5 Ways to Make an Underpowered Car More Fun to Drive

Do you currently own an underpowered Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, or perhaps even an older Nissan Sentra and wish that it was more fun to drive? If so, we don’t blame you. And while you can easily add engine modifications like an intake, exhaust, or even turbocharger, those modifications can be expensive if you’re on a strict budget.

Also, making a car more fun to drive doesn’t necessarily mean giving 100 more horsepower. Instead, doing a few budget-minded modifications can effectively make driving your underpowered car a much better experience when driving it normally or on a track. Here are five modifications that you make to turn up your car’s fun factor.

Lowering your car can make it handle better

A slightly lowered Honda Civic
A slightly lowered Honda Civic | Wikimedia Commons

While lowering your small car might sound cliché, doing it right can actually make it more fun to drive. No, you don’t necessarily need to slam it to the ground to the point that you can’t even get into some parking lots.

Instead, you can settle on a lowering spring and shock combination that will drop your car’s ride height by only an inch or so and improve its overall handling characteristics. Lowering a car subtly can also make it look better in some cases as well, especially if the car is matched to a set of well-fitting wheels.

Adding larger, wider wheels will improve traction

An S2000 with aftermarket wheels
An S2000 with aftermarket wheels | Joe Santos

To go along with lowering your car, you can also include a set of larger, wider wheels. Larger wheels will require larger tires as well, and although they can get pricey, larger tires can provide a larger contact patch with the ground. Thus, making your car grip better in the corners.

Improving your car’s handling will make it a lot more fun to drive every day, despite its lack of horsepower. Also, a nice set of wheels can do much to complement the overall look of the car.

Upgrading, or changing, the steering wheel can make driving more enjoyable

A Momo steering wheel installed on a 90 Honda Civic
A Momo steering wheel installed on a 90 Honda Civic | Bring a Trailer

Moving into the interior of the car, changing the steering wheel can actually make it more fun to drive. How? Well, considering the steering wheel is the main part of the car that you touch the most, upgrading it to an aftermarket leather-wrapped one can make your car’s interior a more fun place to be.

Also, having a smaller steering wheel can make the car feel more go-cart-like. However, if your car is newer and has a bunch of steering wheel buttons and an airbag, then we suggest possibly leaving it alone for safety and functional reasons.

Installing sportier seats will hold you in better

Recaro Seats installed in a car
Recaro Seats installed in a car | Recaro

If you want to make your car feel even more racecar-like, then changing its front seats to a pair of sport buckets can do the trick. A new pair of racing-style seats can make your car more fun to drive because they usually have more bolstering than the stock seats and sit lower, giving you a sportier and more supportive feel.

Clean your car

Lastly, cleaning your car can make it more fun to drive. Don’t believe us? Try taking turns quickly with those empty Coke bottles and other trash floating around the cabin. Trust us, it’s not very fun and in some cases, it can be dangerous. The trash in your car can get all over the place, more specifically, underneath your brake or gas pedal, which could be hazardous.

If you clean your car, its interior will feel – and smell – much better, making it better to drive every day. Also, your passengers will grateful as well.