.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      HATE black rims – hate hate hate.

      Hopefully the idea that they are cool will last about as long as people thinking that matte black on a car is/was cool.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I like them.

        If they’re black because they’re just painted steel.

        Glossy black painted “fancy” alloys, not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        We’ve been hoping for the death of the stancers for like 10-20 years now…

        I’m not fond of black wheels, myself. I like a nice, honest, aluminum.

        But I must disagree with the matte paint. If it wasn’t such a serious job, I’d have my entire car wrapped in matte white (currently white) so dirt doesn’t stand out as much. I’m hoping that once the accent lighting fad plays out that the non-premium brands start doing matte paint.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Agreed, the only thing worse is when people spray paint their cars stock alloys black. Yuck!

      “Well, my car is nice enough to have alloys, but Id rather make them look like base model steelies with missing wheel covers.”

    • 0 avatar
      Irvingklaws

      +1. I’ve never gotten the whole all-black wheel trend. Why would you want your car to look like you lost, or couldn’t afford, hubcaps or trim rings? Any design or details become nearly invisible so, expensive or cheap, they all look the same.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I think hubcaps (well, wheel covers – hubcaps are literally *hub* caps, and cars these past decades have built-in hub caps on the hubs) and trim rings mostly look far cheaper and uglier than Honest Plain Steel.

        My Corolla or my old Toyota Pickup don’t/didn’t need to pretend to have aerodynamically-styled expensive alloy wheels by having a piece of cheap silvery plastic on them.

        Is car; needs wheels to drive. Doesn’t need plastic wheel cover to fall off on drive home*.

        (* Toyota N.B. – one of the covers for my ’94 pickup fell off and broke *on the drive home from the dealer*.

        Likewise, once I owned it, one of the wheel covers fall off the Corolla within a week. While I was driving.

        This is odd because I never had a problem with my old Mercedes, and I don’t hit curbs to knock them loose very much.

        Something about their plastic wheel covers, though…)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yep, I hate this trend too. Black details are fine. Even mostly black wheels are fine IF the rim itself is a different color. But all-black just looks like something is missing.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I agree to a point. I think Black wheels is simply a current trend. Still, some cars make it work. I think the C7 with the Arctic White paint and Black wheels looks killer. The contrast between dark and light is awesome.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    The wheels from the late 90’s Merc CLK320 scream “euro taxi” so loudly that I can’t believe they made it here:

    http://clients.automanager.com/017584/vehicle-details/1998-mercedes-benz-clk320-2-door-coupe-1ce1d00bfe294c00b0880357c6252a31/

    • 0 avatar
      KOKing

      Those DO look like cheap steelies, but they’re forged and ~13lbs.

      BMW was pretty egregious on 99 323 sedans. Base wheels were 15″ plastic wheelcovers, and one of the upgrades was a 15″ telephone dial steelie-look, though again they were forged.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Funny, I love those rims. I think the finish makes clear they’re not cheap steelies and they have a bit of a retro connection to the classic Bundts. Those are the rims I would put on an older Benz if I wanted modern tires.

  • avatar
    86er

    I hate alloy wheels that look like plastic hubcaps.

    My wife’s ’10 Flex has that problem.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The base model Camaro rims for the first few years were wretched. They looked like steel rims with chrome trim rings.

    I get they were trying to go retro – they just looked horrid (and I’m not a fan of black rims anyway).

    On the subject of – what the Hell is this fad/trend for black rims.

