While tuning can be done on almost any car, there are some models that make tuning easier than others. This is because they have plenty of aftermarket support – aftermarket car parts are easy to find and you can count on a vibrant community of car enthusiasts for help.
Below is a list of some of the best and easiest performance cars to tune.
Honda Civic has managed to remain the king of sport compact tuner since its debut in the 1970s. The car has plenty of generations to choose from and comes in three body styles – a coupe, sedan or hatchback, all of which have lots of aftermarket parts and upgrades available.
The civic is lightweight, well-built, comfortable and able to swallow up any number of higher-displacement Honda engine swaps (a favoured is a mash-up of the RSX and CR-V engines).
What’s more, there is a legion of tuner companies (including Honda’s Mugen division) that offer some sort of Civic upgrade. When done right, the Civic can be Transformed into an autocrosser, a drag car or just a showpiece.
Marketed as Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT86, Toyota FT86, and Scion FR-S, the Toyota 86 was specifically built for tuning purposes. With exhaust pipe cutouts in the rear bumper and loads of space in the engine bay, this 2+2 sports car accepts any type of modification straight from the showroom.
While it makes 205 horsepower, you can reprogram the ECU to give it another 20 horsepower. Running a 50 shot on the car can put an extra 60 horsepower to the wheels without overpowering the engine’s rods.
If you’re interested in a great rally car, fitting a plug-and-play base kit can add an extra 150 horsepower.
If you are into German Cars, the many variations of VW Golf have plenty to offer with regards to tuning potential. The GTD and TDI models torque on the bucket-and-wheel system, making them great candidates for tuning. And since the base model excels at cornering, you can install tuneable suspensions and high-quality brake pads, wheels, and rotors to optimise its cornering ability.
Although Volkswagen itself has never benefited from an in-house tuner, its online following and aftermarket community are among the best on the sport-compact scene.
This original pony car is a tuner favourite with a tuning history that goes back more than five decades. It features a potent 3.7L V-6 direct-injection turbocharged engine that has plenty of unlocked potential.
No matter what generation of the Mustang you choose to tune, you are sure to get an unlimited amount of support. There’s a plethora of aftermarket parts and companies specialising in upgrading any type of Mustang. There’s also a vibrant tuning community ready to offer help.
Just like the ‘Stang, the Chevy Camaro is another pony car that deserves a spot on our tuner-car list. Since 2009, this mid-sized automobile has continued to be Mustang’s most formidable foe, with aftermarket retailers and tuning companies widely available for the Chevy.
Its profound popularity has made the demand for aftermarket parts very high. However, companies keep cranking out aftermarket equipment so Chevy Camaro owners can go head to head with their rivals.
The Supra’s reputation was born out of tuner culture. What started as a trim grade for the Toyota Celica morphed into a sports car that peaked with a virtually indestructible bi-turbo 2JZ-GTE straight-six engine that produced 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.
The engine can take any type of turbo boost with ease, making it one of the best engines in the automotive industry.
Simple modifications like remapping, fitting bigger injectors, adding a boost controller and replacing the two stock turbos with a bigger aftermarket one can boost the engine’s power to around 600 hp.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Talking about the best tuner performance cars without mentioning the Mazda MX-5 Miata would be doing a huge disservice to car tuning enthusiasts. This car is a popular roadster and it’s not uncommon to see many Miatas at autocross events and track days.
It’s popularity as a tuner car has grown due to its lightweight body, visceral feeling, perfect weight distribution and low price. Adding to its popularity as a tuner car is a fact that aftermarket support is readily available and there are plenty of aftermarket parts.
With these seven performance cars, you can modify them to squeeze every last bit of horsepower out of them. You can tune them to make them suitable for road course races, drift events or dodging the cones at an autocross. Just be sure to compare parts to get the right ones for your car.