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It is my understanding that the factory front wheels are 5.5" wide but the rears are 6.5" wide. Is this correct?
If so, why? Why would the rear wheels be wider, yet the tire width seems to be 185s all around.
It's a front wheel drive car, and that also means you can't fully rotate the tires.
Are the width of the tires supposed to vary as well?
 

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The front wheels are narrower to induce understeer (more sidewall roll). I guess they thought it was necessary for the narrow short wheel base platform.

I run the wider wheels front and back (bought OEM rear wheels from someone who replaced their OEM wheels). It definitely doesn't understeer as much. There is a slight hit on range/acceleration with the heavier wheels in the front but the handling is nicer.
 

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It is my understanding that the factory front wheels are 5.5" wide but the rears are 6.5" wide. Is this correct?
If so, why? Why would the rear wheels be wider, yet the tire width seems to be 185s all around.
It's a front wheel drive car, and that also means you can't fully rotate the tires.
Are the width of the tires supposed to vary as well?
The front wheels are narrower to induce understeer (more sidewall roll). I guess they thought it was necessary for the narrow short wheel base platform.

I run the wider wheels front and back (bought OEM rear wheels from someone who replaced their OEM wheels). It definitely doesn't understeer as much. There is a slight hit on range/acceleration with the heavier wheels in the front but the handling is nicer.
Ooooooh! I'm so sorry! 500e!! I was not aware of this. My apology!!
 

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you can't fully rotate the tires.
Are the width of the tires supposed to vary as well?
OEM tire width is the same all-around, & you can fully rotate front to back, without even remounting/rebalancing.

You just have to remove some little lightly-torqued pins from the hubs. My co-worker bought one from a dealership with the wheels "reversed" like that, & I just remembered his tires lasted longer, maybe due to less accidental burnouts from more front grip.

A few forum users have also done that, & they report that it still understeers when empty, but less than before.

I recently realized that in order to compensate for the average zero-skill driver, the manufacturer's lawyers need cars to understeer even with a lightweight solo driver carrying a max-weight load in the hatch. However I'd think it would have been MUCH cheaper to just stiffen the front swaybar, or stagger the tire size.
 
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