When Will a Toyota Corolla be Faster than a Porsche? The Moore’s Law of Automobile Performance

“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley

porsche

(Photo: CarSpotter)

I recently wrote an article mentioning about how my old Acura Integra was faster than the fastest car from the 1920’s and 1930’s. The point was not that my Acura was necessarily fast (it was not) but that over the years the automotive technology has improved so much that even an average old jalopy, made over the last 20 years, is on average faster than the fastest cars made even 60 years ago. I decided to see just how fast that evolution was taking place and just how long it would take for your average car to be as fast as a sports car made today. For comparison I took the Porsche Boxter.

Depending what model we look at, the Boxter 0 to 60 times are between 4.2 and 5.5 seconds. I decided to use a good round number of 5 seconds as the time to reach for. I also picked a few car models which are not known for their speed and whose performance data went back at least two decades. I used 0 to 60 website to gather the information and used the fastest time for each year on each model. So how do the numbers look?

Toyota Camry

camry old

camry new

(Photo: Wiki)

First up is the Toyota Camry. The Camry is like the automotive equivalent of Nickelback. It sells very well but you never brag to your friends about actually liking it. Here is how the performance of the Camry looks like over the years.

Year Model 0 to 60 time
     
1983 Toyota Camry 12.4
1987 Camry DLX 2.0 9.1
1988 Toyota Camry All-Trac 11.4
1992 Toyota Camry SE 7.6
1993 Toyota Camry LE 10.9
1994 Toyota Camry SE 8
1995 Toyota Camry LE 7.9
1997 Toyota Camry CE 6.9
1998 Toyota Camry LE 7.7
1999 Toyota Camry Solara SE 7
2000 Toyota Camry LE 7.9
2001 Toyota Camry Solara SE 8.1
2002 Toyota Camry SE 7.9
2004 Toyota Camry Solara SE 6.6
2005 Toyota Camry SE 6
2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid 7.9
2010 Toyota Camry SE 8
2011 Toyota Camry LE 8.3
2012 Toyota Camry SE (V6) 5.7

 

If we plot a graph we can get a formula for the linear trend line.

camry chart

f(x)=-.1419776275x+291.9794891059

We can then solve the formula and come up with the year when the Camry’s 0 to 60MPH time will be under 5 seconds. In this case the year will be 2021.

Toyota Corolla

corolla old

corolla new

(Photo: Wiki)

Next up is the Toyota Corolla. Trying to decide between a Camry or a Corolla is like trying to decide between Billy or Stephen as your favorite Baldwin brother.

Year Model 0 to 60 time
     
1968 Toyota Corolla   16.8
1973 Toyota Corolla 1200   18.3
1974 Toyota Corolla 1200   16
1975 Toyota Corolla E-5   15
1976 Toyota Corolla SR-5 15.2
1980 Toyota Corolla Sport 11.9
1984 Toyota Corolla   13
1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S   10.4
1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 9.1
1991 Toyota Corolla LE   10.1
1993 Toyota Corolla DX   9.2
1995 Toyota Corolla DX   10.1
1998 Toyota Corolla LE   10.2
2003 Toyota Corolla CE 9
2005 Toyota Corolla XRS   7
2009 Toyota Corolla LE 8.4
2010 Toyota Corolla XRS 7.4
2013 Toyota Corolla S 8.5

 

corolla graph

f(x)=-.2187745906x+446.7715034366

And once we solve the formula we come up with 2019 as the year the Corolla will do 0 to 60 in 5 seconds.

Honda Accord

accord old

accord new

(Photo: Wiki)

The Honda Accord considered to be one of the most reliable cars in automotive history. The good news is that the Accord you bought in college all those years ago is still running well, the bad news you are still driving an Accord that you bought in college because it’s running well.  

Year Model 0 to 60 time
     
1976 HondaAccord 13.6
1981 HondaAccord 13.1
1982 HondaAccordLX 12.9
1986 HondaAccordLXi 9.7
1990 HondaAccordEX 10
1991 HondaAccordEX 9.3
1992 HondaAccordEX 9.7
1993 HondaAccordLX 10
1994 HondaAccordEX 8
1995 HondaAccordLX 8.4
1996 HondaAccordLX 8.7
1997 HondaAccordEX 7.6
1998 HondaAccordEX 7.1
1999 HondaAccordCoupe 7.3
2001 HondaAccordLX 8.2
2003 HondaAccordEX 6.1
2004 HondaAccordEX 5.8
2005 HondaAccordHybrid 6.9
2006 HondaAccordEX 5.8
2007 HondaAccordSE 8
2008 HondaAccordEX 5.7
2009 HondaAccordType-S 9.1
2010 HondaAccordCrosstour 7.2
2011 HondaAccordEX 6.1
2012 HondaAccordEX 6.1
2013 HondaAccordCoupe 5.5
2014 HondaAccordPlug-In 7.6

accord chart

f(x)=-.1866595895x+381.4102972399

As for the Accord 0 to 60 time will reach 5 seconds in 2016

Honda Civic

civic old

civic new

(Photo: Wiki)

And finally the Honda Civic. The Civic is Accord’s smaller less popular brother. It’s like the Frank Stallone of cars.

Year Model 0 to 60 time
     
1973 HondaCivic 19.1
1974 HondaCivic 15.5
1976 HondaCivic 14.2
1980 HondaCivic1500GL 11.1
1981 HondaCivic 15
1985 HondaCivicS 11
1985 HondaCivicWagon 11.8
1987 HondaCivicHatchback 13.5
1991 HondaCivicEX 9.6
1992 HondaCivicSi 8.3
1993 HondaCivicCoupe 8.3
1994 HondaCivicEX 8.7
1995 HondaCivicEX 9
1996 HondaCivicDX 8.4
1998 HondaCivicGX 11.8
1999 HondaCivicSi 7.1
2000 HondaCivicEX 8.3
2002 HondaCivicSi 7.5
2003 CivicHybrid 12
2006 HondaCivicSi 6.2
2007 HondaCivicLX 7.6
2007 HondaCivicType-R 4.9
2008 HondaCivici-CTDi 7.5
2009 HondaCivicType-R 6.5
2010 HondaCivicType 6
2011 HondaCivic1.8 8.8
2012 HondaCivicSi 6
2013 HondaCivicHF 8.5

civic chart

f(x)=-.2306929899x+470.1763973438

For the Civic 2016 should be the year when 0 to 60 times will be under 5 seconds.

So the good news is that all the acceleration you crave in todays sports cars will be available to you in ordinary cars at fraction of the cost in less than 10 years.

A Grain of Salt

Here are few possible flaws in my conclusions.

  1. The trend of cars getting faster and faster seems to be taking place over the last 75 years, but if we were to do these calculations in the late 70’s or early 80’s, we would come to the opposite conclusion. Due to the need for greater fuel efficiency most of the cars actually got slower in the 70’s. For example, the Ford Mustang 0 to 60 times was 7.3 seconds in 1964 but by 1974 was almost twice that at 14.1 seconds. Since the 80’s cars have been getting faster and faster but it is possible the trend might still reverse once again. There’s nothing to guarantee that the trend has to continue. 

  2. Even if the trend continues for a while longer it will at some point stop or become miniscule. For example the Toyota Corolla will reach 0 to 60 in 1 seconds in year 2037. That is never ever going to happen.

  3. There is clearly going to be a point where cars will not be allowed to accelerate at a breakneck speed even if the technology to make them go that fast does exist. Much like the regulations which limit top speeds on today’s cars.

    But for now the future looks bright.

    Michael Page

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