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New S40/V50

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  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "the volvo s80T6 is the marginal winner here. It's the most stable, has the best ride and seats and comes with a staggering range of options."

    I don't know if the 530d has rack-&-pinion steering but...

    May 2003 C&D -

    pp56-58(BMW M5)"...the recirculating-ball steering had a bit too much power assist for optimal feel." "Lows: Numb steering..."

    Interesting, when BMW's not trying hard enough... They did promise bringing back the more driver-oriented 1-series & the next E90 3-series, both from the same platform.

    & the Volvo S80 is still not as crisp or fun as the possibly-so-so 5-series? It's the steering/handling/ride compromise that really counts. Otherwise, the Lexus LS wins pretty well, too, if only counting the ride comfort alone.

    While in the very same issue of C&D:

    p84(Focus SVT) "The thick steering wheel is tight, telegraphic link with the front wheels. Pick the pebble you want to fling from the white line, and the Focus will point you there."

    April '03 Automobile also pointed out that the Focus SVT is "almost M3-like" in important/expensive areas and absorbs road bumps "like a 3-series", although I believe that's only the comfort level of the 3-series w/ the less-comfortable sport-suspension, which is lowered w/ less travel.

    I read that CAR comparison, too. In fact, I have that issue right in front of me. It's amazing how the BMW beats the Mazda in ride comfort/refinement w/ no less competence in handling. Please take a note. The less-comfy sport suspension became std across the board in all Euro-spec 2WD 3-series since 2002, while the comfier non-sport suspension is still std in the N.A. 325i & is available as Comfort package option at least in Britain, & that S60 only rode slightly comfier than this sport-suspension BMW. Although this Beemer rode on 16" instead of 17" like most other cars in this comparison, it still excelled in handling & steering communication.

    When our Consumer Report magazine compared the S60's ride comfort w/ Mercedes C-Class & BMW 3-series w/o the sport suspension, the Volvo simply lags behind.

    "...very comfortable seats, a Swedish type cabin that I find more relaxing than German cars, all-day Grand touring like cruising with *very* comfortable ride quality characteristics in their newest cars. I respect German cars but they just don't do it for me, somethings hard and a bit cold about them."

    When the FWD roomy Volvo - the 850 - was first introduced, I was impressed how much Volvo have perfected the car compared to my primitive '86 760 Turbo - Everything from the existence of steering feedbacks, no fishtail problem, brake that's not touchy, more cylinder w/o turbo, driving position(arm rest placement & adjustable steering), outside-mirror area coverage, stereo location & button size, climate control air-outlet distribution selection, & stretch-able rear toe room.

    & w/ that impressive interior ambience of these furnitures, I dreamed of owning one, only to discover a ridiculously-bad choppy ride on the bumpy concrete section of I-10 in Covina CA. So as I mentioned about it to my cousin who was a Mercedes sales man locally, he soon received an 850 trade in. He, too, was impressed by the Volvo's interior & started to disagree w/ my "over-critical" comment. The funny thing is when he drove that car on that same section of I-10, he couldn't disagree w/ me more! "Gosh, that beautiful comfortable interior can be deceiving!", he felt.

    Anyway, that was then. In the '02 LA Auto Show, I was very impressed by the comfortable front seating & driving position of the Mercedes new C-Class, Jaguar S-type & the Volvo S60. In '03, the Mazda6's driving position is also amazingly comfortable & relaxing yet also feels serious as a fighterjet cockpit. That Japanese cushion length was disappointingly short compare to Volvo's, however.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,889
    creakid, it wasn't you who criticized the sales numbers, it was wsag26. So that's where all the talk of sales numbers originated (when wsag26 said Volvo is not in good shape).

    anyway, concerning the SUV numbers, I looked for the same thing, but if you look at the numbers I posted, you will see that SUV sales counted for just 29% of sales while total sales were up 64% from the previous year. So, as you can see, of the 13 thousand units sold in May, only about 3800 were SUVs. If you do the math, you'll see that Volvo sold roughly 50% more cars in May of '03 vs. May of '02.

    And, on this same point, I saw another article where Volvo claimed their strongest quarter of their history recently (i believe it was the 2nd quarter of this year).

