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Minimum speed and power required for a daily driver in 2024


warren t claim

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i also used a 33bhp 2cv as my daily in 2004, again did about 10k. i cant recall overtaking on single carriageway roads in it, but my point to point times on quiet b roads were phenomenal. I used to simply drive flat out on the m/way (about 77mph) suprisingly this treatment seemed to improve the car.

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2CVs are fine on A and B roads where you can maintain momentum by scaring the bejeezus out of passengers and following cars when you tip it into bends without slowing, and even motorways are a cinch if you can find a helpful Volvo estate to tag along behind and let it pull you along at 70-75mph  but they're a bit of a PITA in city driving where the constant stop/start flat out acceleration from rest to 30 is tiring from a concentration point of view, although the car probably doesn't object.

Back in the day I regularly drove 45-55bhp cars on motorways with no bother, 1100cc Renault 5, Mk1 903cc Panda and did London and back a couple of times in my base 1.2 Mk1 Clio which would sit at 80 quite happily. My old boss did 35k miles a year in an E reg non turbo XUD BX estate (65bhp IIRC?) and at least half of those miles would have been flat out at 90+.

 

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7 minutes ago, Spiny Norman said:

My old boss did 35k miles a year in an E reg non turbo XUD BX estate (65bhp IIRC?) and at least half of those miles would have been flat out at 90+.

I dailied a BX estate with the 1.9 NA XUD for a while.  Very capable car, plenty quick enough for daily use and I once towed a 1938 Renault back from Southampton with it, which it managed without bother.

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2 hours ago, SiC said:

Imo...

100bhp/tonne is minimum for safe overtakes on a-roads

150bhp/tonne is enough for road use without being excessive. 

For context, we've run three WRXs over the years with a measly 150bhp / tonne which would do 0-60 in 5.2s to 6.1s (they got heavier as the years went by...... as did I).

I know the modern batch of fast cars hit 60 in 4 odd seconds but 150/T gives a properly fast car.

2 hours ago, SiC said:

the above allows a quick boot to the floor after going around a corner and seeing a sudden clear straight before the next corner.

Also used to enjoy the ability to do this about the imprezas.

The 306 non turbo diesel I had in 1994 was perfectly safe then, as it would be now.

 

But to answer the question posed....

Whatever a Citröen C15D has - as quick as an Aston Martin on a French back road.

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14 hours ago, warren t claim said:

I suppose all cars made since 1960 have been expected to drive on motorways, but where would you draw the line as a daily driver? Lets assume that you will be driving 12000 miles pa and 2000 of those miles will be on a motorway.

20hp, 410kg, 48 Hp/tonne I make that to be? :) 

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My Mercedes 190D 2.5 allegedly has 77bhp per tonne,  it's mostly too slow for overtakes on B roads unless overtaking a tractor.

Motorway driving it's fine and probably just meets the threshold for being a plausible daily. 

I imagine the 2.0D auto would be grim though.

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I was going to say 100hp/ton but actually no.

How much does an E36 4 door weigh? The 316i I had a few years ago was brilliant fun and made mid-90s hp from an 8v 1.6. it wasn't fast but got out of its own way, combined with the nice handling meant it was a good b-road car as well as perfectly happy doing big motorway miles.

So err... 70-75hp per ton seems like enough to me.

My yardstick for speed is quite low. I still think my current E36 323i is absolutely plenty.

 

 

I find gearing makes a big difference, as mentioned already. I had a mk2 Punto 1.2 aaaages ago. It was geared like a 2.0. About 3k at 70. It was fucking dire, and the gaps between the gears were like the grand canyon.

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I suspect a lot of the question here is what do you define as adequate?

The merc I daily is about 1500kg and 177hp.  It's perfectly comfortable in every situation thrown at it, and very rarely do you need to use all 177hp.  I'd say most of the time I'm barely using 100hp in normal driving, sometimes less.

When the MAF failed a little while back, it put it into limp mode, which meant it was power limited to about 80hp peak.  It was a bit noticeable that I couldn't mid-range accelerate as well as I'd like to, but the car was still perfectly driveable and I did several thousand slightly tedious miles like that.

