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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


In the absence of additional vehicle specifications, horsepower figures are irrelevant. Most necessary among the bunch is curb weight, known Across The Pond as kerb weight. The coefficient of drag (CoD) is useful, for sure. Not to mention the final drive ratio. If you're going to rely on bhp or lb-ft to be measuring sticks for your perception of modern cars, those sticks need to account for more information.

Yesterday, for whatever reason, @mr2pitch on Twitter made a comment regarding the smart fortwo's power-to-weight ratio being similar to that of the Hyundai Accent, Toyota Prius, and Honda Insight. Since runs an '09 smart fortwo as a long-termer, it got me thinking. In urban situations, our '09 smart fortwo pure always has more than enough power to scoot past more powerful vehicles. More importantly, maintaining illegal highway speeds is a breeze. Yet, I haven't driven many slower vehicles. So is the power-to-weight ratio of the smart fortwo really in the same ballpark as the Accent, Prius, and Insight?

Most certainly. Chasing down flyballs might not be the smart's forte, but stealing bases against unsuspecting pitchers would be about as easy in the other cars mentioned. For a full rundown, The Good Car Guy has calculated the pounds-per-horsepower statistics for a whole bunch of low-powered cars and offered a little bit of context by way of the diesel-engined Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the not-for-North-America turbocharged Brabus smart, an old Ford Excursion V8, and the V8-engined BMW M3, too.


FORD EXCURSION - 27.8 pounds per horsepower
SMART FORTWO - 25.8 pounds per horsepower
HONDA INSIGHT - 24.6 pounds per horsepower
CHEVROLET AVEO - 23.8 pounds per horsepower
TOYOTA PRIUS - 22.7 pounds per horsepower
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI - 22.7 pounds per horsepower
HYUNDAI ACCENT - 22.5 pounds per horsepower
TOYOTA YARIS - 22.3 pounds per horsepower
HONDA FIT - 21.3 pounds per horsepower
SMART FORTWO BRABUS - 18.2 pounds per horsepower
BMW M3 - 8.9 pounds per horsepower

Keep in mind, trim levels and options can throw the curb weights into question, so run with the examples The Good Car Guy has chosen.

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