Bring Back Big Sidewalls

The new Honda Civic Type R comes with 20-inch wheels stock on skinny low-profile tires. As anyone who has driven one will tell you, rough roads are a nightmare, potholes a waking terror. It doesn’t have to be this way.

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The car you’re looking at made the rounds on the automotive internet the other day (via the always-wonderful supcat), posted by aftermarket company Desmond Wheels. You’re looking at a new CTR on 18s, two inches down on stock, with the difference made up with meaty, meaty tire.

All of that added sidewall offers a kind of give that a low-profile tire could never match. I have driven a Honda Civic Type R on the stock 20s, with the stock 30-section tires on them, and I pointed it out as one of the defining characteristics of the car: constant pothole fear.

I understand that carmakers want to show off as big wheels as possible, trying to make the car look as good as it can. But the stock 20s don’t look nearly as good as these 18s.

And I get that you can hunt after outright performance with a big wheel and thin tires, but I’m not sure that’s what’s going on in this case either. The Honda Civic Type R’s wheels are actually heavier than what you get on a Honda Odyssey, as friend of Jalopnik and frequent contributor here Bozi Tatarevic pointed out on twitter:

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And if you go looking at what the Honda Civic Type R actually races on in touring car specification, yeah, those are 18s.

It’s time. We’ve been waiting for it. We can hear it in our hearts, and in our wallets every time we go shopping for winter tires. Bring back big sidewalls. It’s the right thing to do.

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.