The Difference Between a Ricer and a Tuner

Stereotypical Ricer.

The custom paint, the body kit, its all unnecessary and distasteful to most.
The custom paint, the body kit, its all unnecessary and distasteful to most.

What defines ricer?

Technically ricer is a term used to describe cars that are made in Japan, Korea, or any other Asian country. Although that may be the case it is used much more commonly in referring to mostly japanese cars that have been modified distastefully. For example a Honda Civic which has a giant metal rear wing, an extremely garish body kit, a sounds system and or TV's installed, and has been custom painted bright orange would be the stereotypical ricer. Many owners of so called "ricers" get ideas from movies such as the first Fast And The Furious movie because of the decals and wings placed on all the brightly colored cars. Another sign of a ricer would be stickers from manufacturers of aftermarket parts placed on a car that doesn't actually have any of those aftermarket parts installed. A good example of this would be a car that has a giant Comptech sticker across the side of  the car but doesn't actually support a Comptech supercharger or any other part made by Comptech for that matter. 

Spoon Sports S2000
Spoon Sports S2000

Tuner Cars

Tuner cars can come from different companies from anywhere in the world but today we are going to concentrate on the opposite of a ricer, that being a japanese car tuned for performance. Two of the most popular japanese cars that are tuned for absolute street and track performance are the Mitsubishi Evo and the Subaru Sti. These cars are two examples of high end japanese cars (when you exclude japanese luxury like Lexus or Acura). They both come from the factory or "stock" with turbochargers and all wheel drive systems which make them the perfect platform for ultimate performance. Many people who drive these cars do modifications that are purely for 3 ultimate goals performance goals. The first goal being horsepower gain, second downforce/handling, and the third weight reduction. These three types of modifications are not done to make your car LOOK faster, they improve your cars performance fit the needs of the driver. For example a street driven daily driver could be given the simple modifications that improve speed for a more enjoyable ride such as intake, exhaust, and ECU flashing or a "chip". On a more extreme level a track car that is used for racing on a circuit or at a drag strip could be completely stripped of most of the inside components, all panels could be swapped for identical carbon fiber parts, the engine could be totally race built with a bigger turbocharger than the factory provided if one was provided at all, and a large spoiler or canards and a body kit could be installed to increase downforce in the corners. Many examples of tuned cars can be found in magazines such as DSPORT, Super Street, or Honda Tuning. Not all tuner cars are made by Subaru or Mitsubishi. For example one of my very favorite tuner examples would have to be the Spoon Sports s2000 because it's a rear wheel drive, race built machine, and a Honda (I happen to be a Honda lover). In conclusion when looking to modify your import make modifications which genuinely improve your vehicle not, just make it appear to be faster or cooler.

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Comments 7 comments

Alex 6 years ago

What about the Acura RSX? Would that be considered a tuner?


dcasas profile image

dcasas 6 years ago Author

The acura rsx is most definitely a tuner, there are tons of rsx's out there that have been built for performance and look amazing as a result. Just about any car can be a tuner it just all depends on what you do with it. If you put on a crazy cheap body kit and new clear lights as well and then did nothing to boost your performance. Just try to modify your car tastefully and keep performance in mind at all times and I'm sure your rsx will be a great tuner example in no time.


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 6 years ago from L'America

The need 4 speed...great hub- peace!


Anonymous 6 years ago

I have a quick question. I am planning to work on a Mitsubishi Eclipse and upgrade the stock parts over the course of my life. I do plan to add to ascetic appeal by adding bumpers and a spoiler as well as a custom paint job, but I also plan to upgrade performance. While I don't know much about what to upgrade in the near future I plan to learn about what would be best for my car. The idea this originally grew from was that my friend has a Jeep with an upgraded sound system and I wanted to build a music sensitive light show to compliment both the cars ability's. I do not plan to do any street racing because of a huge fear of crashing and penalty's. I am concerned about being labeled as a Ricer. I'm not an aggressive or annoying driver and I wish to avoid the stereotype of of a Ricer. Is there a legitimate way of maintaining a professional attitude of a tuner while upgrading a car such as an Eclipse?


dcasas profile image

dcasas 6 years ago Author

The mitsubishi eclipse can be a good example of a tuner, however the way you have described your plans for your eclipse is not giving me the mental picture of a tuner at all. If these are your plans and you legitimately want to go through with them then I see no reason not too. However there is no doubt that you will at times get called a ricer. Even performance built japanese cars get called ricers by american muscle lovers all the time. Follow the path that you want to take with your car, who knows sounds like you could enter and maybe win a car show with that kind of eclipse


2002mr2 2 years ago

the 7th gen and below civics give hondas a bad name as ricer but i think the term ricer is thrown around a bit too much these days, people who call stock cars ricer are usually just ignorant


JDM-CVLTVRE profile image

JDM-CVLTVRE 8 months ago

Why is the Mitsubishi Evolution crossed out?

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