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Volvo S40

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  • let me start by saying I am a CCB (Chronic Car Buyer) and let go of a fully operational BMW318ti to downsize my potential risk by getting a new Hyundai Elantra (GT Hatch 5-spd) with a healthy warranty as I planned to go back for a master's degree.

    Well, it didn't happen. And now I am thinking that I would like to change cars. The biggest reason is that I get only "average" mileage from my GT. While many are seeing 32+ mpg, I am lucky to top 27mpg on a tank and likely to be averaging around 25.5 or so. Now that is a good mix of city and stop-n-go highway driving...but come on, my old Honda Civic HX was always good for 35mpg min and 40mpg or so on mostly highway trips. If I am going to net only 25 mpg, I should at least have some power to get around all them pesky SUVs. :)

    So, I am looking at a wide range of cars, from purely practical replacements in frugality (Civic HX, Jetta TDI) to replacements in upgraded luxury and power (Accord V6 Hybrid, S40 T5, 9-2X Aero, Legacy GT, Audi A3 and more) to extreme replacements (Mustang Convert, Pontiac Solstice, used Mercedes SLK, used Saab 9-3 Convert, etc)...

    You could say that I am all over the map and you would be right. In the end, the better choice for me will have to be the best mix of performance, economy, safety and image that I am happy with.

    That likely rules out the Civic, but might keep the Jetta in...might rule out the SLK, but keep the Solstice in...

    My perfect choice would be a S40 T5 at around $20k...no brainer for sure...but that ain't reality...so I have to think real hard about the opportunity costs of overspending my car budget for the "image" rides on my list.

    As it is, the Mazda 6 is a sweet car.

    But it will never be confused with an S40 by the average person on the street.

    Both have an instant image reaction. Volvo's styling and brand image carry some weight...as does Mazda's...Volvo is more upscale.

    In the end, YOU have to like what you drive. If that is the 6, good for you, you saved money and are still satisfied. For some, the opposite would be true...by "settling" for a 6, they would always regret not stepping up to the S40 for a few more bucks a month.

    I tend to regret more than I am satisfied, so I always am looking for ways to satisfy my champagne tastes on a beer budget.

    I think the S40 looks svelte and classy. Youthful but elegant. Solid, but sporting. I asked one lady who was driving a new one what she thought of her car and she laughed at me,
    "I don't like it, it has no guts and is too small."

    I was like, huh? Then she finished, "it is a loaner, I can't wait to get my S60 back."

    Oh well...to each their own. I am sure the S60 is nice, but a few sheckels out of my reach...anything that gets north of $25k is not likely to happen without a considerable stretch.

    Maybe I should just dump and get a Mini Cooper?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Do you really consider the Passat as the "direct competitor"? I don't see many comparisons between the two. Compared to the S40, the Passat doesn't provide sporty handling (except for the W8). Its suspension and rim/tire set seem to be intended for cruising; not for cornering. The Passat takes roominess and comfort to a higher level, while the S40 has a firmer, tighter suspension with steering feel almost like my '99 Miata. The rear seat of the S40 doesn't provide enough room for adults or older teenagers...I think we discussed this many months ago, and I still believe the TSX and the Audi 1.8T (soon to be 2.0T?) FWD cars are the closest direct competition."

    Even the std S40 T-5 got a relatively softly-tuned suspension. Have you driven an S40 w/ std suspension?

    The current Passat is available w/ sport suspension in Europe. The next Passat coming out next year got transversely-mounted-engine FWD w/ front struts & rear Control Blade 4-link suspension. This is the closest design next to the S40 in the price category. The S40 & the Mondeo-based Jaguar X-type's lack of rear seat room is a waste design done intentionally to protect the more expensive S60 & S-Type, respectively.

    The TSX's lack of AWD option & the Audi's very different design make them not similar to the S40.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "The only thing that is truly the same in S40, Mazda 3 and Focus II is some (not even all) of the framework sheet metal parts."

    & that's enough to cover 62% parts sharing w/ the Focus II? Remember, all the superficial visible parts are already disguised to look like different cars, so you can imagine how much inside are still the same. The excellent multi-adjustable manual passenger seat from the traditional Volvo’s can’t be adopted in this new S40, 'cause even the seat frames have to share w/ the Focus II/Mazda3.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Thinking that the S40 is just a fancy 3 or Focus is definately a far cry from reality.

