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Old 22nd October 2011, 17:05   #76
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

The Santro is a breeze to drive, even when loaded, in the city. I believe it loses steam on the highways when pushed to three digit speeds though, or is it only my Santro?

The Ikon on the other hand can easily go up to 60kmph in the second gear itself, however it still doesn't appear as peppy as the Santro, specially at around 1000 rpms, I notice a hesitance from the engine to revv up and the car sometimes jerks noticeably around this milestone. Once you push upwards to 1500k and on, the power is smooth.
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Old 22nd October 2011, 17:13   #77
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

My dad's bs4 alto 800 is torquey when driven alone compared to a swift or esteem or zen. It will launch to 10kmph at quarter clutch without applying accelerater and keeps going even on small gradients. It reverses same way, but I read the opposite from other alto owners, I wonder if it is only like this because its new?
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Old 22nd October 2011, 18:16   #78
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

As much as I absolutely love the low-end torque of my Santro, I hate that of my Jazz. It just doesn't cut it for me. Yes, it's got a fantastic engine, but just when you need that push or when overtaking in bumper to bumper traffic, the Jazz lags and drags at a SLOWWW pace (in the 2nd gear).
Sometimes i think the auto rickshaw next to me might just cut me off and win the race :P

Can anyone confirm if we can remap the newer engines for better torque?
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Old 22nd October 2011, 18:39   #79
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

What the last few posts prove is that it is only in the larger modern engines that low end torque is present to make a significant difference in driving.

Older engine design had always a good low end torque, but modern designs lack it; smaller engines show it the most; mainly due to push towards higher RPM and better FE. Even with larger engines like the 2.6 CRDE and 2.2 Scorpio engines the older design had better low end torque.
Yes we can remap engines for what we want
. Flatter torque curve which results in higher torque at the lower end, but lower peak torque, hence lower HP
. Peaked torque curve which results in a higher peak torque, mostly at higher RPM, resulting in more HP, but very low "low end" torque.
For any engine, the area under the torque curve is constant, so pulling the torque up at one point will lower it another, similarly pushing the peak torque down will increase the torque at both ends.
Here is an explanation

Last edited by Aroy : 22nd October 2011 at 18:46.
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Old 22nd October 2011, 21:17   #80
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

This is a great thread with so many inputs! However, I would like one more more point of view to be discussed here.

The emission regulations for BS4 are not easily met with conventional naturally aspirated petrol engines, irrespective of their size. The design of the exhaust system has a huge role to play among other things, on low end torque. BS3 was achieved with relative ease by incorporating EGRs , catalytic converters, and better engine mapping on existing engines. BS4 on the other hand needed a more wholesome approach altogether. All the low-friction engines like Kappa (Hyundai) and K10 et al (Suzuki) have highly optimized engine components, not only to improve efficiency over previous generations, but also to meet current emission norms.

Today, down sizing to get tax benefits has to be on the agenda of all the players in the cost sensitive A and B segments. Drive-ability, unfortunately, is not as big a factor in this segment as initial cost or fuel efficiency.

Meeting emission norms however, is imperative, and cannot be avoided. With future emission regulations (BS5, et al) coming, it would be interesting to see how manufacturers address this problem.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 10:52   #81
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

Originally Posted by scuderiamania View Post
........ in the K10, at those rpms the car almost feels as if fuel supply to the engine has been cut off. Suppose you slow down to about 15km/hr to cross a bad patch of road, if you try to pull away from second, there is absolutely zero response unless you are hammering the accelerator! Downshifting to first too causes problems because the car would knock.........
This is a fantastic thread ...thanks for starting it! I couldn't agree more with the quoted post. Here's a small algorithm/pseudo-code I wrote to sum up the "low end torque troubles" of the newer cars:

Start from first;
Reach 3000 RPM within 3 seconds;
Slot into second;
Press the accelerator;
while (no pulling power)
if (engine == stall)
curse the person behind you for honking;
goto: begin;
press harder;
wait for it ...
wait for it ....
wait for it .......
Watch the scooter in the rear view mirror go past you giving you that "what the hell" look...
Ah power....!!!!
Oh Crap... signal/cross road/road hump ahead
Slot into first gear;
goto: begin

Every time I feel the lack of power, an image crops up in my head: It's the scene where Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear is screaming in a car saying "Paaawaaaaaaaaar........"
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Old 24th October 2011, 06:15   #82
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

So true, whatever happened to the old cars, fun to drive, good looking, no nonsense cars. I still have my matiz which i no longer drive but that car sure had some punch, coupled with a great steering and handling, it was fun to zip through traffic. I miss that feeling.
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Old 24th October 2011, 11:37   #83
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

Extremely valid point.

I distinctly remember how I used to curse my 2005 Indica V2 petrol for the heaviest pick up possible (atleast for the 1st 15000 kms).
Thats why I nick named it Jumbo.

But whenever I would drive my friend's Santro or Alto - they would feel so much better !
Literally ready to fly from a signal.
Light, nimble and raring to go.

In contrast my Jumbo would only start speeding post 40 kmph & then he would go all the way upto 160 kmph without a groan.

I guess thats why most 'new' taxis in Mumbai now are the Santro, Alto & Wagon R.

That is PRECISELY the kind of light footed cars needed for the city traffic - bumper to bumper - inch by inch.

My knee would pain after an hour in the Indica.

But - where is the issue of FE?
Correct me if I am wrong - but the Santro, Alto & Wagon R - were giving excellent FE along with minimal maintenance, right ?
Is that not the reason for their continued popularity?