    And on the subject of worst OEM rims ever – that goes to VAG, and the teddy bear rims they offered (if we’re not going to stick to the question of current vehicles)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Teddy Bear rims were aftermarket from Ronal which yes ended up on a lot of New Beetles but at least around here they showed up on a lot of Nissans too for what ever reason.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      You just reminded me of how I was never able to learn to like the “horseshoe” wheels on the Golf GTI a decade or so back.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    The exposed aluminum ones ,that the factory cannot be bothered to coat and also have machined grooves in the finish to speedup the corrosion process.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    -Anything that looks like a plastic wheelcover
    -Most of these new trendy machined-face-black-everthing-else deals
    The lux brands do seem to intentionally want you to check off the $1500 upgrade wheels box. I didn’t fall for that trick, and took the plastic wheelcover look ones and spending my $1500 on someone else’s wheels.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Chrysler LH cars: Generic with a blank center cap. Most usually started corroding a few years into ownership.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Since the topic is on OEM rims and modern cars, seriously, what the heck is up with makers like Nissan still putting steel wheels with hubcaps on vehicles like the Quest minivan?!?

    On a Corolla, or a Yaris, or a Versa, I get it. But most makers are offering cast aluminum at the minimum now and the hub cap is going the way of the vent windows.

    Sure, steel rims make sense slapped on a set of Blizzaks to get used and abused — but for day-to-day driving, WTF?

    • 0 avatar

      Wheel covers on a vehicle that large/expensive is unacceptable.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s cheaper and certain buyers will buy it. If you don’t want the steelies, there’s always the slightly-less-poverty-spec next trim level up.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Like me.

        I *do not care about wheels*.

        I mean, I don’t like “ugly”, but I find “overdesigned alloys” to be ugly a lot more often than steelies are.

        (Literally – I’d prefer 16″ plain steel wheels to the half gaudy 18s my XC70 came with, with the small problem of the rotors and calipers not leaving room for a down-size.

        I mean, sure, lower weight and all, but nobody wants to sell me an aluminum wheel that doesn’t look like a boy-racer wet dream, do they?

        The down-size motive is twofold – cheaper tires, and to soak up some of the harshness of the tiny sidewalls on the 18s.)

        • 0 avatar
          BrunoT

          I have a Volvo myself. But it’s an R design S60. There’s a reason the XC70 is going extinct. People want a little pizazz in their cars. At the dealer a few years back I noticed an ocean of unsold white Volvos. But no bright Red like we wanted. The salesman said “we order white because that’s what Volvo drivers want”. Well, Volvo sold about 40,000 cars that year and there was talk about exiting the US. There simply is not a market for $40,000 “boxy but nice” family wagons. Especially with plain wheels. Live a little. Enjoy a nice looking V60. Just be sure to get those fancy 19″ wheels when you do.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    The base Explorer wheels. Horrible. They have improved though. Until the 2015 model, you could get 17″ hubcaps on the base Explorer.

    OTOH, the high end Explorer wheels look nice and the Explorer Police Interceptor wheels are AWESOME. I want them for winter duty on our MkT.

  • avatar

    Here’s more garbage Jeep thinks is appropriate:
    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/XnVeRhncxjY/maxresdefault.jpg

    Best part is everyone switches these out the minute they roll off the lot. Search Craigslist for OEM JK wheels and you’ll find brand-new sets of 5 with new rubber on all for maybe $200.

    • 0 avatar
      TheyBeRollin

      Honestly, if they didn’t need to drive them off the lot and didn’t sell them from inventory (meaning they must look at least marginally-presentable), how often have you seen a Jeep on stock-sized wheels, let alone at a stock height? The wheels and tires don’t matter because they are only necessary to get the car to the lot and to the tire store.

      Hell, in San Diego there was a dealer that didn’t even sell new ones with the stock wheels. They immediately took them off, put aftermarket ones on, lifted them, bolted on some aftermarket bumpers, and sold them with about a 40-50% markup.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Anything over 16″.

    I want fat, sproingy sidewalls.

  • avatar
    Chan

    I used to think black accents on wheels were a great idea and would lessen the appearance of brake dust.

    My Fiat’s upgraded wheel package shows that I was wrong.

  • avatar
    robc123

    Why not hubcaps and centercaps again?

    http://www.hubcaps.org/500.html

    enamel paint and some chrome- nice.

  • avatar
    dwford

    The base wheels on the Hyundai Sonata hybrid seem purposely designed to make you buy the upper trim level just to avoid the ugly.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    The base 17″ wheels on the first couple years of the second-gen Cadillac CTS were so bad they almost singlehandedly counteracted all the progress the CTS made from the first-gen to the second (and I say this as an owner of a second-gen CTS, luckily not with these base wheels):

    http://images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/20195/X7078/01.jpg

    Luckily, Caddy has stepped up their wheel game, the new models offer some nice options, especially some of the ATS options.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The ones that look like Swiss cheese

  • avatar
    suspekt

    Hands down winner in the new sedan category under between $20k-$40k..

    Acura TLX…. worst, dumbest, ugliest wheel designs. Period.

    Why handicap an already borderline boring car with nasty wheels? I almost guarantee they would move 10 more units/mo if they would proper wheels on all models of the TLX. Just arrogant stupidity.

    And I love Acura…. but the TLX wheels are beyond comprehension

  • avatar
    71charger_fan

    Accord Plug-in has awful wheels.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    What gets me is asymmetry. If its a 5-bolt wheel it should have 5 spokes, 10 spokes, 5 double spokes, etc… If its a 6-bolt wheel, 6 spokes, 12 spokes, etc…

    It MUST match. So one thing which burns me as just plain ugly is 6-spoke or 7-spoke designs on 5-bolt wheels. That is just UGGGLY…

    One other is the two-tone Prius wheels, where its a black wheel with a silver insert. Not because it looks bad, but because the silver insert inevitably falls off when someone curbs the wheel, and the result is an ugly black-junk wheel.

    • 0 avatar
      JLGOLDEN

      I think every generation of Honda Fit has offered a 5-spoke wheel, with a 4-lug pattern.. Ahhhhgggg! There is a terrible mis-match of spoke intersections at the lug pockets. It makes me cringe.

    • 0 avatar
      BrunoT

      haha, that has never occured to me, ever. If I didn’t put spacers on and off and rotate tires myself, I couldn’t tell you how many bolts any of my cars have had.

      I bet your sock drawer is amazing.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      This too drives me nuts. My ’03 Z suffered from this (5 lugs/6 spokes = yucky), so I fixed the problem with ’07 rims.

      Now what happened to deep dish rims? Almost all rims regardless of drivetrain (FWD/RWD) these days seems to have wheels with a flush design. Is aero on wheels really that helpful?

  • avatar
    Smaller-is-Better

    Base 2015 Mini Cooper http://images.autotrader.com/scaler/544/408/hn/1e7443378bf8454fb362c22c25a3174e.jpg

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I think some of the best wheel designs in the last 5-10 years have been the current Accord Sport and the 2008-2012 ford fusion SE w/sport package. Those style of wheels make a car look classy. On the flip side, the Honda Civic has the worst wheel covers ever.

    VW has the best options for wheels. The Detroit, Daytona and Mallory to name a few.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    In general, all blacked-out wheels look terrible to me.

    Overall though, you don’t really see wheels defining a brand quite as much anymore. Where are todays Fuchs, Turbo Twists, 80s/90s AMGs, and Saab Aero wheels? Is there a wheel today that you can see and instantly recognize the car?

  • avatar
    ChiefPontiaxe

    MKIV Supra wheels

  • avatar
    Marko

    1996-1997 Honda Accord EX alloy: Mercedes copy that ends up looking like a hubcap.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    They all look like someone made a wheel, sprayed it black, and ran a belt sander over it. They also look like magnets for curb rash.

    As for the iM prototype teaser? A TRD drop kit and some 45 series “tuner” wheels is all it needs

  • avatar
    formula m

    Black rims on the current Jeep Wranglers.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    Stock rims.

    Because nothing says wealth, discernment, and class/socioeconomic parity than a set of dubs to donk your whip. /s

  • avatar
    ex-x-fire

    All these black wheels are for the tacticool guys, you know the kind of guy that buys an ar15 & bolts every thing in the catalog on it. You gotta live the part 100%.

