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Volvo S40

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Comments

  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Test drive it first. I can't stand its ride, even w/ just 16" tires.

     

    The comfy base suspension is a little too soft for the not-so-long front spring travel, so you have to slow down before crossing a speed bump.

     

    The AWD might have the best compromise by combining the shocks & sway bars from the "sport handling" suspension w/ longer & softer springs.
  • Maybe this is a stupid question, but why wouldn't I want to slow down before crossing a speed bump?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    but if you ever try not to or simply forgot to while driving a Peugeot or a Mercedes sedan, then you'll be amazed how the car remains unfazed while crossing it!
  • calhoncalhon Posts: 87
    "But since Volvo did all the structural engineering for the the Ford & Mazda versions, this also means their crash test results are limited w/in the S40's level, rather than some Japanese's better side-protection such as found in the Honda Accord/TL."

     

    I'll take your word for it that Volvo did all the structural work for the PLATFORM, but I have a hard time believing that Volvo designed the entire upper body structure and subframe assemblies of either the New Focus or the Mazda3. As far as I know, the Ford division, Mazda and Volvo had and have a lot of flexibility individually w.r.t. the specifications of the main body structural elements, ancilliary structural elements and subframe assemblies implemented in any vehicle they build on the platform. That's what a platform is all about - so that even vehicles of different types and sizes can be accomodated.

     

    One of the reasons the Mazda3's crash test results (frontal and side) are not as good as the S40's is that the structural frames differ - the S40 has different steel and additional structural elements in key areas. Note, for example, that the Mazda3 weighs 400 lbs less than a comparably-equipped S40; which by the way, also contributes to handling differences.

     

    Finally, you suggest that the S40's safety cage is not as good as the Accord's or Acura TL for side impacts. The IIHS side impact Structure/Safety Cage rating of the Accord is "Marginal", while the S40 and TL are rated "Acceptable". However, the S40's intrusion measures are actually slightly better than the TL's.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "I'll take your word for it that Volvo did all the structural work for the PLATFORM, but I have a hard time believing that Volvo designed the entire upper body structure and subframe assemblies of either the New Focus or the Mazda3. As far as I know, the Ford division, Mazda and Volvo had and have a lot of flexibility individually w.r.t. the specifications of the main body structural elements, ancilliary structural elements and subframe assemblies implemented in any vehicle they build on the platform. That's what a platform is all about - so that even vehicles of different types and sizes can be accomodated."

     

    Yes, that's what a platform is USUALLY all about, & it's most likely true in the case of Ford Five Hundred/Freestyle riding on the Volvo S80/V70/S60 platform. But the C-1 project is a team work of Ford, Mazda & Volvo. Ford designs the steering & suspension, Mazda develops the the 4-cyl drivetrain(including the S40/V50 1.8), & Volvo is responsible for ALL of the passive safety including the structure for both the platform & the WHOLE safety cage. It's just that Volvo kept some trade secret to themselves so that the Ford & Mazda do not get to use the "4 different steel firmness" or the "additional engine-bay clearance" that can outperform the S60 in frontal crash safety.

     

    "Finally, you suggest that the S40's safety cage is not as good as the Accord's or Acura TL for side impacts. The IIHS side impact Structure/Safety Cage rating of the Accord is "Marginal", while the S40 and TL are rated "Acceptable". However, the S40's intrusion measures are actually slightly better than the TL's."

     

    The recent "T-boned-by-SUV" crash test only applies to cars w/ side curtain airbags. It's been discussed here earlier:

     

    creakid1, "Volvo S40" #915, 10 Oct 2004 3:24 pm

     

    Only the Saab 9-3, TL(Accord?), ES330(Camry?) & Galant scored "Good".

     

    While the new S40 scored "acceptable".

     

    http://www.iihs.org/news_releases/2004/pr100304.htm

    "The 2004 Saab 9-3, 2004 Acura TL, 2004 Lexus ES 330, and 2005 Mitsubishi Galant are rated good for side impact protection. The 2004 Saab 9-5, 2005 Mercedes C class, and 2005 Volvo S40 earned acceptable ratings. The 2004 Jaguar X-Type is rated marginal."

