Cars with big wheels

Want your car to really stand out with big wheels and plenty of visual punch? These whopping-wheeled models should fit the bill

James Wilson
Jan 11, 2021

Style is a big factor in helping drivers to choose one car or another, with many motorists preferring models with supersized wheels - whether they're looking at small hatchbacks or massive SUVs. That said, putting massive wheels on the wrong car can not only make it look out of proportion, but can potentially make it drive worse, so picking the right car can make all the difference.

Bigger wheels are typically heavier and so put more strain on the engine. The overall result is that the bigger and heavier your wheels are, the more power is needed to keep those wheels turning, so larger wheels can mean larger fuel bills than opting for an identical car with smaller wheels. Another thing to bear in mind is that fitting wheels that are too big for the car can lead to a much firmer, bumpier ride as there's much less rubber between you and the road to absorb bumps than the manufacturer intended.

Fortunately, manufacturers offer cars with a range of wheels sizes, so stay within these boundaries and you should be able to benefit from style and reasonable comfort. Wheels have increased in size over the years with the original 1950s Mini coming with tiny 10-inch wheels though modern city cars can be found with wheels up to 18 inches. If you want to go larger, it's easy to find cars with 20-, 21- and even 22-inch alloy wheels, although these sizes are often optional extras, so you'll have to find models with these fitted if you want a used car.

Due to the vastly different shapes and sizes of cars available, big wheels on one vehicle might not necessarily count as big wheels on another, so we've rounded up models with big wheels for the size of car. 18-inch wheels on a city car, for instance, could be classed as large wheels, though the same wheels on a large SUV would look pretty small. So, below we've rounded up all kinds of cars with big wheels relative to their size. All are readily available from less than £30,000 used, which typically equates to around £450 per month on PCP finance.

Cars with big wheels

1. BMW i3

Stylish small electric car with big wheels

Our pick BMW i3 120Ah 42kWh
Used deals from £13,995
Monthly finance from £228*
Wheel size Up to 20 inches

BMW’s i3 proved that electric cars - even compact ones - can be very desirable everyday vehicles. Not everyone is on board with the super-modern styling, but there are all sorts of colour schemes, meaning that you should be able to find something to suit your tastes. Take black bodywork with the optional 20-inch alloy wheels - these models look like something Batman would drive around town. Or you could go for a vivid red, or a much more subtle shade of grey.

Whatever the colour, the clever thing about the i3 is that though the wheels are large - at up to 20 inches - they're narrow, too, meaning that they're lightweight and don't have too much of an impact on efficiency. That means you can make the most of the car's electric range, which stands at up to 188 miles per charge, depending on the battery capacity.

As the i3 has been on sale for some time, BMW has offered a number of different versions - including those with bigger battery packs. BMW quotes battery capacity in ‘Ah’ or ‘ampere-hour’ and the higher the number, the better when it comes to range. Other carmakers more commonly quote kWh (or kilo-Watt-hour) ratings, and again the higher the better.

BMW also used to offer an i3 in 'range-extender' form - also referred to as 'REx' - and these versions had a small petrol-powered generator on board that fires up to keep the electric motor running if the batteries run out of charge, which can enable you to travel further before needing to plug the car in.

BMW i3 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Renault Grand Scenic

Seven-seat people carrier with big wheels

Our pick Renault Grand Scenic 1.6 dCi Dynamique Nav
Used deals from £7,998
Monthly finance from £155*
Wheel size 20-inch

People carriers aren’t traditionally the most stylish of cars, but the Renault Grand Scenic sure looks anything but bland. A large part of this is thanks to sleek styling and some rather enormous wheels - wheels that measure in at 20 inches to be exact. These aren’t some expensive optional extra either; they are that size as standard across the range.

Other standard features include hands-free unlocking, cruise control and a seven-inch touchscreen media system. Choose this Grand Scenic over the smaller Scenic and you also get seven seats as standard, making this a more practical choice for families than the shorter version.

There is plenty of choice when it comes to petrol and diesel engines, plus automatic and manual gearboxes, meaning that you should be able to find a model to suit you. The 1.6-litre diesel with a manual gearbox offers a great mix of performance and economy, although a petrol model would be a better match for lower-mileage drivers, as these are often more affordable to purchase. If you do go for the Grand Scenic as a family car, do bear in mind that the rearmost seats are best suited to children rather than adults.

RENAULT GRAND SCENIC BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Honda Civic Type R

Hot hatchback with big wheels

Our pick Honda Civic 2.0 i-VTEC Type R GT
Used deals from £17,965
Monthly finance from £314*
Wheel size 20-inch

When it comes to all-out driving thrills, few cars - at any price point - can match this version of the Honda Civic Type R. All versions of this high-performance hatchback produce a substantial 320hp - making them seriously quick - come with a manual gearbox and send power through the front wheels.

The wheels, meanwhile, measure in at a gigantic 20 inches, making them massive for this type of car. As a result, there appears to be only a tiny sliver of tyre around them, unlike some cars where big wheels are accompanied by big tyres, making the car seem like an even more hardcore machine.

One potential mark against the ferociously fast Civic is its styling, which looks like something from the set of The Fast and The Furious. There is a calmer-looking ‘Sport Line’ version, but these aren’t as easily found for less than £30,000 yet. Apart from speed, the Civic Type R has a relatively large boot and offers a decent amount of standard kit in ‘GT’ spec - our recommendation - which includes a blind-spot warning system to help prevent crashes, wireless phone charging for compatible smartphones and sat-nav.