    Sharing platforms doesn't equal same car."

    Then what does? The engine? The S40/V50 1.8 should be a Mazda developed Duratec 4-cyl, while the Volvo’s 2.5 5-cyl turbo…
    creakid1 "Ford Focus 2005 release date" Nov 1, 2004 3:08am
    Now, it's way more than 62% of parts sharing.

    If you compare a loaded Mazda 3S 2.3 w/ a stripped S40 2.4I w/ sport suspension, then you might wonder what’s the big difference b/t them. In fact, you might find the Mazda version more refined due to the way the engine revs.

    Some people believe that the Volvo 740 & 940 are not the same car. & they believe the 850 may be superior to the 740, but still inferior to the 940. LOL! If you check out the wagon versions of the 740 & 940, then you will believe they're as close as b/t the Bora(Jetta) wagon & the Golf wagon in Europe -- which is no difference!

    http://www.myfocus.com.tw/event/presale/flash.htm
    See any resemblence from this silouette?

    Wagon:
    http://www.cars.com/go/features/autoshows/imageDetailPopUp.jsp?im- - - - - - - - - g=ford_focus_wagon_side_mfr_430.jpg&autoshow=Paris&autosh- - - - - - owyear=2004&title=Ford%20of%20Europe%20Focus%20Wagon&sour- - - - - - ce=manufacturer%20photo&captionfile=ford_focus_wagon_side_mfr- - - - - - _430-caption.jsp

    http://www.cars.com/go/features/autoshows/imageDetailPopUp.jsp?im- g=ford_focus_wagon_rearangle_mfr_430.jpg&autoshow=Paris&a- utoshowyear=2004&title=Ford of Europe Focus Wagon&source=manufacturer photo&captionfile=ford_focus_wagon_rearangle_mfr_430-caption.- jsp

    When the suspension & steering are from the Focus II, these C-1 cars are pretty similar dynamically, despite slightly different tuning variation. Just choose b/t the std model or the sport model.

    Once again, unless you crash the car real hard, the Volvo version’s unique 4-stage steel firmness won’t show. & w/ the sophisticated Focus-tuned un-intrusive ESP/DSTC stability control, drivers are not likely to turn it off. So you are 7 to 8 times to less likely to crash than cars w/o the stability control anyway:
     creakid1 "Mazda3 Sedan" Oct 12, 2003 5:05pm

    & w/ the N.A-market S40/V50 lacks the charcoal filter, this Volvo is only about as luxurious as the Focus II, which has Blue Tooth, swivel headlights…

    I got to tell ya, after the FWD S40 T-5 w/ std suspension “failed” my speed-bump test recently, I know it’s not up there w/ the premium Germans like the std 325i & C-class, both of which got a less-than-$30k starting price.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Just a couple of corrections,

    The 740 and 940 are essentially the same car, the 940 was just a bit bigger.

    The new S40 DOES have the charcoal filter.

    The Mazda lacks the Volvo's stronger chassis.
    There are also warranty differences, free maintenance, free loaners, a better dealer body etc w/ Volvo
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    All right! What a relieve! I can't stand a car w/o charcoal filter or DSTC/ESP stability control. I don't want leather, & even willing to sacrifice the moonroof in order to sit high. & that alone should save me more than enough $ for these 2 "little things" I've been asking for. ;-)

    You sure the filter is not just the electrostatic ionizer pollen filter, right?

    The scary thing is that, eventhough the A4 & Passat are basically the same car w/ different wheelbase, the A4 got charcoal filter while the Passat doesn't!
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    "Even the std S40 T-5 got a relatively softly-tuned suspension. Have you driven an S40 w/ std suspension?"

    Yes. In fact, I drive one almost every day now. I've owned a variety of upscale German sport sedans, including the E46 3-series with sport suspension. This standard S40's cornering, handling, and steering do not disappoint.

    If the Passat 2.8 had been readily available in the US with a sport suspension, I would have given it more consideration. I haven't driven one in a few years, but I seem to remember its suspension being softer than, say, a Mazda 6, but firmer than a Camry LE.

