2014 1.6 DTEC SE Plus - after 3 months ownership - Civinfo
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd August 2014, 17:36 Thread Starter
 
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2014 1.6 DTEC SE Plus - after 3 months ownership

I've been enjoying reading the reviews of the 1.6, cheers guys thought I'd chip in my 2 cents since I've owned a 2014 SE plus for 3 months now. Suppose it'll add to the collective wisdom here

History:

I'm 34. Surfer, mountain biker & musician (hobbies which need big boots!)
Cars owned from 2002 -
M reg rover 214 (dad gave me it and I put a 1kW stereo in it. Silly).
M reg BMW 320 saloon. Good handling, started to fall apart though.
05 BMW 230d estate. Very impressed with this car.
V reg BMW 528 sport auto. 24mpg at best but fun
Smart roadster (chipped to 100bhp). Loads of fun.
No cars from 2011 - 2014 (quit to become an Eco warrior cyclist haha, got tired of the ball-ache of running cars. Tax, repairs, insurance, etc) 40 min commute to work.
DTEC 1.6 SE plus from apr 2014.

Purchase:
I've always bought used cars to save money but end up with maintenance costs and silly insurance (approx 1000/yr because I choose silly cars in high insurance groups). My wife suggested I try a new car for the easier motoring experience since I took a promotion and it's loads of extra work. Aiming for fuel economy and low tax & insurance I looked at the Focus, Yeti, Civic, Volvo V40, Auris, Golf, Panda. I deliberately avoided BMW because I knew I'd be tempted if I drove one and wanted to avoid the high insurance. The Focus was boring to be in. The Yeti was a bit too big and the rear seats were a faff (unlike the Civic). The V40 had some mediocre reviews and seemed to offer less space, soundproofing, economy & tax. Although I'm not fussed about looks the Auris is fugly IMO. Everyone has a Golf and the Eco model blue motion has no power. The Panda is cheap but a bit too basic, I spend a fair amount of time driving to surf spots and band practises so need comfort! I also listen to music a lot while driving so there needed to be some refinement and a semi-decent stereo. When I started looking at the Civic, I was more and more impressed with all the features it kinda turned into a no brainer. 70-78mpg, 6 spk + sub, rear cam, low insurance, no tax, magic seats, 70L extra boot space, ipod/iMID, hands free phone. Economic engine which actually has a bit of poke, fairly level when turning sharply but with a smooth ride.

I bought mine on PCP with 3000 deposit and 324/mo. 4.8% APR if I remember rightly. I took the gap insurance for 5/mo because if you write it off there may be a deficit between your insurance coverage and the remaining finance balance. I declined all the other options like spraying the seats with Scotchguard (something like 500? Mental) and 'exterior diamond protection' or whatever (another 500 ish?). But I was getting on with the sales guy who likes heavy metal so he 'got the guys to spray it anyway'. I'm not sure whether they did.

The bad:

Handling hasn't got any feel really. Having driven BMWs for ages I have enjoyed good handling and being to 'feel' the road through the steering. Steering feels a bit disconnected.

The alarm volume is laughable. Kinda sounds like I left my phone inside.

The paintwork seems easily damaged, the odd chip appearing from road debris. The bodywork is very flexible (thin metal?) feels like plastic! Keeps the weight down though I suppose.

Although, I believe in theory (correct me if I'm wrong here), you can end a PCP contract at any time or part-ex (even with another dealer) there is a clause in the contract which states you must pay back 50% of the car before you can give it back. So obviously you're locked in. I do kinda feel a bit trapped by that as I used to swap cars regularly when I fancied. Now I guess I'm going to have to wait until I'm in 'positive equity' with the car? I'm not even sure if that's possible but there is speculation of the car being worth more than the guaranteed future value of 7,400 in 41 months (sept 2017). Perhaps there may be periods when I will be in 'positive equity' depending on interest rates and inflation and all that kack. I will go away and do some maths and post about this when I have facts. Anyway, I don't think I'll be able to resist getting a quote when the Type R is released next year! Hahaha. Along with everyone else

The good:

Key fob buttons open and close windows, deadlock the doors on second press and mirrors fold if you keep the button held. The third fob button is quick boot access - one press opens the boot only, and locks again when closed. You don't get a plain key you can take out surfing in your wetsuit, but you can get one cut in the high street for 25. It only opens the doors and sets off the weedy alarm.

