What Does Sport Mode Do in a Car?

December 4, 2023

Many modern vehicles come equipped with a driving mode setting called Sport. Unlike Eco mode, which restricts engine performance to improve fuel efficiency, Sport mode opens up your throttle and transmission programs to prioritize acceleration and sharp handling. In automatic cars, it may also change shift points to higher rpm ranges and hold gears longer before downshifting when you lift the throttle pedal.

In some models, the use of Sport mode may also trigger the car’s active suspension to stiffen up. This helps to better control the car during spirited driving by providing a more substantial feel to steering inputs and helping your tires grip the road more firmly. Additionally, it’s common for the braking system in these cars to change the mapping of the brake pedal so that it bites harder and earlier in the pedal travel.

While this does make the car feel more responsive, it can be dangerous to use when driving in traffic or on highways where constant acceleration is required. It’s much safer to stick with your car’s normal drive mode for those types of situations.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your vehicle’s engine will be working harder when using the Sport mode mode, which means it will be burning more gas than normal. Over the course of a long drive, this can add up and hurt your fuel economy. This is why it’s important to only use the Sport mode when you know you will be using your car for more fun and engaging driving.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
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