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I am hesitating between the RAV4 XLE and the RAV4 SE. The RAV4 SE has really cool 18'' wheels and the RAV4 XLE has normal 17'' wheels. I want to get the SE (because of aesthetics), however, I'm afraid the bigger wheels can make my driving experience less pleasant.

I read here the ride becomes terrible due to the 18-inch wheels with aggressive low profile tires. The XLE with 17-inch is much smoother

Is this true? I test drove both, but can't see the difference. Especially with the dealer sitting next to me, I can't focus to try to listen to the extra noises.

I would really like to hear the experts opinion on this. The dealer says there is no difference. I understand he doesn't care which one I buy. I want to know the experts opinion

  • Another factor you may want to consider is check the price to replace each of the different sizes of tyres as this may be a consideration. – Steve Matthews May 10 '16 at 12:58
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If you live in a place where the roads are smooth, you are less likely to ever feel the difference. On the other hand, lower profile improves handling, so if you like a more sporty drive (which I highly disrecommend in an SUV) you will find yourself better in the SE.

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If you prefer the bigger wheels and you cannot feel a negative difference I'd plump for them otherwise I'd probably regret it every time I saw the car (except when purchasing new tyres!).

I used to be into customised cars a lot when I was younger and used to put big wheels on all my cars, I felt at the time that the styling and cornering grip outweighed any detrimental ride or tramlining. That said I have driven my father's Vauxhall (Opel) Cascada that has standard 20" wheels and rubber band tyres, I don't think the bigger wheels affect the drive at all.

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