    "The S40 & the Mondeo-based Jaguar X-type's lack of rear seat room is a waste design done intentionally to protect the more expensive S60 & S-Type, respectively."

    Not true for Volvo. I had sales brochures for both the S40 and S60. I closely compared their interior dimensions. The S40's rear seat was listed as having more leg room and more head room than the S60's rear seat. Have you ever tried to sit in the back seat of an S60?

    "The TSX's lack of AWD option & the Audi's very different design make them not similar to the S40."

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't think most potential customers will see enough of a design differential to preclude cross-shopping the S40 with the A4 1.8T. If I hadn't recently owned an A4, I definitely would have cross-shopped it. As for the TSX, I think it will be a strong competitor here in the south, where most S40's sold will be FWD models.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    “"The S40 & the Mondeo-based Jaguar X-type's lack of rear seat room is a waste design done intentionally to protect the more expensive S60 & S-Type, respectively."

    Not true for Volvo. I had sales brochures for both the S40 and S60. I closely compared their interior dimensions. The S40's rear seat was listed as having more leg room and more head room than the S60's rear seat. Have you ever tried to sit in the back seat of an S60?”

    Yes, it seems that the S60 got a tad more leg room on one side, but less on the other side. I forgot was it right or left. Still, that's a sign of trying not to steal too much sales from the S60.

    Because, in order for the N.A.-spec S40 to match the Mazda3's more decent passenger-side rear leg room, you have to get the T-5 premium so you can tilt up the front passenger seat's thigh support. The Mazda3 can easily achieve this leg room w/o the front-seat cushion tilt's help. & the Focus II is probably even roomier still, while all 3 of these C-1 cars share the same wheelbase!

    I've seen the current Mondeo in foreign countries, & had a chance to ride in one. You're not gonna believe this same platform as the Jaguar X-Type, but w/ just slightly longer wheelbase, can provide so much leg room that my 5'11" frame fits in the front passenger seat even w/ the seat moved all the way forward -- just like the good old honest Volvo 240! & the Jag X-Type's rear leg room is a joke.

    Also, I highly suspect that I will need the slightly longer springs & firmer shocks/swaybars on the AWD, as the FWD's std suspension runs out of the front-spring travel too easily if I don't slow down a lot over the speed bumps. That's why I find the S40's std tuning too soft for its Focus-like not-so-long front springs.
  • klbrmbklbrmb Posts: 45
    I am looking into purchasing the new S40. I know Volvo has had some reliability issues in past models but has anyone heard how the current years are?

    Thanks.
  • Yes, the filter is an activated charcoal filter.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/?long_term_test/long_term_test_story- - .php?id=51471

    "In fact, our only gripes were the lack of an off-clutch rest in the narrow footwell..."

    This is most likely a right-hand-drive UK model, so...
  • fitguyfitguy Posts: 222
    I certainly wasn't "bashing" anyone for spending more- what anyone does with their hard-earned money is their business. The point is simple: there is a car that drives better, has more power, and should be more reliable than the S40 for less money. Period. Volvo's are great cars; I wouldn't have considered one otherwise. If you have 96K troublefree miles that is awesome and I'm happy for you- however, you are outside the norm of Volvo owners. A good friend has owned 9 Volvo's spanning many years, several neighbors have them, and they simply are not as reliable as Japanese cars. Yet they love them and would own nothing else. And to say repairs on a Volvo aren't expensive is rediculous- they gouge customers on parts pricing just like the German manufacturers. Stepping up from the economy class?- if we were talking the S60, yes, that's a step up. I don't feel the S40 is "Entry Level Luxury" at all; it's meant to draw people that would buy a Pasaat, TSX, or top-end Honda/Toyota and it certainly will draw some- does the Volvo nameplate have more prestige- probably, but there are a lot of buyers who could care less, me included.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Stepping up from the economy class?- if we were talking the S60, yes, that's a step up. I don't feel the S40 is "Entry Level Luxury" at all;"

    S60? I'm not sure, at least the wagon - XC70 - rides like pain in the butt, literally. I doubt the S60 is really a comfier car than the new S40 T5, except the adjustment range of the std manual front passenger seat.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    so what should I get?

