10 Cars That Faked Their Horsepower Ratings

For better or worse, these models gave the wrong horsepower ratings

A car with wrong horsepower rating isn’t any different than a candy with inaccurate calorie information. Well, maybe in theory, but not so much in practice. Mostly because a few additional horsepower often cost way, way more than a few extra (or a few less) calories.

Carmakers have often reported lower power output figures than their cars actually delivered in the past. That practice saved a lot of money both for them and to the buyers. It was seemingly the easiest way to cheat both the EPA and insurance houses, and outmaneuver their newly imposed taxes on emissions and horsepower ratings. Moreover, manufacturers often adjusted the horsepower in order to achieve more favorable NHRA drag classification. They didn’t lie, however. They only measured power in conditions that were often far from perfect.

And there were numerous ways to do so. One such trick, for instance, was measuring the peak horsepower below maximum engine speed or decreasing the RPM. If a carmaker wanted to achieve the opposite effect, they would simply measure hp at the crank instead of wheels or use the open-exhaust system. Combinations are plentiful and one only needs readjusting one of the parameters in order to tweak the final figures.

Whether it’s the lower or higher horsepower than advertised, such examples are abundant. However, underrated cars are way more common than those that are overrated, so here are 10 such examples. And, before you ask: “No, there are no muscle cars on this list!” We’ve covered that one before.

Categories: List Articles

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Although driving a piece of junk, Nikola is a true car enthusiast. Precious few things move him as muscle cars do - especially those from the bygone golden era. Which makes him wonder; why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been able to enjoy the likes of Pontiak Aztek, Fiat Multipla, and their "lovely" coevals this way - right? (sigh)