Quiz: What has more horsepower?

AUTO

Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Buy a big ol’ truck or muscle car and it’s not unusual for enthusiasts to stand around marveling over the number of “horses” under the hood. No, they’re not hiding palominos in there, but discussing instead the vehicle’s impressive horsepower. You see, horsepower is the rate at which work is done. Some vehicles are more stacked than others in this regard, thus boasting much higher horsepower rates.

The term was coined far before cars were invented by a steam engine engineer named James Watt (1736-1819). At the time, he longed for an easy term to describe the power of ponies working in the coal mine. His research found that a standard mine pony could log an impressive 22,000 foot-pounds of work in a single minute. He adjusted that number to correct for a larger animal — a horse — and calculated horsepower as being 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute. Since his steam engines were making horses irrelevant, he surmised that one horsepower is the same as an actual horse hefting 33,000 pounds per minute.

Of course, there’s plenty of variation on horsepower relates to different types of machines and vehicles, but the bottom line is that it’s how much it can do and how fast it can get it done in. So now for a little bit of good, clean fun — put two things side by side, and decide which one has more horsepower — that's what this quiz is all about. It's like drag racing in quiz form!

NASCAR Sprint Cup car or IndyCar (both circa 2016)?

A Sprint Cup car makes almost 900 horsepower, while an Indy car tops out around 700 horsepower (though the Indy car is much lighter).

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1967 Camaro SS (396 engine) or 2015 Camaro SS?

The 2015 Camaro SS makes 426 horsepower, while the older Chevy 396-cubic-inch (6489-cubic-centimeter) engine made less than 400 horsepower.

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The Emma Maersk, which is one of the world's largest container ships, or the space shuttle?

The Emma Maersk runs on an impressive 109,000 horsepower, but the space shuttle's fuel pump alone is close to that, at 71,000 horsepower. While it's difficult to convert thrust to horsepower (they aren't really measuring the same thing), the space shuttle delivers power equivalent to about 37 million horsepower.

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1966 Volkswagen Beetle or Troy-Bilt XP Super Bronco riding lawn mower?

The '66 Beetle's 50 horsepower doesn’t seem impressive, but it's still double that of the lawn mower.

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2016 Toyota Sequoia SR5 or 2016 Chevy Tahoe LS?

The Sequoia has about a 25 horsepower advantage on the Tahoe.

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1970 Chevy full-size pickup truck (250-cubic-inch inline-six engine) or a 2010 Hyundai Sonata?

The 250 straight-six engine made 155 horsepower, while the more modern Sonata makes at least 175 (more at higher trim levels).

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An Olympic cyclist or the average basement sump pump?

At their peak, the best cyclists can generate close to 3 horsepower. Most sump pumps are rated at less than one horsepower.

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1970 Boss 302 Mustang or 1995 Corvette ZR1?

The Boss 302's 290 horsepower is nowhere near the power of the ZR1's 405-horsepower LT5 engine. The 1970 Boss 429, though, would probably win this drag race.

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Vespa 150 GL scooter or PowerSmart 26-inch, 208-cubic-centimeter two-stage snowblower?

This one is amazingly close — the snowblower is rated at 6.5 horsepower, while the Vespa's engine topped out at 6.25 horsepower.

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An M4 Sherman tank with a Wright R-975E-C2 radial engine or a 2016 Ford F-150 truck with 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6?

The Sherman tank with this particular engine made 400 horsepower (though some Sherman variants used different, less powerful engines). The EcoBoost F-150 is rated at 325 horsepower. Of course, a Sherman weighed roughly 15 times as much as a Ford F-150.

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Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine or four General Electric AC6000CW diesel locomotives combined?

Each GE AC6000CW locomotive makes 6,000 horsepower for a combined 24,000 horsepower. The nuclear reactor in the sub drives a turbine at 35,000 horsepower. What an epic battle! But the sub comes out on top (or … below). Imagine how much cargo you could haul with a nuclear locomotive.

