The Difference Between a Ricer and a Tuner
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.
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.