    S40 T-5? TSX? 325i?

    They all have advantage over Mazda3's road noise, but how about the relatively abrupt ride? The S40 sport & TSX also have a similar problem, & the TSX also got an un-informative steering that never changes the weight to show the amount of tire grip.

    If I'm spending more $, then I expect no compromise -- better ride AND handling. & only the lack of front-overhang nose-heaviness found in some RWD cars can achieve this.

    That leaves the 325i sedan(non-sport), but costly to own/repair.

    But I have one more minimum requirement I'm unwilling to compromise & none of the above cars got -- a wide rear-glass visibility for lane-change/passing ease & safety. Not having this feature is even more annoying than wide-turning circle & bulky exterior size! The C-class & S-Type got it, but the C-class's steering lacks road feel & forget about the Jag...

    You know what? The stripped non-sport automatic RX-8 w/ the mid-mount-light-weight rotary & the wrap-around rear glass is the solution, if you're willing to sacrifice fuel economy -- not a bad price to pay for a reliable Japanese car!

    That is, if I'm willing to give up stick for a car that handles like a dream even over bumpy curves & still rides like a limo! I don't think the S40 T5 non-sport can match.

    & huge discount's available, too! Only the low door armrest bothers me. ;-) But I'll stuff something there to raise it.

    S40 T5 vs RX-8 -- both cost more than the Mazda3, use more fuel & got more cramped back seat(leg room only, as the RX-8 trumps in rear head room for a notchback).
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    is stupid once you upgrade the FWD vehicle into AWD. So if you're getting an AWD car, then you might as well start from a short-front-overhang RWD car like the G35, 3-series & C-class. AWD Audi's layout of longitudinal-mounted engine over the front axle is especially stupid. No wonder it can only provide either ride or handling, but not both!
  • "S60? I'm not sure, at least the wagon - XC70 - rides like pain in the butt, literally. I doubt the S60 is really a comfier car than the new S40 T5, except the adjustment range of the std manual front passenger seat."

    Not only the range of the seat adjustment, but the seat shape and size, and also the quality of the leather covering the seats.

    Creak, I don't know what Volvos you are riding in or what type of tire pressure or worn shocks or suspension components they have had, but it is unfair to say that the XC70 rides like a pain in the butt. That's not true. Go to the Edmunds consumer comments on the XC70 and you'll find pretty consistent praise for the ride quality, and some of these people are coming from Mercedes and Lexus.

    I think all of the P2 cars ride well in their standard set ups. Whether it is the s60, v70, or xc70, they all ride well. The s80 is utterly superb, I may prefer it to the Mercedes E, I'd have to drive both back to back and for some time but I sure felt more bumps and motion in an E than I did in an s80 over the same roads (both 2002 models). Don't know about current E which I understand is a very comfortable riding car.

    The sports suspended Volvos, T5 and T6 with stiffer settings and low profile tires may ride rougher, and they are especially sensitive to tire pressure. Too much the car is rough, too little it is also rough but also poorly control. Right in the sweet range, then the cars ride properly. And well.

    Tire pressure makes a huge difference in quality of Volvo's ride, maybe more so than other makes.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "The s80 is utterly superb, I may prefer it to the Mercedes E, I'd have to drive both back to back and for some time but I sure felt more bumps and motion in an E than I did in an s80 over the same roads (both 2002 models)."

    If you think the AWD S80 rides well, oh well, you're std is probably pretty low. ;-) Maybe other more expensive S80 models do better, but that rental AWD S80 I sampled recently in Chicago got a significant worse ride from the back seat than the '02 AWD 325xi.

    The previous E-class, which already rides worse than the previous 5-series(per CR), might have some harshness or firmness not found in some Volvo's, I don't know. 'cause I only rode the E-class for more than a few minutes at low speeds. But the S80 does seem like it doesn't got the ultra-long suspension travel found in the typical Mercedes'. & this isn't something relatively superficial that tire pressure alone can justify.

