A car engine should be on top of your list of considerations when buying a car. Over the past couple of years, manufacturers have been producing vehicles with smaller and more efficient engines. For instance, a family car used a decade ago is highly likely to have had a two-liter engine. This has since changed, and manufacturers now fit smaller turbocharged engines in family vehicles.
When reviewing a vehicle or going through any automotive website, you are likely to come across several terms such as liters, cylinders, horsepower, and torque. What do these terms mean?
Cylinders are the power unit of an engine; it’s here that petrol is combusted to power a car’s engine. Most cars today have four, six, or eight cylinders. Ideally, having more cylinders translates to producing more power. As much as vehicles with fewer cylinders do not offer a lot of power, they provide improved fuel economy.
Displacement (Liters and Cubic Centimeters)
Car engines are measured by the displaced volume, expressed in terms of cubic centimeters (cc) or liters. Ideally, displacement is a measure of the cumulative volume of all cylinders in the engine. Thus, a 2.3-liter engine with four engines has a total capacity of 2300 cc, with each cylinder having an average volume of 570 cubic centimeters.
Horsepower and Torque
A car’s horsepower and torque essentially refer to the amount of power produced by an engine. While most terms point to the same thing, most people are horsepower. A car’s horsepower is essentially the maximum power that can be produced by the engine at top speed. A 200HP engine can only develop this power at peak speed. The power generated by the engine at lower speeds, therefore, tends to be smaller than the peak number.
Revolutions per minute measure an engine’s torque. Just like with horsepower, the rating is often provided at peak speed. Cars with higher torque tend to have higher acceleration. Low torque is essential when stability in off-road situations is of the essence.
A turbocharger is a device that is used to improve engine power. It can improve an engine’s power by enhancing the volumetric efficiency of the cylinder. This means that a four-cylinder with a turbocharger can produce more power than a six-cylinder engine.
Many considerations go into buying a car. You need to consider each of the variables shared above. From there, you can choose a car with an engine that caters to your needs.