     

    My personal opinion about safety has a lot to do w/ active safety, so after driving in the rain, I was very impressed by the fact that the S40/V50 is the only C-1 car sold in America equipped w/ the optional DSTC -- the "legendary Focus ESP" electronic stability program that hardly intrudes into your performance-handling habit, so you are unlikely to deactivate it.

     

    http://www.iihs.org/news_releases/2004/pr102804.htm

     

    In my most recent Volvo test drive, I was feeling like a king sitting comfortably in the throne-like driving position of the S40 T-5 w/ std suspension. But as soon as I found out that the narrow rear visibility made my lane-change-to-the-right clumsy, I thought, "What the xxxx, I can't stand its inability to avoid accidents!" Too bad the similar-structure Mazda3 is nearly as bad. So I decided to get an old-design '05 Focus I ST, which has the most steering feel & has a fun-to-drift controllable oversteer built in. Too bad the ESP(AdvanceTrak) was discontinued after '03 in America.
  • calhoncalhon Posts: 87
    You may be right on the design of the safety cage. I believe I saw a statement from Volvo saying in effect that Ford Corporate agreed that the other divisions would not be allowed to appropriate Volvo's brand identity, i.e safety know-how.

     

    I don't dispute the overall IIHS side impact ratings. I was speaking specifically to the structure/safety cage rating, which is one of three components used to generate the overall result - the other two being head protection and injury measures.

     

    S40: http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/side/s0416.htm

    Accord: http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/side/s0319.htm

    TL: http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/side/s0410.htm

    S40 Intrusion: http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/details/midmod_side.h- tm

    TL Intrusion: http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/details/midlux_side.h- tm
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    audia8q, "Mazda3 Sedan" #7915, 18 Dec 2004 11:04 am

     

    It probably doesn't matter, as long as the S40 w/ base suspension got the best ride comfort.
  • calhoncalhon Posts: 87
    That's great! The S40 earned the same distinction, i.e., "Best Pick" frontal, some time ago. It has the best frontal crash test scores of the Midsize Moderately Priced Cars tested by the IIHS.

     

    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/0414.htm
  • Hi Everyone,

     

    I'm considering buying the S60 T5 AWD with the 6-Speed manual transmission.

     

    But I've had mixed reviews on this.. the firs thing i see is complaints about the gearbox: Too rubbery, linkage between 4&5&6 is poor.. etc..

     

    Does anyone own this car? Can anyone offer any insight?

     

    Thanx-

    Derek
  • I've only driven the T5 auto, which I l-o-v-e, love.

     

    How can anyone tell you if a shifter feels good? Go drive it yourself!
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    If it helps, I drove and while slightly rubbery, it had a real positive action to it. Overall, I'd give it an 8/10. Put it to you this way, it shouldn't be the reason why you do not buy the car.
  • Did you drive a FWD or AWD version? If FWD, how was the torque steer? Also, how did the clutch engagement feel?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    I think its the best manual Volvo has ever offered.

    Its not as good as the Miata or NSX gearboxes, but its not bad.

    The throws are short, a little rubbery maybe.

    Clutch takeup is good, much better than my S60R.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "If FWD, how was the torque steer? Also, how did the clutch engagement feel?"

     

    My test drive of the FWD T5 6-sp in the Volvo's invitation event did not show any obvious torque steer. In other words, it shouldn't bother you.

     

    But even w/o turbo lag, the turbo's boost-build-up time still delays. So, during acceleration, by the time the boost really comes on, it's already around 3000 rpm, which is when I usually up shift to the next gear. If you want the claimed max-torque to be available @ 1500 rpm, then you have to lug the engine at that rpm & wait, such as when climbing a hill.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    So you might as well get the 5-sp auto than the 6-sp manual? Stupid turbo!

     

    "With all four wheels engaged, our test car hits 60 in 7.9 seconds, only a second slower than the manual S40 T5 we tested earlier."

     

    7.9 seconds? That's about as quick as the '05 Focus ST 2.3 5-sp manual.

     

    "The all-wheel-drive system also aids traction in dry cornering, yet overall induces less push than expected."

     

    Less push? You can enjoy less push simply by getting the light-weight FWD Focus ST w/ std SVT sway bars & shocks. Sorry, I sound so...'cause I don't need AWD in S California.

     

    "We're less happy with the somewhat slow and vague electro-hydraulic steering. It needs work."

