The urge to customize, modify, and tweak a new or used car is powerful. Personal expression is an essential part of the human experience, and it shouldn’t stop at laptop stickers. With no shortage of available parts, vehicle owners can turn hatchbacks into track cars, SUVs into off-road warriors, and vans into homes. Here are just 6 of the best cars to customize, modify, and make your own.
Honda Civic is a wildly popular canvas upon which to customize a fire-breathing tuner or a personal expression machine
Civics from any generation have merits for owners looking to modify their cars. Drag racers often take older iterations of the Civic and turn them into FWD chariots, pulling their minimal weight across finish lines with ease. Bolt-on parts like exhaust systems, fuel tuners, and air intakes can help tuners squeeze horsepower out of a Civic. Further, Civic Owners can tear into their motors, replace parts with forged internals, or add forced induction.
The newer Civics have a lot to offer as well. In addition to more contemporary styling, owners can modify the cars with spoilers, splitters, carbon fiber parts, and aftermarket lighting. For the performance-minded, the newer Civics would happily receive bolt-on parts like exhaust upgrades and fuel tuners to coax a few extra ponies out of their stable.
Jeep Wranglers have always been capable platforms, but the new generation is nothing short of its own culture
The newest generations of Jeep Wrangler have no shortage of certified Jeep and aftermarket options to customize the off-roader. First, Wrangler owners have removable doors and roof equipment, meaning an owner can turn the Jeep into a convertible. Second, Jeep owners can replace roofs with hard or soft tops and doors with soft or half frames. It doesn’t stop there, either. Wrangler owners can modify bumpers, steps, lighting, winches, and a myriad of other practical or aesthetic features. With a Jeep Wrangler, if you can imagine it, you can do it.
Mazda MX-5 Miata is just about the last word in sporty little convertibles, and you can customize it to do nearly anything
The Miata is a favorite toy car for fair-weather cruisers and canyon carvers. The aftermarket has many parts to lower, stiffen, widen, and even swap other engines into the little convertible. In addition to performance modifications, just about every generation of Miata can transform with styling upgrades. These aesthetic upgrades include grilles, lighting, custom wheels, bolt-on fender flares, spoilers, splitters, etc.
The new Ford Bronco has the Jeep Wrangler in its sights, which means owners will customize it
After the Bronco’s recent resurrection, Ford made it clear that the modular SUV was coming after Wrangler customers. Considering that Wrangler fans like to customize their Jeeps, Ford had to offer the Bronco with options. According to US News, Ford unveiled the new Bronco with over 200 add-ons available right from the factory. Like the Wrangler, the Bronco features removable paneling and the potential for a healthy aftermarket. Furthermore, Ford opted to cater to pet and sports fans with optional animal carriers and a tailgate-friendly refrigerator. The Bronco is not only a solid platform to modify, it is a viable alternative to the beloved Jeep Wrangler.
Volkswagen Golf GTI is as practical as it is fun
Volkswagen’s little Golf is a cult classic. The hot hatch has been around since the 1970s, and its tenure has been nothing short of fantastic. The latest iteration of Golf GTI is a spiritual ancestor to the fun, eager Golf hatchbacks of yesteryear. The 2022 GTI packs a turbo 2.0L engine that produces 241 horsepower. Furthermore, owners can raise those horsepower figures with the simple addition of bolt-on parts like exhaust and a tuner. Next, track day-bound GTI owners might lower and stiffen the Golf for thrilling weekend hot laps. Finally, aesthetic upgrades like colored caliper covers, spoilers, carbon fiber trim, and custom parts can make the GTI look the part.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter can add glamour to ‘Van Life’
Van Life is a movement wherein van owners customize their vehicles into livable platforms to travel in. Owners often remove interior equipment in favor of sleeping, cooking, and camping utilities. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is an excellent candidate for Van Life, with lots of easily-accessible interior space begging for conversion. In addition to the interior, the Sprinter has available four-wheel drive (4WD), which is beneficial to those wanderers who wish to take the rig off-road. Finally, Sprinter owners can outfit the van with lighting setups, bumpers, ladders, and nearly anything necessary to be a little nomadic.
If you can dream it, you can (probably) do it
These cars aren’t the only vehicles that you can use to express yourself. US News also included the Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Challenger, Toyota 4Runner, and Ford Maverick in their list of customizable cars. The list doesn’t have to stop there, either. With motivation, patience, and the willingness to learn, you can build a race car, a low rider, or a rock climbing off-roader.