The age old debate. What is the difference between a Ricer and a Tuner? Well, you ask people who don’t really like Japanese cars, they will say anything other than a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger and/or an American sports car, is rice. Atleast, that’s what a old roomate of mine said. On the other side, someone who owns a non-Si Civic with crappy engine mods, believes they own a Tuner. Luckily for everyone, I’ll break it down.
A Tuner, is purposely built, from the FACTORY, to be performance oriented. Note, FACTORY. Not your parking space, not your garage, not your dreams. A proper Tuner, actually is all go and limited, but purposefull show. Examples of this are as follows, and note, I’m speaking about Japanese cars seeing as they catch the most heat. Here’s a few examples…
Nissan 300zx, 350Z, 370Z
Honda Civic Si, S2000
Mitsubishi Evolution I-X
Subaru Impreza WRX STi
Ricers are generally the exact opposite. Body kits, spoilers, wheels, sound systems, JDM parts (on some applications), and a bunch of other parts that make these cars obnoxious. A ricers favorite mod is stickers. “Oh Boy, Stickerzzzzzz!!!!” Typically defined as Hondas, but are expanded to all sports cars that have zero performance value, import or domestic. Don’t get me wrong, a Civic that actually makes power and can run with performance built rides do not, I repeat, do not qualify under the ricer standard. I’ve personally seen Civics burn muscle cars and in some cases tuners and exotics. I would give you a list but the qualifications for a ricer are extremely broad.
Here’s another note regarding ricers. JDM engines are used engines. Yes, over in the U.S. of A the engines are detuned to meet U.S. standards, but they are esentially used Japanese engines. Parts wise, there are just subtle differences in some cases and dramatic in others. But just because you have a JDM part, your car doesn’t automatically qualifies as a Tuner.
Long story short, Tuners are actually cool. All the cool kids like them and they actually can run with exotics with modifications of course. Ricers are crappy…they suck. No performance value, just body kits and stickers. Of course, some cars can break that mold with mods, but just because your Honda Civic Ex with a KA24DDETTJZ engine from a JDM eBay seller looks all cool, doesn’t not mean it’s cool.
If you still didn’t get it, here’s a video and all the credit goes to the author.
For a further, in depth review of what defines JDM, check out History of JDM, by Nelson Daye the senior editor for The Car Files.