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New S40/V50



  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    bothered to compare the Mazda6 to the A4/X-Type/3-series/S60, & even the Passat W8 to the 5-series/E-class! & the 3-series Compact hatch to compact cars like Golf, WRX, etc.

    These comparison tests are entertaining, as we expect some of the best economy alternatives to compete w/ the Beemer.

    The Passat lost miserably in steering, handling & ride.

    The Mazda6 is so behind in refinement, including a crashing ride & especially noise isolation.

    "Now it IS possible that Volvo tried to dampen it too much to give it a plushy "luxo-ride" and it messed up the chassis/suspension balance, but Volvo never really marketed it as a sporty car, but as more of a entry-level luxury car with some sporting intentions"

    The whole point is that you either get the ride or the handling, if not both. Like how the C-class gets the ride comfortably if not the handling/steering of the 3-series.

    Sure, I've yet to experience the N.A. S40's. But judging from these preliminary reports, the std 325i sedan can do better than the S40 in BOTH ride & handling composure, plus better steering feel from the conventional power assist. Not that the S40/Focus is bad. It's just why can't the even-better BMW platform be donated(or sold) to a more-economical-car company such as a reliable Japanese like the Focus platform did w/ Mazda? ;-) In the late '90's, Ssanyong of Korea bought the W124 blue print from the '86-95 E-class. I hope the old E36 3-series' formula can be for sale to some reliable Japanese company so we consumers can all benefit?

    I'm actually one step ahead of them when comes to the "ride comfort" std, 'cause they're only using the 3-series w/ the lowered sport suspension(std in Euro since '02) for comparison. No wonder Automobile found the Focus SVT steers & rides about at well as the 3-series.
  • Well, if the Focus SVT steers and rides as wel as a 3 series, then the VolvoS40 concievably can as well, depending on how they spec the suspension in the USA. Probably best to head to a dealer and just try one out.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    As one Brit magazine did a recent comparison of the present Focus w/ the new Golf, Astra, etc., they said that you will never find a car this fun to drive again(the present Euro Focus).

    So I have a feeling that if you still want that fun meaty steering by avoiding these newer-designed cars' e.h. assist , then you still have to settle w/ the upcoming '05 Focus ST "SVT sedan" w/ so-so luxury refinement.

    In a way, we lucky North Americans are the only consumers to enjoy the old Focus that soldiers on. Now, Euro tuned, w/ ok reliability.
  • "In a way, we lucky North Americans are the only consumers to enjoy the old Focus that soldiers on. Now, Euro tuned, w/ ok reliability."

    Personally, I'll take the one built in Hiroshima wih Japanese reliability. ;) But I'm mighty glad Ford backed it, and Volvo developed the safety features on the chassis.

    However, those who want a plushy ride weren't gonna be happy with the Ford or Mazda versions of this platform. And since I don't see Lincoln doing something with it (Maybe Mercury or Jag, but NOT Lincoln) that leaves Volvo, which needed an S40 replacement anyway.

    Come to think of it, Jag might be well-advised to consider something based off of this platform, maybe as the next X-Type or a new model.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    First, it is the next Passat that gave up on the Audi design & went for the Focus system, at least on the rear suspension of FWD models.

    So since no one else is now stupid enough to mount the engine north-south ahead of the front axles just to drive the rear wheels on the AWD models easier than transverse mount, Audi decided to replace the cramped-back-seat A4 by continuing w/ that 924 formula -- that's right, a RWD platform. & so will the next Jag X-type. & this is gonna leave the Volvo S40 the only premium Euro Ford w/ transversely-mounted engine. The next S60/80 will not adopt the Ford platform & will even replace the next Mondeo!

    The Porsche 924 was designed by VW in the '70's & badged as an Audi in Europe!

    When a car is less nose heavy, it can handle better w/o sacrificing comfort. That's why some of these RWD cars are so good at ride/handling compromise.

    The CR comparison test also found the 4-cyl Mazda6i w/ 16"s out-handles & out-rides the 6-cyl Mazda6s w/17"s!

     creakid1 "Acura TSX vs. Mazda6" Mar 29, 2004 12:02pm
    creakid1 "Mazda3" Mar 6, 2004 4:40pm
    So, therefore, the 3-series w/ sport suspension is still far from supreme comfort. No wonder the Focus SVT matches.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    The BMW STARTS at $29K and the X-type STARTS at $30K. Why are these being compared to the much cheaper S40??

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,174
    I may have lost track, but it sounds like you should get down to the BMW dealer while they still have good deals on the current style 3 series, or just pick up a nice cheap Focus.

    You also sound like a good candidate for a trip to the local performance shop. Just get the car you like otherwise, and the right components can give you any level of ride/handling you want, assuming the underlying chassis is a good design.

    New shocks/struts/springs (depending on car)can do wonders to fix the ride/handling flaws of an S40, TSX, or BMW for that matter. May not be able to do much about the steering feel, but changing the suspension can probably minimize (or hide) the impact of the e.h. set-up.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • Maybe you have to go up that high to find something that beats an S40? ;)

    Hehe, seriously, the 3 series, while priced higher, is a similar class of car, so a comparison there is inevitable and valid. I dunno where the X-type came's a size bigger.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the S60 is a competitor for those.

    S40 might end up competing with the upcoming 2 series, or 1 series if BMW brings over a sedan.

    If you eyeball the 1 series pics, Volvo has it all over BMW, no comparison, both inside and out.

    S40 might also compete with the Saabaru, i.e. Saab 9-2x.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    I think the S40 and TSX are direct competitors. So, if the 3-series is compared to the S40, then, by default, the TSX would have to be compared to the 3-series. Yet, as we all know, the real comparison is the 3-series to the TL.

