What makes a sedan sporty? It could be the metallic sport pedals, the aggressive wheel design, or maybe the powertrain that manufacturers often like to include their “sport” designated models. We decided to take a closer look at two mid-size sport sedans and compare them to see just how sporty a sedan can be.
2020 Honda Accord Sport
The current-generation of the Honda Accord has been out for a couple of years now, and it’s so good that we, as well as other automotive sites, use it as a benchmark for comparing other sedans in the segment. Why? Because it’s well-equipped and provides a great value no matter which trim level you choose.
For this comparison, we’ll use the Honda Accord Sport. It’s one step above the base Accord LX trim and is outfitted with wider 19-inch wheels, blacked-out exterior trim, and a darker front grille. On the inside, the Accord Sport is adorned with leather seating surfaces and a leather steering wheel, as well as sport pedals.
The Accord has a choice of powertrains; a 192-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter engine is standard, while a more-powerful 252-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is available. Both engines can be either mated to an automatic transmission or a six-speed manual.
According to CNET’s review of the Honda Accord, “On boost, the engine whips the Goodyear Eagle Touring tires into a frenzy and pulls swiftly through the manual transmission’s lower gears. It’s quite exciting for what is, ultimately, an ordinary family sedan.”
With the engine choices and the availability of a manual transmission, the Honda Accord pulls ahead of most competitors in its segment. However, the Subaru Legacy has been redesigned for the 2020 model year, so let’s see how it stacks up against the Accord.
2020 Subaru Legacy Sport
Subaru updated the Legacy for the 2020 model year, giving it 70 percent more structural rigidity than the outgoing model, new powertrains, and an updated interior with a large, Tesla-like infotainment system. There are six different trim levels to choose from, but the one that piqued our interest was the Sport trim.
Just like in the Honda Accord, the Legacy Sport is one step up from the base trim level. This version also has darkened 18-inch alloy wheels, a gloss black grille and side mirrors, and a rear trunk spoiler.
The interior of the all-new Legacy has a very upscale look with sport pedals and a two-toned dark gray, cloth interior. The main highlight, though, is the 11.6-inch tablet display in the center of the dash, which takes care of the multimedia, climate controls, and vehicle settings.
Under the hood, lies a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter Boxer engine that puts out 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque that’s married to a Lineartronic CVT which routes the power to all four wheels via Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system. This setup is good for a 0-60 time of 8.4 seconds. For reference, the more-equivalent Honda Accord with the 1.5-liter engine and CVT transmission gets to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, according to Car and Driver.
In MotorTrend’s testing of the Subaru Legacy, they noted that the “steering feels more disconnected, especially compared to the Honda Accord and Mazda6, further highlighting the Legacy’s focus on comfort.”
A more powerful 2.4-liter, turbocharged engine is available in the Legacy, however, buyers would need to opt for the XT trim or higher to get it.
Which one is sportier?
It definitely seems that the Honda Accord is technically the sportier one of the two cars. We figured that with upgraded chassis stiffness, all-wheel-drive, and a spritely 2.5-liter engine, the Legacy would prove to be a formidable competitor against the mid-size sedan front-runner. However, that might not be the case for the lower Sport trim level. Go with the higher trim level for a more engaging driving experience. This also shows that the term “sport” doesn’t just mean a more aggressive look and shiny pedals, it’s all about how the car drives.