Nearly every automaker offers at least one sport trim on its more popular models. These are found on sedans, coupes, and crossover SUVs and frequently leave drivers wondering whether or not they are worth the price. To actually answer that question, you need to take a closer look at what these models bring to the table.
Adding Style, Not Performance
In most cases, the sport trim offered on your favorite sedan will focus on making the vehicle look sportier instead of improving its performance. The Nissan Altima 2.5 SR, for example, has a sport spoiler, paddle shifters with a manual mode, and other sporty features. If you want your car to look more aggressive and race-track-ready, then these may or may not be worth it. If you are looking for an enhancement in performance, however, you will be a bit disappointed.
Some Models Do Enhance Performance
That being said, the sport trims will sometimes make some tweaks to the performance or even provide an engine upgrade. The Honda Accord Sport, for example, has a firmer suspension that is designed to help it carve corners. If that’s what you want then this may be a good choice. But these minor improvements vary in real-life driving feel from car to car. You will have to look closer at each vehicle and not just rely on the “Sport” marketing.
To give you an idea of exactly what enhancements to expect when you go with a sports trim, consider a few of the most popular models. On the 2017 Nissan Altima, the 2.5 SR (the sport trim) costs $1,570 more than the 2.5 S that is right below it. For that price, you get the paddle shifters, manual mode, and sport spoiler mentioned earlier along with leather on the steering wheel and an 8-way power-adjustable seat with power-lumbar for the driver. On the 2017 Honda Accord Sport Sedan, you pay an extra $2,060 over the base LX but get 19-inch alloy wheels, 10-way power for the driver’s seat, and the option of paddle shifters.
Going with the 2018 Sonata Sport over the Sonata SEL increases the price by $1,500 and adds a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, a decidedly unsporty feature that adds weight, along with a sport grille, sport rear diffuser, sport front fascia, sport shift knob, sport seats, and leather D-cut steering wheel. Clearly, most models tend to simply give you feature and styling upgrades for their Sport trims, not the performance enhancements the name implies.
Think of It as Just Another Trim Level
When trying to figure out if the Sports trims are actually worth it, you need to think of them as just another trim level for the given model. If you expect to get the feel of a sports car for a several-thousand-dollar upgrade on a family-oriented sedan, you will be sorely disappointed and ultimately decide the cost was not worth it. If, however, you look at the Sport trims as another variation of the car, it may or may not be a good choice depending on what you want. Do you want your car to look sportier? Do you like larger wheels, paddle shifters, and a rear spoiler? If so, then an extra few thousand dollars will be well spent.