With a replacement MAF, the car was a lot more relaxing and easy to drive.

I've also driven the 4.3V8 version of my car.  with an extra 100hp over mine.  Lots more fun, but no more relaxing to drive on a daily basis. If anything was a bit more frantic, as if you planted it, the world starts whistling past rather quickly and you have to be paying attention.

50hp / tonne is driveable but gets a little tiring after a while.  100hp/tonne is a lot more comfortable and relaxing to drive.  150hp/tonne is probably more than you can sensibly use on UK roads.

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I find the bhp/tonne thing is a fairly reliable indicator of liveability-with guts for general use but I think the figure needs to be higher as the weight increases. 60bhp/tonne in a Citroen AX feels very different to the same figure in an old non turbo diseasel in a Merc W124 for example. As has already been pointed out, motorway driving demands very little in the way of actual power. Aerodynamics, gearing and soundproofing play far more of a part at a constant 70 than outright power. 

It's the ability to overcome inertia that makes the difference in the cut and thrust driving on A and B roads, or in towns. Your AX would positively scamper away from traffic lights while the lumbering old Merc would be wheezing away trying to get itself moving.

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When I had my 1.4 citroen zx's they were more than adequate. I was never the slowest car on the road even with 70odd hp! 

It got a bit busy at high speed but carried said speed fine, my 2.0 turbo derv doesn't get used as adequately as I'd like as its usually plodding at 50 with the traffic, or on the m40 which is either slow or fast. 

Im too nervous about being flashed nowadays to speed too much in unfamiliar places. Had a nervous moment on the a1 Monday but think I should be OK, but was then glued to the limits by fear and 110bhp was no use then, even the turbo wasn't needed

 

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19 hours ago, loserone said:

45bhp/ton

That's obviously got nothing to do with the Dacia Spring I take it? For a purely city car maybe?

I'm with the 100bhp per tonne rough figure. Having had a 1.5 NAD 106 at circa 55bhp and run round in it loaded at times it's just not enough for a safe overtake on an A road unless you know the road like the back of your hand and can pre-empt the manoeuvre and use momentum. Effectively that means on roads you don't know at all the only thing you are getting past is a tractor unless it becomes apparent you're on a massive straight. 

405 TD's come under that by a bit at 90bhp and just over a tonne but have a good wedge of torque (145 lbft?) making overtakes swifter than a lot of people would expect/remember. They'll sit comfortably at 90 if required up hill and down dale so you've got a bit extra if you need it and don't slow to an absolute crawl if loaded.

It's mostly rural twisty A and B road driving for me and people now seem to want to do 40 in NSL and I'm not one of them.  I overtook a dual motor Tesla the other week doing between 35 and 50 in a NSL, WTF is that all about?

 

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13 minutes ago, sierraman said:

It’s not just about speed it’s about comfort, a 1.0 AX could theoretically do 80mph all day but you’d be deaf and crippled at the end? 

Absolutely, which is probably why I referenced the 405 and not the Terios I've also got the use of. 83bhp 1.3 weighs a tonne with maximum power at 6100rpm, redline is 7K! It's nearly as narrow as an original mini, sit up and beg with a very wobbly ride. Brilliant for what it was bought for but strained on the motorway, you can overtake in it too but you have to wring its neck to do it.

The lack of torque is the most noticeable even with its low gearing.

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51 minutes ago, Scruffy Bodger said:

It's mostly rural twisty A and B road driving for me and people now seem to want to do 40 in NSL and I'm not one of them. 

I can usually maintain 60 up and down dale with a dumpy bag of logs in the back of the express.  About 60bhp optimistically but shy of the ton unloaded.  Unless it's a queue of cars I tend to be able to overtake someone every mile or so, if there are cars that often.

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1 hour ago, loserone said:

I can usually maintain 60 up and down dale with a dumpy bag of logs in the back of the express.  About 60bhp optimistically but shy of the ton unloaded.  Unless it's a queue of cars I tend to be able to overtake someone every mile or so, if there are cars that often.

On roads you know well?

