It has recently come to my attention that virtually every car now has black wheels. When I say "it has come to my attention," what I mean is that I’ve been driving around and noticing that even really cheap cars, like the Jeep Renegade, now have black wheels on even mid-level trims. I sincerely hope we’ve reached peak black wheel, and I say this because I personally hate black wheels.
Allow me to explain myself. The primary reason why I hate black wheels is, quite simply, that wheels should be something that distinguishes vehicles. Wheel design, to me, is one of the most crucial ways to tell apart different models, different years, different trim levels — and a wheel can make or break a car. Witness, for instance, the Ferrari F355, which uses one of the most attractive wheels ever conceived — compared to the Ferrari 348, largely panned for its looks. The two cars share many body panels, but the one huge difference between them was the wheels.
When I’m deciding on car attractiveness, wheel appearance is absolutely one of the things I most consider — and the unfortunate reality of black wheels is that they hide the wheel design. The unique look that wheels give a car are completely removed once they’re painted black. With black wheels, all you can see is … black.
And then there’s the other thing with black wheels: they just aren’t cool anymore. Yes, when black wheels were first pioneered by exotic cars and aftermarket wheel brands, I’ll concede they were considered cool, even though I personally didn’t like how they looked. But now they’re on Jeep Renegades and Ford Edges. Even cars that don’t offer them as factory options seem to end up with them, and it’s rare a day goes by when I don’t see some sort of regular, everyday car with "cool" black wheels. The trend is over. We’ve gone too far.
Now, I admit my feelings on this are relatively unpopular, at least among the general public. The general public seems to appreciate black wheels, considering how many cars they’re buying with black wheels included. But surely among car enthusiasts and connoisseurs of vehicle design who appreciate the subtleties a wheel can bring to a vehicle, you must agree? Surely you, too, must prefer silver? Surely I must not be alone?
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.