  • avatar
    MAGICGTI

    I distinctly remember my Dad picking up his new, company-issued 2001 Nissan Maxima GXE with the 16″ alloy wheels that tried their damndest to look like plastic wheel covers. Will never understand what Nissan was thinking.

  • avatar

    Volvo swings wildly between truly awful rims and truly great looking rims. The base V70 rims? Miserable: http://media.caranddriver.com/images/08q2/267369/2008-volvo-v70-32-photo-199255-s-429×262.jpg

    But then they do this:
    https://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/volvo/v70/2008/oem/2008_volvo_v70_wagon_32_fq_oem_1_500.jpg

    or these…
    http://www.automotiveaddicts.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2015-Volvo-V60-Side.jpg

    Or the ones in my profile pic…and it looks great.

  • avatar
    loner

    2nd Gen TSX
    4th Gen 4Runner base wheels
    mid-90’s GMC trucks
    Subaru XV

  • avatar
    CX1

    Has to be the Subaru Crosstrek 15:

    http://subarupmd.edgesuite.net/content/media/mp_hero_880/15_xv_photos_ext_11.jpg

    Looks like they were designed on MS Paint.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    The Honda Civic has the cool 5 spoke wheels in dark gray with a little kink where the spoke meets the wheel on Si and I think LX models.

    But the ones I don’t like are the silver plastic wheelcovers over plain Jane steelies Honda sells that mimic those wheels. Having 5 spokes with a lot of space between just highlights the fact that your rims are just a plastic facsimile.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I really hate the Chrysler “Chrome Clad” wheels that look, and are, basically a giant model car wheel attached to a plain aluminum disc. I had them on my ’08 Charger R/T, and they just look cheap as shit. I was very close to buying a set of real aluminum take offs, but I never had the cash to spare, so I left them on.

    I dislike any wheel that doesn’t have five spokes. They look “weak”. I don’t like the ones that do have five spokes with the center of the spoke machined out and painted black so it appears the wheel has 10 spokes instead, either. Just give me five solid spokes of some kind in polished/machined/painted silver, and I’m usually happy. Right now, the wheel choices on Challengers blows.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Yep, the shiny plastic-covered aluminum wheels are the worst. Dodge, Ford, and GM are all guilty of this.

      Another one is oversized wheels that dwarf the brakes, highlighting that the vehicle is all show and no go. The Cadillac Escalade is the first that comes to mind for this, despite having some relatively attractive wheel designs.

      I actually prefer the Toyobaru wheels to those Accord wheels, but not by much. Both look terrible to my eyes, with the visual mass in the wrong place: the outside of the wheel, where less strength is needed than near the hub. There are far worse designs out there though. At least they don’t look like the structure is designed to carry an entirely different sort of loading than a wheel experiences, such as those horrible Scion wheels. The concept shows just how little material is needed to make a strong wheel when you put quality materials in the right places.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    My beef is with wheels that are tough to clean…give me a relatively simple design that I can get into and get brake dust out…black wheels just look like they are covered in brake dust.

    And if someone gets fancy-schmancy upgraded wheels, at least keep them clean! Used to irritate me to no end to see a Cadillac with two-tone Vogue white/gold stripe tires that weren’t clean…why did you bother? They were shitty tires too, which is a story for another day.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Is Vogue a tire with a stripe, or is that a brand which is the only provider of those? I see ebay ads featuring “New Vogues” on Cadillacs often.

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        Vogue “tyres” generally have two stripes, and were at one point built on a contract basis in a Goodyear plant, based on the old 80s era Goodyear Tiempo tire carcass design. They had a bad habit of delaminating in hot weather, and blowing out..I think the multiple colors of rubber didn’t necessarily bind very well…there were piles of discarded ones that had come apart, at Plaza Cadillac when I worked there in the 90s. They build some gigantic 20 inch ones for SUVs too, can’t fathom how much they cost.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          So it is a certain kind of tire, not just the name for a striped one.

          Oh lordy: http://www.voguetyre.com/

          First thing I see is a customer testimonial with the word “classy” in it.