    My recent exciting discovery about the RX-8 is that even w/ sport suspension & 18"s running at 3psi higher than the recommended 32psi, it filters out lane-divider Bots quite well! Now, that's som'in the sporty Germans can't do! I can't wait to test drive the RX-8 auto w/ 16"s & non-sport suspension & see if it'll be a pampering fwy cruiser. If it does, then I've found the answer. Too bad the comfy base model got no DSC stability control, & forget about asking for a charcoal filter on a Mazda.

    If you get to drive a car, such as what I did w/ the Mazda6, in both 6 & 4 cylinders forms side by side on a handling course, then you'll discover that heavier engine(read nose heaviness) suffers so much in handling even the addition of the uncomfortable plus-1 wheel/tire set up can't really compensate.

    High center of gravity also hurts. Making an Echo into an xB "SUV" may still be able to handle pretty well, but rides horribly.

    The flat-stance RX-8, w/ no overhang-weight front or back, doesn't just pamper you in ride & seating comfort, there's also nothing else dynamically it can't excel. Now, we have a serious challenger to the little sporty S40 T-5 as well as the 325.
  • " Maybe other more expensive S80 models do better, but that rental AWD S80 I sampled recently in Chicago got a significant worse ride from the back seat than the '02 AWD 325xi."

    Rental car. That's one of the problems. The other problem is you only tried one s80. I remember riding in 2 s90s. One had a very comfortable, forgiving ride, barely noticing road irregularities, the other, same age and mileage rode like it had wooden tires, nastily snapped over uneven pavements, and every bump, ripple, and especially manhole cover was an unpleasant adventure. 2 Volvos of the same vintage can yield different rides depending on just how carefully maintained they are, and perhaps, when they came out of the factory.

    Here's how I'd characterize the s80. A car of harmony. There's muffled impact harshness from the tires, almost no wallow or float, excellent body control both vertical and lateral and what movements there are are fluid and slow. There are some s80s that have had suspension problems, some have bad bushings, and that can result in very annoyed, unhappy owners who test drove cars that road superbly only to have their s80s ride with poor composure.

    I think the suspension travel is pretty long on the p2 cars. I don't know if it is quite as long as Mercedes or BMWs, but there's a unique, almost zen-like quality to the Volvo, especially s80, that's not part of the German cars, which give a more on-rails type of experience, and a more heavily damped feel to the ride motions.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Sounds really nice. I believe ya!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,440
    I'm really not outside the norm of volvo owners. If you care to, try searching out and spending time on dedicated volvo owner boards like swedespeed and volvospeed. You'll find many many happy owners. Sure, you'll find problems, too, don't get me wrong. But that goes the same for EVERY manufacturer, regardless of country. Try telling an Acura or Honda owner on their 3rd transmission how their car is more reliable than a Volvo. Or try that with one of the 626 owners I mentioned earlier. If you seek out those who have had problems with a particular make or model, you'll find them.

    On to the repairs/parts issue. Let me first qualify this with a couple of details: I have worked as a mechanic through all of high school and college, plus i have owned and done all the repairs and maintenance on most major manufacturer's vehicles. The cost of the parts for most of my vehicles have been very similar across the board. NOW, as I said before, this comparison is done without dealer prices in mind. Dealers can charge whatever they want, so why go there unless absolutely necessary? Wegman's charges more than Shop Rite (both supermarkets for those who don't know) for the same goat cheese, so why would I choose to buy from Wegman's? So, anyway, I buy my parts online. Been doing so for years. My Volvo parts have cost no more than my Honda, which have cost no more than my Toyota, which have cost no more than my Mercedes, etc, etc. There is the occassional exception (like back in the day when I was able to get 4 new shocks for my Jeep for $100), but, 95% of the time, this holds true.

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

  • I don't have either the breadth of depth of experience of qbrozen, but I also have found that parts prices are very reasonable for european makes. There are always a few dealers willing to sell parts mail order for a discount off true list. BMW air filters for $12, oil filters for $7.50, front brake pad kit for $50, a new radiator for $275. These are all original parts, bought from a dealer. For a while BMW had the lowest price for synthetic oil ($3 per quart) anywhere. People were buying cases of the stuff.

    As always, you have to know where to shop.
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    I initially wanted to drive an AWD because I am sick of my 2002 S60 T5 and its horrendous torque steer ( I think I got an unusually potent T5!). So I tested a T5 FWD with T-Tec, 6spd and I think it was the basic suspension.

