18" wheels vs 20" wheels - are larger wheels purely superficial?

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Is it the case that 20" wheels are mainly a superficial thing and that 18" wheels are superior in terms of both performance and ability to withstand potholes and such?

I test drove one car (2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2-row with 18" wheels, and 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L with 20" wheels). The 2-row felt like a better drive to me, I’m trying to figure out if it’s due to the wheel size or the shorter wheelbase (and less weight, same engine?). The salesman told me 18" wheels are better than 20" wheels, I wasn’t sure if it’s because he was selling me what he had, or if he was onto something.

Would love to hear an opinion or two on what others think.

I’m considering doing a build on a 2-row.

Larger wheels mean less sidewall in the tires, which generally means less compliance from the tires and a harsher ride.


Ofc this being the internet, username “Lewis_Hamilton69” will chime in soon to remind us that his Suburban corners better on 24s


For everyday road use, there should not be large difference between an 18" and 20" on an SUV, IMO. 18" wheels will be slightly be comfortable going over potholes and decrease the risk of bubbles, but for most people it comes down to aesthetics.

Yes, the smaller wheel typically provides better cornering and bump absorption due to larger sidewalls. I’m getting a 4Runner Limited this month. The suspension (not sure if different in the Jeep trims like Toyota) will also come into play of how the ride feels stock. The 4Runner comes with 20s, but I plan on picking up a set of TRD 17s shortly after to improve the overall ride quality.

I would never downsize but to each their own.

A shorter wheelbase generally does not result in a better ride.

Got it, thanks, maybe the 2 row just has less weight with the same engine, or the tires… or it’s just mental.

I think it does result in a better drive.

I plan on ripping out the XREAS suspension shortly after too. Just wanting the Limited for most of the interior upgrades that you cannot get in other trims. The exterior is going to end up looking more TRD style once I swap the wheels and suspension. Plan to add step bars and a few other exterior mods.

I agree that, aesthetically, with most vehicles I would not downsize either in general. If I take it off road, those 20s just won’t hold up as well as the 17s if you are familiar with the reasons.

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Keep in mind that the new GC has not been IIHS-rated yet and the last gen did horribly in crash tests.

If you mean more agility, than, yes, absolutely.

Ah, just re-read the OP’s post, and they used the word “drive” but then mentioned “performance” and “ability to withstand potholes.”

Perhaps OP should be more specific about what they’re looking for. Are you looking for more agility? Better grip? Or a smoother, cushier ride (that is also likely the setup that will withstand potholes better).


I agree. I hate terms like “ride” and “drive” since they are very subjective. Even more specific terms like performance and handling can be vague without more context.

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People use these words interchangeably yet incorrectly all the time.

If you read owner reviews of domestic full-size sedans, you’ll see comments like “handles like a dream.” No. It doesn’t. It handles like shit. But it rides like a cloud.


Yes but does it have a very nice sound system- and how much negative equity can I burry in it.


When I say performance, I was trying to come up with a word for the general non-superficial aspects of a ride. I suppose if I had to narrow it down, I guess it’s the combination of smooth ride, as you said “cushier”, in combination of “better grip”.

Going from 18s to 20s is going to diminish your ride quality and offer nowhere near a proportional increase in grip.


Smooth ride and better grip don’t normally go together. So you’ll need to decide which one matters more to you.

I personally would go for the smaller wheels for a cushier ride, greater ability to withstand a pothole, and b/c, esp in this application, the 20" wheels are really more of a cosmetic thing. I mean, it’s a Jeep, not a sports car. But, of course, I’m also an internet stranger. :slight_smile:

My commute is 3 miles each way on surface streets. I get the sound system as a priority. :smiley:

The OEM 20” tires have a decent amount of side wall. Your ride should be smooth unless the ride in a Jeep is horrible in general. You have to worry more when you have 20” wheels on small car when the tires look like rubber bands.

weight of the rims also plays a big role.

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