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23 hours ago, warren t claim said:

Is there any modern car that's not up to a fast 200 mile motorway sprint? Back in 2007 I did Merseyside to Devon and back in a day driving a Chevy Matiz Enterprise rental car. I happily coped with being thrashed both ways.

Why were you being thrashed? 

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Round my way, near Falkirk, people drive like arrogant swines.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that the only car that easily gets a regular car the fuck away from my tail is the Saab. That has 220bhp and an adequate 360nm of torque. I think 0-60 is somewhere around just below 7 seconds.  I really have to gun it as well although it is immensely satisfying to see these arseholes floundering behind in their Mokkas and 316ds.

The A4 with about 140bhp also has plenty of torque to keep other drivers away as do the 75 and A8 but you have to work them.

My preferred option is just to take my foot off the accelerator. If they are so close that I can't even see their headlights in my mirror then I might as well be going slow when they inevitably smash into me when I have to brake sharply to avoid something.

So I'd say anything above 150bhp if sufficient for today's roads filled with showers of bastards.

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25 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

So I'd say anything above 150bhp if sufficient for today's roads filled with showers of bastards.

I'd say 100-150bhp is about right. 0-60 in 10 secs or less is a must. A comfortable cruise speed of 80mph+ is also handy.

The Dolly has 57bhp, or 60bhp per ton. Tops out at 85mph.
The Acclaim has 70bhp, or 79bhp per ton. Tops out at 95mph.
The 740 has 115bhp, or 82bhp per ton. Tops out at 110mph
The works Dispatch van has 90bhp, or 53bhp per ton. Tops out at 90mph.

Only the Volvo and van feel at home cruising on the motorway, mostly due to longer gearing. The Dolly and Acclaim will quite happily cruise at 70-75mph but are screaming away at 4,000rpm+ and realistically are more suited to being with the lorries in lane 1, at which point you may as well be on the A roads.

When you're stuck behind somebody doing 45mph along a motorway slip road before they boot it up to 95mph and dive straight into lane 3 you're the one who ends up dying when a lorry eviscerates your mid century shitbox or have to try and merge into motorway traffic from a dead stop with a 0-60 time of 20 seconds.

You could probably get away with 45bhp on A roads as people are so poor at driving you're lucky to be going over 45mph anyway.
There was some annoying bird in a Bini following me in the Dolly the other week glued right up my arse who was clearly desperate to pass (doing the overtaking weave constantly) despite there being plenty of other cars in front of me anyway. I found it very satisfying to lose them completely on the twisty bits and by the time they'd gotten to a straight and gunned it I'd already be caught up to the traffic in front and they'd have nowhere to overtake to. They were properly going mental. I later had a similar instance with a guy in a Golf GTD but he waited till we entered a brief 40mph zone going through a cluster of houses to pass me and vanish off into the distance in a black cloud.

I also think road presence has a big effect. The van is the least powerful vehicle on fleet in real terms but generates far less agro, presumably because people are less inclined to fuck with you.

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Vans are definitely the best vehicles to drive anywhere in, as other van and lorry drivers let you out, and everyone else gives you space. It also helps to have giant mirrors and a better view ahead.

My Trafic has only 115bhp to carry a tonne and a half plus camper conversion, but 290nm of torque. It will sit at 75mph in cruise at around 2000rpm and is probably the best motorway car in the fleet.

I do also enjoy losing people on twisty roads in it, you can see the union flag brake lighted Mini drivers puffing up to explode from rage.

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Our A8 was by far the most powerful car we'd ever had, and I would say it has the perfect balance of torque and willingness to rev.

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It's a 3.7 petrol V8, and there's just something very satisfying about the way it accelerates even from A-road speeds.

I make it 155 bhp/tonne, but it's more about the wide power band you get with a big petrol lump.  I'm lucky enough to never have to drive in town, and generally am only ever over-taking lorries and tractors.  The refined nature of the beast means that all this speed happens without discernable effort too, with only the fuel consumption to remind you...

I say 'was' by far the most powerful, because I recently got an RX8, with (apparently) 231 bhp.  As far as I can make out, that gives 165bhp/tonne, but in a totally different manner!  The beep comes on at 9500 rpm to remind you it may be time to change up, below 6000 it's not very quick at all. 

