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2020 Accord Hybrid EX-L
325 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello again.

While some people are having different opinions against my tire replacement claim vs. Tire rack, partially due to their disregard of OEM load index requirement, the driving experience between these tires are worth talking about. Hopefully you can find some materials helpful for your next tire shopping.

The tires installed on my Accord Hybrid are: 18” Continental PureContact LS A/S with EcoPlus+ tech (although they prove to be not eco at all lol). I first got hands on size 225/45/R18, 91V then the replacement size 235/45R18, 94V. I originally ran on the stock Energy Saver A/S 225/50R17, 94V which will also be put in comparison.

Both up-sized tires are quite close to OEM outer diameter and shouldn’t have any fitment issues. Tire pressure is another important factor and I definitely want to make this clear. On OEM I was pumping 35 psi front and 33 psi rear for better highway experience (suggested on a Honda dealer website). On the 225-width Conti tires, I was pumping 38 psi front and 33 psi rear for a comparable real load capacity (number-wise, this IS safe). On the 235-width Conti tires, I am pumping 35 psi front and 33 psi rear just as OEM because of their identical load index. All tire pressures are at least double checked cold in the morning.

Now comes to the overall experience.
1. Acceleration. OEM tires are the easiest to spin out from stop, especially when turning or on wet surface. The 225-width tires are slightly less likely to lose traction, but it can happen occasionally. The 235-width tires haven’t spun out yet under moderate-to-heavy foot. Quite logical since wider tires should get more grip.
2. Stopping. OEM tires are acceptable EXCEPT in heavy rain. The two Conti tires are all very strong in wet braking, and keep the stability much better in the highway situation where I have left side in water pool and right side only wet (A Michelin Premier A/S also shines here in my past experience). In terms of braking nose down, OEM tires are much worse than two Conti tires. Thanks to the AEB system, I really haven’t had a chance severe enough to kick in ABS, therefore can’t comment on their absolute 60-0.
3. Handling. No doubt this is where the Conti tires shine. They are absolutely way better than OEM tires no matter we are talking about body roll control or cornering speed limit. Steering response is more direct on Conti tires which even helps LKAS steer better. Interestingly, I find the 235mm Conti is slightly less responsive than the 225mm Conti tires.
4. Ride comfort. In terms of stiffness, the 225mm Conti tires are much harder than OEM tires when passing over bumps or road imperfections, but 235mm Conti tires are quite comparable to OEM. This can be explained by similar tire shoulder width between 225/50/R17 and 235/45/R18. In terms of road noise, both Conti tires are clearly louder than OEM especially on rougher highway roads, although they can be quiet on good surface.
5. Fuel economy. Most dramatic things happen here. At 65mph cruising (I drive routinely between NYC and New Haven and have plenty opportunities to test out mpg), OEM tires are around 52 mpg, which dropped to 43 mpg for 225mm Conti tires, but surprisingly 45 mpg for 235mm Conti tires. The Conti tires are absolutely less fuel efficient than Energy Saver, but this doesn’t mean more cost due to their $30-40 cheaper price tag. I also don’t understand why 235mm tires have slightly better mpg than 225mm tires. Nevertheless, this PureContact LS didn’t fall short in fuel economy tested by Tire rack compared with other touring tires.

Final conclusion: for hybrid owners who are looking for larger wheels, 18” and 235/45/R18 is a well-rounded choice at no sacrifice for ride quality, if 19” makes this a concern for you. However, expect to see fuel economy drop for possibly all other tires than OEM slippery Energy Saver. This IMO is acceptable for the better handling/traction and safety.
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