Last post on Jul 01, 2011 at 7:51 AM
You are in the Volvo S40
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Volvo S40, Sedan
#830 of 1807 What's missing from the new S40?
Aug 06, 2004 (8:06 am)
OK, so we visit the Volvo dealer, we have the full pricing sheet and option sheet -- we configure a new S40 T5 AWD and it comes to (full MSRP) a hair over $40,000 (this baby was loaded).
So next we get to some nitty gritty details, since the price sheet says Standard Equipment as in lower models, plus. . . .
Here is what is "missing" and these are, from our perspective "fatal, deal-killing, oversights."
From the ridiculous to the sublime:
1. No sat radio
2. No blue-tooth
3. No in-car phone prep or option
4. No Volvo On*Call (their version of On*Star)
Before you say "wah!" Before you roll your eyes and look at me like I've got six heads, let's examine these "inexpensive" (for the manufacturer) features.
#1 Sat radio -- virtually every car in "this class" offers this technology. Many cars offer it that are well below the Volvo's class and intended customer base. And puzzling as Volvo brags about an umpteen speaker Dolby Pro-logic sound system -- sat radio is becoming an "assumed" feature (standard or optional, I'll grant, but assumed nevertheless).
#2 & #3 Blue-tooth &/or "cell phone" prep. I'm lumping these together for several reasons. Here's the killer reason -- lawyers and lawmakers. Don't kill the messenger, but within 18 months (mark my words, mark your calendars) there will be bills and individual state laws "put into effect" that will fine drivers who are caught using a "non-hands-free" and possibly "non-hand-and-eyes-free" in car phone. Some states have already passed such laws. The way around this is technically elegant -- or it can be. First you can now acquire for low or no cost blue tooth capable phones, when you are talking on them outside of your car, you hold them and use them in the way we've all grown accustomed to; then, when you get into your blue tooth car, the phone and its controls are automatically transferred to the sound system and buttons on the steering wheel and sometimes even voice activiation goes with the territory.
A cool toy to be sure -- a big fine if you're caught using the phone while driving in the "conventional way" -- you may cry "big brotherism" you may moan and complain -- just take it from me, Repulican or Democrat or Eye of Newt Party, this law is coming and don't shoot me, I'm just the piano player.
How could you sell a car in 2005 that has DVD navigation, smart key, 13 speaker Dolby Surround etc etc etc -- and overlook this [love it or hate it] looming safety regulation (especially when you're Volvo?) Fatal flaw, sales wise, in the long run.
#4 No "On*Call" -- this, frankly, is much more personal; you may hate the notion of "On*Star" or you may think it is a waste of $16.95 per month. Well, Senator, I knew Jack Kennedy, he was a friend of mine, and you're no. . .you know the rest. Having lived with On*star and it's features, such as Virtual Advisor and voice activated hand and eyes free phone integration "dial 555-1212" -- I can tell you this is another one of those things that, like Sat Nav, morphs from cool toy to valuable feature to safety feature. And, if you use your car for business, you can forward your email to your car and the darn thing figures out how to read your text email to you while you're driving.
You may argue the "need" for such features (1 - 4 above). You should evaluate them, however, in the context of competitive advantage and/or disadvantage. Having them may NOT provide any advantage -- But, NOT HAVING THEM will provide a disadvantage that will be difficult (in this price class) for many potential customers to overlook.
Even VW's have On*star available for Pete's sake as do low end Chebbies!
The real killer, however, is that lack of blue-tooth or cell phone prep. When you drive in our medium sized city [Cincinnati] and see more people ON the phone while driving than NOT, you can bet the legislature will soon be putting the kibosh on THAT! Hate to buy a $40K car and then have to after-market-rig a way around that!
Until they "fix" this thing, take the S40 off [your] shopping list, it's already in minute 16.
#831 of 1807 Re: What's missing from the new S40? [markcincinnati]
Aug 06, 2004 (9:59 am)
Sat Radio - nice to have but the vast majority of people are not going to pay for the service.
Blue Tooth - nice feature but I think you're over reaching on the legislation issue. AFAIK, 2 states (NY and NJ) and one county in Ohio have passed a hands free law. Heck, even here in MA the legislature failed to approve a hands free requirement just last week. Further, meeting the law in most cases can be met by using an ear bud or head piece. Lastly, the only vehicle offered now with bluetooth compatability that I know is the Acura TL, so if it's so important almost everybody is behind the curve.
On-Star - again I think few people are willing to pony up the subscription fee. On-Star is optional on most GM cars bacause GM owns On-Star. Outside the GM family only VW/Audi are really offering it. It's available in the current RL which is on it's out and Subaru isn't offering it anymore.
We all have our own opinions but to rip into a vehicle because it's not perfect in your eyes is a bit harsh.