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2016 Honda Civic LX (base model) or 2016 Nissan Leaf?

The Civic's modest 158 horsepower beats out the Leaf's electric motor, rated at 107 horsepower — but then the Leaf is all about efficiency, not power.

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2016 Chevy Volt (base model) or 2016 Ford Fusion Energi (base model)?

It's a narrow victory for the Fusion Energi — 188 horsepower to 149 horsepower.

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1971 Cadillac Eldorado or 2005 Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor?

The 1972 Eldorado's massive 500-cubic-inch engine only made 235 net horsepower. (This was the first year U.S. auto manufacturers changed to the Society of Automotive Engineering net horsepower ratings; the prior year the Eldorado's engine was advertised at 400 horsepower). This gives the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor an edge, with 250 horsepower.

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2016 Ford Focus (base model S sedan) or 2016 Chevy Cruze?

Two of the best-selling cars in the U.S. as of 2016 are wheel to wheel in the horsepower department, with the base Focus' 2-liter engine making 160 horsepower to the Cruze's 153 horsepower. The hot hatch versions of the Focus get up to 350 horsepower, but there are no performance upgrades for the Cruze.

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Kenworth T800 semitrailer or M1 Abrams main battle tank?

The turbine engine in the Abrams makes a massive 1,500 horsepower. You might think a semitrailer gets close, but they're built for torque, not horsepower. The engine in the T800 makes about 400 horsepower.

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2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat or 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350?

The Hellcat makes a brutal 707 horsepower to the Shelby's 526 horsepower.

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2000 Chrysler Town & Country minivan or 1949 Mercury?

Sad but true, the family minivan packs more horsepower than the classic 1949 Mercury — 158 to 120 horsepower.

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1911 Ford Model T or a 2016 Yamaha WR250F dirt bike?

The Model T's engine made 20 horsepower. The WR250F has a fairly modest engine by modern dirt bike standards but still outstrips the Ford. But hey, that Model T engine was designed more than a century ago!

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1977 AMC Gremlin (base model) or 2002 MINI Cooper (base model)?

The MINI Cooper's 115 horsepower beats the Gremlin's 80 horsepower.

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Formula One car (2016) or 2010 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport?

Although Formula One engines make 900 horsepower or more, the Super Sport version of the Veyron makes over 1,100 — a clear winner.

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2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 or 2016 BMW 3 Series 320i?

At 241 horsepower to 180 horsepower, the Mercedes-Benz wins this round (but it costs almost $6,000 more).

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UH-1D "Huey" helicopter, or a 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S?

The Huey's 1,100 horsepower is nearly triple the Porsche's 420 horsepower.

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A monster truck or a 2013 Lamborghini Aventador LP1250-4 Mansory Carbonado?

A monster truck's engine cranks out 1,500 horsepower or more. Mansory's twin-turbo version of the Aventador is rated at more than 1,200 horsepower, but Gravedigger would still crush it.

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2016 Honda CR-V LX or Toyota RAV4 LE?

The CR-V makes 185 horsepower to beat the RAV4's 176 horsepower.

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1957 Chevy Bel Air with 283-cubic-inch engine and four-barrel carburetor or 2016 Subaru Impreza?

The venerable '57 Chevy made 220 horsepower with that particular engine configuration, an easy win over the Impreza's 148 horsepower.

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2016 Nissan 370Z (base model) or 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata (base model)?

The Nissan 370Z makes about twice the horsepower of the Miata.

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1962 Chevy Corvette (fuel-injected version) or 2016 Chevy Corvette (base model)?

The modern Corvette wins this race, but only by about 100 horsepower.

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2015 Cadillac Escalade or 2015 Buick Regal (both base models)?

It takes over 400 horsepower for the Escalade to haul your entourage around town. The Regal only makes 182 horsepower.

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2016 Ferrari California or 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider?

The Ferrari's 553 horsepower wins this one, but it does cost more than $200,000, so it ought to.

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