The interior is an interesting place to be compared to similar cars. There are armrests on both sides and the ipod USB connection is hidden inside the left armrest so you can leave your ipod in there safely. It doesn't drain the battery as charging only happens when the ignition is on. There are 4 cup holders, two of which are in the centre console and can be converted to a storage space instead. Pedals are aluminium. Steering wheel feels good and is a decent girth for me, haha. Also not too large in diameter. Interesting white stitching and a seat with side supports.

iMid works seamlessly with iPod and iPhone and displays album art. (Although I hear compatibility with non-Apple devices isn't great, and there isn't an official list). The premium sound system is actually pretty good. There's a sub in the boot that gives a good bass extension. I'm used to putting silly stereos in cars, it's nowhere near an aftermarket system but it's significantly better than other OEM systems I've heard. Even my bro's Bose system in his Mazda 3. The phone integration is seamless and the voice activated quick dialling seems to work every time. Even when using apple iphone sat nav, music is paused and the voice commands are fed into the stereo!

The iMiD screen is easy to use and informative of driving data. You can even upload your own artwork as a wallpaper. The reversing camera switches on when reverse gear is engaged and I don't know how I ever lived without one! Not sure how it compares to the competition though. You can also operate it while driving forward, as discussed in the forum.

Fuel economy is excellent. Like most of you guys I've left trip B running since pickup and it's at 69mpg. I occasionally reset trip A to get high scores I've had 75mpg on a run from Teesside to Manchester and back (65mpg on the way there, I think it was into the wind. Over 80mpg on the way back). I fill the tank approx every 25 days and it costs approx 55. The low friction engineering is absolutely incredible. Select neutral and it just glides like it's on ice. A combination of aerodynamics and low friction engine parts I believe.

Free road tax! For now...

Low insurance. I pay 225/yr.

Warranties: 3yr or 90,000 miles, plus: 5yr exhaust, 3yr surface corrosion, 12yr structural corrosion, 10yr chassis corrosion. I haven't read the fine print yet but will post any funky details I find.

Magic seats - these are great. They fold down totally flat for loading, or fold up so you can use the rear passenger space for tall objects.

Extra 70L boot space - the boot floor drops down to reveal a cavity which is actually really handy. I can get a full guitar rig in the boot alone, without folding the seats down. Not possible in similar sized cars in my experience. I can even fit a 7ft surfboard in there with the seats down and the passenger seat moved forward.

Air compressor with pressure gauge - included as part of the puncture repair kit which saves you 1 at the petrol station air pump.

Air con is powerful and dual zone.

Gear change has a solid well engineered feel. Clutch pedal isn't to stiff or high.

I've fiddled with the econ button which dulls the throttle and air con but you can achieve the same fuel economy without it. Refer to the Law of Conservation of Energy (I'm a physics teacher, sorry). If you want to do a certain journey in a certain time with a specific cabin temperature you will use a fixed amount of fuel. The button does not do anything magical. Perhaps helps those with a lead foot to ease off? I used to drive enthusiastically sometimes on quiet roads but I drive like a granny these days. I'm conscious of cyclists and pedestrians. Any other vehicles really. I think the roads are becoming more dangerous places year after year, some people can forget they are driving over 1000kg of metal moving at lethal speeds. Anyway, sorry, that rant is for another time

It seems that the 1.6 Earth Dreams engine lets you have your cake and eat it. There are 120PS available for overtaking and it feels nippy because you get it in one big whack. But then it will cruise at 70mpg without trying. Clever stuff IMO.

Summary:

So many more positives than negatives with the Civic compared to other cars I have experienced. Main negatives are the lack of driving feel, and being stuck in the PCP contract (which isn't the car's fault of course). I keep meaning to read about wheel upgrades in the styling forums and see if there are any reports of improved handling.