    It just never fails. Anytime any new car comes around, folks have to compare it to the much more expensive BMW. Its just so tiring. To fairly compare, I think we'll have to take the S40 and add thousands in aftermarket upgrades. Its only fair. ;)

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, guess it depends on whether you're looking at size or price. Or even performance.

    In its price range the 3 series is very small, no way could I cram my family (with luggage) even in the wagon.

    A V70 has room to spare. Even a V50 might have more cargo space, if not more passenger space.

  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "I dunno where the X-type came's a size bigger."

    "I think the S60 is a competitor for those."

    Rear-leg-room wise, neither the X nor the S60 are really bigger inside than these little guys just like the TSX. They're only superficially half-a-size longer outside.

    I find the 325i sedan's rear leg room, when the front seats are tilted high(including the thigh angle), significantly roomier than even the RX-8.

    The Canadians get the 2.2 320i to compete w/ the S40 2.4i while the 325i competes w/ the S40 T-5, which has a higher output due to the turbo "but overtaking and using the engine's full performance often feels like too much hard work."(AUTOCAR). So, performance wise, the T-5 hardly has an edge over the 325i.

    The TSX is a much-less-expensive car when similarly equipped.

    The 325i has std DSC & climate control w/ charcoal-filter/smog-detecting recirculation, so the T-5(charcoal/s-d rec not available in N.A.) w/ DSC is only $1600 less than the std 325i.

    The 1 or 2 series doesn't just got no room for adults' legs in the back but also the spare tire as well! & only the coupe will eventually make it to N.A. & w/ only 4-tires(no spare).
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "New shocks/struts/springs (depending on car)can do wonders to fix the ride/handling flaws of an S40, TSX, or BMW for that matter."

    What if the S40 w/ sport suspension is already the best tuning setting for this chassis?

    Heh heh heh, believe me, you don't want to risk your $ & time experimenting forever. See my past R&D on the Protege platform:
    creakid1 "Focus Owners: Future Models" May 7, 2003 3:21pm
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,174
    Suspension settings are like tires. There is no "best" solution, and the manufacturer (except in extreme applications) has to try for a compromise to please as man buyers as possible. So, you end up with sorta sporty/sorta luxury.

    If you want go cart like handling and ride be damned, do it. You want to drive your sofa and corner like a 1971 LTD, do it. Volvo has to cover everyones nut with just a (mild) sport package and 17" wheels to do it.

    I do agree that you can spend a bundle experimenting, so I would want a tested out package from a reputable source so you know what to expect. But, as you have pointed out, just changing the shocks/struts can make a world of difference.

    Anyway, my theory remains that no car (at least that I can afford) is perfect, but there is a lot of pretty damn good out there these days. And an S40 (and TSX, and Mazda 3) are certainly in this category.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    & I'm talking about the old 5-series w/o any active swaybar. It's such a no-compromise car that it beats the previous E-class in every way including quietness, ride, handling & steering.(per CR comparison)

    No wonder BMW had to keep that back seat cramped w/ bad seating posture so Mercedes won't try to leap-frog back at BMW.
  • caminacamina Posts: 31
             You cut-n-paste beautifully. What's your point ? Try to show some more intelligence and explain yourself.
  • caminacamina Posts: 31
    Yes, your are correct but that was recently changed. Up until that change CR stated the 3 Series reliability had fallen below average and the car was no longer recommended. The same was true with Audi A4, Mercedes C240, and VW Jetta. There were not many German cars recommended by CR other than the VW Passat.

    This is what is on paper. In the real world, ask anyone who has owned a German car or a mechanic and they will tell you they are nutorios for electrical problems. My friend leased a convertible Mercedes. It has been at the dealer 14 times for electrical problems. He said never again and would buy a Lexus in a heartbeat.

    Yes, the Volvo S60 was recommended and I looked at the 2003 last Spring/Summer when Volvo was offering the $5K rebate. I loved the looks both inside and out. However, the turning radius was 40 ft compared to the 3 Series 35 ft. Also, I could not stand the pillow-like headrest. They block your side/back vision.

    This is something I would have a hard time getting use to. I realize they are designed to protect against wiplash but what good is it if it will cause you to rely on your side mirrors and possibly hit people.

    The last straw was the dealer wouldn't look outside thier lot for the color and options I was looking for. They wanted me to buy a new 2004 off thier lot.

    So, this is why I waited a long time for the S40 and am extremely disappointed when I saw the console. It's not about getting with the times. It's about paying 27.1K for a car that you feel looks cheap on the inside.

    If the console just had a regular base behind it, buying this car would be a no brainer. This was a risk that Volvo didn't have to take and they will pay for it.
  • Hey, Camina,
    Take it easy. We've got it. You do not like the new console. Just do not try to ram this into our throats :-).
    Give some room for other opinions, would ya?
  • I personally found that new console in S40 futuristic, unusual, something that need to "grow on you", but not cheap by any stretch of imagination.
    And why do you need to make everyone dislike it?
    Get a BMW, it's a great car, but it's a bit presumptuous for me. Volvo, i think fits a niche for the people who wants to drive something a bit out of ordinary, but with a style, safety and very decent handling, and not been perceived as "snobby". The BMW creates the definite " I am an ambitious driver" image.
  • I just have one question: do you like the center console? Hehe, kidding kidding, easy ;)

    From what I understand, that console was designed hat way intentionally, to provide storage space behind it. Though it probably would have looked better if it were ENCLOSED storage, it's intended to be open back there.
This discussion has been closed.