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Discussion Starter #1
I am getting ready to order an IS350 and am trying to decide on the 17" wheels with all season tires or the 18" wheels with summer tires. I like the appearance of the 18" wheels but am concerned with (1) ride harshness with smaller tire side walls and (2) wet/snow traction of summer tires. I also have a 4Runner 4x4 as a second vehicle so in bad (heavy snow) conditions I will utilize the SUV but I am sure I will be in the IS350 during heavy rain and light snow. Should I be concerned with the traction in these conditions? Any thoughts?
 

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I think the ride of the 18" wheels/tires is fine and not harsh at all on good roads.

The summer tires certainly won't have good traction in light snow and they'll still perform badly in dry conditions when it's very cold. The soft tire compound that grips so well in warm weather becomes very hard during very cold weather. If you drive conservatively in cold weather & light snow, you'll probably be OK most of the time. Especially since you have the 4Runner as a back-up

All-season tires are a compromise that won't give the best performance in summer or winter. They'll be better than the summer tires in winter though. How bad are Cincinnati winters?

-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We usually get 5 or so good snows a year. We have already had snow twice this year.

Does anyone have winter tires on their vehicles? I know some Lexus dealerships will store your winter tires for free as long as they are purchased at their location.
 

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Ride on the 18" wheels is good.

I wasn't a big fan of the OEM summer tires, I now have Eagle F1s and am very happy with them. See my impressions here.

In the winter I mount Bridgestone Blizzaks on the same wheels, and am quite happy with them. We get about the same amount of snow as you do, and they are a good compromise. Like you I have access to an SUV for heavy snow conditions.
Another reason to get winter tires is that they pay for themselves as you put less mileage on your expensive summer tires.

I wouldn't get all-season tires, you won't be able to get the car's full potential with them.
 

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We usually get 5 or so good snows a year. We have already had snow twice this year.

Does anyone have winter tires on their vehicles? I know some Lexus dealerships will store your winter tires for free as long as they are purchased at their location.
Don't even think about driving with the 18" summer tires in the winter, IT DOES NOT WORK!
For a 350, 18" dedicated summer tires and for winter get a set of dedicated "winter" tires if you don't want to use the 4Runner.
If I had a second vehicle for winter my 350 would be parked :(
 

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I have the 08 18" wheels/tires and i drove in some slick conditions this evening. Just put the car in ect/snow and you will be fine in very light snow. We may get only a couple inches a year...but we had a light dusting today and it froze tonight
 

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I agree, go for the 18s and get winter tires, that's what I did. We had a touch of snow before I got my winters in and the summer tires are pretty useless. I was impressed with how the VDIM kicks in though.

Now with winter tires, we had huge storm and the car (not AWD) plowed throught anything. The snow mode really does help.

Just one other quick note, here in Canada the base model (it's really base, I don't know why anyone would buy one) comes with 16" wheels and that is what I used for my winter tires. The tires are 205/55R16. The 16" wheels will be better in the winter primarily because they're thinner.

From what I understand though, if you have an IS350 you will have to have 17" wheels as the calipers won't clear. You'll be fine with 16s if you have an IS250.
 
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