     

    Might as well go back to the old school of Focus I ST w/ pure hydraulic & no subframe for max direct-feeling steering!

     

    "But overall the V50 is a great handling sport wagon that can also test driver skills, so we recommend the optional stability control."

     

    Is that why the Focus I ST & SVT w/o a vague steering are not available w/ stability control in America? You're gonna have to disable it in order to have fun drifting the controllable tail anyway.

     

    "The ride is European solid, but never harsh, and interior noise levels are low.

     

    EPA mileage estimates for the T5 AWD with automatic are 19 city/26 highway."

     

    W/ the regular fuel, the Focus ST manual can save enough gas $ to have a custom shop sound insulating the noise down to a decent level. & w/ the longer springs than the SVT, the ST can ride just fine, especially after I replace the 205/50 w/ 205/55 tires.

     

    http://www.mpt.org/motorweek/reviews/rt2416.shtml
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    You seem to be quite taken by the Focus.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    base on the narrow rear visibility alone! ;-) Even the rear-glass-width of the Focus I sedan is only barely tolerable for lane-change/passing visibility.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I remember when i could only afford a junky saturn, i had a chance to drive a friend's kick-butt vr6 jetta, and thereafter i spent a lot of time rationalizing ways in which my saturn was better/faster/etc.

     

    Eventually i decided that it made more sense to just save for a 3-series.

     

    Next: s40 t5 awd/a4 2.0TQ/2006 3-series

     

    waiting to try the last 2

     

    dave
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    & even the VR6 Jetta sucks, eventhough it's still much better than a bumpy & noisy Saturn. Just see how p48 04/99 C&D described the VR6 Jetta 5-sp in the comparison test & ranked it dead last. I found its ride sometimes too lumpy & sometime too floaty. The steering feel at the limit is poor, & now VW has to switch it to the Focus-type rear suspension by hiring the Focus engineers to do it.

     

    First, it was the E46 3-series that lost the old E36's high level of steering feel & the very involving handling, even w/ the uncomfortable sport suspension. & I'm not too comfortable getting an used E36 due to the repair cost & the lack of DSC stability control on a RWD car discourages me to explore the handling limit in the wet, so therefore no fun!

     

    So I thought I might as well get the '05 updated $43k C320 Sport sedan, which I CAN afford, by the way. It turned out that the feeling, especially thru the steering, is even more insulated than the already so-so E46 Beemer. So I wasn't having much fun w/ this highly-capable but rather-boring-to-operate vehicle, but I considered buying it anyway 'cause the color -- white w/ blue glass over the grey interior -- is what I like, & modern cars rarely come w/ rear visibility this wide. Then I decided that I still want a stick & should order one instead. & then I hated the salesman 'cause he persuaded me to buy that automatic car & lied to me that the charcoal filter was already included as std feature. It wasn't for '05, & won't be available as an option for months, according to the brochure.

     

    Right after that test drive, I immediately tried out again the FWD S40 T5 w/o the uncomfortable sport suspension & found its weak-kneed front suspension performing poorly if I don't slow down over deep bumps such as speed bumps.

     

    That left me no choice but to get either the base RX-8 auto or the '05 Focus ST:

    creakid1, "Volvo S40" #998, 27 Nov 2004 2:31 pm

     

    The E46's clutch is tediously heavy & long travel, while the Focus's clutch is beautifully light! & as far as how good dynamically the Focus is comparing to...

     

    (p46-51, 11 June 2003 AUTOCAR)

    Group Test: Alfa 147 2.0 vs Audi A3 2.0 FSI vs BMW 318ti SE(w/ std sport suspension) vs Mercedes C180K S Coupe

     

    "Individually none is bad, but the general (in)competence level has shocked me because even the best car here doesn't come close to the basic dynamic standards set by the four-and-a-half-year-old Focus Focus. And for the money being asked that's criminal.

      But is that valid criticism? You bet it is."

     

    "How you rate the BMW Compact depends entirely on how highly crisp styling rates on your prestige-check list. To me (accepting, as we now must, that a Ford is dynamically superior to them all) it's right at the top of the list;..."