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,889
    I can't get to those articles? Am I the only one? It comes up with a subscription page.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • I think Volvo makes cars that aren't as driver oriented as Audi, some Mazdas, BMWs, some Mercedes, etc. So, the ride/handling compromise is biased towards ride and safe handling at the extreme. That's the way most Volvos are set up. Regarding what Consumer Reports says, I don't.

    I've driven or been driven in scores of Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, Volvos. There are variations. Some of the Mercedes have been very rough riding, ditto BMW, Audi and Volvo. It all depends on the state of the car, tire pressure, etc., and the type of suspensions. I don't the find the sports suspensions on BMWs and Audis supple as the car rags do. I find them borderline harsh and can be punishing on certain types of rough surfaces. The Volvo R were horrible in the past, the s70 with 17 inch tires were very rough riding, but the standard 850 and s70 with 16 inch tires and softer springs rode well on almost every surface I could find while offering respectable handling. Regarding the C class vs. 3 series BMW vs s60 ride comfort a variety of tests have been done with a variety of conclusions. I've seen the 3 series finised first most of the time, but the Volvo has as well, and Mercedes not as much. Car magazine did a long term review of an s60 and concluded that it had an amazingly fine ride, bumps felt in a long term 3 series BMW were all but ignored in their s60.

    All 3 cars ride very well, IMO. But I think Volvo has the most comfortable damping, the springs are just a bit softer, and what I like about it is it has more "glide" to it where Mercedes and BMW are typical German "glued to the ground". Mercedes and BMW do better on bumpy curves, I'll give them that. But there's a harder edge to the way BMW and Mercedes take bumps compared to Jag, Volvo, Lexus. It may boil down to preferences, and car rags love driving cars and may not, I think, notice the harder edge to some cars or fine more impact harshness acceptable than many car buyers.

    I think those looking for BMW, Mazda, Ford Focus handling with Volvo aren't going to find it, and I think the new s40 will probably have softened handling compared to the Mazda and Ford versions of the platform. Where the Volvo will excel is in all day comfort, highway stability, and other Volvo strengths. So, I'm not so much into the constant BMW is the standard, or the car that does best around twisties is the standard, that's just a small part of driving. For most drivers, especially in the U.S., their driving consists of crowded highways, bumpy surfaces (esp. in the Northeast), driving behind slow moving traffic (I see people slow down for corners in BMWs, Mazdas, and all sorts of cars that could take the corners all of the time). Most drivers can't tell the difference between the sharp handling cars and the less sharp handling ones. Therefore I understand Volvo's pragmatic approach to handling/ride compromise and bias towards ride (and I think, despite nonsense from CR, that Volvo's new cars ride superbly over most surfaces and prefer its damping to German cars). I would like to see Volvo build a car that competes in handling/ride with BMW to show that they can. They should have with the s60 R. I'd also like to see Volvo strengthen their bushings and suspension components so that they don't feel "baggy" after 25,000 miles. But, I don't feel that the automotive world has to think BMW every time they get in to a car and feel that other lines do overall practical, day to day living in a style that fits most drivers needs, well.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    The current S40 debuted in 1995.
    It was the replacement for the 340 and 440 models.
    These were Europe only cars that were deemed too small for the US.
    The current S40 IS NOT a Mitsubishi Carisma.
    While it shares components w/ Mitsu the sharing is only about 10% of the car.
    The chassis is related to the 850 platform.
    The current S40 was also never intended for the US either. Only a long and heated campaign by Volvo's US dealers made it a reality.
  • VolvoMax,

    How much of the current s40 is shared with Focus and Mazda?

    You say the chassis of the old s40 is related to the 850 platform but I believe it uses a multi-link rear and not the Delta link of the 850/s70.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Maybe he was talking about the structural technology related to the 850.

    From the AutoExpress article I listed above in #89:
    "The Japanese firm is involved because its Carisma is built on the same platform as the S40, and both cars are produced at the same Dutch factory."
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    can anyone tell me what a Mitsubishi carisma is? Photos, a platform, something to make me find out what the Carisma really is besides a twin of the Volvo S40.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Not very charismatic, is it? That dorky profile looks just like the communist Skoda Octavia(the peasant's roomy Jetta) but even worse. LOL. & the tail lights are so authentic Hyundai Elantra-ish.

