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Archive for June, 2022

Let’s Torque ICE and EV Physics

As technology improves with each passing year, the inside mechanicals of an internal combustion engine (ICE) have become more refined, stronger, lighter, and more efficient at harnessing power from the combustion process and feeding it out to the wheels.  Adding Hybrid technology to the ICE has also enabled car manufacturers to make greater gains in power and efficiency.  Hybrid engines are designed to try and use electric power from the electric motor(s) instead of fossil fuel power from the ICE for as much of the commute as possible.  When required, the ICE takes over the power delivery when electric power has been drained, or electric and ICE can work together for enhanced power on acceleration.  Purely electric vehicles (EVs) don’t have combustion energy but can still produce phenomenal levels of power and torque.

If you’ve ever taken the slightest look at any car review in a magazine or online, or even browsed through a car brochure, somewhere in the read you’ll come across some of the main bits on the engine stats and specs. Some of the specs are easy enough to understand – like the 0–100 km/h time measured in seconds, which is a measurement of the quickest time it takes the car to go from a standstill to 100 km/h.  100 km/h is equivalent to 62.14 mph, so if you are presented with an Imperial measurement looking at the 0–60 mph sprint (USA reviewers use this), it’s roughly the same as the usual nought-to-the-ton metric figure.

However, some specs are a bit harder to get a handle on – like power output.  Power is described as the rate at which work is done, or else the rate at which energy is converted into motion.  In cars and vehicles of all types, the formula for calculating power is relatively complicated (or kind of).  The power output of an engine is measured in kW (kilowatts) using metrics, which is the force times the velocity: power = work/time = (force x distance)/time.

All sorts of things go into delivering the power and torque created from an ICE out to the road, such as the number of cams (pistons) in the engine, the number of combustion chambers in the engine, the flywheels, the gear set, the tyres, and even the size of the combustion chambers.  The reason why EVs can make power and torque quickly and efficiently is that they do away with all the internal mechanical workings of an ICE (the ICE motor) and use magnetism instead of combustion for making power and torque available to the driveline.

Yes, power actually used to be measured in horsepower, which was originally used to compare how well a steam engine or traction engine could work in comparison to a big Clydesdale horse (hp).  Here’s some stats for you:

1 kW equals 1.34 hp

1 kW equals 737.56 foot pounds per second

1 hp = 550 foot-pounds per second (ft lb/s)

1 hp = 0.75 kW

As you may already know, power is closely related to torque.  Torque is a measure of the force that can cause an object to rotate about its axis point.  The whole set-up with a vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drivetrain involves rotational motion, so where the rubber finally hits the road is where the final delivery of the torque from the vehicle’s engine and mechanical components are then converted back to straight-line motion, where and when the rubber applies a force to the road.

Torque is measured in Newton meters (Nm).  Newton metres are the metric units used for torque.  The non-metric unit used for American cars is in pound-force per feet, also known as pound-feet. Just to be confusing, pound-feet is also used for torque, while foot-pounds are used for power, something that’s likely to drive you half dotty. However, the formula for conversion is 1 pound-foot = 1.356 Nm.

An ICE engine loses a lot of its initial combustion power and torque as this gets delivered mechanically to the rubber on the road, where all the action happens.  All the weight and friction of the moving ICE powerplant components drain the power and torque levels before what’s left of it is delivered to the wheels, the rubber on the road used for motion.

Hybrid vehicles (those that combine electric and ICE motors) can use electric motors to boost ICE power and torque output, thus improving fuel efficiency and power and torque delivery.  EVs can deliver so much more power and torque to the rubber on the road because they haven’t got all the extra weight and friction of the ICE’s mechanical componentry.  EV motors don’t need all of this to create a big enough force for motion.

Fuel Miser Comparison (2010/2022) Smart-VW

I thought I’d look at a list of cars that featured in an article written back in 2010, where I compared some of the thriftiest cars at that time.  These were cars which had been designed to function as some of the world’s best fuel sippers.  These vehicles were sold new in Australia, but I thought I’d add a new twist this time by adding what we can consider as the brand new version of these old models with their statistics for fuel consumption as a comparison – you know, a bit of nostalgia along with the new, and what’s changed – or not.

