Wheels and Tyres Archive

2015s Best Hybrid and Electric Cars

No longer thought of as underpowered econo-boxes, hybrid cars have really come into their own over the last few years. Their electric/gas motor combos give us power when we need it and fuel economy when we don’t, and regenerative braking can make their ranges even longer. Here, we’ll list 2015’s best bets in the hybrid car market.

The 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

Many testers believe that the 2015 Accord hybrid is quick for a midsize, and that its electric and gas motors give sufficient power for fast acceleration. The Accord gets 50mpg in the city and 45 on the highway, which is great for a hybrid vehicle. Its ride is amply comfortable, and handling is better than expected, but steering is a bit stiff at times.

The Ford Fusion

The 2015 Fusion Hybrid is equipped with a four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor, and testers feel that it has enough power for most driving situations. Especially notable is the Fusion’s seamless transitioning between electric and gas power. These cars come with auto transmissions as standard equipment, and the Fusion gets 44mpg in the city and 41 on the highway.

The Toyota Camry

The 2015 hybrid Camry’s electric and gas motors give quick acceleration and enough power from a dead stop. At cruising speeds, the transition between electric and gas power is smooth, but from a stop, the gas engine can abruptly restart. Fuel economy is good, but competitors have the edge when it comes to fuel economy.

The Prius V

Testers say that the Prius V’s acceleration is anemic, but adequate for a vehicle in its class. The Prius V is standard-equipped with a CVT auto transmission, and it gets 44mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. While far from agile, the Prius V is relaxed in the corners and it has good brakes and a comfortable ride.

The Chevy Volt

The Volt gets its power from two electric motors, with a four-cylinder gas engine that generates power for the batteries. Testers say that the Volt’s motors deliver snappy acceleration and plenty of power, and the vehicle is whisper-quiet in electric mode. Transition between electric and gas power is smooth, and the Volt has a 38-mile electric-only range – which is stellar for a plug-in hybrid.

There are many choices on the hybrid car market, and each has its pros and cons. When you’re looking for fuel economy, hybrids are hard to beat. While some have a slight edge over others, we wholeheartedly recommend any of the vehicles on this list.

Buying Off-Road Wheels

Off-roaders know that it’s important to have KMC wheels and tyres that can stand up to the roughest terrain. Most off-road tyre packages come with wheel sets specifically intended for use on all terrain, and this guide discusses the various features of off-road tyres and wheels. By learning more about these specialized wheels, buyers like you can make the right choice for their vehicle.

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Off-Road Tyre Characteristics

Tyres and off road wheels have certain characteristics that set them apart from regular wheels and tyres. It’s important for customers to understand these differences and their effects on wheel and tyre performance.

  • Construction: Off-road tyres are made differently than those intended for street use. 4x4s are usually heavier than regular cars, and tyres must support additional weight while adapting to rugged terrain.
  • Tread pattern: These tyres have widely-spaced, large studs called lugs. Their spacing and pattern can determine the level of off-road traction, as well as that offered in wet conditions on paved roads.

Wheel Construction, Price and Style

Off-road wheels are made using a variety of methods, and you can benefit greatly from understanding how they’re made. Price is of course important, but you should also consider strength when deciding on a set of wheels. Appearance is yet another important factor to be thought of when choosing wheels to match your new off-road tyres.

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Wheel Offset

Offset is a key factor when choosing off-road tyres. It determines the width of the wheelbase, as well as the vehicle’s overall footprint. There are three different wheel offset configurations:

  • Wheels with negative offset stick out further from the wheel well. Negative-offset rims increase width between front wheels, and they offer greater overall stability.
  • Center offset wheels cause tyres to protrude slightly from the wheel wells. These wheels are sometimes known as “zero offset”, and the wheel centre is equidistant from the inside and outside planes of the rim.
  • Positive offset wheels move tyres closer to the vehicle’s centre. Most passenger vehicles have positive-offset wheels as factory equipment, but these can cause clearance issues with suspension parts when installing oversize tyres.

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Periodic Alignment is Important

Off-roading over very aggressive terrain can cause wheels to become misaligned. Periodic alignment requirements depend on how frequently you go off-road. However, having an alignment every six months is a good idea. After a particularly harsh off-roading session, check the position of the stering wheel. If it’s cocked to the left or the right when you’re driving down a straight road, you may need an alignment.

Off-roading is a fast-growing activity, and if you’re thinking of giving it a try, having some basic knowledge can be helpful. By learning about off-road wheels and tyres, you can have the knowledge and skills necessary to make the right purchase decision.