We here at Hot Cars love to talk about car modifications. Why not? After all, we're a site devoted to cars and everything about them. We live for the back and forth a good gearhead conversation can inspire in us all, and we love even more to dive deep into every nook and cranny of those conversations. Talking mods allows us to do that and even more. Just like the endless variety of mods your average motorhead can imagine, there’s an endless variety of opinions on each and every one of those mods.
It stands to reason that, in a forum of, by, and for gearheads, there’s always going to be some disagreement about our favorite topics. But I’m pretty sure everyone reading this (and I know my colleagues will, too) can agree that one of the most entertaining things to see and talk about in the mod world is bad mods. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about your run-of-the-mill, garden-variety chop job some guy did in his backyard in Pasadena and then got laughed off the road. We’ll touch on more than a few of those. But I’m also talking about those mods that are serious candidates for the Just Plain Dumb & Inconsiderate award.
Even better, we’re going to take a look at a very special class of failed mods. That’s right—today we’re foregoing muscle cars, monster trucks, classics, and speed demons to focus on perhaps the funniest class of them all. Today we're going to get down and dirty with the worst SUV mods that some ridiculous dudes did to what should've been a collection of sick SUVs.
18 Lexus NX Chrome Monstrosity
OK, so I’m pretty sure this is an NX, but don’t sue me if it’s not. It’s kind of hard to see the damn thing, what with all of the chrome it’s rocking. I mean, seriously... who does this? Who mods out their SUV with so much chrome the car looks like Robocop on a bad day? Honestly, I like chrome on my cars, but this thing is hurting my eyes just looking at the picture. Could you imagine having to drive next to it on a sunny day? That thing is almost too dangerous for street driving, if you ask me. Here’s another thing. It’s a Lexus! Why on Earth would you ever want to butcher your Lexus with this sort of chrome overkill? Maybe the owner is really into medieval knights and armor (or is a LOTR nerd) and couldn’t resist decking out his own “steed” in armor. Maybe. Or maybe he has zero taste and sensibility.
17 2008 Grand Cherokee Is C3PO
Well, if you thought that “knight in shining armor” Lexus was bad, have I got a treat for you. Here, we have a Grand Cherokee from 2008 that Restyleit got their hands on. Now, don’t get me wrong—I really am a fan of mods when they're done correctly, but this isn't it. That’s too bad, as Restyleit is well known for great mods and a high level of professionalism. But, alas, this particular SUV wasn’t done correctly. They seriously needed to talk this dude out of going for a C3PO look—am I right or am I right? I bet this guy was super psyched with his awesome new “gold” car until the first person at an intersection rolled down his window and yelled at him, “Threepio, shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level!” and drove off, leaving this Cherokee's owner feeling just a little bit foolish.
16 Boxy Lift Fail
I’ll be honest—I don’t actually know what this thing is. But I do know that it's so impossibly boxy that it had to make this list. It’s not even that it’s been jacked up to the sky and beyond. Oh, wait... yeah, yeah, it is. I've finally found something that's worse than my absolute hatred of all things boxy. This lift is utterly awful. Who mods something out like this? This dude was obviously just like “Well, I don’t know what else to do with my soon-to-be-junked Honda Element. Why don’t I just rip out its underpinnings and jack it straight up to where the angels fly.” Yeah, I know, I know... I’m not really sure it’s an Element either. What I'm sure of is that it's an absolute monstrosity of a useless and pointless mod that needs to be forgotten forever. Please don’t tell me what it actually is; I really, really don’t want to know.
