How to Make Any Car Look Sporty: 20 Ways

Sport car drifting on a highway race track with blur and white smoke

A lot of people don’t realize that they can change how their car looks. They think that they’re stuck with whatever aesthetic they have for the rest of their car’s life. It’s simply not true. There are a lot of low-cost ways to make your car look sportier without spending thousands of dollars on modifications.

Making your car look sporty can be done inexpensively. There are some fake mods you can do that look like the real deal but only cost a fraction of the price. In addition, there are some low-cost actual modifications you can make to immediately improve how sporty your car looks, regardless of what car you own.

In a little bit, I’ll review some of these ways. A lot of these I personally did on my vehicle, so I can attest to how much cooler it looks. Let’s get started.

What Makes a Car “Sporty”?

This definition is going to depend a lot based on who you ask. To me, a sporty car is aesthetically pleasing and might be something in a Fast and Furious movie.

It usually gives the impression that the owner likes cars and cares about their vehicle.

Honda S2000 on the Sepang race track
Honda S2000 at the Sepang circuit

My gold standard when it comes to sporty would be a modded-out, souped-up Datsun, 270z, or S2000. For a car that looks sporty with all stock components, I’d pick something like a Toyota Supra, Audi A8, Nissan NSX, or anything that Lamborghini puts their hands on.

Again, this is just my personal definition. I even find myself goggling over ricers (can we still say that word?) that pass me on the road.

The Sportier it Is, the More it Costs

The general rule is that sportier cars cost more. If that wasn’t the case, then they would lose all their appeal.

Even though the new Camry’s and Civics look surprisingly nice, I wouldn’t use them to describe what a sporty car is to a layman.

When you start talking about the modded-out and stock options I mentioned earlier, you can expect to pay a pretty penny.

Aftermarket Additions

Aftermarket parts can get costly and for many car enthusiasts, mods can be distasteful, I get that. However, you can use aftermarket additions to enhance the look of your car to your exact styling for not that much money.

Expensive aftermarket mods are what go into a souped-up sports car, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about simple, affordable, and easy ways to make your car look sportier.

Keep in mind, these aren’t going to change how your car performs. This is all about appearances. It’s a lot easier to make a car look sporty than it is to actually make it perform sportier.

How to Make Any Car Look Sporty: 20 Ways

The goal is to turn your car into something that stands out in the parking lot. How do you achieve that? Here are 20 ways to make it happen. The last few ways are more expensive than the first bunch in this list.

1. Give it a Nice Wax

Part of looking sporty revolves around looking clean. This goes back to the idea of sportiness having to do with the owner’s care of the car.

A simple way to make your car immediately look sportier is with a nice wash and wax. Yes, this can even be done if your home has hard water.

Honda S2000 at the service detail shop with body wax applied
Honda S2000

If you don’t have the time, tools, or patience to do it yourself, you could always take it to the pros. A professional wash and wax will vary in price depending on your location.

In my opinion, this tip is where everyone should start. It’s really easy to do and takes very little energy.

2. Add Light Strips

There’s something about light strips that just makes everything look cooler. Adding them to a bed frame, the back of a TV, or around your desk will immediately upgrade your room.

The same is true for your car. Light strips with adhesive backs can be installed almost anywhere in your car.

Cadillac DeVille convertible with aftermarket LED underglow light kit
Cadillac DeVille convertible with aftermarket LED underglow light kit

I would suggest tucking it around the legroom of your vehicle, out of sight. They can plug right into your USB plug or cigarette lighter in most cases.

Just grab the remote and tweak the appearance to give your car the right look. Personally, I go with a dark blue on the inside.

Some people also add light strips to the exterior of their vehicle to give the car an under glow. This is illegal most of the time, but it looks great when it’s parked at a car meet.

3. Tint the Windows

Tinted windows are a rite of passage for any sporty car. You can tint the windows in just about any car based on your preference.

Window tint - dark

Not only does it look cool, but tinted windows serve a lot of purposes. It can protect you from the sun, save your car’s interior, and give you the privacy you deserve on the road.

Above all else, it looks insanely cool. Be sure to learn the restrictions of your state before adding any tint, though. Some states are pretty serious about tint and police officers won’t hesitate to pull you over and write a ticket.

4. Add a Fake Tow Hook

Tow hooks are often added to souped-up vehicles. I always associate the look with a rally car and I respect the vehicle immediately.

If you want to save hundreds of dollars, you can buy a fake tow hook and stick it to your car.

