[Discussion] Model 3 Ride Comfort 18" Wheel vs 19" Wheel

[Discussion] Model 3 Ride Comfort 18" Wheel vs 19" Wheel

I have read many reviews that said the ride is a bit bumpy when compared to the model S air suspension, and these reviews are based on the 19" wheel model 3. I am wondering if anyone who owns model 3 with 18" aerowheel can comment on the ride comfort level when compared to model S w/air suspension or cars in the same class.

For me who comes from a Honda Civic would really love to see great improvement in ride comfort when I upgrade to model 3. Thanks!

LA-Fohlen | 01. Januar 2018

I was reading the other day in the FB Tesla group a user reporting that the ride is definitely bumpier on the 18" wheels. He mentioned that it is ok for him as the driver but his pregnant wife didn't feel very comfortable.

lph | 01. Januar 2018

That is odd. 18" have more air to cushion the ride than the 19's.

TTTTTTT | 01. Januar 2018

That's bad. I hope the multi-link suspension would be at least be better than normal suspensions. I have drove a chrysler 300 before with multi-link suspension and the ride feels very smooth. So it seems the model 3 is still not to that level yet.

weluvm3 | 01. Januar 2018

Maybe the 18” wheels are heavier than the 19” wheels?

TTTTTTT | 01. Januar 2018

18" wheels should be lighter than 19" wheels, the added rubber weight should be less than the alloy. So it is strange that the 18" wheels are feeling bumpier than the 19" ones

weluvm3 | 01. Januar 2018

But maybe the 19” are made with lighter/stronger alloy? Or they are spun cast? Hence, lighter although wider.

TTTTTTT | 01. Januar 2018

Is it possible to ask Tesla or third party auto shop to loosen the suspension a bit to make it more comfortable?

Frank99 | 01. Januar 2018

>>> it seems the model 3 is still not to that level yet.
Ah, the "it has to be all things to all people problem". The ride of a Chrysler 300 appeals to a different audience than the ride of a BMW M3. Doesn't make one better than the other. if your preference is the Chrysler 300, you might want to take a ride in a Model 3 before committing to purchase.

TTTTTTT | 01. Januar 2018

Ya, I agree that the Chrysler 300 or other cars may be fulfilling different appetites. I just wish the model 3 got a good balance between luxury car ride comfort and sports car tight handling and harshness, but not tilting heavily to one side. | 01. Januar 2018

I'm not sure you can easily compare the Model S wheel size/handling with the Model 3. I would expect the larger rims (19" vs. 18") to handle better, but at the cost of some slight road comfort. This is true of the Model S between the 21" and 19" options (the 21" being a bit less comfortable, but handle better).

From the latest MotorTrend comparison (Leaf/Bolt/3), with a Model 3 and 19" tires:

"In terms of handling, it’s a blowout. At Hyundai’s winding track handling venue, the Bolt was pointy and nimble, but the Leaf felt softer, less powerful, and nose-heavy. The Model 3? It handled like a four-door Porsche Cayman (albeit loaded with luggage)."

“I thought the Model 3’s handling felt terrific, and its rear-wheel drive was noticeable by its lack of steering drama on hard acceleration,” Brooks said. Added Hong: “The Leaf understeered heavily on the track, and its chassis felt dated.”

TTTTTTT | 01. Januar 2018

I think there is no doubt the model 3's handling is superb, be it the 18" or 19" model.

Mozart | 01. Januar 2018

The 18's are inflated to 45psi cold. I don't think they need to be that high. I think 35-38 would improve the ride without comprising range or tire wear.

TTTTTTT | 01. Januar 2018

45 psi seems high. I wonder what is the recommended tire pressure range for the default tire.

eeb9 | 01. Januar 2018

Higher pressure for less rolling resistance/more efficiency? If so, lowering pressure a bit might help soften the ride, at the expense of range

My personal preference would be for a stickier tire for grip, and i’m Happy to have a firmer ride if it comes with better handling as well.

msmith55 | 01. Januar 2018

Decreasing tire pressure reduces the maximum safe speed for the car. This speed should be shown as a red line on the speedometer, based on tire size, tire speed rating, and tires pressure.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 01. Januar 2018

eeb9 suggested/inquired, "Higher pressure for less rolling resistance/more efficiency?"

+42! Precisely. Best as possible without going down to 185mm wide tread and up to 60 psi with 15 or 20 profile tires or some other ridiculous ratio.