15 Suburban Fails At Liftoff
Umm, please, please, please, just no. Please??? I mean, this is just the stupidest, most idiotic, perfectly ridiculous mod of an SUV I've ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. You know what a Suburban is for? It’s for driving around town with about 50 kids rolling around in the back smacking each other over the head with their backpacks and tossing juice boxes out of the window like sugar-laced hand grenades. It’s for the guy down the street who thinks he’s Tony Soprano and runs over his trash cans every week, backing down his circle drive in his fully loaded “mobster” ride. They're NOT for freaking airheads to turn into weird spider vehicles that wouldn't have looked out of place in Starship Troopers (either version). The best part of this mod is that this dude did a custom “paint” job that looks like someone was shooting actual paintball cartridges at his beloved mod.
14 Infiniti Q30 Spray Paint
Here we go from one terrible custom paint job that was barely noticeable to one that's all too noticeable. Here’s the deal with this Infiniti. You know when you play Mario Kart and you choose your custom wheels?
The wheels on this thing look like the greatest roller wheels Mario Kart has ever offered.
But…this is a real car, people—not some fake Italian plumber’s get-around-town ride. Also, what the hell is up with that color scheme? This is one mod that certainly didn’t work. I mean, I don’t think it’s actually spray-painted, but it might as well be. Plus, why would you ever choose this particular color scheme? The only car maker that can pull off Canary Yellow is Ferrari (OK, OK, Lamborghini can, too). Why did this dude take a sick Infiniti and despoil it like this? If you have the answer, I want to know.
13 Plywood Jeep Wrangler?
If you thought our last entry was bad, then you should probably leave the room before you accidentally see this one. No, really, I’m serious—you're not gonna want to see this nightmare. I’m actually having a hard time wrapping my head around what might be the world’s worst mod ever. What does this dude think is going to happen to his ride? Maybe he thinks a gang of off-duty contractors is going to swarm all over his Jeep while he’s at dinner and turn that back end into a man cave. Why else would anyone ever do something like this to their Jeep? Unless, come to think of it, there’s something in there that dude doesn’t want anyone to see. Like Satan’s devil dog is boxed up in there. So maybe, let’s just all step back and pretend we never saw this abomination…
12 Jeep Cherokee Chief Pink Nightmare
Did I just say that our last entry was a nightmare??? Well, have I got a treat for you! Here you go guys—the stuff of your dreams. As a serious aside, if you have dreams that involve this hot pink mess, then you're either drinking too much Pepto Bismol for your heartburn or not enough. This isn't a good look for any car, let alone a Cherokee Chief. I know what I’m talking about guys—I've owned more than one Jeep in my time and, even when they were in full-on breakdown mode (as Jeeps will), I never once thought that I should turn them into something that looks like it was left on the cutting room floor of The Little Mermaid. This isn’t a mod; it’s an atrocity perpetrated by an evil cabal of Jeep haters on an unsuspecting public. There's no other reasonable explanation.
11 2012 Range Rover Evoque Goes Soylent Green
So, if you remember that I wasn’t a fan of the Grand Cherokee and its freakish purple passion neon, then I’m sure you see where I’m going with this particular mod. It’s not that I hate dudes who feel the need to deck out their ride in LED. I actually think there's a place for LED mods, and there are plenty of really good kits out there. This particular install was done with items from XKGLOW, a company that's really, really good at what they do. However, the weird green glow stick thing has just got to stop—it’s way too much, and it’s more than a little bit childish. Most of us who talk, write, and think about cars for a living find that a little LED goes a long way. Don’t be “LED” (damn, I’m good!) into a bad mod choice just because you saw some other dude cruising the main drag rocking his green ooze look. At the very least, get an orange glow stick… no, please don’t, actually.
10 2012 Grand Cherokee Goes Sci-Fi
Here we go again with another Grand Cherokee, a 2012 model this time. Why do people like to destroy their Grand Cherokees? Jeep makes solid cars. I had a Cherokee Chief for years that I bought used (and yes, modded a bit) but Grand Cherokees are pretty damn nice cars right off the factory floor. It’s not like a bunch of mods make the car nicer as is the case with some models—just “cooler,” maybe. Or not, as this pic proves. What’s the deal with the creepy grille lights mod fad? Look, dude... we’re sorry you didn’t have a lava lamp when you were living in your parents' basement, but please don’t inflict your failed dreams on the rest of the world—unless, of course, you were going for some kind of X-Files “Men in Black” look. If that was the case, then you’re totally cool, dude. ‘Cause that’s not fanboyish at all.