If I think of anything else I'll update the thread.

Last edited by J_Mac; 3rd August 2014 at 21:00.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd August 2014, 20:02
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Nice write up. Fuel economy is amazing. I love my VTEC but makes me think when I'm only averaging 20/25mpg, with a realistic 30mpg maximum if driving very slowly, yours can do nearly 3 times my economy!
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd August 2014, 20:51 Thread Starter
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Thanks bud I am starting to miss smooth petrol engines and nice handling though. I'll certainly be back at the dealer for a sniff when the Type R appears
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd August 2014, 20:53
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Nice write up, couldn't have put it better myself, partly cos I am lazy at writing things up lol.
Need to get to grips with the fob to see of mine operates windows and stuff (63 plate)

Edit - I only have 2 buttons on my fob and they just seem to open the drivers door with 1 click and passenger with 2?
Double edit - just opened car, closed it by holding the close button and hey presto windows close and mirrors power in, must read the manual one day, also when i open the door with the handle the mirrors power out

Last edited by civicnewbie; 3rd August 2014 at 21:00.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 4th August 2014, 06:32
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If it's the same as mine the mirrors only auto power out when you open the drivers door.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 4th August 2014, 12:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Mac View Post
iMid works seamlessly with iPod and iPhone and displays album art. (Although I hear compatibility with non-Apple devices isn't great, and there isn't an official list).
Mine doesn't recognize my Android phone or my non-apple MP3 player. It has no compatibility with my phone (Galaxy S3 Mini) what so ever and I have to pick songs on my MP3 player itself and play it through the Aux, but at least it can take charge off the USB cable at the same time.

But these are little gripes and they don't really matter to me. If I was the kind of person who couldn't detach himself from his phone for longer than a few minutes, it would probably annoy me more.

And yes, I'm also a 9G owner who'll be sniffing for a Type R quote next year. Probably wont afford one though...
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 5th August 2014, 09:03
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Great review.
Echo's my feelings of the vehicle exactly as i'm similar being a serial hobbiest into climbing, dh biking, surfing and being in a band. The boot is just awesome but the handling leaves a little to be desired, sometimes when it hits a weird camber the car seems to have a life of its own needing more steering input and drifting about the road. I almost want to go back to the dealer to ask if they can weight up the steering rack and tighten the brakes but I know that its not possible so won’t...
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 5th August 2014, 12:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Mac View Post
I keep meaning to read about wheel upgrades in the styling forums and see if there are any reports of improved handling.
You wrote a great summary of 2014 MY Civic diesel's attributes and I agree with your insightful commentary.

Before also deciding on a new 2014 MY 1.6 i-dtec I had test drives on 16" and 17" wheels.

After trying to make allowances for the range of odometer readings across the cars driven and taking into account fitments from various tyre manufacturers with unknown pressures my conclusion was that going from 16" to 17" wheels makes a noticeable difference to the overall driving experience.

Here are my driving impressions based on some small conjecture and real world experience...

16":
Braking - Perhaps bounded as much by the tyre as the road condition
Cornering - Felt reasonably secure but within reduced limits
Handling - Acceptable but with an enduring sense of sidewall flex
Economy - Probably better with low rolling resistance tyres
Road noise - Surprisingly similar but somewhat lesser
Steering - Light and perhaps a little distant
Safety - Sufficient

17":
Braking - Better balance between tyre limits and road surface
Cornering - More secure with some measure of reserve for manouvering
Handling - Improved with more immediate responses
Economy - Probably impacted by ~3 to ~5 mpg?
Road noise - Surprisingly similar but somewhat greater
Steering - Slightly heavier but not much more communicative
Safety - Preferred

18": Test drove a Tourer with these on and wished I hadn't bothered.