If it makes you feel any better the S40 is available in Europe with the intergrated phone - http://www.volvocars.co.uk/Showroom/newS40/Specifications/Feature- s/ - click on instrumentation under interior. Perhaps focus groups here in the US nixed that feature.
Aug 06, 2004 (10:20 am)
The number of competitors to this car when you get an MSRP in the $40k range is just staggering. I simply cannot imagine spending this kind of money for any S40/V50. To each his own...and never mind the missing "features", none of which I would care about...
Aug 06, 2004 (10:28 am)
One last thing - how did you get it over $40K? With every box checked for the S40 T5 AWD, it doesn't crack $37K here in Boston. Not a good value at $37K either IMHO.
Aug 06, 2004 (10:37 am)
The S40 T5 AWD -- at this moment -- is THE bargain in the range/class that it presumes (and really is) to be in.
My comments, were not meant to be a rip - and I am aware that the cell phone / hands free facility is available elsewhere (for despite the incredulity I may have elicited, Europe will soon be "hands free" mandated -- and we'll see how far along we are here in NA in 18 months).
The S40 T5 AWD $40K list compares (and content-wise surpasses) favorably with the Audi A4 3.0 and the 3 Series Bimmers. And, when all tarted up like this S40 would be at this price, these competitors cost more, several thousands of dollars more. Perhaps if you thought the VW Passat V6 w/4Motion could be a contender (but the Vee Dub cannot be had with sat nav, e.g.) $32K, well you would be right, the S40 is over priced. But this little dude is a fairly high performance European sport sedan with AWD and a 6speed manual transmission and (minus my gripes previously stated) "nearly all the toys" one has come to expect in this price range.
And, while I certainly agree with the "to each his own" philosophy, I would wonder out loud if you have had these features that I am "on" about -- or better said, how do you know you would not care about them?
Finally, since Volvo offers phone prep and On*Call elsewhere and on other models, at least understand my suggestion that most of us who buy cars between $35K and $75K have come to expect certain "available" features (standard or extra cost).
"What once were vices are now virtues. . ." as the song goes.
Aug 06, 2004 (10:45 am)
I did not even check every option box on the price sheet and the number, as I recall was $40,165. I think that there was a paint option for $400 bucks that I didn't select, since we were just looking at black -- we did, however, check laminated glass, ground effects, sat nav and every package and upgrade available except metallic paint and gun rack or some other silly thing that was on the "individual option" sheet. Sorry, I left the price guide in my coat pocket, if I remember, I'll post the config and the MSRP's (BTW there was offered a decent discount off MSRP -- but the lack of phone prep was too serious an omission to allow the car, no matter what the price, to remain on the list.) The dealer thinks the "oversights" mentioned previously will be addressed, especially sat radio (very popular) and the phone prep.
FWIW, the dealer said most who get On*Call don't renew -- I am a fan of On*Star, so color me in the minority.
#836 of 1807 Re: What's missing from the new S40? [robr2]
Aug 06, 2004 (10:52 am)
"Lastly, the only vehicle offered now with bluetooth compatability that I know is the Acura TL..."
That's the whole point. The S40 is smaller than the TSX, yet cost no less than the TL when equipped liked the TSX.
The TSX is only a $27k($29k w/ navigation) car, so Volvo's removal of auto-recirculate charcoal filter for the N.A. S40 is unacceptable. That's why neither the 3-series nor the C-class(today) would dare not to include this feature std.
The main reason this new Volvo excels is because it utilizes the German-designed suspension & steering from the Focus II. Other than that, Volvo is behind in technology. Our '86 top-of-the-line Volvo 760 was so primitive that the turbo compressor wasn't even water cooled, the rear suspension wasn't independent, the climate control didn't even come w/ a recirculate feature, & the right outside mirror didn't have a convexed lens. Volvo eventually corrected them years later.
I don't mind paying for one XM radio subscription. But I need to take it from one car to another, 'cause I drive multiple number of cars.
#837 of 1807 Re: mark [markcincinnati]
Aug 06, 2004 (11:01 am)
Mark - on volvocars.us I checked off every option including the metallic paint and it came out to $36,865 for a Cincinatti zip code - same MSRP price as in Boston. Did your dealer toss on a bunch of add ons??
Since I'm looking at a lower priced version of the V50, I'm not as concerned as you are on some of the features.
Aug 06, 2004 (11:12 am)
The car that is on the web site is a 2004.5, the one I have the price sheet for is a 2005 S40 T5 AWD w/6speed manual transmission.
I will post the prices when I pull the price sheet out of my coat pocekt -- which, is not with me at the moment.
The www is NOT current and doesn't even list the 2005 models yet.
#839 of 1807 Re: mark [markcincinnati]
Aug 06, 2004 (11:20 am)
Gotcha on the MY thing. Then perhaps you should consider OSD program. Pricing for 05 models are at www.flyvolvo.com.