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Between those magic numbers though, what a car.  Although the soundtrack is manic, the way the car goes is very fluid and smooth.  I do wonder if it's as fast at the top end as the big Audi though...

The venerable Trabbi comes in at 46bhp/tonne, but can corner flat-out and surprised a few cars at our last road rally.  Hills however... they are the enemy and require planning!

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...that Mini was not taken by surprise by the mighty Trab btw!  The noise it made as it tore past us was glorious.

 

So yeah, 155/tonne is my perfect amount.  As long as you work fairly locally, not in town, not in traffic, and like an ever-changing and festive array of dashboard lights 😄.

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See i have issues here. It could be argued that I am a twat granted though i feel engines like to be used. Over the years i have found i am not to be trusted with things such as sports bikes for this reason. My 20 year old 1.4 Berlingo is perfectly capable of motorway speed* whilst being over/fully loaded. This is a fact as confirmed by both Surrey and Norfolk constabulary.

Whilst the Berlingos performance is pedestrian at best I find it just fine on a run of which its done many and also just fine stop/start around town with a load of tools/kitchen, scaffold tower, ladders, cement mixer strapped to the roof whilst towing a trailer/A framing a people carrier. 

The RE Himalayan overtaking experience could be described as risky. Once in the groove I feel it adds to the fun. 

For motorway especially or any long distance the best transport has a comfy seat. 

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16 hours ago, captain_70s said:

I also think road presence has a big effect. The van is the least powerful vehicle on fleet in real terms but generates far less agro, presumably because people are less inclined to fuck with you

Definitely does. Some cars attract bumper riders and others the opposite. 

Our Civic everyone is always up your arse and generally a dickhead.

Golf surprisingly isn't much better than I thought it would be. Plenty of people up your arse in lower speed limits assuming you won't accelerate out of them. Then you loose them when you boot it as their small engine econobox wheezes along.

E320 definitely has a certain amount of presence. Generally people seem to let you through and don't get irritated if you overtake. Presumably the engine size on the back people assume it's quite powerful (it is but the slush box slows off the line performance off).

I think it's because it's a big long and wide vehicle still even today (about the same size as a brand new 5 series still). Kind of the brick effect that older Volvos give (or at least used to). My mate says it's just because other road users assume you're a 84yr old blind former antique dealer on their way to a dialysis appointment. So avoid you as there is a good chance you would be inadvertently crashing from not seeing them...

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1 minute ago, SiC said:

Definitely does. Some cars attract bumper riders and others the opposite. 

Our Civic everyone is always up your arse and generally a dickhead.

Golf surprisingly isn't much better than I thought it would be. Plenty of people up your arse in lower speed limits assuming you won't accelerate out of them. Then you loose them when you boot it as their small engine econobox wheezes along.

E320 definitely has a certain amount of presence. Generally people seem to let you through and don't get irritated if you overtake. Presumably the engine size on the back people assume it's quite powerful (it is but the slush box slows off the line performance off). My mate says it's just because other road users assume you're a 84yr old blind former antique dealer on their way to a dialysis appointment. So avoid you as there is a good chance you would be inadvertently crashing from not seeing them...

+1 for all this
Bini gets tailgated like fuck all the time - it screams "mummy's taxi" as it's a vanilla looking thing. Drop a gear and floor it when you hit the GLF signs causes consternation behind (the remap helps :-) around 150 BHP/tonne that's enough for daily transport for me).
I used to get really grumpy about getting tailgated but, these days, dilligaf and ease off the speed a bit - I've reached gifferdom with a clean licence and I will wear my trilby at any speed I like.

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I love the idea of daily-ing a 2CV, but agree that on my 25 mile dual carriageway commute it might become tiresome. It’s entirely capable of doing it… there’s a reason I took the Saab not the 2CV when I had to go to Coventry on Thursday. 

I’m wondering if I can do a few mods to make it better. BX seats, 652 conversion, better soundproofing… I think I’ll try with one of the projects. 

Other than that, the Fiat 500 I had 15 years ago was tiresome on a long jaunt too, even as a modern with a 1.2 engine! 

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