Some of my observations about the driving characteristics of the 16 and 17 inch wheel and tyre combintations may in part have been influenced by actual tyre pressures and I'm certain that several of my driving impressions mentioned above would again be modified significantly by choice of tyre manufacturer.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 07:33
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logician View Post

18": Test drove a Tourer with these on and wished I hadn't bothered.
Would you care to elaborate?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 16:16
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With the indulgence of the OP - 18" wheels on a Tourer ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cazcade View Post
Would you care to elaborate?
Having been at least minimally dilligent in my 9G 16 to 17 inch wheel and tyre comparison I felt it was perhaps worth sharing. My experience with the 18" wheels was on a single example of a different body/suspension platform and I wonder is it truly worthy of any additional commentary beyond the fairly gratuitous one liner already issued?

However, as you asked - with my very limited experience being based on a sample size of only one and accepting therefore that my response will require a brief journey deeper into the realms of conjecture but with my impression being so stark - why not try to string together some kind of continuum out of it?

To set the scene: in the run up to purchasing the Civic, over a period of months a variety of models from all the usual suspects were test driven and for various reasons, set aside. I also tried out 16 and 17 inch wheels on both 13 and 14 MY 9G 5 door cars. My views on the suspension differences between these model years are here.

Given that when I drove the near new Tourer it was during a spell of very hot weather and that, in my view, as dealership predilections tend towards over rather than under inflation, tyre pressures were likely maximal.

The test drive took place largely on poorly maintained back roads which are typical of my normal cross country driving requirements. The correlation between other medium sized (weight) 18" and 19" wheeled cars I have driven was, in this instance, substantially maintained. Almost regardless of manufacturer, my observation is that unless road surfaces are entirely smooth there is a tendency for the, produced to cost point, suspension to be unable to cope well with the larger wheel/lower tyre profile combinations.

I conjecture reasonably that as unsprung mass generally increases with wheel diameter then unless bump/rebound settings are progressively optimised over carefully selected frequency bands then some sensible measure of adaptive flexure from the tyre is no bad thing. All else being equal, at 18" and above I would question if sufficient sidewall forgiveness exists for satisfactory operation with any but the most expensive and sophisticated suspension sytems?

In short, for my driving needs, I could imagine that perhaps 18" wheels on a 13 MY may be tolerable. Otherwise I am left wondering; what price vanity, where then is comfort to be found and will safety always be there in those moments when you need it most?

YOMD?...
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 16:42
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We go on about wheel sizes and what this does to the drive and handling of the car and I see negative comments on 18" wheels yet when I test drove the Tourer with these I was amazed how good the drive and ride was. So this got me thinking and I guess a big difference also comes from a petrol or diesel engine and in my case it was petrol engine which would also have been lighter, so maybe this is a bigger factor in ride and handling than the wheels alone?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 17:16
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logician View Post
...In short, for my driving needs, I could imagine that perhaps 18" wheels on a 13 MY may be tolerable. Otherwise I am left wondering; what price vanity, where then is comfort to be found and will safety always be there in those moments when you need it most?
YOMD?...
Well thank you for your elaborate answer

I just didn't know how to interpret your comment on the 18 inch. It seemed negative but without any explanation.

I have what I think is the heaviest 9th gen Civic (2.2 i-dtec, Executive). The used car I bought came with 18 inch Honda Hydrogen rims and Yokohama Advan 225/40 tires. I use the car daily and very often with 2 adults, two toddlers, one small dog and a full boot. I agree with some of your assumptions. IMO the ride is a little harsh and noisy on uneven roads. But on the other hand I think the suspension of the 9th gen can deal with hard low profile tires without any problems. I feel very comfortable driving the car at high speeds and during hard maneuvering. Of course tires with bigger sidewalls usually are quieter and give a softer ride. I guess its a question of taste and how you use the car.

Next time I buy new tires I will probably go for another tire model/make and perhaps a little bigger/taller sidewall.

Last edited by cazcade; 6th August 2014 at 17:19.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 18:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickHondaR View Post
We go on about wheel sizes ... in my case it was petrol engine which would also have been lighter, so maybe this is a bigger factor in ride and handling than the wheels alone?
Sprung to unsprung weight ratio and its interaction with the transfer function of the suspension system (which also includes the tyre sidewall) is quite a complex issue but generally the rule is the higher the ratio the better i.e. wherever possible make the wheels, tyres, discs and calipers etc lighter or put some of them them in a place where they contribute only to the sprung weight.