    CAR already didn't like the original model & called it lacking in charisma. & here's their recent quote:

    "Laughably misnamed minicab in waiting. Experience-free transport with woefully sloppy dynamics and a cheap-feeling cabin."

    & for the current S40:

    "Solid styling masks a fair amount of shared Mitsubishi underpinnings. Driving experience stodgy and cabins lack much surprise or delight."

    V40:

    "Estate version of the S40 offering similar dynamic disappointment but compensating with a big boot and plenty of standard-fit utility. Looks better, too. Claims that it's a BMW 3-series Touring rival are very far off the mark, though."

    Surprise isn't it? The new wonderful S40/V50 "fake" Volvo looks so much like the real thing, which is already quite good looking, & even better.

    This also reminds me - The X-Type "fake" Jaguar minimics the real thing a 110%.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Sorry creakid, but the S40 history is not a "rumor"
    The only major structure that the Carisma and the S40 share are the floorpans.
    Mitsu also makes the motor mounts and turbo for that car. Also the electronics are shared.
    During the Phase 1 of the S40 Mitsu also supplied engines for the non turbo versions.
    During the long gestation of the 850 a smaller car was deveploped along side the 850 to replace the dutch volvos the 340 and 440.
    This is the basis of the S40.
    benjamins,
    0% of the current S40 is shared with Ford or Mazda.
    The delta link in the 850 was originally planned due to the need for floor space in the 850 wagon.
    It was developed long before the multilink setup that the S40 and 960 used.
    Later S and V70 AWD's were fitted with the 960's multilink rear
    The S40 was never intended to be a first class car. It was developed on a budget to replace other "budget" Volvos. It has been the most popular and numerous model in Volvo's recent history.
    As for the new S40, doubtless it will be more closely entwined with its Ford and Mazda cousins, but I don't think anyone will have any trouble telling them apart.
  • jhorljhorl Posts: 89
    I've had my 2004 S40 LSE for about a week now and so far I love it. This is my first volvo and like I said I'm enjoying it, but a lot of the comments made here make the car sound like a piece of junk. I didnt drive any higher end Volvos because I couldnt afford them but this car feels very solid to me and fits my needs.

    Just my 2 cents.

    John
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The Carisma interior looks even worse than the cabin of the Chevolet Cavalier, which is already pretty tacky. But the price is only around $9K USD for a loaded version. It'd make a nice competitior to the Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent. I think we'd all prefer the Carisma to the Rio and the Accent, both cars that start at $9K.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Later S and V70 AWD's were fitted with the 960's multilink rear"

    My aunt in Indiana bought countless number of Volvos since 1975. To me, all the 200 series rode neither comfortable nor uncomfortable, but at least the cars always remain stable, & therefore very acceptable. But my '86 760 Turbo got a uncomfortable tuning. No it's not too firm, just uncomfortable over bumps. Ditto my aunt's newest purchase - the S70 AWD, in fact, it's even worse just like the 850.

    I was wondering if it was the snow slush that made the Swedes over look the right setting of shock/spring frequency to ride comfortably over bumps.

    I haven't experience any of the S60/V70/S80 yet, so I don't know if Volvo has finally figured it out.

    So here comes the global C-platform S40/V50. Past American Ford Escort was basically a Mazda Protege, but Mazda's shock setting was all wrong & the car always bounce at least as high as the bump, while a standard Escort rode comfortably. So my testing of 4 different sets of shocks finally solved my Protege's ride comfort problem by replacing them w/ cheap Gabriels.

    See:
    ANT14 "Focus Owners: Future Models" May 6, 2003 11:41pm
    Read #2 & #3.

    So how comfortably will the Volvo S40/V50 ride compare to the Focus II or the Mazda3 remains to be seen. This will be interesting.
  • I think the 200 cars suffered from side to side roll and axle hop. The 760 with live axles tamed some of that. The 760 with the independent suspension was tuned a bit too soft and a bit "loose" but was definitely comfortable over much of the bumps. The 740 Turbo, even with the live axle, is a very stable ride, but with a bit of a shimmy or snap in the rear of nasty bumps.

