Difference between horsepower and torque

How to understand the difference between Horsepower and Torque

Torque vs Horsepower

Let’s try to keep it simple. An explanation about how to understand the difference between horsepower and torque in your car can get very long-winded.

The first time horsepower was introduced was way back in the 1800s as the first steam engine was pioneered by the great James Watt. Watt thought up the term after comparing the power of draft horses with the output of steam engines.

Scientifically speaking, horsepower (hp) is a unit of measurement power. The horsepower that James Watt talked about is still the most popular use of the term today.

Torque, or the moment of force, can also be thought of as a measure of the tuning force of on object like a bolt when it is cranked or wrenched on. This term is thought to have been introduced by James Thomas in 1884.

Okay, so what’s the difference?

Think of it this way:
Horsepower = how fast your vehicle can travel
Torque = how quickly the speed can be achieved (more torque, more acceleration).

Many people confused these two terms or substitute one for the other. Other might exclusively look at horsepower before purchasing car when what they really want to look up is the amount of torque the car can generate. If you have an engine with a lot of horsepower but hardly any torque, it’s going to take you quite a long time to reach your top speed, which would discourage almost every car buyer!

What's the difference between torque and horsepower?

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how much torque or horsepower your vehicle has. All that matters is if you are satisfied with the driving performance. A car like the 2015 Toyota Camry has a good balance of horsepower and torque. It provides a responsive ride that isn’t too overpowering in either direction. A truck like the Toyota Tundra will have considerable more horsepower and an even great amount of torque. Torque helps trucks pull or tow more weight behind it.

If ever have more in-depth questions about one of our vehicles, don’t be afraid to give us a call or drop us a line via chat or email. One of our sales professional will have all of the expertise you’re looking for!