anzosiAt REVVED, we appreciate both the aesthetic and utilitarian aspects of the car. We have a strong sense of what looks fresh and what looks tired and old, and when we find a product that combines sharp looks with serious function, we jump on it.

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Such was the case when we spoke with with the fine fellas at AnzoUSA. Vu Pham had been looking for a way to freshen up his mildly-tuned and daily-driven 2013 Honda Civic Si, and so we turned our attention to the lighting of the black four-door. Helping us feel young again, AnzoUSA provided their U-Bar Projector Headlights and their LED Taillights to bring our project car boldly into 2017.

While stylish, AnzoUSA's LED taillights also have a lifespan of 100,000-1,000,000 hours.

AnzoUSA’s long-lasting LED taillights have a lifespan of 100,000 to 1,000,000 hours.

A Far Cry from the Tired “Altezza” Light

Aftermarket taillights often get a bad rap in the modified community. With distinctive styling and a strong band of LED strips in each housing, these lights look nothing like the passé Altezza-style taillights popular in the early 2000s that some more cynical viewers might assume these resemble. The unmistakable Altezza-style lights, also known as “Euro-style” lights, “have a tendency to date the vehicle,” according to Suzie Kirby, AnzoUSA’s Director of Sales and Marketing.

Their aim is to complement the style of the car rather than make the lights a focal point. For this reason they’ve opted to use LED lights in in a clean, red-glassed housing with a simple and unobtrusive design that, from a distance, doesn’t look completely different from the stock pieces—though that’s not the only reason.

Their lights need to be functional as well as fashionable. The beauty of the LED lighting is that it’s brighter and more visible than halogen lighting. This ties into their strong design principles, and also makes them DOT-compliant. They feel that before a car should be judged on grounds of style, it needs to help keep its occupants seen and safe.

Not only do the LED strips look great, but they're ten times as visible as standard incandescent bulbs.

Not only do the LED strips look great, but they’re ten times as visible as standard incandescent bulbs.

Additionally—they’re long-lasting. Whereas typical fluorescent tubes will likely fail around 10,000 hours, and incandescent bulbs have a lifespan of 1,000 to 2,000 hours, LEDs have an estimated time to failure (ETTF) between 100,000 and 1,000,000 hours. Plus, LEDs will achieve full brightness in microseconds, do not require an external reflector to gather light, use less power, emit little heat, and offer ten times the brightness of typical incandescent bulbs.

They’re robust too. LEDs, being solid state components, are difficult to damage with the shock endured while crashing over cracks and potholes; fluorescent and incandescent bulbs are easily broken in these conditions. This helps ensure a long life over bumpy roads or on stiffened suspension. They’re easily interchangeable as well—AnzoUSA’s kits are engineered to provide effortless plug-and-play operation with weather-tight connections and wire harnesses. As Vu reported, “the taillights were easy to install and fit perfectly.”

AnzoUSA's LED lights are engineered to the exact dimensions of the stock housing for effortless plug-and-play installation.

AnzoUSA’s LED housings are CAD-engineered to mimic exact dimensions of the stock housing for effortless plug-and-play installation.

Greater Visibility, Lighting, and General Safety

Turning our attention to the front of the car, the U-Bar Projector Headlights lure the eye with their bold appearance. For those who want a slightly different look than the one offered by the traditional halo-style projector, their U-Bar design—which is patented by and exclusive to AnzoUSA—offers just that. The black housing is understated, but still intriguing.

Stylish and functional, the U-Bar Projector Headlights use high-intensity LED technology. That technology means greater illumination in a more concentrated area, and reduced losses to what AnzoUSA refers to as the “scatter area.”

Their headlights use a cold-cathode fluorescent lighting system, which is the most efficient way of getting light into the U-Bar.

Their headlights use a cold-cathode fluorescent lighting system, which is the most efficient way of getting light into the U-Bar.

AnzoUSA’s headlights are all CAD-designed, and as such, they fit effortlessly into their new homes. Without any of the profanity, furrowed brows, or holes punched in walls that typically go along with installing aftermarket products, there’s little that’s not to like about these pieces.

When it came to installing the headlights, Vu remarks, “Fitting the new lights in the car was incredibly easy—all I needed to do was find a few hidden bolts in the front bumper.” Adding the housing was simple, and so was wiring everything up cleanly. “Doing the wiring was very simple—as plug-and-play as anything,” said Vu excitedly.

CAD design allows for headache-free installation.

CAD design allows for headache-free installation.

Justin Jones, Senior Videographer at Power Automedia, aided in the installation process and notes, “The headlights were really simple to install. Having never done a headlight installation before, I didn’t really know what to expect. Vu and I just worked through uninstalling the old headlights. It was very clear after uninstalling the OEM headlights where all the new components fit; there were no strange gaps or fitment issues.” High praise from a man who’s done his fair share of hardware installs.

With the addition of these new lights, a red Honda badge adoring the front grille, and an athletic stance from a set of Megan Street Coilovers gives Vu’s Civic all the presence one would want from their road car without attracting any unwanted attention.

With minimal effort, Vu installed the headlights and wired them up.

Justin and Vu install the understated headlights with a minimum of sweating and cursing.

Once the headlights were installed, the two stepped back to admire the strong effect these pieces had on the overall presence of the once-basic Civic Si. Day or night, the lighting gave the machine a sinister appearance that would appeal to even the most frigid of automotive enthusiasts.

Additionally, they were a more social alternative to some of the other options in aftermarket lighting. Prior to the AnzoUSA headlights, Vu had used HID headlights in the stock housings. While the HIDs illuminated the road well, he found himself the target of many angry honks from blinded drivers. With the newer lights in place, Vu enjoys the same sort of nighttime visibility, but thanks to the cutoffs built into the projectors, he isn’t blinding any of the oncoming traffic, which made him a little more popular in his neighborhood.

Hard to argue with those distinctive LED stripes.

Hard to argue with those distinctive LED stripes.