    I recently drove a 850 with sports suspension. A 96 I think. I drove over very bumpy roads and it barely noticed the bumps. Only one bump felt a bit uncomfortable. A 960 I rode in was almost as comfortable as the new s80 and a very respectable riding car, if a bit soft in the front (the softness is revealed in dips and wavy roads, not so much over large bumps where it feels moderately firm).

    There's a very lumpy road near where I live and I rode in or drove several cars over it. A last generation Mercedes E, slow and fast, and it bobbed up and down slow noticeably and wasn't exceptional but was very strong, exceptionally strong, at faster speeds, an Audi 6, slow and fast and it was stable and firm, a Volvo AWD wagon slow and fast and slow it was stable and fast very comfortable and barely noticed the bumps but felt softish, a Passat that bobbed up and down slow and felt somewhat boomy but stable fast, a Chrysler something or the other that was way out of control, a Subaru Outback wagon that rode well but a bit rigidly, a Lexus ES 300 that did not notice the bumps, lumps or anything else but was so soft that it felt detached.

    Overall, I'd put the Audi A6 first, the 850 second, the Mercedes second for sure at high speeds as the Volvo had a suggestion of "skip" although it didn't skip. I guess it is a matter of preference. I've been in 850s that rode wonderfully and in some that were painful (although the firmest ones weren't the most uncomfortable). Audi's were a bit more consistent but some had bumps intruding noticeably causing some disturbance. I think 850s and s70s were poorly matched to low profile 17 inch tires, that Volvo has worked out better in the newer cars (though not as well as BMW).

    To me the best riding cars are French. Very stable with excellent compression and rebound. I think Volvo needs more compression and less abrupt rebounding, and with Bilsteins or Tokino (sp?) shocks the abrupt rebounding that they sometimes exhibit is quelled. The new Volvos have some of the abrupt rebounding, but most new Europeans have softened their low speed ride to include some abrupt rebouding (since most of them are firmer than Volvo it is less pronounced). I feel it in C and E class Mercedes, Audis, and even to some degree in BMWs (in whoop de doos and certain sudden changes in elevation type of roads). And I definitely feel it in S type Jags. The big Benzs and Bimmers are very graceful over big bumps and road elevation and they should be for the price that they are. However, they still have a degree of firm impact harshness over sharp bumps that's missing in Jags, Lexi, and French cars (which don't have the degree of ride control). What's best is personal I think. I like the French approach (though it allows a good amount of body roll in corners) and I think Volvo takes a quasi French approach.

    Creakid, is there anything you like about Volvos?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    The seats, definitely, although not some of the headrests, including the '70's hard bony skeletal type & others that cannot be lowered enough to fit the contour of my neck. I'm 5'11" by the way. Coincidentally, the non-adjustable 940 had a perfect headrest for me.

    & the RWD models' amazing turning circle. While those tin-can Japanese cars tried to look big & tough by enlarging the turning circle such as the Accord starting in '90.

    Back in the '70's, my impression of Volvo was a very pleasant comfortable car w/ nicely tall chairs despite a little ride harshness.

    When I drove in the '80's, both the 200 series & my (parents') 760 Turbo got touchy brakes and heavy steering, w/ the 760 Turbo's steering also being numb that requires too much concentration to even cruise straight on the fwy.

    I understand what you meant about the "abrupt rebound" when the setting isn't very firm. That "abrupt rebound"(less tightness in the shock's rebound setting) is to play safe by allowing the springs to extend quickly, & thus bounce the car high, as soon as possible after the "dangerously" deep compression so to get ready for encountering the next bump that might come right afterwards w/o running out of spring travel. This is probably what I meant uncomfortable in the '86 760 Turbo, 850 & S70 AWD. But the joke is, for example, the rear tires of the new Acura TSX tend to end up air born at times.

    French cars are dreams especially when not slowing down on deep bumps & dips. I only test drove the Peugeot 604 extensively. A little on the Renault Feugo. For repair problems alone, I'd leave'em alone.

