And they decrease handling and braking performance, everything else being equal... They may also have a lower load rating... Not to mention that, to me, they simply look funny, like a pregnant roller skate... If all I cared about was efficiency and nothing else, I would have stuck with the crappy Ecopias...
I'm not willing to compromise to that extent just for a touch of extra range... YMMV.
dhanson865 wrote:whats' wrong with higher profile tires? They generally improve range/efficiency/mpg.
Not all of that is true to all tires.
Handling, since most people would buy 15s on a leaf for economy then most 15in tires they would chose would probably not handle as well as what you would choose for your car with 17s with your priorities as stated. If you want to improve the handling of a tall sidewall you can put a few more psi in. If you get the same tire in 15 and 17 and push it on a skid pad maybe the tall profile will brake away at .x1 G's but the 17 will give you .x7, it won't help you on the street.
Braking performance, again take the same tire in both 15 and 17 with a lighter weight 15 set up with most of the weight close to the hub and the same width the 15 will require less work from the brakes to come to a stop. Even with 195 vs 205 if that 1cm saves you from an accident then the lower performance tire would just have a scratch. If the streets bumpy the lighter 15 will be less likely to loose traction.
Most tires I've seen in the same tread width go up in load rating as the profile goes up. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Ecopia+EP422
stock for the leaf in 16. 195 65 15 has the same load as 205 55 16 and 215 50 17 and more than 215 45 17 if you chose that for a low profile look.
Now there's nothing wrong with you having your opinion on how they look, but to me a good quality 15 makes the car look smart. Like it is built with a purpose to really perform and the owner knows what works best and isn't just following the crowd. I put 17s on a 93 miata 1.6l when I was a stupid kid. First winter back on 14s and the car transformed. Turn in wasn't as crisp but a good driver will adapt. You can't compensate for heavy. My 15s will give me benefits with every rotation they make in all conditions, and if i really wanted some fun I could just put these on....http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Yokohama&tireModel=ADVAN+A048&partnum=06HR5048M&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes