MOST FUN SPORT SEDAN
A great way to evaluate new cars and SUVs is to drive them back-to-back on fun roads. Most consumers don’t have that luxury, but members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) get that experience on their annual Run to the Sun (RTTS) event.
This year journalists spent three days driving two-dozen highly varied cars and SUVs (as tested prices ranged from $28,985 to $427,875) hundreds of miles over stunningly scenic roads across Washington and Oregon.
The routes covered twisty mountain passes, the windy Columbia River Gorge, and the wide open Central Oregon high country. Venues varied from busy cities to desolate ghost towns.
Besides the mandate to have fun driving, the group was tasked with picking winners in four categories plus an overall Northwest Most Fun to Drive Vehicle. The categories were convertibles, coupes, sedans, and SUVs. This post covers the Sport Sedan class.
There was agreement among all drivers that coincidentally matched this author’s picks for overall category winners. I’ve gone further and listed my second and third choices. The remaining vehicles are listed alphabetically. There weren’t any bad choices—all seven of these sport sedans were fun for different reasons.
It used to be that only convertibles and coupes were deemed sporty and desirable, but four-door sedans are just as popular as long as they have the right stuff under the hood.
WINNER: NORTHWEST MOST FUN SPORTS SEDAN—2019 MERCEDES AMG GT 63 S FOUR-DOOR
MY FIRST CHOICE: 2019 MERCEDES AMG GT 63 S FOUR-DOOR
PRICE AS TESTED: $184,285
A high-end luxury four-door sedan that goes like a Corvette seems incongruous, but not once you experience this jaw-dropping Mercedes. Acceleration is muscle car quick and handling is breath taking, yet luxury and comfort are
superb. This super sedan tears up the tarmac with 630 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, but it can also cruise comfortably all day long. It costs the better part of 200K and is far more car than most American roads, but if we ever win the lottery the AMG GT 63 S is on a very short list of dream cars.
MY SECOND CHOICE: 2019 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R TOURING
PRICE AS TESTED: $36,620
Fun and affordable are good ways to describe the Honda Civic Type R. Adding a turbocharged I-4 with 306-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque to a seemingly sensible compact sedan totally changes its personality. Handling is exhilarating,
but not at the expense of long distance comfort. The six-speed manual transmission smoothly handles the engine’s power. Torque steer is nonexistent. The most polarizing aspect of the Civic is the oversized rear wing.
MY THIRD CHOICE: 2019 KIA STINGER GTS AWD V6
PRICE AS TESTED: $47,670
The Kia Stinger GTS with AWD and a twin-turbo V6 is packaged into one of the best looking sedans on the market. The 3.3-liter V6 makes 365-hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is an
efficient 8-speed automatic. The sleek sedan is a hatchback, so versatility is a big plus to an already strong value proposition. The Stinger is very athletic on mountain roads and equally at home in city traffic. Performance and features are equal to many much more expensive competitors.
THE OTHER CONTENDERS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
2019 GENESIS G70 AWD 3.3T SPORT
PRICE AS TESTED: $52,495
The Genesis G70 is another very handsome sedan from the designers at Hyundai (and Kia). The engine and transmission are the same as the Kia
Stinger GTS and all the positives about the Stinger apply to the G70. We only gave a slight edge to the Kia Stinger because of its handy hatchback and slightly lower price. The Genesis G70 is an impressive, affordable compact luxury sport sedan.
2020 SUBARU LEGACY TOURING XT
PRICE AS TESTED: $36,795
If fun were equated to comfort, value, quality, and innovative safety features, the new 2020 Subaru Legacy Touring XT would have scored much higher. The
stylish interior made an immediate impression, as did the extensive list of standard safety features. Performance of the 260-hp 277 lb-ft torque turbocharged engine and legendary AWD were seamless, but without the raw excitement level of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
2019 VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON 2.0T SEL R-LINE w/4MOTION
PRICE AS TESTED: $44,555
The VW Arteon is a roomy sedan with a strong emphasis and comfort, but in R-Line trim and with all-wheel-drive (4Motion) is also a fine performance touring vehicle. The slick hatchback is
the brand’s upscale model. The I-4 engine produces 268-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is ample, but not pin you to the seat powerful. Handling is more comfortable than harsh, which is in keeping with the luxury demeanor of the VW Arteon.
2019 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA GLI 35THANNIVERSARY EDITION
PRICE AS TESTED: $28,985
The VW Jetta GLI was almost $400,000 less expensive than the Rolls Royce Wraith on the event, but it wasn’t 400K less fun. The Jetta GLI is a fun and practical compact sedan in the best
sense of traditional German sport sedans. The turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 produces 228-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Jetta GLI Anniversary Edition had adaptive shock absorbers and 18-inch wheels which enhanced its nimble handling. The Jetta GLI proves bargains can also be fun.