CX 5.5x14" tyre possibilities
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Thread: CX 5.5x14" tyre possibilities

  1. #1
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    Default CX 5.5x14" tyre possibilities

    An acquaintance has a CX originally fitted with 185/80-14 fronts & 175/80-14 rears. Currently, he has 195/70-14 fronts & 175/70-14 rears. Wheels are 5.5" wide. Knowing of my enthusiasm for Continental's PremiumContact2 he observed that the only relevant size in that type for him was 175/70-14. This led to me wondering what would be available for the car (excepting 185/80-14 XVS). The results of that thought (an unedited copy of my email to him) are below in case they are of any interest to anyone else. The 'best' in the first sentence was, in conversational context, also best for handling balance. The steering weight remark at one point was me forgetting that the CX has power steering.

    "mmm! quite complex. Some principles first:

    Best would be a 20 mm width difference f/r with profile variation (lower profile at the front) to maintain the same diameter f & r & with the rear size (the smaller width) able to be used for the spare as well. That way, if a front has a flat, then the spare is the same diameter as it (although a different tyre size) & one does not have the differential coping with continuous action to accommodate different wheel rotation speeds. It'd also be nice to have the fronts with the same gearing as the original for speedo-gearing purposes, although I find the mental adjustment on my Djet & Moke to be automatic & trivial. Best, also, for legal & insurance reasons, would be to have no tyre of lower load range than the original size. Finally, it'd be nice to not just have an at least semi-decent lateral load wet tyre but one that's semi-tautly responsive in structure. And if one is not to risk front/rear tautness difference handling oddities (of a sort which might be difficult to tyre pressure fine tune out), then having the same tyre type front & rear is the best bet. If not, then, with the CX, one would want the tauter structure at the front.

    This is a large list of criteria & 14" is a size which has a paucity of tyre sizes & types still available.

    So, your 195/70 & 175/70 combination gives you what I'm judging to be a good front/rear width difference but is rather different in diameter (175 is 4.5% less in circumference) so the 175 being used as a spare on the front is, I think, not going to be a good thing for the differential. Even if your spare is an old 185/80 (you don't specify) as, I assume, the original one was, that would be 3.7% longer than the 195/70. I'm not sure how much variation in straight continuous running a diff is happy with & for how long but if size difference can be minimised, then that'd be optimal.

    There are various sizes available in various disparate tyre types but only one tyre range satisfies each criterion. This is Hankook's K715. My appraisal of it would be that it is a sound second rank tyre but then so, at best, is every other option available except one (the Conti PC2 which is available in 175/70 only). And the K715 is available in the CX-friendliest range of sizes (185/75, 175/70, 205/70 XL, 195/75, 185/80).

    The tyre types I looked at were, apart from the aforementioned, Hankook's Ex (175/70) & K415 (195/65, 195/70,175/65), Kumho's KH17 (195/70, 195/65, 175/70,185/65), Toyo's NanoEnergy3 (175/70, 185/70 & 195/70) & Yokohama's BluEarth AE01 (175/70, 185/65, 185/70, 195/70,195/65). If you simply wished to reproduce the tyre sizes you had now then the KH17 would do that in one type (& it has its advocates - including the secretary of the Citroen Car Club of Tasmania, who has largish ones on a set of bigger alloy wheels on his CX). So, would the AE01 or NE3. Or, a type mix with the best types available & with the structure tautness roughly in balance would be K415 fronts & PC2 rears. Were I to be keeping the current sizes then I think that I'd choose that mix. But then, faced with the same choice, I wouldn't choose your current size mix at all.

    Assuming that your original fronts were 185/80, I'd fit 205/70 (only 1.5% shorter circumference). This serves three functions: it gives you more tyre to battle nose plough (without, I'd predict, being much heavier in steering than the current 195/70); it gives you a front size which it is easy to match to a rear size of similar circumference (& that rear size would fit in the nose as a spare); & it satisfies the original load rating (as would a matching circumference rear - something impossible to decently manage with a 195/70 front as 175/80 is no longer available in anything decent). The K715 205/70 is also an XL (extra load) tyre which usually means two sidewall plies not one. Although installed for increased load rating, these plies have the benefit here of being crisper in response than their single plied counterparts of the same tyre type. They also ride less well but that is not going to much matter in a CX.

    So, what rears? Happily for circumference-matching, load rating & 20 mm width difference reasons, according to Hankook's web site anyway, the K715 comes in a 185/80. It also comes in a 185/75 (1.4% shorter in circumference than a 205/70 as offered to the 185/80's 1.5% longer). Each would do apart from a mild load rating query for the 185/75 but it'd be the same as the 175/80 rears which were probably fitted when the car was new.

    So, I'd fit 205/70 fronts & either 185/80 or 185/75 (the latter would be my choice) rears in Hanhook's KH715. The rear size would fit as a spare or, if you didn't want to buy 5 (& rotate the three 185s through the rear to avoid "unused spare" idiocy), then you could just get two 185s & put whatever you like as a spare & if you have a front flat, then put a correct circumference rear on the front & the spare on the rear. More potential fussing come flat time but less outlay & less rotational fussing. It's what I'd do.

    So, in summary, I'd get Hanhook's K715 in 205/70 XL & 185/75 (2 of).

    Two useful web links:

    For tyre size comparisons:
    Tire Size Comparison

    For magazine tyre test summaries on tyres which you have on a medium list:
    Tyres by Brand - TyreReviews

    The Tyre Reviews link takes you to a page listing tyre brands & models. Navigate to the tyre you want & the relevant link for, say, the K715, & it'll list links connecting you to available magazine tyre tests on that tyre. It also lists owner reviews but these are to be read with caution (I take most notice of those written by those who self categorise their driving style as "spirited").

    Phew! I hope that that is of some use to you."

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    cheers! Peter
    Last edited by 4cvg; 3rd February 2015 at 03:01 AM.
    JohnW and Jinandfonic like this.

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    My first CX with steel wheels had 195/70 MXV3A all round, actually tried 205/70 on one change, and according to Michelin 5.5 inch was OK. 6 inch is the optimum but 5.5 - 6.5 acceptable. On the Prestige I have put 205/70 on the front on a few occasions, MXV3A when available but XM1 and 2 the last few years

    I loved the MXV3A, brilliant and you had two choices back then, XZX for about $120ea or $220 for the better tire. The XM series are their equal and the only choice. I have stuck with 195/70 for the last 10 years or so, the steering is better with the narrower tyre


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  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    One thing I forgot. You can't fit a 195/70 spare under the bonnet. For the very rare times it will be used a 185R14 will be OK. Even the 205 have a lower rolling circumference than the original


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  4. #4
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    185/80 are 3.7% longer in circumference than 195/70. I'd be a little concerned at asking the diff to cope with that extent of difference for long but maybe it's ok.

    I don't share your enthusiasm for the XM2. It wouldn't even go on my medium list. As it's not part of Michelin's European or American tyre ranges, it's hard to find magazine tyre tests of it. The only one I know of is linked (in summary) below. The XM2 rates badly (one has to click on the top right of the table to access the rest of the table showing the worst tyres -including the XM2). YMMV

    Summer tyre test by russian Za Rulom magazine (185/60R14; 3.2013)212 | Laneks

    As for steering, I take your point about the joys of narrower & can only suggest that the extra resistance to plough understeer from the wider tyres (with 20mm narrower rears) might be worth it & an increase in tyre pressures will improve steering feel. Indeed, as I've emphasised elsewhere, it's amazing how much difference can be wrought on a car's handling balance & steering feel simply by modifying tyre pressures, especially by changing the front/rear pressure difference.

    cheers! Peter

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