Chevrolet Camaro with an aftermarket sporty tow hook on the front bumper
Chevy Camaro with a tow hook

There are a number of options available on amazon. Keep in mind, these won’t work to actually tow your car. If you’re just looking for appearances, then that shouldn’t bother you too much.

The tow hook will have an adhesive on the back with instructions on how to install it.

5. Upgrade Your Lights

Sometimes there are some modifications that can be legally done to your lights. For older cars, this might mean swapping to LED lights.

LED light bulbs for aftermarket headlight installation on a car
Aftermarket LED bulbs

For newer cars, you can install a film over your lights as long as it’s legal in your state.

Foggy or aged headlights will take away a lot of your car’s curb appeal. Make sure you clean the glass in order to look sportier.

6. Add a Fake Scoop

Another addition you can make to your car is a fake scoop hood. A real scoop hood might cost hundreds of dollars to buy and install.

A fake one is much less. It’s just the scoop part, and it can adhere directly to your hood.

Front view of a tuned sports car with an aftermarket hood scoop installed on the hood

Anyone who sees your car will think it’s a real scoop hood, something that sporty cars have.

If you want to improve the aesthetics, be sure to paint the fake scoop so it matches your hood color perfectly.

7. Add Diffusers

Diffusers are a must-have for sporty cars. There are a number of different styles for you to choose from, and they all go on different parts of your car.

Some go along the side behind a door, others go at the top of your car, and some attach along the bottom of your vehicle.

2003 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Evolution 8 VIII with Carbon Hood body kit
2003 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII with a rear diffuser
2003 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Evolution 8 VIII with Carbon Hood body kit
2003 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Evolution 8 VIII with Carbon Hood body kit

There are also diffusers that go along your back window that I think look really sporty.

Most of these have some sort of adhesive on the base of the diffuser. It’s up to you to place them in spots that make sense around your car.

8. Install a Spoiler

Spoilers always make a car look sportier. I know that not everyone likes how they look, but I really dig them.

The spoiler goes on the top of your trunk. In principle, a spoiler is used to add extra downforce to racecars that need it.

In application, they serve no real purpose to any car you see on the road. There’s no need for that extra downforce as you’re going 60mph on the highway.

BMW E30 with a rear spoiler lip installed on trunk boot
BMW E30 with a rear spoiler lip installed on the trunk

Regardless of the physics, the simple fact is that spoilers look very sporty. You can buy an aftermarket option that you bolt right onto your trunk.

Be warned though, a lot of these options entail drilling through your trunk. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can reach out to a body shop or auto mechanic to help.

If your car is a lease, then I definitely wouldn’t do this.

You can either paint the spoiler to match your paint color, or you can go with a black or carbon fiber option. Whichever option you think will look the coolest for your vehicle.

9. Bling it Out with Chrome

Chrome seems to be a cheat code when it comes to making a car look sporty. Chrome can be installed on the interior and exterior. Plastic trim pieces and pedals are a great place to add chrome.

Chrome pedals for a manual transmission car aftermarket

Using it in moderation can help improve your vehicle’s appearance. A little chrome-trim here and there will give it a more luxurious and refined style.

You can buy strips of chrome and apply them wherever you’d like.

10. Fix Any Surface Imperfections

In an effort to look sportier, you should go ahead and fix any surface imperfections on your car. This refers to dents, dings, scratches, and chipped paint on your ride.

Mechanic fixing a dent on the front fender of a Honda S2000 sports car

Again, a clean-looking car will immediately look sportier.

In addition, you should take some steps to prevent your paint from fading. Your car should always look brand-new if you want to have the best aesthetics.

11. Add Decals or Stickers

Decals and stickers are another way to go. They’re typically pretty cheap and easy to apply.

As far as stickers, I would only stick to things like car sponsor stickers. Throwing on a Sparco or Recaro sticker will give the appearance that you opted for these high-end car mods when you really didn’t.

Instagram tags are also popular and don’t detract much from the overall look of the car.

BMW E36 with aftermarket decals
BMW E36 Coupe

Who cares though, because the people who see your stickers won’t see the interior of your car to confirm or deny whether you used these companies.

For decals, I’m a sucker for stripes. Thick ones look good on the hood, and thin ones can be used almost anywhere else like the sides of the car.

Take your time when you apply them. You might opt to use a local car mod company instead if you want it done perfectly.

