Power or performance? Which is more important when looking to buy a new car, and what's the difference between the two? Let's first take a look at what's really behind the argument of power vs. performance, and delve into two critical factors: torque and horsepower.

The golden rule of differentiating between the two is simple: horsepower will help you win races, and torque will help haul a mountain. We'll talk about each a little more below:

What are the benefits of higher torque?

Torque is the amount of 'turning power' your engine has - and many car enthusiasts use a wrench analogy to explain how torque works in car. While you'll find these examples in almost every conversation around torque, the important thing to know is that it causes your car to accelerate. As torque is the turning force of a vehicle - and therefore what gets a car moving - you'll find rugged off-road vehicles and trucks producing high torque, to ensure they can perform while moving an immense amount of weight or against an incline. A higher torque requires a greater amount of force to prevent it from moving.

How does horsepower affect car speed?

Horsepower is a product of torque, and other design and engine features of your vehicle. It defines what takes you to a car's top speed, and measures the overall work an engine can perform. You can achieve higher horsepower in a number of ways, but often you'll find a lighter car, lower centre of gravity, and larger tyre diameter will help improve the horsepower rating. This is why Formula One racing cars have an incredible performance - despite having lower levels of torque, they're designed to maximise the available horsepower in the chassis while tuning their engines to a deafening RPM.

So which is more important?

So which is better, you might be wondering? As with all cars and car-related questions, the answer is entirely dependent on your personal preference and lifestyle needs. Want to take your car to the track every Sunday and max out your RPM? Look for a lighter, lower car with a fine-tuned high performance engine. Want to haul your dirtbikes, hunting gear, or a caravan on the back? Have a browse of some high-torque SUVs and 4WD vehicles to ensure you never get stuck on a hill again.

Our friendly local dealerships also stock a fantastic range of new and used vehicles, from sporty performance cars to powerful SUVs and 4WDs. Visit a local car dealership near you today to learn more about our vehicles.