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The ride of my 2015 Outback is stiffer than what I prefer. Can I expect a sofer ride by replacing the 225/60R18s with a smaller wheel and taller rubber. Anyone do it. Is the ride noticeable softer. What size rim/tire combo?
 

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2005 Outback Wagon 3.0 L.L. Bean
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Yes but I'd play with tire pressures first. Taller sidewall will give a softer ride. Same with wider tires to a lesser degree. You should be able to select from several decent candidates in that size if pressure adjustments don't solve it.
 
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The specific tire choice will also play a key roll as more performance oriented tires have stiffer sidewalls.
If your 15 outback is too stiff you definitely would not like my 19 WRX ! It runs 255/40 18 summer performance tires with a fairly stiff suspension and rigid frame. My wife's 19 Outback is comfortable... But I could do with a bit less body roll.
 

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275/50R177.50in9.50in27.83" -2.81%
345/40R17 11.50in13.50in27.87" -2.67%
215/65R17 6.00in7.50in28.00" -2.19%
255/55R17 7.50in9.00in28.04" -2.05%
235/60R17 6.50in9.00in28.10" -1.84%
225/65R17 6.00in8.00in28.52" -0.40%
245/60R17 7.00in8.50in28.57" -0.19%
215/70R17 6.50in7.50in28.85" 0.77%
275/55R17 7.50in9.50in28.91" 0.98%
235/65R17 6.50in8.50in29.03" 1.39%
255/60R17 7.00in9.00in29.05" 1.46%
225/70R17 --29.40" 2.70%
 

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The ride of my 2015 Outback is stiffer than what I prefer. Can I expect a sofer ride by replacing the 225/60R18s with a smaller wheel and taller rubber. Anyone do it. Is the ride noticeable softer. What size rim/tire combo?
I agree with stevenva that air pressure will make a bigger difference than just having taller sidewalls - the 60 series are plenty tall for a smooth ride.

If you're going to spring the money for new tires, you can get tires that are highly rated for comfort - the aspect ratio of the tire (65 vs 60 series) doesn't make as much of a difference as the tire construction.


The Yokohama AVID Ascend GT is a better tire than what comes on the 2020 Outback - the stock tire is not the premium Ascend version - but I haven't tried those tires myself.

Alternately, for better snow traction, the tires tested below would be great choices:

 

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Subaru's are not know to be the most comfortable ride. You can pretty much feel even a small pebble if you run over it. I imagine any changes you make will not help much.
 

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Generally speaking, taller profile tires absorb more road imperfections. Low profile tires are designed with more performance in mind and can have additional sidewall stiffeners included. Just the angle of the belts will affect how stiff the sidewalls are. These are all factors that can vary from one tire to another.
Heavier tire/wheel sets also react slower so transfer less bumps to the suspension.
Bigger tires have more load capacity so can be run at lower pressures (compare load indexes between tires sizes)

Ride comfort is subjective. Everyone can have a different level of what is considered comfortable.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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If you plan on changing wheels and tires to try to get a softer ride, that would rank really low on the bang-for-buck scale. Go to dealership and test drive a base model (taller side walls) and a limited. Make sure the tires are at standard pressure. I doubt you will feel any difference in ride comfort.

Subaru's are not know to be the most comfortable ride. You can pretty much feel even a small pebble if you run over it. I imagine any changes you make will not help much.
Subaru is not known for a comfortable ride? Is that really what the masses think? I have never heard this before. My Outback has the most comfortable ride of any SUV I have owned.
 

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I am one of the biggest advocates of Subaru on this forum. I simply love the company. They are not known for ride comfort. Reliability yes, engineering excellence yes, ride comfort adequate at best.
 

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I find my 2018 rides great with the 18" rim. Not as good as my wifes 2020 Camry, as expected. But yes, more rubber will dampen the ride and cornering ability.

What cracks me up is when I hear someone want to put 20" rims on their Suby. Or seeing a jacked up 4X4 truck with 22" rims and spacers on it. It's all for looks and expensive one's at that. But it's their money.
 

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It's all for looks and expensive one's at that.
Probably 90% of the wheel and/or tire swaps discussed on this forum are done primarily for cosmetic purposes. Different strokes, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the replies and suggestions. I've been reading a bit, thinking I might get a 2-inch lift and put 17" wheels on which will allow me to go with a hgher profile tire allowing me to air down on the beach. I don't want to run low air on the road, so maybe at some point down the road I'll look into softer suspension.
 
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