Note that the fuel consumption figures are based on the number of litres of fuel consumed every 100 km travelled.  Often real world situations can play havoc with Lab tested fuel consumption figures, but this definitely gives you an interesting picture  And, here is the list that is in alphabetical order – just to be helpful:

Smart

2010 Smart ForTwo

By far the smallest car being talked about in 2010 with excellent fuel consumption was the Smart ForTwo.  It still fits into car parks like you wouldn’t believe!  Small and safe, comfortable and peppy, any smart CBD commuter would be tempted by the tiny Smart ForTwo.  It boasts a combined fuel economy figure that sits well under 5 litres/100 km – and this all coming from a ULP motor.  Currently you can’t buy any new Smart car in Australia, though I’ve heard that, in the near future, they are making a comeback with purely electric power and with new design.

SsangYong

2010 SsangYong Actyon SUV

At the time, the 2010 SsangYong Actyon was about the most frugal SUV you could buy new at an impressively low price.  The economic SUV has muscly looks and a rugged design that could see the vehicle handling tough off-road terrain with ease.  SsangYong uses a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel engine in this vehicle, which packs over 300 Nm of torque to go with its excellent 4×4 underpinnings.  Getting any 1.8 tonne vehicle to manage under 5 litres/100 km is a feat.  So, well done to SsangYong!  Currently, no more SsangYong vehicles quite match the excellent economy of an Actyon Diesel.

Suzuki

2010 Suzuki Alto

Budget priced, and one of the few petrol powered cars back in 2010 delivering awesome fuel economy was the Suzuki Alto.  The Suzuki Alto 1.0 litre GL and GLX has an attainable fuel economy figure of 4.8 litres/100 km.  The Suzuki Alto is also nice looking (bug-eyed), has six airbags, and even comes with ESP as standard in the GLX model.  Great for around town – you’d be nuts to not consider an Alto.

2022 Suzuki Ignis

There are no new Altos in 2022, but Suzuki do offer us the awesome little Suzuki Ignis GL Manual and GLX auto.  These cars use a 1.2-litre ULP motor and deliver a similar fuel consumption to the 2010 Alto.  Safety in new Suzuki cars has taken a big leap forward, so too has all the modern technology.  Brand new Swift and Baleno models are definitely worth a look.  These are also economy-driven cars with decent comfort, technology, and practicality.

 

 

 

 

Toyota

Where would the world be without Toyota?  For a very frugal, spacious, and practical drive, the clean burning 2010 Toyota Prius III offered a 1.8 litre petrol hybrid engine.  It didn’t come cheap, but it was certainly friendly on the environment.  You could expect around 4.0 litres/ 100 km – sometimes better.

2022 Toyota Prius

You can now buy a 2022 Toyota Prius model for between $42–50k.  These are nice cars and much more impressive to look at than the older models.  They are safe and packed with excellent features.  The Prius still continues with the same petrol-electric engineering that made it such a standout when it was launched in 2001.  The same basic technology remains for the 4th-generation Prius, as well as all Toyota/Lexus hybrids these days.  So, what a new Prius offers is a small-capacity 4-cylinder engine that works through a planetary gear set to dispense the delivery of power to the front wheels (or also the rear wheels in SUV variants). The current Toyota Prius is powered by a 72kW/142Nm 1.8-litre engine that combines with an electric motor to produce a joint maximum power output of 90kW and a claimed fuel consumption of 3.4 litres/100km.  Better than ever!  Toyota newest vehicles: the CH-R, Camry, Corolla, RAV-4, and Yaris Hybrid models are available with very low fuel consumption figures.  Toyota and Honda are masters of the Hybrid-game, and have been for quite some time.

VW

Back in 2010, the Germans offered plenty of cars with excellent fuel consumption.  Volkswagen has for a long time offered well-designed, reliable and fuel efficient motorcars.  They are generally refined, elegant, and roomy, and the 2010 VW Golf 77TDI variant easily boasts fuel economy figures below 5 litres/100 km on a combined cycle.

