8th Jun 2006, 09:38

"Honda, Toyota, and others rate those figures "at the flywheel," which means they lie."

The previous comment mentioned different methods in HP ratings of which could be entirely true, but that could also be taken as simply opinion, or misinformation.

Not meaning to doubt the poster and I along with many reviews I've read do make the comment that the Malibu 3.5 feels stronger than the comparable honda/toyota. Are there any websites that have done this type of testing and have some documented results? It doesn't bode well for certain manufacturers to play the numbers game in order to confuse consumers. They should all be required to use a standard measurement or mention where the HP rating is measured, at the wheels or at the flywheel.

It reminds me of the audio wattage thing many years ago when some power output ratings were given in peak, or peak to peak, or rms. Most consumers have no clue what the difference is and assume that higher is better. At least now the true and standard rating of RMS is more widely used, but there is still some trickery with numbers going on.

9th Jun 2006, 09:37

There seems to be very little on the subject, but this article titled, "Asians oversell horsepower Toyota, Honda inflated claims of engine muscle; new tests force automakers to come clean with buyers"

And another quote from the article.."Detroit's automakers say they have been conservative in calculating horsepower and don't expect to have to reduce horsepower ratings on many vehicles. In fact, after retesting, the Big Three have revised horsepower ratings upward on several vehicles."

It would seem that the big 3 North American guys have been playing fair all along, or even under rating the HP claims. Makes one wonder what else the Japanese do to confuse and deceive consumers in the name of sales. I'm proud of the fact I've never bought a Japanese car, and probably never will. I think that a car company who purposely tries to deceive and confuse by using whacked out numbers, isn't trustworthy enough to get my business.

If anyone cares to discuss this or other car issues on a forum website, I'd recommend Edmunds.com.

I usually post at the Malibu section here: http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.ef254d5/

9th Jun 2006, 11:34

Indeed. Must be that new "SAE net" thing I hear about. Interesting read about the crankcase oil, etc. The main issue for me is the discrepancy between advertised power and actual performance. For example, Honda's 2.4-liter in the Accord is rated at 161 ft-lb. torque, while my 3.1L has 185 ft-lb. So their DOHC engine makes 87% of the torque of a *pushrod* V6, from 76% of the compression space? I don't think so.

That article presents facts I had not considered, but I believe the thing being left out was the fact that those companies still rate the number "at the flywheel."

Some people believe that the new SAE standards did just that, and corrected power to the wheels, but if the new Civic Si went from 200 crank HP to 197 wheel HP, then their drivetrain defies physics with its 1.5% power loss.

I noticed that the Accord (an Edmunds favorite) was never specifically mentioned, when it seems like their "240hp" V6 would merit the most scrutiny. Don't know if that's significant at all, but seemed a rather obvious omission.

9th Jun 2006, 12:11

One doesn't want to irritate the sponsors now do we. Is there anyone out there these days who isn't biased, getting kickbacks or special favours?

I agree that numbers measured at the flywheel verses at the wheels will be a lot different and they should specify that when giving a hp rating. But are you sure the Honda ratings have always been measured at the flywheel?

10th Jun 2006, 00:23

I don't believe so. I have a collection of Popular Science magazines ranging from 1986 up, and by the 1988 issues, advertised figures for cars in their tests pretty much go along with the way things are advertised now.

In a 1988 issue, a Nissan 2.4L is already rated at 150hp. However, in the earliest issues I have, from 1986, a 2.0 liter Nissan Stanza engine is rated at 97hp and 114 ft-lb, while today, the same size engine (2.0L) in the Nissan Sentra merits easily 145hp and 136 ft-lb. of torque. "Advanced technology" aside, that's a pretty big improvement. For another example, a 1986 Nissan Sentra, 1.6L, is rated at 70hp and 92 ft-lb., while today, Honda maintains that their 1.6-liter engine produces 127hp and 114 ft-lb of torque. The 1986 Sentra had 9.4:1 compression, the same as the 2000 Civic.

Regrettably, I don't have any road tests of Hondas from the mid-80's, only a Honda Prelude Si (2.0L, 135 claimed hp, 127 claimed torque). But, I'm assuming that Honda went along with the other companies during the mid-80's, providing actual wheel-hp figures, and I suspect that sometime during the late 1980's, someone at a Honda/Nissan/Toyota staff meeting had the bright idea that, since people are stupid, they could just advertise whatever horsepower numbers they wanted, and people would buy based on that, rather than how the car actually felt during a test drive. They were successful, and so today idiots are surprised when my 140hp Cutlass can absolutely dust most (Japanese) cars that advertise 200hp. Naturally, if a Chevy says it has 200hp, I tend to listen.

And yes, I am long-winded. At least with a keyboard.

13th Mar 2007, 12:30

Just remember the problems Toyota had with the Corolla in 2004, the engine was advertised at 130hp, but with dyno tests it was revealed that some of these engines could barely produce 88hp. Some customers had refunds or warranty extensions.

10th May 2007, 18:11

I thought all vehicles hp ratings were at the fly wheel is this no longer the case?