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Wheel and tyre-size options for IS300 Sportcross

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I need the advice of experts and enthusiasts, in doing something which seems to swim against the tide.

I have a 2002 IS300 Sportcross.  It comes with 17" wheels as standard, with fairly low-profile tyres:  215/45 R17 on the front, 225/45 R17 on the rear. The alloy wheels are scabby and corroded, and the current Michelin Premacy tyres are due for replacement.  So now is the moment!

Most people who change wheels and tyres seem to want bigger wheels and even lower profile tyres.  Fair enough - for appearance and perhaps hard cornering.

I want to go the other way.  I want to fit 16" wheels (I have a set) and deeper profile tyres.  The reason is mainly to improve the ride and reduce vulnerability to bad road surfaces, potholes, and the thumping of cats-eyes.....

So this is where it gets complicated.  What tyres do I fit?  I want to change the rolling-radius as little as possible in order not to affect the speedo and odometer.  I also want decent quality tyres that aren't noisy, wear reasonably well and are good in the wet (I have Falkens on my 4WD and they are horrible when it's slippery).  I plan to put the same size tyres on all four wheels (I don't carry heavy loads in the Sportcross so can't see the justification for slightly wider wheels on the back).

The brilliant guidance on the website includes a calculator for tyre-size options.  That appears to suggest that I could fit either 50-profile tyres:   215/50 R16 or 225/50 R16,  or if I wanted taller 55-profile ones, 205/55 R16 or 215/55 R16.

So.... first question - what size/profile should I go for?  My instinct was to choose 215/55 R16 all round, but that's a really rare size (I can only find Kumho KH31 in that size).  The manufacturer alternative spec (and standard on the IS200 Sportcross) seems to be 205/55 R16.  What do others think?

Second question..... what brand?  My shortlist is Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance, Dunlop Sport Blu Response, or maybe Hankook or Kumho.  I think Michelins are too costly (I'm not a high mileage driver), and Yokohamas and Bridgestones too soft and wear out quickly.  I have no knowledge of Uniroyal and little experience of Contis (except on an older Merc where they were OEM).

Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated, especially from those in the trade!

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Depending on how wide your new wheels are going to be, I'd suggest 205/55R16. Like you say it's the OEM fitment for an IS supplied with 16" wheels. It's also a very common size, especially when it comes to winter tyres so there ought to be plenty of choice re: brands.

I used to fit a set of RX300 wheels with 205/55R16 tyres during winter months on my old IS200.



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Thanks John - very helpful.

The set of 16" wheels I plan to use are standard 6 spoke Lexus IS wheels (ie the OEM ones as fitted, I think, to some versions of the IS300).  See attached pic. I can't immediately recall the width - I think they are 6.5" - but they are certainly intended for the OEM 205/55 R16 tyres.  Having now browsed a lot of tyre suppliers online, you're absolutely right that it's a very common size, so lots of choice...

I still have the Goodyears and Dunlops on my shortlist.  But I am now thinking quite seriously about the Michelin Cross Climate.  More costly, but the reviews seem to suggest that it really does deliver in both summer and wet/cold winter conditions, and there is a promotional deal on Michelins this month.  As I'm in the Scottish Highlands, I think it might well be worth trying them (even though I try hard to avoid using my Lexus when there is snow/salt/slush on the roads).

More browsing needed to source the best deal!



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Thanks Steve - that site is very helpful (so I've bookmarked it!)

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Update for anyone interested.  I ended up deciding to put 205/55 R16 tyres on all four of those standard Lexus wheels (which are incidentally 6.5" wide).  I chose Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance tyres.  I have just tried them out.  Much quieter, with a much better ride quality, scarcely any thumping over cats-eyes, and the grip and handing both on dry and wet roads feels better than the previous Michelin 45-profiles on 17" wheels.   The change was definitely an improvement and worth doing.

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