2010 VW 77TDI

2022 sees the Golf Hatch with 5 models, and in Wagon form it has a couple of nice new variants.  The base models use a 110TSI 1.4-litre ULP motor, which is a 4-cylinder that is smooth and can return a claimed 5.8 litres/100 km.  250 Nm of torque offers muscle when you need it, and the car cruises at high speed effortlessly.  The 8th-generation of the Golf brings not only fresh external and interior design, but it is also the safest, most tech-laden ever.

2022 VW Golf 110TSI

There are other new cars right across the auto-manufacturing spectrum now that offer superb fuel economy or EV power alone.  It’s interesting how in that time (2010–2022) we’ve seen auto manufacturers taking a shift away from providing the new-car buyer with several frugal diesel family options to a fleet that is now a lot more Hybrid in flavour.  It’s a change coerced by new government law and regulation.  However, hybrid vehicles are superb automobiles that offer top fuel consumption figures and practicality, creating that much needed bridge between purely fossil fuel vehicles and completely EV-powered automobiles

Do check out the brand new arrivals.  Cars like the Hyundai IONIC, Hyundai KONA, Kia EV6, Kia Niro, Mazda MX-30, BMW i and Hybrid models, Mercedes Benz EQA and EQC models, MG HS EV, Polestar cars, Tesla, and Volvo’s Recharge and Hybrid models are just some of the amazing new cars available that we can now buy that weren’t even a showing back in 2010.

Happy commuting!

Fuel Miser Comparison (2010/2022) Ford-Peugeot

I thought I’d look at a list of cars that featured in an article written back in 2010, where I compared some of the thriftiest cars at that time.  These were cars which had been designed to function as some of the world’s best fuel sippers.  These vehicles were sold new in Australia, but I thought I’d add a new twist this time by adding what we can consider as the brand new version of these old models with their statistics for fuel consumption as a comparison – you know, a bit of nostalgia along with the new, and what’s changed – or not.

Note that the fuel consumption figures are based on the number of litres of fuel consumed every 100 km travelled.  Often real world situations can play havoc with Lab tested fuel consumption figures, but this definitely gives you an interesting picture. And, here is the list that is in alphabetical order – just to be helpful:

Ford

Ford Fiesta Econetic 2010

Back in 2010, the benchmark for fuel-misers belonged to the stylish Ford Fiesta Econetic.  Nothing was able to beat the claimed 3.7 litres/100 km fuel economy figure that this car offered.  It is a nicely designed car that looks good even today, and is also a great handling FWD Hatch.

Ford Puma 2022

I’m not quite sure why, but Ford no longer sell us a new Fiesta Hatchback.  However, you can buy a brand new Ford Fiesta-based Puma in 2022, which is a small SUV (Hatchback on steroids) that comes with a 92kW/170Nm 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine.  Cabin space is claimed to be class-leading, and the boot expands from 456 litres to 1161 litres.  You can also enjoy a fuel consumption figure of around 5.3 litres/100 km.

 

Honda

Honda’s ever reliable Civic is still a nice drive today.  In 2010 Honda offered it in a Hybrid Sedan shape that employed a little 1.3 litre Hybrid Honda engine, delivering a combined economy of around 4.5 – 5.0 litres/100 km.

Honda Civic 2010

2022 sees the Civic come alive with a very classy exterior and a powerful 1.5-litre Turbo petrol engine with 131 kW of power and 240Nm of torque.  Somewhere around 6.3 litres/100 km is attainable, and with a ride that is comfortable and athletic.

Honda Civic 2022

To find Honda’s current fuel miser, the brand new HR-V is an eco-friendly rewarding drive.  Honda’s e:HEV technology in the HR-V utilises an intelligent 2-Motor i-MMD hybrid system that seamlessly switches between three modes to give you optimal performance, and a smoother, greener, and more fun driving experience.  A claimed 4.3 litres/100 km for the e:HEV-L hybrid and 5.8 litres/100 km for the Vi X 1.6-litre petrol motor is on offer.

Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan 2022

2022 Honda HR-V

All class, you can also get yourself into one of the best Hybrid Sedans you can buy: the 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid.  It boasts a claimed 4.3 litres/100 km combined fuel economy – a very good figure for what is a sporty, comfortable family sedan, with striking looks and all the modern goodies.

 

 

 

 

Hyundai

Hyundai i30 CRDI 2010

Back in 2010, Hyundai had come to the economy party with its 1.6 litre turbo-diesel Hyundai i30, known as the SX CRDi.  Back then, it was Australia’s cheapest diesel car to buy new.  The car was pleasant to look at, and it had a nicely finished interior and plenty of zip.  With 255 Nm of torque, and a fuel economy figure of 4.7 litres/100 km, it’s still an economic little car to drive around in today.

2022 has seen Hyundai exploding with all sorts of new and exciting models that are economical, practical, and full of all the best safety and technology as standard!  Hyundai’s 2022 i30 Sedan and Hatch can come with a 120kW/203Nm 2.0-litre aspirated petrol engine, a 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol and, in hot N variants, a storming 206kW/392Nm 2.0-litre petrol turbo.  The 1.6-litre Turbo is the most frugal, offering around 6.8-7.0 litres/100 km combined.

But wait, there’s more!  Hyundai’s 2022 IONIC and KONA models have skipped the Hybrid tech and gone straight to EV power.

2022 Hyundai IONIQ

2022 Hyundai KONA

 

MINI

2010 Mini Cooper D

Mini, or BMW more correctly, offered the little Mini Cooper D in 2010 with a small 1.6 litre turbo-diesel engine, excellent fuel economy, and plenty of punch.  As the frugal engine is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, the claimed 3.9 litres/100 km was doable in a number of conditions.

2022 Mini Cooper Classic

Fast forward to 2022, and a new Mini still has one of the catchiest hatchback designs you can buy, along with, perhaps, the best handling characteristics in a FWD small hatchback.  They are definitely worth a look and loads of fun.  You have many different models to choose from, however the base model Mini Cooper Classic is the most efficient now, with no diesel engine offered anymore.  The 3-cylinder 1.5-litre Turbo petrol engine uses DOHC with VVT and VV-Lift technology, and can return a BMW claimed 4.9 (Highway), 6.9 (City), and 5.7 (combined) litres/100 km, respectively.

Peugeot

2010 Peugeot 207

Small French Pugs have always been a favourite hatchback of mine.  For all their quirks, they are comfortable, practical, efficient, and generally classy all-round.  In 2010, the little Peugeot 207 offered a fine economy package in the XT HDi, boasting just 4.8 litres/100 km combined.

2022 sees Peugeot offering us the 2008 GT with a ULP 1.2-litre Turbo 3-Cylinder motor capable of 114 kW, 240 Nm and a claimed economy figure of 6.1 litres/100 km.  With this one, you get a very comfortable, practical little SUV with premium safety features.

2022 Peugeot 2008 GT

Hybrids have taken off, and so the best and most impressive Peugeot of the lot is the new Peugeot 508 GT Plug-in Hybrid.  The 508 range has stunning lines and is an exciting car.  The 508 Sedan or 508 Wagon are roomy, very comfortable, and loaded with excellent technology and safety.  You fork out around $77k for one of these new, however, it costs way less than a German equivalent.  Peugeot reckon you can obtain 1.8 litres/100 km of ULP fuel use if your commute’s stars align. Regardless of whether you quite get down to this, this sort of hybrid travel is impressive in its own right!

2022 Peugeot 508 GT Wagon

Fuel Miser Comparison (2010/2022) Audi-Fiat

One of the easiest ways to counter any rises in the fuel prices is to look at downsizing to a more economical car.  If this sounds something you’d be into, then you certainly won’t be the first person to do so.  We’ve just purchased a smaller Honda Jazz as a run around.  Just think back to the fuel crisis in the seventies.

Anyway, it’s always an interesting topic, and who wouldn’t mind driving a new- to late-model car that spends less time at the gas pump.  If you are a commuter, then you’ll appreciate owning a car that doesn’t cost the earth to run.