9 Eco “Duck Boat” SUV
If you want to see all types of SUVs totally modded out into vehicles that are completely unrecognizable as themselves, then you should head on over to the Philippines and check out their entire car subculture known as the “Jeepney.” On second thought, you don’t have to waste your time, energy, and money flying over there—you can just wait for a few entries down our list. That’s right—I’ve got you covered in the Jeepney department. Aren’t you excited? Anyway, this is a Spanish Jeepney-style mod that's also an electric car. You know how I know that? See that orange extension cord running to the outlet in the hood? Bingo. A Tesla this is most definitely not. I’m not quite sure what the original SUV was, but it looks like a chopped-up Land Rover of some sort. It also looks like those Duck Boats all of those Boston championship teams are always parading around in. In case you hadn’t figured it out, Jeepneys are weird.
8 Lexus Front Exhaust Pipe
Look! Captain Nemo's in the house! Or on the road, as the case may be. At first glance, I was kind of like, "No, it can’t be—who would be that weird???" But sadly, yes, that's indeed an exhaust pipe rising out of the body on the passenger side—the front passenger side. My best guess is that whoever did this bolted it to the molding that runs the entire length of this model. It looks like a conning tower from a German “Wolfpack” U-boat circa World War Two. It also looks stupid as hell. Plus, and correct me if I’m wrong here, the mod raises a serious question. I’ve studied this image a bit, and why is that thing facing back towards the car? Does the driver want to give his passengers Black Lung? I’m pretty much at a loss regarding the hows and whys of this monstrosity, but hey... I’m sure something worse will pop up on our list.
7 Chevy Tahoe Confederate Flag
OK, so let’s be clear here, I’m not going to drag politics into this. I don’t really care what your politics are, and I’m sure you don’t even want to hear word one about mine. This is a car forum, not a political one. But… if you think those freaks in their Subaru Foresters and Kia Sorrentos with their “Coexist” and “My other car is a broom” bumper stickers annoy the hell out of me, then I’m sure you know where I’m gonna go here.
Cars are for driving fast and well... hopefully... not for political campaigns—especially political campaigns for “Lost Causes” that need to remain lost.
The only thing worse than some D-bag trolling a giant Confederate flag “mod” off the back of his “made in America” SUV (which by the way, guy, it probably wasn’t) is a D-bag trolling two of them. Well, a D-bag with a swastika bumper sticker is probably even worse, but you get my drift.
6 Acadia Gets Loud
Here’s another pet peeve of mine when it comes to modding out your ride: chopped-down pipes. Also, I just realized I have a lot of pet peeves about my cars; it’s like I take this stuff seriously or something... Look, if you’re the kind of guy who likes to do this, I have two words for you: Get. Out. I’m not a fan, not even a little bit. This is one of the stupidest mods that jerks like to do to their cars. Take a look at this GMC Acadia. Sure, this mod was done by either a professional or an inspired amateur; the mod itself looks great. But the end result isn't cool, not even a little bit. This is all I’m gonna say about this neighborhood and idling at the intersection-killing little trick: “loud pipes save lives.” They surely do—in a Harley, dude, not in your SUV. Save it for the open road on a hog and leave the rest of us in peace. Jerk.
5 Red Suburban Rolling Coal
If you can believe it, this might actually be the last mod on my list today that falls under my pet-peeve qualifications. I know, I know... I’m shocked myself, let me tell you. So, I’m sure most of you, since you’re hanging out with me in a car-mag forum, know what “rolling coal” is. If you don’t, go Bing or Google it—we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. This is all I’m gonna say about dudes who take sick SUVs, like this nicely jacked Suburban, and ruin both their SUV and the environment: they're fools. Listen... you do know about emissions regulations—right, guys? You do know about pollution, clean energy, global warming, and that the end of the auto industry as we know it is coming, right? Of course, you do. If you don’t, well then you must be the loser who thinks rolling coal is cool. Guess what? It’s not.
