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Parks McCants's picture

How ‘plus sizing’ improves 2016 Honda Civic performance

Noting the standard equipped ‘plus sizing’ tire trend in today’s chassis engineering and automotive body designs, wheel and tire sizing plays a critical part in 10th gen 2016 Honda Civic. How does it work and what does it do?
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Have we beaten this 2016 Civic thing into the ground?

Granted, one can only write so much about a car that hasn’t hit the showroom floor. Such is the case with the much anticipated 10th generation Honda Civic. Finally witnessing the Honda design magnificence that is the latest Civic concept in person was just a bit life changing for this journalist.

Rode hard and put away wet

Perhaps, just a bit desensitized by the pre-production buzz of the “Year of Honda” and 1,000 s of miles driven in the oft too stiff seat of a Honda or Acura debut roll out, I once again find myself just a bit giddy at the prospect of driving the latest manifestation of the car that arguably started the Asian-metric movement in the United States; the Honda Civic.

How 2016 Civic Was Revealed

Driving the backroads of Los Angeles

That will happen for me the end of September somewhere on the canyon back roads of Los Angeles. For those of you that are fortunate enough to live in or near Tinseltown, Honda’s throwing a big to do at Youtube Los Angeles, a coming out party for Civic if you will, the evening of Wednesday 16, also broadcasted live on Honda’s Youtube channel. Good times!

So, back to our story line

My latest and greatest hands on the wheel obsession with suspension telemetry, reduced dead-weight component bounce and reactive amplitude damping, and how it all reacted with, or to, a changeup in rim size (plus sizing) began at the wheel of 2016 Acura ILX A-SPEC. Yeh, I know, not a Honda. But ILX for all intent and purposes is a super refined Civic Si with Acura flair and Si performance tendencies, albeit a bit detuned. Sure, we also encountered a bit of this technology in 2016 Honda Pilot Elite.

After driving all available variants of the 2016 Acura ILX on the backroads of Lake and Napa counties, California, I was convinced that Acura engineering had “ tricked “ the suspension of ILX A-SPEC. After all, the A-SPEC smoked the standard equipped ILX on the twisties to the point that it had me crawling under the car for an answer or two.

How an increase in wheel diameter improves handling

Yet, when speaking to the Japanese chief engineer on site, the difference in handling, acceleration and ride control came down to one component, the tire rim(old-school) or wheel size. In the case of 2016 ILX, Acura has manufactured and 18 inch alloy rim with road noise deadening properties specific to the A-SPEC. The difference in handling between the two offerings, identical in suspension components, body mounts, etc, came down to one inch.

A-SPEC rides on a larger 18 inch rim. The diameter of the rim and tire combination is the same as the standard specification 17 inch rim/ tire combination. The notable uptick in cornering performance and ride-rigidity(good and bad) is accomplished through the reduction of tire sidewall, thus, less flex and give when cornering. Yes, 2016 Honda Accord Coupe has it too.

Good and bad, damn expensive tires and rims

Of Course the downside of “plus sizing” is a greater occurrence of sidewall and rim damage, increased replacement cost of tires and a greater transmission of tire to surface generated noise to the interior of your vehicle of choice; the price that we're willing pay for greater performance.

looking to the photos of 2016 Civic, we believe that Honda will continue the plus sizing tire trend throughout the Civic lineup, incorporate some form of reactive amplitude dampening, greater frame to body sound deadening and perhaps in the Civic Touring Edition, active electronic noise cancellation.

By any measure 10th generation 2016 Honda Civic will be the most advanced offering in Civic’s history. This Honda fan looks forward to that.


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