          The 22″ for an SUV is on sale online from Discount Tire for $363/ea.

        • 0 avatar
          CincyDavid

          Just did some snooping online…seems that the Kelly-Springfield division of Goodyear built the tires for years, then Goodyear took over in the 80s, then phased out their private label production, and they chose a Chinese company to build the tires…Sailun. Can’t tell if the plant is in the US or Asia…

          Per Sailun’s website, they have a proud history that reaches all the way back to 2002.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Great, a column on one man’s idea of cool looking wheels on cheap cars. Fascinating!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The SHO “flower petal” wheels greatly offend me. Gross.

    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2012/04/2013-ford-taurus-sho-fd.jpg

    Honda’s 70’s Feets wheels, which the GTI also uses.
    http://images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/2015-volkswagen-gti–image-volkswagen-of-america_100423314_l.jpg

    Honda directional wheels on CRV.
    http://images-2.drive.com.au/2014/12/03/6052420/cr-v_600-620×414.jpg

    Cruze Eco.
    http://www.chevrolet.com/content/dam/Chevrolet/northamerica/usa/nscwebsite/en/Home/Vehicles/Cars/2015_Cruze/Model_Overview/01_images/2015-chevrolet-cruze-compact-car-mo-eco-648×316-01.jpg

    CTS too-many-spoke chromes.
    http://images.dealer.com/evox/color_0640_001/7621/7621_cc0640_001_GAN.jpg

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Here’s some wheels I find awesome and beautiful.

    Full moons w/ hubcap on Audi 5000.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/1985_Audi_5000_wagon.jpg

    D2 A8 5-spoke polished alloy.
    http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/audi/a8/2003/oem/2003_audi_a8_sedan_l-quattro_s_oem_1_500.jpg

    D2 A8 polished full moon, for W12.
    https://f-a.d-cd.net/f9e72eu-960.jpg

    Chromed star alloy, LS400.
    http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachments/ls400/31374d1052024005-some-pics-of-my-98-pearl-white-ls400-2.jpg

    Saab 9000 deep dish aero.
    http://fastestlaps.com/photos/_Saab_9000_Aero.jpg

    Six-spoke sport wheels on the Sixty Special and select Fleetwood Coupe.
    http://www.2040-cars.com/_content/cars/images/79/367979/002.jpg

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    I actually have no issues with any of the wheels presented in this article. The Toyobaru twins, in particular, look just fine to me.

    Regarding the rubber looking like it’s slimmer than the wheel, that’s probably a performance consideration. If quick response and grip are your priorities, you want to size your wheel to be as wide as the tread width of the tire. That’s not how OEMs normally size things, partly because it leaves for less sidewall flex for shock cushioning, and makes it easier to rash the wheels, but for drivers looking to track their cars, that’s how it’s done.

    The only OEM wheels which have struck me as ugly and ill-fitting to their car are those on the current-gen Civics. The wheels on the Si, especially, look to me like someone randomly picked something from a ricer catalogue. I don’t know whether it’s just the design of the wheel, the size, offset, or the wheel gap, but it just looks jarring.

    On the other hand, I like that even the base Golf comes with a nice set of understated 15″ alloy wheels, which both look nice and are the right size for their mission (adequate performance, cheap replacement tires, decent ride).

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    I’m going to go the opposite direction here and throw out a wheel that I think makes a car look much better then prior models.
    The 2015 Camry XSE has some great looking 18″ wheels. I’ve gotten nothing but compliments on mine since I bought it three weeks ago.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: Equally I cannot stand lazy drivers of small vehicles who have their entire roof and back window covered in...
  • raph: Edgy!
  • Kyree S. Williams: Hyundai did an even better job on the split-level headlights with the new Santa Fe, which is a...
  • SaulTigh: I flew an Allegiant A319 to Vegas last year. It’s a sweet little plane (and has never had a hull loss...
  • salmonmigration: I used to haul baskets of rigging chain around in a Tacoma back when I worked up in Alaska. Never...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States