|Stock 16" Forester wheel|
While we originally wanted to upgrade to a 17 inch wheel and tire for our summer rolling stock, the more and more we think about it, the more and more we think we'll stick with the 16 inch wheels. Why? Well, we bought the Forester to be our go-anywhere "adventure" vehicle. You may be thinking, "Isn't that what your 4x4 lifted Suzuki Sidekick is for?" Yes and no. The Sidekick is more of our off-road toy; it isn't as comfortable on long trips and is limited on space. Great for weekend forays into the wilderness, the dirt, and the rocks.
Getting back to the Forester: A 16 inch tire is going to have more sidewall than a 17, which is great for comfort, for curbage, and for exploring dirt and gravel roads. Plus, replacing 215/65/16 tires is cheaper. In our case, we can simply reuse the Birdgestone Duelers that came with the car, since they only have about 3,000 miles on them. That means time to find 16 inch wheels.
I've been keeping an eye on craigslist, ScionLife.com, SubaruForester.org, and even perusing the VW Vortex 5x100 wheel classified section. However, most of these places are listing 17, 18, and 19-inch wheels. Understandable, since these are popular upgrade sizes. Not a whole lot of custom 16s, though ...
So we'll continue the hunt until we find that just-right set of 16s. There is a lot of thrill in the hunt, so to speak, but at some point, you've got to just pick from what's available—or spend the big bucks. It's a delicate dance between finding what you want and affordability.