& yes - the new diesel engines do have decent low end torque.
Case in point - Ford Figo, the Fiat engine on the Linea, Manza & D'zire.
I would not say the same for the Vento or Polo. (quite disappointing in contrast).
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Old 24th October 2011, 13:42   #84
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

Quite a good observation and thanks for triggering this thread. I too love the Santro Xing's low end torque. I hate my Honda city's low end torque (750-1500 RPM) for driving in the Bangalore City and cursing(eventhough I wanted to cruise) over the speed breakers. Most often, I will have to take using the 1st gear to avoid the bottom scrape due to low ground clearance.

IMO, The reasons for low torque are as follows:
1)Due to the gear ratios. Even though I have not technically analyzed the ratios, I feel the gear ratios in old cars are lower(More power and less top speed), when compared to the new cars which can cruise at a higher top speed than the old cars.
2) The second gear is kept purposely low torque at low RPM to avoid the jerking or jumping feeling when accelerator is pressed suddenly as we would have seen in some of the old cars.

Such low torque in the new petrol cars is one of my primary preference to look for a new diesel option. I have 3 requirements for next upgrade
a) SUV - Since Cars have no respect and being bull-dozed in Bangalore city (by SUV's, Autos, Water tanker, BMTC and Volvo's), avoid bottom scraping and repeated running board repairs.
b) Diesel- Low end torque, less adulteration in fuel and economical(both fuel efficient and cheaper)
c) Automatic - Tired of gear changing across 51 speedbreakers on a 6 km stretch and also the bumper to bumper traffic. My left leg aches in city and right leg aches on highways (option to get a cruise control option vehicle)

Last edited by Tommie : 24th October 2011 at 13:49.
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Old 24th October 2011, 13:55   #85
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

When I was looking for a second hand car about 4 years back, I tested some MPFI Esteem's because I wanted a performance car. None of them were giving satisfactory performance when releasing cluch without pressing accelerator. I would tell the sellers that they have damaged their Esteem's engine so I am not taking their car. They would deny it. Now I understand that they were telling me truth.

Sorry for
Originally Posted by vsathyap View Post
goto: begin;
These days, using GoTo command is considered a very ancient and bad habit. Better drop it
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Old 24th October 2011, 14:01   #86
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

Nice thread. I wanted to post something similar sometime back, but I guess my laziness prevented me.

Belive me, Indica Vista Safire(petrol) 65BHP version, is probably the worst case scenario in this regard. Tata SHOULD have given a good low end torque to this car, since its very heavy and bulky and requires flooring of the pedal to take off.

My favorite petrol hatch with the best low-end torque was the previous gen Swift(K series). Wow! That was addictive. I guess the newer Swift has more of a linear acceleration rather than snap-back feeling. Surprisingly, even though the Polo 1.2 has a 3 pot engine, the low end torque is pretty good for B2B traffic.
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Old 24th October 2011, 14:55   #87
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Wink Stage 1

So everyone has discussed the problem. Now time for solution ==> Stage 1.

Honestly had the Zen mpfi a few years ago and had done a complete stage 1 modding to it. Had gone step by step.
Adding a pipercross filter first did give me more torque but nothing below 3500rpm.
Then went in for headers and downpipes with the stock exhaust decatted. The initial response did improve significantly. (the stock end can was kept for the simple reason, to avoid being caught by cops at every intersection near my house for having an aftermarket exhaust).
Finally did the throttle body enlargement. AAhhh perfect!!
The car was just perfect for city driving. Even in the 3rd at 15 kmph the car used to pull kicking you back into the seat. Very addictive. And the car used to rev freely till the red line every single time if needed with a really sweet sound.

Sold that and am using a K12M Ritz. OMG it feels really sluggish. Even with full throttle at speeds of 15 kmph in the 2nd gear the car does not respond. It feels like its ignoring me and telling me "no, I don't feel like moving right now...give me 5 minutes".

Went straight to N1 racing where they suggested me to avoid the Pipercross Universal Air Filter as it is causing idling problems!! I am very keen to go in for the same setup in the Ritz in the coming New Year but am a little worried as everyone keeps suggesting me to avoid tinkering with it as the K-series ECM is not welcoming to any changes under the hood.

Any suggestions anyone???
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Old 24th October 2011, 21:40   #88
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

Originally Posted by Guna View Post
Is it i10 1.2 Kappa? I think the 1.1 engine has good low end torque, just like Santro.
It was the 1.2 Kappa. Haven't driven the 1.1 version though.
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Old 25th October 2011, 01:06   #89
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

Now that we all have understood the picture..looking for some solutions!!

I have a 2011 Wagon R which is a pain to drive in the city because of its low end torque.

So why did I buy it? Just for the benefit of my parents who had difficulty in getting in and out of every other car I tried in that price range!!

Its never going to go on the highway since my Honda City is meant for highway rides.

So what is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to get more lower end grunt for city rides? I do not mind sacrificing peak torque and peak speeds for the sake of lower end torque but do not want to fiddle with valves, exhausts and stuff. Will an ECU remap do the trick?
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Old 25th October 2011, 07:33   #90
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Default Re: What happened to low end torque of today's small cars?

Thanks for starting this great thread! I could not agree more on what most of you have said regarding the low-end torque in small cars. I myselh have had a first hand experience in this. When I graduated to the Civic from the Santro, I found the Civic to be a pain in bumper to bumper traffic conditions. The Santro Xing is unbeatable when it comes to ease of driving inside the city.

Of late, I found the Alto K10 to be extremely peppy, nimble and fun to drive. Not even the Civics and Corollas can hold a candle to the Alto K10s and Santros.
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