     

    The '05 Focus ST sedan, w/ 2.3 Mazda-developed 4-cyl & std SVT swaybars & shocks, is no ordinary American-spec Focus, & even the non-ST '05 Focus is so well honed & tuned now:

     

    durability05, "Ford Focus vs. Mazda3" #154, 14 Dec 2004 11:05 pm

    “…I bought a brand new 05 ZX4 automatic and

    this car is like comfortable sport clothes. Driving the big SUV's is like wearing a suit. My old commuter car the Honda Accord it replaced felt like ill fitting clothes. The 05 ZX4 is much improved over a 2000 Focus I owned 4 years ago, which was about average.”
  • This is geting tiresome. If you didn't end up buying the S40, why are you still posting here?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Here's what I don't get.

    Anyone who can afford a bimmer or Benz or Volvo usually buys in the class.

    This is the first time in my almost 15 yrs experience in the car business where someone shopped in the luxury market and bought an econobox.

    I'm sure the Focus is a nice enough car, but better than a bimmer or benz?
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    Hey...it's a FORD
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    It's not a stupid American Ford, but an ingenious German-engineered one! I got offended when a senior-citizen old lady told me that my car is good 'cause she used to have a Ford...Uhhh!

     

    & there's almost no reason getting this new S40/V50 @ this price over the other Volvo's if it wasn't for the Focus II suspension & steering rack. Why not just get an S60 or last year's S40/V40?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Here's what I don't get.

    Anyone who can afford a bimmer or Benz or Volvo usually buys in the class.

    This is the first time in my almost 15 yrs experience in the car business where someone shopped in the luxury market and bought an econobox.

    I'm sure the Focus is a nice enough car, but better than a bimmer or benz?"

     

    It's such a "delicious toy", I swear! I know I know, no charcoal filter & no silent fwy cruising, but that's about it! It feels great speeding when cops don't even notice me w/ the blue-oval badge! The only thing I still envy from others is how the old Peugeot's & the C-class w/o sport suspension travel over speed bumps. But the Focus-suspension S40/V50 can't do that, either, & only the driving position leaves me "drooling". That's why I still constantly recommend people to consider the new S40/V50, especially the wagon people, who have to sacrifice the wide rear visibility anyway.

     

    By the way, my next "delicious toy" that still rides comfortably is the next LSD-equipped Miata w/ folding metal top & an RX-8-like suspension.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I was thinking of getting a porsche 911 turbo, until i realized the sun blocking tint on top of the window was 5% too transparent. So i stayed with my 10 year old v6 mustang.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Your not cross shopping though.

    Cross shopping is S40 vs TSX.Its Rolex vs Breitling.

    What your doing is comparing Walmart and Nordstroms.

    You can always make the argument that cheaper is better, since its cheaper.

    Again, I defy anyone to say w/ a straight face that the Focus is better than or equal to a benz, bimmer, Volvo, Audi, Saab, Acura, or even a Subaru. Its just cheaper.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Again, I defy anyone to say w/ a straight face that the Focus is better than or equal to a benz, bimmer, Volvo, Audi, Saab, Acura, or even a Subaru. Its just cheaper."

     
    Anyone?

     

    Again...

    creakid1, "Volvo S40" #1033, 28 Dec 2004 3:23 am

    (p46-51, 11 June 2003 AUTOCAR)

    Group Test: Alfa 147 2.0 vs Audi A3 2.0 FSI vs BMW 318ti SE(w/ std sport suspension) vs Mercedes C180K S Coupe

      

    "Individually none is bad, but the general (in)competence level has shocked me because even the best car here doesn't come close to the basic dynamic standards set by the four-and-a-half-year-old Focus Focus. And for the money being asked that's criminal.

      But is that valid criticism? You bet it is."

      

    "How you rate the BMW Compact depends entirely on how highly crisp styling rates on your prestige-check list. To me (accepting, as we now must, that a Ford is dynamically superior to them all) it's right at the top of the list;..."

     

    So, dynamically, the Focus does trump them all, unless, of course, you don't care about the dynamics, especially in crowded traffic jams.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Okay, creakid1, we get the idea about your preferences and your choice - let's let this discussion get back on track. Enjoy your new ride.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,810
    Group Test: Alfa 147 2.0 vs Audi A3 2.0 FSI vs BMW 318ti SE(w/ std sport suspension) vs Mercedes C180K S Coupe

     

    But none of these vehicles are available in the US and we don't know if any of them, including the Euro market Focus referenced, are even set up the same as the NA versions.
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