To choose the right vehicle, you need to know the best engine specs. All these terms and numbers, like 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbo producing 160 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque may be confusing. Here is everything you need to know about the key characteristics.
1. Number of Cylinders
A cylinder is a chamber for burning fuel. It is the power unit of your vehicle. The majority of cars and SUVs come with 4, 6, or 8 cylinders. The more chambers — the more power. On the other hand, engines with few cylinders are more economical.
2. Displacement (L or CC)
This is the volume of all cylinders combined, measured in liters or cubic centimeters. One liter equals 100 cubic centimeters or roughly 61 cubic inches. For instance, 4 cylinders 569 ccs each provide 2,276 ccs in total, which is also expressed as 2.3 liters. Go to https://www.engine-specs.net/ to see how popular models compare. The larger the engine — the more power it requires, and the bigger the torque.
These are power-boosting devices. An engine with 4 cylinders can generate as much power as a 6-cylinder one when equipped with a turbocharger. At the same time, it will still consume less fuel (unless you drive aggressively). The letter ‘T’ after the engine volume shows that a turbocharger is used — e.g., “2.0T”.
4. Horsepower and Torque
These are measures of power developed by an engine. The terms are often confused. Torque, which refers to the pulling power, is expressed as pound-feet (lb-ft or ft-lbs). You feel it when you are pushed back into the seat after pressing the gas pedal. Trucks are designed to move heavy loads, so they need lots of torque.
Horsepower depends on it, but it is also defined by engine speed (RPM). The indicator shows how much work the vehicle does in a sustained way. For instance, a racing car must have a lot of HP, as it is driven at high speeds for long periods of time.
If HP is high, but torque is low, the car accelerates from a stop more slowly. It gains strength as the engine spins faster. In the opposite situation, the vehicle accelerates quickly but trails off afterward (until the gears are shifted).
Both torque and HP numbers express the maximum capacity in certain conditions. An engine with 180 HP requires a particular engine speed to produce this amount of power — for instance, 6,000 RPM. The same logic applies to torque unless the engine has a sustained peak-torque range. These models may develop the peak torque within a range — e.g., 1,800-4,000 RPM.
How the vehicle feels when you drive it is the most important factor. For decent passing acceleration, pick strong torque in the mid-range (2,000-4,000 RMP). The weight of the car will also affect this. Note that cars with high-torque slide and slip in rainy or snowy weather.