The Tourer has variable suspension settings so if these were on their softest perhaps that could account for it?
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 19:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cazcade View Post
Well thank you for your elaborate answer

I just didn't know how to interpret your comment on the 18 inch. It seemed negative but without any explanation.

I have what I think is the heaviest 9th gen Civic (2.2 i-dtec, Executive).
...
Next time I buy new tires I will probably go for another tire model/make and perhaps a little bigger/taller sidewall.
You are very welcome .

My understanding is that a different make of tyre would be fine but for a given wheel size the profile section or sidewall height has to remain fixed.

For instance, if a tyre has a larger overall diameter than the manufacturers standard fitment then the circumference increases and along with potential chassis clearance issues speedometers give false readings.

Last edited by logician; 6th August 2014 at 19:06. Reason: Politeness
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 19:12
 
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I don't believe there will be a significant difference in weight between the different tyre and wheel combinations available for this car. The bigger the wheel diameter the lower the sidewall height. They are all more or less the same rolling circumference so the bigger the wheel disc, the shallower and stiffer the sidewalls of the tyre will be.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logician View Post
You are very welcome .

My understanding is that a different make of tyre would be fine but for a given wheel size the profile section or sidewall height has to remain fixed.

For instance, if a tyre has a larger overall diameter than the manufacturers standard fitment then the circumference increases and along with potential chassis clearance issues speedometers give false readings.
You are right of course, but I see no problem with this as long as you don't overdo it.
There is plenty of clearance and almost every single car speedometer shows a higher speed than your actually driving. So for example going from 225/40 to 225/45 would add about 1 cm to the sidewall and 3.5 % to the speedometer which is less than most cars show wrong. Or I just get 215/45 tires... Or new smaller rims
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 6th August 2014, 21:57
 
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Quote:
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I don't believe there will be a significant difference in weight between the different tyre and wheel combinations available for this car. The bigger the wheel diameter the lower the sidewall height. They are all more or less the same rolling circumference so the bigger the wheel disc, the shallower and stiffer the sidewalls of the tyre will be.
Yup. Going with bigger rims usually means "shorter" sidewall but at the same time usually much wider tires. People seem to forget this. I dunno what this does to the weight though...
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 8th August 2014, 20:47
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Assuming the factory engineers have not already normalised differences in weight...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quacker View Post
I don't believe there will be a significant difference in weight between the different tyre and wheel combinations available for this car. The bigger the wheel diameter the lower the sidewall height. They are all more or less the same rolling circumference so the bigger the wheel disc, the shallower and stiffer the sidewalls of the tyre will be.
... Then I agree with you that the increase in going from 16" at J~5.5" to 18" at say J~8.5" may not at first glance appear to a particularly significant factor. This difference would however be volumetrically additive to the amount of whatever alloy is used in accomodating the increases in spoke length, rim width and rim circumference and would still apply even if the various sizes of tyre all weighed the same, which they certainly do not. One initial estimate could be an overall factor somewhere in the region of say 1.5 and in extremis perhaps as much as up to 2 times heavier. You have suggested correctly that this is not a huge change in total unsprung weight. But, as both a stiffer sidewall and an increase in weight tend to occur together I will try to illustrate why, in my view, any increase in unsprung weight is not welcome.

As the primary task of vehicle suspension is not to insulate the occupants from a bumpy ride but to keep the tyre in contact with the road surface. Any extra wheel and tyre mass when taken together with that of the unsprung braking, steering and suspension components generally only exacerbates the situation. This is because greater rolling circumference; the one factor which could improve ride quality, has been ruled out.

A tyre's sidewall compliance contributes substantially to a suspension system's operational characteristics and as this compliance reduces; any irregularities in the road surface transmit a series of vertical acceleration impulses with higher slew rates into the spring and damper arrangement. These arrive as a complex set of compound multipliers which are processed by what is essentially a leaky low-pass mechanical filter whose intrinsic coefficients are nominally invariant. However, these relatively small changes to the extrinsic loading i.e. faster impulse slew rates and greater mechanical inertia, when multiplied up have very real consequences for higher frequency behaviours at the actual road surface.