    My choices are:

    S40 AWD and a XC90 T6

    G35c and a XC90 T5

    Getting to the S40, I always liked the styling but in person, they look really small. Inside, though, it has generous headroom but feels very narrow compared to my S60.

    Clutch and shifter work well together, although I find the S40 a little rubbery but much shorter throws than my 5spd.

    This engine is much smoother than my T5. It sounds better and has less lag. Quite a bit less. With all that being said, I did find that it feels slower although on paper it shouldn't be. Now I don't know if this boils down to ratios. I go on the highway and at the top of 3rd, I am thinking where I would be in my car. Of course it would be different because my S60 has one less gear. It is confusing but it pulls very nicely on the highway and around town.

    I made a left turn from a stop and mashed it and the torque steer was moderate, compared to excessive in my car. It is a big inmprovement, big enough to maybe forego the AWD option. I am happy with DSTC and think it works better in the winter than AWD...so I may rethink the AWD option.

    Handling was much improved to the S60 (which has Sport Package and summer rubber) and the brakes were excellent. My only gripe with this car is the lack of space. I just feel tight in it. I think it will be something that over time I will get used to because the G35c is the same, but felt more spacious up front.

    All in all, I was impressed with the car and will continue to consider it. Getting back into my S60, though, I really appreciated the extra space, refinement and comfort over the S40.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Don't forget the rotary engines penchant for using and losing alot of oil!

    Also, you can get people into the back of the Volvo, bimmer and Acura. I don't know how prwctical the RX-8 is as an everyday sedan.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    for the RX-8 is still not alot of $.

    "Also, you can get people into the back of the Volvo, bimmer and Acura. I don't know how prwctical the RX-8 is as an everyday sedan."

    RX-8's rear-seat room is ok, but people will hate it unless they got their eyes closed. 'cause the side peripheral vision is blocked by the wide pillars, & the front high-back seats totally wiped out your forward vision -- enough to ruin your mood!
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    "With all that being said, I did find that it feels slower although on paper it shouldn't be."

    My experience has been that most automobiles exhibit better acceleration after the engine has several thousand miles on it. In fact, I have been very impressed with how my wife's RX330 SUV has "opened up" after 12K-15K miles. This might partially explain why your S40 test drive seemed a little slower than your current S60.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    I had thought you had worked out a lease on a 325i several months ago and had ordered one from the factory? Or was I reading incorrectly?

    Having owned two different 3-series, including the current E46 platform (a '99 328i), I do agree they are the no-compromise solution for the small sport sedan category. (Note that I am not quite as concerned with having an extra wide rear glass window, as I am always checking my side mirror views.) I know you prefer the non-sport suspension with 16" tires, but the 325i's sport suspension (with 17" rims) still provides a reasonable degree of compliance and comfort, while providing a heavier, more solid feel. Road joints are handled very well.

    Anyway, I see two concerns when comparing a well-equipped 325i to the competition -- one significant, and the other perhaps insignificant.

    The primary issue is the initial cost. Cost is the reason I have an S40 right now, because I determined my new daily commute does not require a "no-compromise" performer at the additional $8K expense.
    (I estimate $8K because I have a 2.4i model.)

    A secondary issue is the news I have read/heard from several sources indicating that all 325i sedans with standard transmissions are assembled in South Africa instead of Germany. At least, that is true for deliveries to our region of the U.S., based on my sources last spring.

    Depending on how long you plan to own your 325i, I wouldn't worry too much about ownership and repair costs. If you follow the recommended maintenance schedule, your only costs for the first 4yr/50K miles will be new tires. All other maintenance seems to be free, including wear-n-tear items, such as brakes, belts, etc. Personally, I typically performed a non-scheduled oil service between the scheduled services, because 15,000 miles (or 12 months) seems too long between oil changes. (I'm old fashioned that way!)

