First up, a hearty congratulations and “Good Luck” to Tom Beaman, communications guy from Saab USA. Tom’s taking some time to smell the roses after 30 years with The General in the US. His retirement starts on Friday.
Saab managed three entries in the UK-based Warranty Direct Top 100 cars of the last decade. Coming in at Number 96 on any list doesn’t really sound like much of an achievement, but when you consider the sheer number of cars that are released in any given 10-year period, it’s actually pretty good. At number 96 was the Saab 900.
The 9-5 was the highest placed Saab at number 20 (one slot ahead of the seemingly invincible Lexus) – a surprisingly good result given the sludging issues.
The Saab 9-3 came in at number 87, though there’s no mention if that’s referring to the Sports Sedan or the first generation 9-3.
The survey, based on a database of 55,000 vehicles, certainly proved the widely held belief that the Japanese make the most reliable cars, with all of the top 10 and 16 of the top 20 cars being Japanese.
As mentioned in the post below, the diesel conversation is now officially over, insofar as it pertains to the US. There was quite a bit of discussion in comments about how the Saab diesel might be accepted in that market anyway, given it’s problematic image (based on past history) and lower HP figures.
The difference maker with turbocharged diesels is torque. My simple understanding is this: If HP equates to your max speed, torque relates to how you get there. More torque, especially in the lower rev range, gives you better and more accessible acceleration. Modern diesels perform within the normal driving range about as well, or better, than their gasoline counterparts for this reason, with better mileage to boot.
Saab’s own press release – Talking Torque – explains it this way:
Torque and Horsepower are related, but different, measures of what is commonly called ‘power’. Torque provides power for acceleration, whereas maximum horsepower – in combination with effective aerodynamic design – determines a vehicle’s maximum speed.
Torque is best described as the twisting or turning force that is applied to an engine’s crankshaft by the power stroke of the piston when combustion releases energy from the fuel/air mixture. It is an expression of the work the engine is performing, whereas horsepower is a measure of how fast that work is being carried out. Horsepower became adopted as a unit of power because the first mechanical engineers decided, quite naturally, to compare the performance of their new steam engines to the output of a horse.
In an engine, maximum torque is always generated at a slower engine speed than peak horsepower. As engine revolutions increase, there is progressively less time for pressure in the cylinders to be fully developed. This means torque will begin to decrease, although total power output – the engine’s horsepower – will carry on rising with engine speed because there will more, though less powerful, ‘power’ strokes in a given period of time.