12. Add Exhaust Tips

Exhaust tips are a low-price way to make your tailpipe look sportier. They clip onto your existing exhaust and they usually look a lot cooler.

car exhaust silencer polishing muffler perfromance
Aftermarket exhaust muffler tips

In some cases, they’ll also give a nicer tonality to your exhaust notes. It’s not going to change your performance or anything, but it will look sporty.

13. Swap Your Car’s Emblem

Putting on a unique emblem will also change the whole look of your car. Instead of your silver Honda logo, maybe you can install one with LEDs in it or an all-black emblem.

BMW M series car with an aftermarket hood emblem on the bonnet custom

If you want to be especially devious, you can also pick up high-end car emblems and install them on your car. No one’s stopping you.

Go ahead and grab a Porsche emblem and throw it on your Camry. People who don’t know cars will think it’s really a Porsche. People who do know cars will laugh hysterically and understand the joke.

14. Remove Your Car’s Emblems

On the other side of the coin, you can get rid of all the emblems on your car. This is another power move that people use after modding and wrapping a car.

Nissan GT-R black edition in black de-badged no emblems
Nissan GT-R

Take off the make and model signifier on your car. The rear bumper will no longer say “Civic” or have that pretty “H” in the middle. Instead, it will just be a smooth bumper with no lettering.

15. Swap Your Seats

Sporty bucket seats will make your car look better automatically. This is an upgrade for the serious car enthusiast who not only wants cool-looking seats but a more firm grip so as to not get tossed when handling corners.

Red aftermarket car racing seat with carbon fiber

Keep in mind, these can cost hundreds of dollars. You also need to be methodical when it comes to the installation. Shoddy installation can put your life in danger in the case of an accident.

Typically, they’re pretty easy to install. There are just a few bolts that mount the seat to the rails underneath, anyway. When replacing the seats, it’s also a good time to check for any power seat frame and wiring issues before the new ones go in.

16. Get a Paint Job

A paint job will help you get the perfect look for your vehicle. For me, that means going for the darkest possible color.

If you want to turn heads on the street, maybe you grab a lime green paint job.

Automotive paint specialist about to paint a car via spraying with a paint gun

Whatever color you choose, make sure you go to a legitimate shop to get the painting done. Your friend with a can of spray paint is going to ruin your ride.

A high-quality paint job will be expensive, but it’s worth it in my opinion.

17. Consider Getting it Wrapped

For another option, you could also get your car wrapped. The cost of a car wrap is going to vary depending on what you’re driving. It ranges from $1,500 up to over $10,000 for a rare supercar.

pasting of car carbonic plastic

Wrapping also opens the door for different finish styles. You can go with a matte black and “murder out” your car in the process.

Alternatively, you can get an artistic wrap. This is when you have a graphic designer mockup some art, then have a wrap expert lay it onto your car. I recently saw a 270z with a cherry blossom wrap job that looked pretty sweet.

18. Camber the Wheels

Wheel camber can be a little dangerous and expensive, but it looks so tough. This is when the tires are rotated so they don’t hit the ground perpendicularly.

Automotive paint specialist about to paint a car via spraying with a paint gun
VW Golf – with stanced wheels

You’ll see this on a lot of over-the-top modified cars.

It diminishes the life of your wheels and can be dangerous on slick roads, so it’s not the best idea. Still, it gives you a sporty look. If that’s all you’re after, then go for it.

19. Swap Out Your Wheels and Rims

The side profile of your car is all about the rims and wheels. This can get pretty pricy, so it might be something you do later in your alteration journey.

Two BMW M3 F80 cars wrapped in color chrome and matte vinyl with wide body kits and custom forged aftermarket wheels
BMW M3 F80

With nice wheels and rims, your car will get an immediate aesthetic upgrade. In addition, your car should also perform better.

With this upgrade, make sure you’re routinely checking the health of your tires.

20. Lower or Raise Your Car

Depending on what stance looks the coolest to you, you’ll want to either raise or lower your vehicle. This often starts with changing out your shocks and suspension.

Yellow Nissan S13 with lowered suspension
Nissan 240SX – S13

I think the general consensus is that lower cars are typically sportier. It just makes it harder to get over speedbumps, drive through parking garages, and drive over any debris on the road. Also, it’s almost impossible to drive in the snow with a lowered car. Still, it looks undeniably cool.

Conclusion

There you have it, 20 ways to make your car look sportier. I look forward to hearing how you modified your car and how much sportier it looks now. Explore out the rest of my site for more car tips to make your ride cooler. I also have a list of car products and accessories if you’re interested in upgrading your car-owning experience as well.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

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