I thought I’d look at a list of cars that featured in an article written back in 2010, where I compared some of the thriftiest cars at that time.  These were cars which had been designed to function as some of the world’s best fuel sippers.  These vehicles were sold new in Australia, but I thought I’d add a new twist this time by adding what we can consider as the brand new version of these old models with their statistics for fuel consumption as a comparison – you know, a bit of nostalgia along with the new, and what’s changed – or not.

Note that the fuel consumption figures are based on the number of litres of fuel consumed every 100 km travelled.  Often real world situations can play havoc with Lab tested fuel consumption figures, but this definitely gives you an interesting picture  And, here is the list that is in alphabetical order – just to be helpful:

Audi

Audi A3 TDI 2010

The 2010 Audi A3 TDI offered a tidy package with practicality and comfort on its side.  It uses the 1.9-litre TDI engine linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox that has plenty of useful torque and manages a fuel economy figure of around 4.5 litres/100 km.  It was probably one of the roomiest economy cars on this list at the time.

Audi’s 2022 A3 is available in three model grades and two body styles ” Sportback (hatchback) and Sedan.  Two powerplants are available for the stylish new A3.  The most fuel efficient is the 35 TFSI 1.5-litre turbo-petrol with mild-hybrid technology producing 110kW/250Nm with a claimed 5 litres/100 km combined economy.

Audi A3 2022

Audi also has the smaller A1 model to add to your shopping list, which you can now buy new.  It has a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder ULP engine with 85kW/200Nm and a 5.4 litres/100 km combined economy, or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder 110kW/250Nm option with a 5.8 litres/100 km combined economy.

Audi A1 2022

BMW

BMW 118d 2010

At the time, another small German car, the 2010 BMW 118d, offered a fun drive and used an automatic gearbox with a stop/start function for the engine.  It also offers a slick 6-speed manual gearbox option and achieved an impressive 4.5 litres/100 km for its combined fuel economy.  You have 300 Nm of torque, and it feels a punchy little powerhouse, and it’s also RWD!

BMW 118i M Sport

In 2022, the 1-Series is available in a 118i M Sport version, which uses a 103kW/220Nm three-cylinder turbo ULP (unleaded petrol) motor  with a claimed 5.9 litres/100km combined.

 

 

Citroen

The French loved to rival the Germans, and still do, so it was no surprise to see that the Citroen C3 and C4 featured in 2010.  They are still nice-looking and comfortable cars.  The Citroen C3 HDi offers the driver a tidy fuel consumption figure of 4.4 litres/100 km, while the bigger and roomier C4 HDi could deliver 4.5 litres/100 km in combined fuel economy runs.

Citroen C3 2010

2022 sees Citroen’s C3 with much more grown-up styling, and a 1.2-litre three-cylinder 82kW/205NmTurbo petrol engine that delivers the power through a 6-speed automatic FWD driveline.  Fuel consumption should see around 5.7–6.4 litres for a Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) combined cycle, which is the current testing process for measuring a new car’s fuel economy, electric driving range, and emissions.

Citroen C3 2022

 

 

 

 

Fiat

Fiat 500 2022

One of the 2010 super cuties, and still with endless loads of flair, is the nicely packaged turbo-diesel Fiat 500 that captures your attention.  Whether it is the 1.3 JTD engine mated to a 5-speed or 6-speed manual gearbox, both options provided a thrifty 4.0–4.5 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

2022 Fiat 500 cars are still available new, of course with all their modern updates and new technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and updated safety technology.  The current 500 and 500 Convertible offer a manual or single-clutch automated manual five-speed gearbox that underpins the driving force behind the 1.2-litre 4-cylinder engine producing 51kW and 102Nm.  Fiat rate it good for around 4.9 litres/100 km on a combined run, making this a great modern car to drive in an urban setting.

Fiat Punto 2010

In 2010, the Italian flamboyance continued with the Punto 1.3 and 1.4 JTD models.  The Punto handles the road well, making it rewarding to drive, while returning a combined 4.6 litres/100 km.  Currently, Fiat no longer sells a New Punto model, so, if you’re into Fiats, then the 500 is the one for you.