Cars with alloy wheels have both style and performance benefits over those with steel ones, which helps explain why alloys have become so popular. As for what explains those benefits, it has to do with the metals involved. Steel wheels are strong, but they’re also heavy and harder to work with from a design standpoint. Alloy wheels are so named because they’re made of metal alloys that combine different metallic elements. For example, aluminum and magnesium are top choices for automakers for their light weight and because the alloy metal can be more easily cast or forged into funky designs. (And to be clear, nearly all wheels described as made from “aluminum” are in fact made of an alloy, as pure aluminum would be too soft.) Now, alloy wheels do cost more than steelies, but you may be surprised at some of the top 10 cars that have them.
10 Top Cars with Alloy Wheels
2016 Chrysler 300
The 2016 Chrysler 300 leads off our list of cars with alloy wheels thanks to a special model that goes all-in with a metallic design theme: the 300S Alloy Edition. Developed to showcase “avant-garde style through industrious material and finish selections,” the Alloy Edition sets the tone with a Dark Bronze grille frame and a titanium-finish Chrysler “wing” badge that’s centered in a textured, Gloss Black grille. Those cues then set off a Black Nappa leather cabin and a choice of five exterior finishes that includes Gloss Black Clear Coat, Black Forest Green Pearl Coat, Redline Tri-Coat Pearl, Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat and Bright White Clear Coat. The standard 20-inch wheels, of course, are an aluminum alloy, with a Y-spoke design and a painted Dark Bronze finish.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2017 Chevrolet Malibu
Like most cars with alloy wheels, the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu offers multiple options across the lineup. To be sure, steel wheels are standard on the Malibu L, but the brand also serves up aluminum rollers in 16-, 17-, 18- and 19-inch sizes for the other trims. Notably, there’s a 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheel design even for the popularly priced Malibu LS that starts at $24,100, and the other, differently sized wheels also have their own distinct and dramatic designs. Chevy further reserves some of its alloy wheels for its appearance packages, like the Sun and Wheels bundle. Priced at $1,500, this upgrade pulls together a power sunroof, a universal home remote and 18-inch alloy wheels, each with five sets of sculpted dual spokes.
Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover
2016 Jaguar F-Type
Premium sports cars with alloy wheels, such as the 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE, really bring out the benefits of moving away from steel. In the high-performance F-Type SVR, for instance, the car’s 20-inch wheels are forged from alloy metal billets, not cast from molten metal, and that makes them stronger yet lighter than even traditional alloy units. Indeed, Jaguar claims the exclusive SVR wheels reduce the F-Type’s curb weight by 30 lbs. as compared to the entry model, and every ounce counts when engineers are working to enhance driving dynamics. The F-Type SVR ends up being plenty dynamic, too. With some help from a supercharged, 575-horsepower engine, all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission, owners enjoy a top speed of 200 mph and 0-60 runs of 3.5 seconds.
Photo Credit: Ford
2016 Ford Focus
While it’s safe to say there are a lot of cars with alloy wheels out there, there are few that furnish as many as the 2016 Ford Focus. There are nine separate alloy wheel designs supplied throughout the Focus lineup. Among them are units that range from painted 16-inchers, which are standard on the value-priced Focus SE, up to the massive 19-inch wheels that are standard for the Focus RS. The hot hatch RS also provides two enthusiast-oriented options from the wheel department: forged and painted 19-inch alloy wheels, along with the first dedicated tire-and-wheel setup for winter driving ever offered as a factory accessory in North America. Meanwhile, beyond different painted finishes for its wheels, Ford additionally has units with a precision-look machined finish.
2017 Honda Accord
The 2017 Honda Accord stands out from many mainstream cars with alloy wheels because it includes them as standard equipment for all models. Thus, the entry-level Accord LX has 16-inch alloy wheels at a starting price of $22,335, the EX editions upsize to 17-inch wheels, and the Touring, Sport and new Special Edition all ride on 19-inch alloys. To be sure, the Special Edition is based on the Sport grade, so it starts with a few extra ponies for its 189-horsepower engine. There's also premium cues like a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat. Next, the fine-tuned Special Edition is appointed with leather-trimmed seating that’s also accented by red stitching and, in the front row, heating. It’s worth pointing out that the Accord Hybrid has its own specific 17-inch alloy wheels as well.
Photo Credit: Kia
2016 Kia Optima
The 2016 Kia Optima carries a reputation for high-end design, and that’s not going to change now that the aggressive midsize sedan has been reinvented for a new generation. The Optima’s fluid lines and athletic stance remain, yet there are fresh, more sophisticated details. Consider the steeply raked A-pillar that creates the car’s daring silhouette—or its four new alloy wheel styles. Depending on trim, 16-, 17- and 18-inch sizes are available, some with a machined finish, some with a light gray finish and some covered in chrome. For a final touch found on sporty cars with alloy wheels, the Optima SX and SXL's wheels are designed to show off vehicles’ red-painted brake calipers are visible.
Photo Credit: Nissan
2016 Nissan Versa Note
The subcompact segment features a variety of low-cost cars with alloy wheels, such as the 2016 Nissan Versa Note. It’s the hatchback companion to the Versa sedan, and together the two make up the best-selling entry in the subcompact class. However, it’s the Versa Note that’s the more fashion-forward of the pair. That entry is the one with the prominent body sculpting, bold rear lighting assemblies and three alloy wheel choices in two sizes. The options menu for the Versa Note S includes 15-inch alloy wheels, the SL trim has standard 16-inchers with an 8-spoke design, and the same-sized wheels on the SR boast an especially eye-catching split-spoke structure that seems to “float” around the wheel hub.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2017 Subaru BRZ
The 2017 Subaru BRZ was created to prove that sports cars with alloy wheels, rear-wheel drive and exotic exteriors don’t have to be expensive. After all, the BRZ has an MSRP of $25,495 with those traits and much more in the way of enthusiast-friendly features as well. But about those alloy wheels: The standard set is 17 inches with a spider-like multi-spoke look, a black finish and machined accents. Alternatively, customers who opt for the Performance Package for the BRZ Limited welcome 10-spoke alloy wheels with a stealthy, all-black finish; high-performance Bembro brakes and a suspension upgrade with Sachs dampers fill out the bundle. A bit more power in automatically transmissioned models, and revised gear ratios in manual-equipped BRZs, also promise more fun for drivers.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota Corolla iM
Although the 2017 Toyota Corolla iM is the new compact hatchback for one of the country’s most popular brands, in truth it’s a 2016 Scion iM that’s been rebadged now that the Scion division itself has been shuttered. Yet that does mean a wider audience for one of the country’s most attractive small cars with alloy wheels. There’s only one design, but it is a sharp one, as the iM’s standard 17-inch units mix gloss-black accents and a machined face with a multi-spoke look that Toyota claims was based on a vortex. Moreover, those wheels complement the car’s custom looking exterior, which is backed by a comprehensive aero body kit with a revised front fascia and rear bumper, prominent side skirts, chrome-tipped exhaust, and a rear spoiler.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
2017 Volkswagen Jetta
VW doesn’t get much credit for it, but the company does deliver a robust line of premium wheels for its roster. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta alone can supply four alloy wheel designs. The Jetta SE rolls on “Sedona Black” 16-inch wheels, the SEL is upsized to 17-inch alloy wheels in the “Lancaster” design, and the range-topping GLI has the automaker’s 18-inch “Mallory” units. Also, despite having 16-inch steel wheels as part of its standard setup, the entry-level Jetta S can be configured with 16-inch “Atlanta” design alloy wheels—and all-season tires—for a $300 bump in price.