How To Build The Ultimate Civic Sleeper

Everybody knows by now that when they see a civic rolling up alongside them at the lights they shouldn’t take it for granted, because you just never know what engine lurks under the hood of a sleeper Civic. Iv built many sleeper civics over the years with some pushing close to 400HP all while looking like the car your nan does the grocery run in. This article outlines everything you need to build the ultimate sleeper Honda Civic.

honda civic black type r
Honda Civic Type R

Weight reduction

The first thing you need to do is remove any aftermarket vinyl’s, stickers, decals etc.. off the car, those are a dead give away that your car isn’t stock and could possibly be tuned. The next thing you need to do is remove the rear seats along with any interior plastics and trims that aren’t needed, which is usually most of them, this will improve how your car handles and performs due to the reduced weight being carried in the car.

This weight might seem negligible but the combined weight of the interior of a Civic is between 30-60kg depending on the trim of your specific model.

Ride Height

A lowered car is a tell tail sign that the car isn’t stock, but you still can’t afford to sacrifice handling for aesthetics. The best option when building a sleeper civic is to install coilovers, this gives you complete control over your ride height allowing you to have your car sitting just slightly below where it sits as stock but still giving you firm stiff suspension with minimal body roll even at the slightly higher height.

The best coilovers I have ever used with the car sitting about stock height are BC Racing BR Type. I had those in a 93 EG6 Honda Civic sitting 10mm lower than the stock springs and the car handled perfectly, the steering was sharp and there was very little body roll when cornering hard at high speed.

bc racing coilovers
BC Racing BR Type

Another option is using an aftermarket suspension kit. Bilstein offers a huge range of aftermarket suspension kits that replace your stock suspension and the car remains at stock height but with the benefit of much stiffer suspension resulting in a big improvement in handling while still holding the sleeper status. For a deeper dive on suspension setups, you should check out this article iv written on how to effectively improve your car’s handling and stability at high speed.


When it comes to selecting wheels and tires for a sleeper civic you’re trying to balance performance and grip with stealthiness. Luckily wheels are not as noticeable and it’s not uncommon to see old beat-up cars with nice wheels so long as you don’t go too big or flash.

The size of wheel id recommend using on a sleeper civic would be a 15x7JJ, this size of wheel is perfect and the color should be dark, so as to not draw attention to the wheels and brake discs as this can be a giveaway if you have aftermarket brake setup.

buddy club p1 yokohama tire
Buddyclub wheel ADVAN tire

Tire selection is always important no matter what your objectives are, plus tires aren’t a noticeable part of the car, unless you have big sticky slicks, so don’t be afraid to buy the best, the best tires I personal ever owned on a road car were Yokohama ADVAN AD08s, these are a very durable tire with excellent grip. The tire size I would recommend on a sleeper civic would be 195/55/15, this will give you a slightly higher tire wall which will fill out the remaining space in the wheel arch that’s left from having the car only slightly below stock.


Next thing is replace your stock exhaust with an aftermarket performance cat-back exhaust system and d-cat pipe. The most important thing to consider when choosing the best exhaust to use on a sleeper civic is how noisy the cat-back is. If your car is too noisy it will be obvious the car is tuned so technically it’s not a sleeper.

The exhaust I would recommend would be the Magnaflow cat-back system, this exhaust gives you plenty more power plus it also has a resonator in the center section of the exhaust giving it excellent back pressure and keeping the noise level reasonably low to keep you under the radar. You can check out more info on the Magnaflow cat-back exhaust system in this other article iv written recently.

magnaflow exhaust

When it comes to selecting a d-cat pipe the only thing to remember is you must use the same size of the d-cat pipe as the size of the exhaust system you’re using for example you would use a 2.25-inch d-cat with a 2.25-inch cat-back.


When it comes to styling a sleeper civic it’s simple, you don’t. When building a sleeper civic, the objective is to have your car it appearing to be stock, with little to no modifications, whereas underneath the car is highly modified and super quick. The reason for this is to have the upper hand on anyone who may dare take you on at the lights, plus the feeling of satisfaction when you beat a much more expensive flashy-looking car is priceless. If you want tips on how to make your Civic faster you need to check out this article.

You could do some styling inside the car by installing an aftermarket sports steering wheel or a set of aftermarket Recaro or Bride bucket seats and if you have big horsepower you will 100% need bucket seats to keep you upright when cornering hard. Other than that minimal is definitely better.

Hide your intercooler

If you are lucky enough to own a boosted civic your going to need to hide your front mount intercooler to be able to successfully make it a sleeper civic, or people will see the shine from the aluminum a mile away. The best way to hide your intercooler is by spraying the entire intercooler and its visible piping black, just be sure to not spray to the section of piping where the rubber pipe joins to it or it may not seal correctly.

The next way of hiding your intercooler is by installing a stock front bumper with no grills cut out for the intercooler, this, along with the black intercooler will make it virtually invisible, giving you that sleeper effect.


Building a sleeper Civic is reasonably straightforward considering you are trying to hide your modifications rather than show them off, meaning if you can keep the car as close to stock looking as possible you have a sleeper my friend, and if you want to find out how to get your sleeper Civic up to 400 HP you should check out this article on how to build a 400 HP Civic on a budget.


With over twenty years worth of experience in the motorsport industry and many happy customers you can rest assured that the information you get here on is 100% free, reliable and without the fluff.

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