Mozart | 01. Januar 2018

I plan to remove the aero hubcaps. It looks like I will need the Tesla center logos and grey lug nut covers for it to look right. Will the logos from the hubcaps fit the rim?

stevea137 | 02. Januar 2018

@byrned - From everything I've heard is yes, the MS center cap and lug covers fit the M3 18" wheels as well. That's my plan as well.

Haggy | 02. Januar 2018

I haven't tried the larger wheels, but have driven a number of Model S with air, and have one without it. The Model 3 with the smaller wheels has a bit of a tighter feel than the S with air, but not in an uncomfortable way. The differences between air and coil on the Model S have generated many threads, and the consensus is that they are different but it's unlikely that going from one to the other would make you dislike the car. Some people feel that the coil suspension handles better. I find that when I step out of a car with coil suspension into one with air, the ride feels smoother, but when I get back to coil I don't feel deprived. The air suspension also does far better on speed bumps than the S with coil, but the Model 3 does better on speed bumps than the S with coil and closer to the air suspension.

The last time I had a Model S loaner, I initially thought it had air, but it turned out that it didn't but had Goodyear tires instead of the Michelin. I didn't check the tire pressures.

I wish I had compared the two wheel sizes on the Model 3 before buying but it wasn't an option.

TTTTTTT | 02. Januar 2018

@Haggy, thanks for the detailed comparison. Now I have more confident on the ride quality of 18" model 3. It would be great if Tesla can offer test drive later..

HughO | 08. Juli 2019

thanks for the info I am ordering M3 and have gone back and forth on the wheels. the 19's have a better look,

that being said seems that 18's are superior for a couple reasons the big one is aerodynamics hence more efficient

perhaps as much as 10%.

mt917 | 08. Juli 2019

I have driven two model 3's both with 19" rims. They both felt smoother than my Mazda 3 with 16" rims!

mikebaz | 01. September 2019

My experience with 18 vs 19 vs 20" rims is that the bigger the number the rougher the ride. There is less rubber to cushion the bumps on the larger dia rims. Model S with air suspension is different than Model 3 so comparisons with the SAME tire on each car should show the difference suspension being the only factor. Otherwise comparing apples to oranges.

ODWms | 03. September 2019

I’ve driven Model 3s with 18s, 19, and mine with 20s. I see no discernible difference even between the 18s and 20s.

Spartan-117 | 04. September 2019

@ODWms I could not agree more! I obsessed over the decision going from 18s to 20s and in the end ride comfort is basically the same to me. Huge increase in confidence when cornering, love it! Drill a pothole however and you'll probably see a difference.

TrexTesla | 04. September 2019

I currently have the 18s. Getting the 19s Friday (unless Dorian delays me getting them installed). I've read in numerous spots there is no real difference in the comfort level between the two because the 19s ride with a lower psi than the 18s. HOWEVER, handling, breaking, and cornering are all far superior with the least from most of the reviews I've read from professional reviews. I'll be able to tell in about a week after driving the 19s for a while. I will say that with the 18s on the LR AWD, they do feel a bit squirrelly when picking up speed. Much different than my Porsche or BMW, both of which were RWD only. Not sure if it's torque steer or the tires floating a bit...more to follow.

Vsanva | 04. September 2019

18” AWD Driver here after 14k I want the 19” now more for look and see how they feel.

It appears the secondary market is rather light on them so far. Keeping my eye open, quick question I’ve seem tires listed with no TPMS ... do I just swap my existing on to them or are there additional costs? Do the 18” tpms work for 19 and 20”?

TrexTesla | 11. September 2019

OK. Initial impressions on the switch from 18s (3k miles) to the 19s. IMMEDIATELY, the car feels more planted and stable. When accelerating, the nose is more hunkered down and doesn't feel like it's drifting, and it's far more fun into and out of corners on either long sweeping on/off ramps, or the shorter/tighter ones. To confirm that I wasn't just playing tricks on my own mind, my buddy and I bought our M3s at the same time. He still has the 18s and he notices a huge difference. Comfort-wise? I don't notice any difference. My only negative, I wish the little circle in the middle of the lug nut cover could come off and I could put in my red "3" from the 18s...But, it's part of the entire lug cover, so no joy. :(
If you've never seen this review, it's spot on..I watched it before I made the change, and again after to see if I agreed. Couldn't agree more. Only point, I think with the new M3s the psi is the same for both tires at 42psi all around (I think the 18s used to recommend 45).

Lastly, the subjective part, I think they look much better than the base 18s and look like they fill the wheel well better, even though the OD is the same (or within mms).