Your Quick Guide to Car Specs

If you know nothing about cars and the plethora of car-related acronyms, there’s no shame in that. There are plenty of people who are just as clueless about these things. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother learning about them at all. Whether you’re buying a new car or you’re just talking with friends, this quick guide to car specs should help you immensely. Here are some of the most important car specs you should at least know something about:


Horsepower is the measurement of your car engine’s output. While there is no such thing as an ideal horsepower for cars, it is a key car spec to consider if you’re buying one especially if you want an upper-range engine response. Just remember that horsepower has something to do with your car’s engine. High horsepower usually mean you have a ride you can count on for excellent overall performance.

MPG (Miles per gallon)

MPG stands for miles per gallon and from that you can glean that it has something to do with your vehicle’s fuel usage. When you search and compare potential vehicles to buy, manufacturers will give you mileage figures or an MPG rating. You need to remember that those ratings and figures are just estimates. Once you hit the road, mileage will vary and often times not as good as what was advertised. When buying a new car, make sure to take into consideration MPG as well as the current gas prices.


If you’ve ever encountered measurements with pound-feet labels or units when researching about cars, that simply talks about the car spec called torque. Torque is basically the rotational equivalent of your car’s force measurement in pound-feet. Torque is often compared with horsepower because both car specs affect your vehicle’s engine’s overall performance. In most cases, torque plays an important role in cars with low to mid-range responses.


0 to 60 is the car spec that refers to the amount of time in seconds that your car can accelerate to 60 miles per hour from a standstill position. For most sports cars, they can clock in at 4-seconds runs wile most SUVs will take about nine seconds to go to 60 miles per hour. The 0-60 feature is worth noting when buying a new car because then you’ll know how fast your vehicle can go from standstill to highway speeds.

Power-to-weight ratio

Most people don’t really pay attention to the power-to-weight ratio thinking it’s really not that important. But it’s time to change that thinking. The car spec represents the relationship between your vehicle’s horsepower and weight. Rather than just focus on the horsepower or torque, it makes sense to also pay attention to power-to-weight ratio. In general, your car has a favorable ratio when the horsepower is great and weight is lower.

Cargo volume

Just in case you’re planning to stash a ton of junk on your car’s trunk, cargo volume is one car spec worth looking at. Cargo volume is simply the cubic-foot rating of the amount of junk your trunk can fit or carry. Total cargo volume is often identified as luggage capacity or maximum cargo volume.

Traction control

For security concerns, your vehicle’s traction control is a key factor to consider. When trying to accelerate but the road is slick, that’s when traction control come into play. With excellent traction control, your car will be able to efficiently accelerate depending on the slickness of the surface. Traction control will allow efficient acceleration but it doesn’t mean you can plow your vehicle through snowbanks.