For example, due to both a stiffer sidewall and greater unsprung weight the system can't respond fast enough to keep the tyre on the tarmac whilst at the same time it fails to decouple the chassis from these higher speed transients. So for a given overall diameter this is when any additional weight of the wheel and tyre becomes an issue because in addition to a stiffer sidewall the extra unsprung weight also affects, in some measure, the tuning of the filter particularly at those higher frequencies which are excited by the stiffer sidewall.

In terms at least of comfort the above is mitigated to some degree by a higher sprung mass i.e. a heavier car body and engine etc. But as the manufacturer will likely have focussed mainly on only one wheel and tyre combination. For the majority of conventional suspension systems reducing sidewall compliance and/or increasing wheel and tyre weight eventually impairs the suspension's primary purpose with, on some road surfaces, an inevitable impact on safety. Naturally, the opposite also applies.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 8th August 2014, 22:11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logician View Post
... Then I agree with you that the increase in going from 16" at J~5.5" to 18" at say J~8.5" may not at first glance appear to a particularly significant factor. This difference would however be volumetrically additive to the amount of whatever alloy is used in accomodating the increases in spoke length, rim width and rim circumference and would still apply even if the various sizes of tyre all weighed the same, which they certainly do not. One initial estimate could be an overall factor somewhere in the region of say 1.5 and in extremis perhaps as much as up to 2 times heavier. You have suggested correctly that this is not a huge change in total unsprung weight. But, as both a stiffer sidewall and an increase in weight tend to occur together I will try to illustrate why, in my view, any increase in unsprung weight is not welcome.

As the primary task of vehicle suspension is not to insulate the occupants from a bumpy ride but to keep the tyre in contact with the road surface. Any extra wheel and tyre mass when taken together with that of the unsprung braking, steering and suspension components generally only exacerbates the situation. This is because greater rolling circumference; the one factor which could improve ride quality, has been ruled out.

A tyre's sidewall compliance contributes substantially to a suspension system's operational characteristics and as this compliance reduces; any irregularities in the road surface transmit a series of vertical acceleration impulses with higher slew rates into the spring and damper arrangement. These arrive as a complex set of compound multipliers which are processed by what is essentially a leaky low-pass mechanical filter whose intrinsic coefficients are nominally invariant. However, these relatively small changes to the extrinsic loading i.e. faster impulse slew rates and greater mechanical inertia, when multiplied up have very real consequences for higher frequency behaviours at the actual road surface.

For example, due to both a stiffer sidewall and greater unsprung weight the system can't respond fast enough to keep the tyre on the tarmac whilst at the same time it fails to decouple the chassis from these higher speed transients. So for a given overall diameter this is when any additional weight of the wheel and tyre becomes an issue because in addition to a stiffer sidewall the extra unsprung weight also affects, in some measure, the tuning of the filter particularly at those higher frequencies which are excited by the stiffer sidewall.

In terms at least of comfort the above is mitigated to some degree by a higher sprung mass i.e. a heavier car body and engine etc. But as the manufacturer will likely have focussed mainly on only one wheel and tyre combination. For the majority of conventional suspension systems reducing sidewall compliance and/or increasing wheel and tyre weight eventually impairs the suspension's primary purpose with, on some road surfaces, an inevitable impact on safety. Naturally, the opposite also applies.
You presume a large difference in weight between individual wheel and tyre combinations. Without proper figures, I remain to be convinced that the difference is significant in itself or as a percentage of the total unsprung mass including mechanical suspension components.

I agree with you that the shallow stiff sidewalls will almost certainly have a detrimental effect on ride and handling unless the suspension default tuning is for this size tyre or that the suspension changes with the tyre specified from the factory.
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  Civinfo > 9th Generation Euro Honda Civic (2012 - 2016) > User Reviews (9G)

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