    I think the next Nissan Sentra will be based on the next Renault Mégane, so..., although lacking in ind rear suspension.

    By the way, it seem that Nissan & Mitsubishi tend to set the shock w/ a calm rebound, despite on a rather-short-travel spring. These cars can feel extremely comfy when the bumps are very shallow. The recent Nissan Quest is one.

    So no matter which C-plaform car I'm gonna get, Mazda/Volvo/Ford, I will install calm-rebound shocks if it doesn't come w/ them.

    "Lexus ES 300 that did not notice the bumps, lumps or anything else but was so soft that it felt detached."

    I guess you're talking about the new one. The old one w/ short travel was horribly unserene & felt cheap on deeper bumps, despite lack of harshness.
  • I think the 200 cars suffered from side to side roll and axle hop. The 760 with live axles tamed some of that. The 760 with the independent suspension was tuned a bit too soft and a bit "loose" but was definitely comfortable over much of the bumps. The 740 Turbo, even with the live axle, is a very stable ride, but with a bit of a shimmy or snap in the rear of nasty bumps.

    I recently drove a 850 with sports suspension. A 96 I think. I drove over very bumpy roads and it barely noticed the bumps. Only one bump felt a bit uncomfortable. A 960 I rode in was almost as comfortable as the new s80 and a very respectable riding car, if a bit soft in the front (the softness is revealed in dips and wavy roads, not so much over large bumps where it feels moderately firm).

    There's a very lumpy road near where I live and I rode in or drove several cars over it. A last generation Mercedes E, slow and fast, and it bobbed up and down slow noticeably and wasn't exceptional but was very strong, exceptionally strong, at faster speeds, an Audi 6, slow and fast and it was stable and firm, a Volvo AWD wagon slow and fast and slow it was stable and fast very comfortable and barely noticed the bumps but felt softish, a Passat that bobbed up and down slow and felt somewhat boomy but stable fast, a Chrysler something or the other that was way out of control, a Subaru Outback wagon that rode well but a bit rigidly, a Lexus ES 300 that did not notice the bumps, lumps or anything else but was so soft that it felt detached.

    Overall, I'd put the Audi A6 first, the 850 second, the Mercedes second for sure at high speeds as the Volvo had a suggestion of "skip" although it didn't skip. I guess it is a matter of preference. I've been in 850s that rode wonderfully and in some that were painful (although the firmest ones weren't the most uncomfortable). Audi's were a bit more consistent but some had bumps intruding noticeably causing some disturbance. I think 850s and s70s were poorly matched to low profile 17 inch tires, that Volvo has worked out better in the newer cars (though not as well as BMW).

    To me the best riding cars are French. Very stable with excellent compression and rebound. I think Volvo needs more compression and less abrupt rebounding, and with Bilsteins or Tokino (sp?) shocks the abrupt rebounding that they sometimes exhibit is quelled. The new Volvos have some of the abrupt rebounding, but most new Europeans have softened their low speed ride to include some abrupt rebouding (since most of them are firmer than Volvo it is less pronounced). I feel it in C and E class Mercedes, Audis, and even to some degree in BMWs (in whoop de doos and certain sudden changes in elevation type of roads). And I definitely feel it in S type Jags. The big Benzs and Bimmers are very graceful over big bumps and road elevation and they should be for the price that they are. However, they still have a degree of firm impact harshness over sharp bumps that's missing in Jags, Lexi, and French cars (which don't have the degree of ride control). What's best is personal I think. I like the French approach (though it allows a good amount of body roll in corners) and I think Volvo takes a quasi French approach.

    Creakid, is there anything you like about Volvos?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    the Carisma's interior looks downright ugly. Volvo designers must have done a lot of redesigning the interior to make it Volvoish. And boy did they make a lot of money on the S40. They probably buy Carisma platforms on the cheap and then redesign it from there. A loaded Carisma starts at $9-$10K USD and a stripped down Volvo S40 starts somewhere around $26K.
  • There is a new article on the S40 on Autoweeks' website.
This discussion has been closed.