India’s Growing Tuning And Modification Culture
Tuning and modification help you build your own sports car.
Whenever I look at the Indian automotive market, I feel extremely annoyed. Annoyed by the fact the almost all the affordable cars in our country are very plain and boring. Here, people want a car with good mileage and supple ride quality over performance and handling. Our country has a diversified culture but sadly, the car culture isn’t vibrant at all.
I really feel jealous of the Americans and the Englishmen. Their taxation system isn’t as brutal as ours and, they have what we have been dreaming about, cars like the Volkswagen Golf R, the Suzuki Swift Sport and the brilliant Toyota GR Yaris! While we are stuck here with the 5th gen Polo, they are enjoying the 6th gen model. Moreover, the price to performance ratio is way better than what we have here.
However, brands like Tata and Maruti Suzuki have made respectable attempts to launch distinguished performance variants of their cars. But sadly, they couldn’t fetch many buyers and were discontinued soon after. It’s clear that the Indian market isn’t enthusiast-friendly by any means. And the lack of options makes it even more painful.
This is where tuning and modification come into the picture. Tuning and modification aim to quench the thirst for affordable performance. To get started, you need a car with a lot of mechanical potentials. Cars like the old Honda Civic, Maruti Zen, old Maruti Baleno, Skoda Laura are good to get you started.
But first, let me explain what does tuning and modification mean. In a nutshell, tuning involves reprogramming the ECU via software to adjust things like the air-fuel mixture, traction control system, etc. while modification covers the hardware bit like turbocharging, installing a roll-cage, etc. Tuning and modification go hand-in-hand as a higher state of tune would require the supporting hardware.
One of the main reasons behind the boom in their popularity is the variety of options available coupled with the overall affordability factor. If you cannot buy a sports car, you can build one! The idea of bridging the price to performance gap sounds quite interesting. Going beyond OEM limitations and exploring the true potential of an engine adds a sense of freedom and thrill that nothing can match.
In my opinion, tuning is the way to go. Regardless of many people calling it the ‘cheap thrill’. It gives you the liberty to spec your car according to your liking, and this is what makes it so desirable! Imagine customizing your vehicle according to your requirement. It has something in the store for almost everyone. If you don’t want to go all-in, you can always opt for a stage 1 tune that just requires a better air intake and results in a decent gain of 20-30%. And, if you are ready to go all-in, there are endless options available.
But, there are a few cons that you need to be aware of, the moment you install any mechanical mods on your vehicle, you will lose your warranty, and the insurance companies might throw tantrums in accepting your claim. And the most critical issue is the legality of your car. In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled a judgement that basically said that a vehicle cannot be altered or modified in any way which brings the car out of OEM spec. Doing so may even result in the cancellation of registration!
To sum it up, tuning in combination with modification provides the much-needed performance boost which betters the driving experience. A decently modified car can be your ultimate all-rounder that can be daily driven. Before you start, analyse all the factors from each perspective. Refrain from altering the safety equipment on the vehicle and maintain your ride properly to keep it reliable and running on and on for the years to come.