Increase your vehicle’s throttle control
Reviewed: Torqit Pedal Torq Plus
Everyone who is a member of an online 4X4 forum or Facebook group has probably heard of these mystery devices that ‘turn up’ the accelerator signal in electronic accelerators, right? If you haven’t you’ve probably got a mate named Jim who knows a guy named Steve who has one. You understand the basic premise of these things is that they increase accelerator signal – less push, more throttle response. That’s about all I knew about them too when I was first asked to review the Torqit Pedal Torq Plus. I’d formed an opinion based on hearsay, Internet and campfire chatter. If I want more throttle I’ll press the pedal harder. Why would I need a device to do that for me?
So I did a bit of research into these devices. Generally anyone who owns a late-model four-wheel drive, with an electronic throttle, and has installed one of these throttle controllers, raves about them. Surely this couldn’t just be owners trying to justify their purchase, could it?
We don’t like doing things by halves here at Unsealed 4X4. So rather than doing an ‘install and report back straight away’ type of review, I’ve put this thing through months of testing both on-road and off-road.
How it’s installed
The majority of throttle controllers on the market seemed to require a control module to be mounted somewhere. Where the Pedal Torq Plus differed was it connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth, meaning there was no need to mount a control module on the dash. That’s a very handy feature for anyone who has an already-cluttered dash or anyone not wanting to drill holes into their dash. The feature also made installation very easy. For me it required removal of a couple of clips on the lower dash to allow access to the accelerator wiring. On top on the accelerator there was a plug that joined the wiring loom. I unclipped the plug and inserted the Torqit. Job done. After that it was simply a case of installing the app on my smartphone and pairing via Bluetooth. The device itself and an extra sticker come with a QR code that makes pairing a breeze. Once paired, the app should automatically connect every time it’s started up.
How it works
The Pedal Torq Plus intercepts the signal from the accelerator pedal and adjusts it before sending it to the ECU. The adjustment includes both shortening the response time and amplification of the pedal position.
Once installed, the app gives you three options to set the sensitivity of the Pedal Torq Plus: Economy, Cruise and Sport. Economy is the closest to the factory throttle response; Cruise is a slight increase; and Sport is everything turned up, let’s go wild.
Obviously leaving it in Economy mode won’t make much difference during day-to-day driving; however there is a very good reason for this mode to exist that I’ll get to later. Cruise mode will make a noticeable difference to throttle lag, and you will find that pushing the accelerator results in much more spirited acceleration. Sport (or if you have yet to update the app, ‘Race’) mode is the best for around-town driving if, like me, you have a normally pretty sluggish four-wheel drive. It almost completely cancels the throttle lag (this is a separate issue to turbo lag) and really amplifies the accelerator signal to the ECU.
I’ve had the Torq Pedal Plus installed for a few months now and in that time I’ve used my vehicle as the daily driver and for long trips. For driving around town, Sport mode has become a necessity for me. It needs to be made clear that this device will not increase your vehicle’s power and turn it into a race car. What this is all about is driveability. Having a throttle that responds to pedal input almost instantly is something that, once you’ve experienced it, you can’t go without. Especially in a manual vehicle like mine. It makes everything from take-off to gear changes just that much easier. No more into third and wait for the throttle to go again. It just goes instantly.
After using sport mode almost exclusively on-road for a couple of months I decided to turn it off for a standard trip home from work. It felt like everything was broken. The car seemed sluggish and was generally horrible to drive. I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me, but that’s the difference it made.
In the few months I’ve had the Torq Pedal Plus, I’ve taken it to a couple of my favourite proving grounds – namely the Victorian High Country and Barrington Tops. The first time after the installation that I gave the stubby lever a nudge into low range was a fairly uncomfortable experience. With the pedal super-sensitive in Sport mode, I was bunny-hopping down the track like a 16-year-old kid trying to drive Dad’s station wagon for the first time. Fire up the app and this is where the need for the Economy setting becomes very clear. Back in Economy mode and everything is happy again in low range – with a near ‘factory’ feel to the accelerator.
Driving up Billy Goat’s Bluff in Victoria it’s low range the whole way to the top. Once at the top I was able to switch back into Sport mode for the high-range cruise down to Licola. Having instant pedal response makes a massive difference on high-speed dirt roads, too. No more of that ‘unsure’ feeling rounding loose corners. The improved pedal response actually makes the vehicle seem more sure-footed and controllable; like the old cable accelerator vehicles.
All’s not perfect
Fair to say after testing the Pedal Torq Plus that I’m a fan and will be keeping this on my vehicle long-term, but there were a couple of things that I didn’t like. The first one is a relatively minor issue relating to the sticker provided with the unit. The QR code on the sticker is meant to allow you to scan and connect new mobile devices relatively easily, which is great. However I found it awkward choosing somewhere to stick the sticker. I ended up going with the inside of the centre console. Out of the way, yet accessible if required (I thought). The problem was that junk moving around in there rubbed the code clean off the sticker within about two weeks. The code is also on the unit itself so this is not a big deal but it’s something to consider. Maybe sticking the code to a card and placing it in a protective sleeve would work better.
The second issue relates to driving style when ascending long hills, especially hills that increase in steepness. It does take a while to get used to the fact that, when in Sport mode, a half-depressed accelerator is sending a 100% throttle signal. So if you get halfway up a hill and need more throttle there’s nothing more to give. Planting your foot to the floor won’t give any extra throttle. This is easily driven around, in fact it’s probably not an issue in an automatic at all, and I did get used to it. But it’s something to consider before installing one of these and hitting the highway loaded up with camping gear.
Would I buy and recommend the Torqit Pedal Torq Plus for a modern four-wheel drive with an electronic throttle? Absolutely. 100%. It changes the entire dynamic of the vehicle for the better.
For more information, go to: torqit.com.au