Life is all about image, right? Well maybe not but if you are shallow enough and believe that beauty is only skin deep there are three easy steps to premium your base model vehicle on the outside that work wonders.
(1) Tint them windows. Not only is tinting freaking sweet, like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker had some weird fast and furious baby that drifted out of the womb but it will also keep you cool on those annoyingly bright summer day. Ugh… I hate the sun. Now, I’m not talking illegal limo tint on all side including the windshield but take look at what is legal in your state, or better yet check out the higher models of your car and go from there. Get a mild tint on the front and a darker hue on the rear windows to up your premium game. Just do yourself a favor and pay someone to do it. A good shop for a base tint (not ceramic or anything special) on a SUV will run you about $200-$300.
(2) Accessorize! My favorite color is chrome. Not really. Don’t go using chrome door guard strips to fill every body panel gap. That’s just horrible. Why would you want to highlight the line between your hood and front fenders? You can nab trim pieces from wrecked higher model versions of your car. Given that automakers no longer switch up trim every year you can usually find pieces over a good 5 year run of your models range. Check out grilles, chrome insets on or around the windows, accents on the lower doors/bumpers and a STOCK spoiler. Grilles and various trim pieces can be had for about $100 combined and are generally easy to swap out. Live in a fog? Get those extra lighting accessories that your car originally lacked. Fog lights and upgraded headlight housings. This should also be a DIY and depending on your make can run a couple of hundred bucks. OEM or “OEM like” is key, nothing says I’m a wannabe like chicken mesh grille insets.
(3) Wheelie bro! Get on that list that Craig built and pick up some OEM wheels. OEM by the way is original equipment manufacturer. Swap out those 15 or 16 inch steelies with hubcaps for a set of 17 inch alloy wheels (you call them… shudder… “rims”). There is always some jagoff out there putting 22’s on his brand new Altima looking to offset the cost by selling stock 17’s with brand new tires. Strike up a deal on a smashed up GTI to upgrade those shoes on an S model Jetta, just be sure they aren’t bent. Depending on your haggling skills you could look at anywhere from $200 and up.
The most important thing, and the only out of stock realm procedure here, is to debadge your car. It gives the ass end a smooth, nice look. I’ve personally done all of these to my base VW Sportwagen and it does a world a difference. You have to love your car and I did, but this made me like looking at it better even more. I’ve still got my stock seats and radio but with the level of quality in base models (at least in a VW) I’m still rolling with my tail heated and Bluetooth streaming.
I like white VWs…