Understanding Horsepower and the Power on Dodge Vehicles

October 6th, 2016 by

At University Dodge, we talk a lot about horsepower and torque. With performance cars like the Dodge Charger, Challenger and Viper, in addition to Ram trucks, horsepower is a pretty important term. And while many people associate horsepower as being “good” or desirable, they don’t really know what it actually means. So here is a little physics for you.


Does horsepower really have to do with horses? It did.The man responsible for creating the steam engine, James Watts, coined the term when he was trying to compare the power of steam engines to horses.

Horsepower is a measurement the rate work is done and Watts determined that 33,000 foot-pounds per minute was equivalent to one horsepower (mechanical). Foot-pounds is mathematically expressed as feet times pounds (ft. x lb.).

Today people commonly refer to horsepower as 550 foot-pounds per second, which is equivalent to 33,000 foot-pounds per minute. 550 feet-pounds per second is also approximately equivalent to 745.7 watts, which is just a hair lower than the electrical measurement of horsepower, or 746 watts or hp (E).

So you can think of 33,000 ft-pounds as one of these scenarios, in one minute the horse can pull: 330 pounds 100 feet; or 33 pounds 1,000 feet; or 33,000 pounds one foot.

Okay, WHAT?!

However, there are a few different types of horsepower like wheel horsepower, brake horsepower and shaft horsepower. And, to make everything a little more confusing, there’s also a difference in horsepower between the metric system and imperial system, but we won’t confuse you that much.

So to show off the horsepower available at University Dodge, this is what the horsepower is on some of our makes and models.

The Dodge Grand Caravan American Value Package is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine and it generates 283 horsepower, which is excellent for a minivan. To put it in perspective the 2016 Nissan Quest is a 260 horsepower minivan and the 2016 Honda Odyssey is a 248 horsepower minivan.

The Dodge Durango is also powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine and it generates 293 horsepower. However, the Durango is available with a 5.7-liter HEMI engine that generates 360 horsepower!

But the two most impressive horsepower specs are on the Dodge Charger and Challenger lineups. The Charger and Challenger are available with four different engines, the base engine being a 3.6-liter V6 and the top engine being the SRT Hellcat engine. The 3.6-liter engine is a 292 horsepower engine, which is excellent for a sedan or a coupe. But the SRT Hellcat engine is the most powerful engine of all muscle cars. This supercharged 6.2-liter SRT Hellcat HEMI V8 engine generates 707 horsepower and 650 ft-lb of torque. WOW!

Vroom vroom!!!

What is torque? Read up on it here.

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