4 Nissan Juke SUV Spoiler
So, Impul is another company that does some really great mod work aftermarket. Honestly, I’ve actually looked at them before because they do such good work. That was back when I had an absolutely beautiful Maxima for a few years and wanted to make that bad boy shine. The deal with Impul is that they were founded by Kazuyoshi Hoshino, who just so happens to be Nissan’s factory driver. Anyone who's a factory driver and wants to open up their own mod shop is just fine by me. On the other hand, sometimes, even the best minds get a little off-target. The Juke is a pretty funky car, to begin with. It's supposedly a great Donut Racer, which I find hard to believe in an SUV, but then, on the other hand, it is, after all, a Subcompact SUV and that probably makes all of the difference; I know old Alfa Romeos that are bigger than the current class of SUV subcompacts. Impul’s cardinal sin was putting an overly large spoiler where it didn’t really need to go. Now, there are so many worse spoiler jobs than this one, but the Juke is a cool-looking car! Here’s a pro tip: don’t mod out a car that really, really doesn’t need that particular mod.
3 Isuzu Trooper Jeepney
I said before that we would get back to the whole Jeepney craze, and here we are. Jeepneys are a fascinating exercise in the whole “what do we do with a bunch of vehicles we inherited and have no legitimate use for?” problem. Now, granted, most of us private citizens don’t have that problem (unless you all want to donate all of your cars to me, that is).
The Jeepney thing came about because, after World War Two, the US army left thousands of jeeps in the Philippines.
The Filipino government promptly turned them over to private contractors who then modded out those jeeps like you wouldn’t believe. Jeepneys are now taxis, primarily, but also serve a ton of other purposes in that country. Nowadays, a Jeepney doesn’t have to be an actual jeep, as evidenced by this seriously chopped-out Isuzu Trooper. I’m not sure I would want to ride in this thing, and I’m not sure it’s a mod I would ever approve of stateside, but I guess it works here.
2 California Hippy Jeepney
And now I'm “for sure for sure,” as they say, that I would never approve of a Jeepney stateside. This thing's pretty brutal to look at, even if you give it the benefit of the cultural doubt (it does have some kind of “Filipino Cultural Center” logo or something like that written on it). But the problem here is that this Jeepney has California plates. Oh no… Lala Land is justifiably well known for being full of people who don’t mind stretching the boundaries of good taste and decency a little bit. Actually, those people are known for shooting right past that point where normal people would stop and for showing to everyone just how “open” they can be. Here’s a pro tip, Jeepney advocates: there’s a reason this whole mod is a uniquely Filipino thing—it made sense when it was first done, and now, it’s simply a thing for your average guy looking for a ride on a Manila street corner. Your average guy standing on the corner in Sacramento will hopefully look the other way.
1 Scion XB Is The Bad Mod Winner!
And finally, here we have it—the bad SUV mod winner. Now, I know that at first glance this one doesn’t seem like it should pull ahead of some of the other absolutely terrible entries we’ve seen here, but just bear with me for a moment, if you don’t mind… So, you might recall that I said I was done complaining about my pet peeves when it came to these mods. That was true—until I saw this thing. It actually hits just about every bad mod criteria one could think of. Don’t believe me? How about these problems. One, this thing has way too many bumper stickers. Two, it has a bad custom paint job. I mean, why do guys keep choosing ugly yellows? Three, part of that custom paint job includes an unnecessary spoiler. Four, well, number four has to be that fact that it’s a damn Scion. C’mon, guy... just leave your Scion alone. Nobody cares.