    Regarding the S40, I wanted to get back to you one last time regarding your comments on the standard non-height-adjustable passenger seat. As an experiment, I sat in the rear seat of my S40 2.4i yesterday wearing my size-11 hiking boots. I had no trouble sliding my feet under the passenger seat! The S40 provides plenty of room under the rear half of the front seats! Trust me.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...I'll just briefly mention that no one I know in the BMW community, including BMWCCA, has anything negative to say about the South African 3ers. Quality seems to be as high as anything being produced in the German plants - since the components are mostly coming from the EU, that isn't exactly a shock.

    Not much different from a Swedish-brand car being assembled in Belgium?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    in the S African-built 325i as well as some of the German-built coupes.

    The SULEV clean-emission vehicle, which is not available in stick, only comes in German built. But you can still order a German-built stick 325i if you request. At least all 325i's sold through European delivery are German built.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "I had thought you had worked out a lease on a 325i several months ago and had ordered one from the factory? Or was I reading incorrectly?"

    Thanks to the high resale value not too far off from the Mini Cooper despite not being Japanese-reliable, we could barely bare with that "3-yr rental". But that's still $15k for only 30k miles of driving. So I don't get the turn to drive it much at all! Keeping each new car for only 3-yr/30k mi is costly.

    Some occasional unstable idle speed happened in our 325i already, but the S40 T-5 is even worse -- it happened badly right after my most recent test drive. Anyway, we ended up getting an '04 RX-8 automatic just days ago. Since only the ones w/ sport suspension(& 18" rims) can be equipped w/ the DSC stability control, we picked a loaded one w/ Xenon & Bose stereo @ $7k off MSRP!

    "(Note that I am not quite as concerned with having an extra wide rear glass window, as I am always checking my side mirror views.)"

    The right-side mirror is convexed, & therefore not so accurate for judging the vehicle-speed change & the absolute distance. A wide rear glass only a few inches more to the right can include one more vehicle in your right lane near you!

    "I know you prefer the non-sport suspension with 16" tires, but the 325i's sport suspension (with 17" rims) still provides a reasonable degree of compliance and comfort, while providing a heavier, more solid feel. Road joints are handled very well."

    I rode in the back seat of the '02 325ci coupe, which has the lowered sport suspension std, w/ only the 16" wheels, & the ride was already uncomfortable enough!

    "Regarding the S40, I wanted to get back to you one last time regarding your comments on the standard non-height-adjustable passenger seat. As an experiment, I sat in the rear seat of my S40 2.4i yesterday wearing my size-11 hiking boots. I had no trouble sliding my feet under the passenger seat! The S40 provides plenty of room under the rear half of the front seats! Trust me."

    There's no doubt the Scandinavian S40 can allow snow boots to be slipped under the front seats from behind. & neither was I complaining about the rear knee room. It is when I try to stretch my legs forward(as sedans are suppose to provide?), I found both the Mazda3 & the Focus I roomier. Only the RX-8 got less rear leg room than the S40.

    By the way, the new Japanese-built rotary RX-8 is not reliable per CR, at least for now, so therefore comparable to the S40 T5. ;-)
  • fitguyfitguy Posts: 222
    I guess, again, the point is: majority of owners experiences. You seem to dwell on the two major Japanese failure issues, which were bad for those involved, but again they were a minority. I put over 350,000 miles on my 3 Accords and had 2 problems: a dirty carburetor on the '81 and faulty ac condensor on the '87; 0 problems on the '03. No electrical problems, no brake problems. And they were cheap to fix- at the dealer. My experiences are NOT unusual. And I, too, worked as a mechanic for a few years just out of high school (when dinosaurs still roamed) but as life got more complex and cars got extremely complex, even folks with mechanical aptitude just don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to diagnose problems, especially electrical or computer-control system, nor do they have the neccesary testing instruments or want to purchase them. So, searching for cheaper parts on-line and fixing a car yourself is irrelevant to the majority of later-model car owners- they just want overall reliabilty and to be able to get problems that do occur fixed quickly (ask any VW owner who has waited 5 days for a repair completion while driving a crappy Enterprise rental- I've been there). I'm sure the Volvo owner boards are chock-full of happy loyalists and rightly so- they're good cars. Even the VW boards have many fans, and IMO they are not good cars, just fun to drive. But- bulletproof Volvo reliability (esp. later models) for 96K miles and an owner who does all his own service is, most definitely, "outside the norm". Anyone else care to comment on this??
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