HONDA CIVIC BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Jaguar F-Pace

Upmarket large SUV with big wheels

Our pick Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d Portfolio AWD
Used deals from £21,790
Monthly finance from £335*
Wheel size 22-inch

If mere 20-inch alloy wheels aren't big enouhg for you, look no further than the Jaguar F-Pace, which manages to cram gigantic 22-inch wheels into all four corners. Plus, the large SUV is rather easy on the eyes and that is without the optional 22-inch alloy wheels. With these added, the F-Pace has some of the largest wheels of any car this side of a monster truck.

There is a wide range of engines to choose from with the F-Pace - ranging from more economical 2.0-litre diesels to an utterly mad 5.0-litre petrol version which can out-accelerate many pricey sports cars. Most second-hand models are power by diesel, though, and most of these come with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, which is an appealing combination in this type of car. The F-Pace's interior is roomy and feels upmarket, including standard equipment such as heated front seats, a powered boot and climate control.

JAGUAR F-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Vauxhall Adam

City car with big wheels

Our pick Vauxhall Adam 1.4T S
Used deals Limited stock
Wheel size 18-inch

The stylish city car market has taken off in recent years - with models such as the Fiat 500, for example, rolling off the production line in the designer bucket load. Not wanting to miss out, Vauxhall decided to wade in with the Adam. One way in which Vauxhall tried to increase the Adam’s desirability was by offering large, flashy alloy wheels. Sporty ‘S’ models came with the biggest rims - at 18 inches across - but more affordable versions could be purchased with 17-inch wheels, too, which are still pretty large for a car so small.

For those sitting there thinking ‘that seems small compared to the cars above’, don't forget that the Adam’s footprint is significantly smaller than the others covered here. For example, it is more than a metre shorter than the Jaguar F-Pace. If speed isn’t a priority for you, well specified Slam models are a good choice.

Regardless of the specific trim you go for, cruise control, air-conditioning and Bluetooth come as standard. All models are powered by petrol engines and a vast majority come with a manual gearbox. If you don't want a 1.4-litre S version, we'd recommend aiming for a version powered by the 1.0-litre engine, as this is both economical and offers decent punch.

VAUXHALL ADAM BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volvo XC60

Comfortable medium SUV with big wheels

Our pick Volvo XC60 D5 PowerPulse R Design Pro
Used deals from £26,995
Monthly finance from £408*
Wheel size 21-inch

Like the idea of a comfortable, luxurious and high-tech SUV? The current Volvo XC60 could be up your street. Plus, in ‘R Design Pro’ trim - which comes with the supersized 21-inch alloy wheels - the XC60 is one of the most stylish mid-size SUVs on the road. It may not be the brashest SUV, but it manages to both be attention-grabbing and look sophisticated with big wheels fitted. Even if you go for a smaller-wheeled model, standard equipment levels are good, with a nine-inch media system, a digital radio and Bluetooth all standard.

Once more, Volvo has made a mind-blowing array of XC60 models to choose from. There are regular petrol and diesel models, which are available for less than £30,000, plus potentially more economical plug-in hybrid models. These offer the prospect of very strong fuel economy - if you make sure to charge them regularly and carry out as many of your journeys as possible using electric power alone - but are still pretty pricey used. If one of these appeals, keep an eye out for more affordable models becoming available in time.

VOLVO XC60 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Seat Ibiza

Fun everyday small car with big wheels

Our pick Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI FR Sport
Used deals from £12,980
Monthly finance from £205*
Wheel size 18-inch

The Seat Ibiza is quite simply a cracking small car. Its faces stiff competition from super-popular models including the Ford Fiesta, which has been one of the UK's best-selling cars for decades, but it still stands out thanks to its sharp styling, punchy engines and a decent interior. That said, it is the option of large alloy wheels which mean it qualifies here - specifically the 18-inch wheels available on sporty-looking FR models.

One of the small Seat’s biggest strengths is the fact it is just as good at enabling you to enjoy driving along a twisty road as it is comfortably cruising down a motorway. Standard equipment levels are decent, too, thanks to a touchscreen media system, digital radio and alloy wheels all being included. All models come with five doors, although there is a choice of petrol and diesel engines, plus manual and automatic gearboxes.

SEAT IBIZA BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Ford Mustang

Muscle car with big wheels

Our pick Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT
Used deals from £28,000
Monthly finance from £357*
Wheel size 19-inch

Few cars are as iconic as the Ford Mustang - it has appeared in countless movies over the decades and been driven by many a celebrity. Until the most recent version, though, all Mustangs had been left-hand-drive, which isn’t ideal for easy driving in the UK. Thankfully this problem has now been solved, so you can fully enjoy the large-wheeled Mustang in the UK, with a decent amount of affordable used Mustangs now available.

The current Mustang is great. It looks impressive, drives well and sounds dramatic - especially with the large 5.0-litre V8 engine fitted. Of, course, the million-dollar question is ‘how big are the wheels?’. Well, the Mustang is available with a few wheel designs with the biggest measuring in at 19 inches.

Yes, there are cars out there with bigger wheels, but they also tend to make a much bigger dent in peoples’ bank accounts. And quite frankly, with such stand-out styling thanks to its long bonnet, low roof and wide stance, wheels are just one small element that makes the Mustang stand out.

FORD MUSTANG BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

Monthly payments over 48 months: £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage allowance: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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