How Important Is Torque In Cars?
When you’re doing your research to purchase a new car, you may come across the term ‘torque’ and wonder just how important torque is in a car. But more importantly, what is torque and what is the difference between a high-end torque vehicle and a low-end torque vehicle? Is it just a fancy word that is thrown around by car enthusiasts, or is a car’s torque something you really ought to know about before spending your budget on a new car? This simple explanation of torque will help you along your way to making the right decision for your next purchase.
What is torque in cars?
To put it quite simply, torque is a twisting force applied at a distance. Torque can actually be applied in everyday scenarios to give you a clearer understanding of what torque is when it comes to the engine of your car. Some examples of torque happening in everyday situations include using your hand to open a soft drink bottle lid, using a wrench to tighten a bolt, or pedalling a bicycle.
So what is torque in cars? The torque in a vehicle is measured to give customers an understanding of the kind of performance they might expect from a motor vehicle. A utility vehicle for instance would have an extremely high-torque engine because they can be used to tow heavy objects such as a boat. Smaller vehicles like a Yaris or a Corolla would have lower levels of torque and horse power.
Torque is different to horsepower, but the two go hand in hand when it comes to understanding how powerful a car’s engine is. Horsepower is a measurement of an engine’s overall performance, whereas torque is a simpler measurement specifically measuring how much force is being applied at a distance. A vehicle’s horsepower is calculated by measuring how much torque the engine has multiplied by the revs per minute (RPM) or in layman’s terms… how fast the car can go. Torque x RPM = Horsepower.
Is torque important in family cars?
Torque is important if you are looking for a car that can handle challenging work such as driving up steep inclines or towing trailers, boats or caravans. But if you aren’t necessarily going to be towing or hauling heavy loads, torque might not be the main factor you’re looking for in your new car.
A low-end torque vehicle will be able to accelerate faster, and can sustain faster speeds at a lower gear. If you aren’t likely to be carrying heavy loads, then torque shouldn’t be a huge influencer when it comes to choosing your family vehicle.
However, it is important to know that hybrid cars and electric engines have instant torque. Much like an electric blender can be switched onto full power immediately – an electric engine or hybrid engine can produce instant torque, unlike a large vehicle like a truck which has high-end torque but builds up the speed slowly. Discover more benefits of a hybrid or electric engine here.
Torque for towing - what do I need to know?
Torque represents the load that a vehicle’s engine can handle. Having a high-end torque vehicle means you can move heavy cargo with ease. This is where it’s important not to confuse horse power with torque. If it is a vehicle you need for towing purposes, you will need an engine that generates higher levels of torque.
It’s important to choose a vehicle that is suitable to your towing needs, so if you own a family caravan, knowing the weight of the caravan is necessary to determine if the vehicle you are purchasing can easily handle the towing of the extra weight.
The mass weight (tare) of the towing vehicle (caravan, boat or trailer), is the total weight of the unloaded vehicle, with fuel tanks, lubricants, fluids, tools and tyres all in place. If you know the tare, you can search for a vehicle that is built to tow that load, but the general rule of thumb when you are buying a vehicle for towing purposes is, the more torque it has, the better. You should always aim to exceed the minimum towing requirement to avoid excessive wear and tear on your engine.