Last post on Jul 01, 2011 at 7:51 AM
You are in the Volvo S40
What is this discussion about?
Volvo S40, Sedan
#992 of 1807 Re: S40 steering [wilkens11]
Nov 26, 2004 (12:14 pm)
“The ride (2.4i non-sport) is much better than my BMW, body control is excellent, and turn in is very good. It does feel relatively front-heavy.”
BMW what? The sport-suspension 3-series coupe or sedan sport? Or the non-sport 325i/323i/328i sedan?
The S40's base suspension is supple, if too soft & weak for its limited front spring travel to crash through speed bumps. I really think Consumer Reports must have sampled the sport suspension & thus complained about the stiff ride.
“I drove an S40 the other day, and found the steering to be numb. There's no feedback, even in corners (15-40mph)...Overall the steering seemed overboosted. Pulling out at slow speed, the steering wheel was extremely easy to turn, almost toy-like.”
The electro-hydraulic steering in the Volvo S40 version should be the least feel-ful, followed by the Mazda3, followed by the new Focus II.
But I find the TSX even worse than the S40 due to excessive self-centering force to mask the weight change & therefore hard to sense the tire-grip change. Interestingly, CR found it communicative, but all I could feel was lots of road bumps through the steering.
“It was a bit of a disappointment, because I was expecting the steering / tracking to be "good enough" to be fun, but it turned out that the fun factor just wasn't there. Even going up twisty Page Mill road, the car didn't engage me.”
Good point! you gotta get a car that can provide you fun.
Go check out the now reliable(see the reliability-history chart in the CR 2005 buying guide & find out the Focus' shocking reliability improvement since the adoption of Mazda engine in some models starting late '03) Focus I ST 2.3(stick only).
creakid1 "Ford Focus vs. Mazda3" Nov 19, 2004 5:41pm
(make sure you also read post #128)
The U.S. Focus I also got rid of the excessively soft suspension & pwr steering a couple years ago. So now, the non-SVT U.S. Focus I' steering feels numb only at parking-lot speed. The Focus I, which, like the new BMW 1-series, has conventional pure-hydraulic pwr steering, & CR found it to have even more steering feel than the Mazda3, which is suppose to be less numb still than the new S40. & trust me, the steering feel of these Focus/Mazda3/S40 is not the misleading road bumps.
creakid1 "Ford Focus 2005 release date" Nov 26, 2004 2:37am
The Focus I, although now defunct around the world, is a fun-to-drift classic w/ a sharper, more communicative steering than the new Focus II, which doesn't just behave slightly like the new S40, but look like one as well!
Just check out the taillights & profile of the made-in-Taiwan Focus -- the world's 1st production Focus II sedan:
#993 of 1807 Re: S40 steering [creakid1]
Nov 26, 2004 (4:54 pm)
"BMW what? The sport-suspension 3-series coupe or sedan sport? Or the non-sport 325i/323i/328i sedan?"
My car is an E36 328i with the non-sport suspension, and 15" wheels. Overall the ride on my car is excellent, but abrupt impacts are not absorbed well at all. The S40 in comparison has a more liquid feel, and absorbs small abrupt impacts very well. Other than that it follows the road with the same fidelity as my car.
When I react to ride quality, I first notice road texture and other relatively high-frequency impacts, like joints in the road: anything that might cause the interior to crack or shift audibly. It's these things that the S40 does better than my car.
There are other aspects to ride, like how the car moves on the highway. Riding in a Acura TL on one stretch of highway, I noticed a oscillation, a fast up and down motion which was very uncomfortable. My car on the same stretch and same speed damps the oscillation somewhat, making it much more bearable.
#994 of 1807 Re: S40 steering [creakid1]
Nov 26, 2004 (5:07 pm)
What I value in steering feel is the communication from bumps or any unevenness. The steering wheel should tug and pull and even move as the car drives over anything but a perfectly flat surface. The steering wheel should constantly be alive with information, even when driving straight at moderate speeds. This is what I like so much about BMW steering. The absolute precision and connection with the surface.
I'm ignorant about other aspects of steering feel, such as feeling loss of traction.
In the S40 non-sport, I didn't feel anything at all; it was like a video game.
#995 of 1807 The famous "50-meter test" from Focus engineers
Nov 27, 2004 (1:49 am)
pointed out that even going in a relatively straight line, you should be able to sense resistance from the Focus I's steering THROUGH YOUR FINGER TIPS! Not wait till your inner-ear fluid shifts in order to realize that you are changing directions, or, worse, wait till your eye sight sees the car wandering off a straight line.
The E36 has better steering feel than any E46, but the ratio's pretty slow. There's also a difference between merely feeling the existence of bumps through the steering vs excessive kick back from bumps.
#996 of 1807 Re: S40 steering [wilkens11]
Nov 27, 2004 (2:22 am)
"Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!"
By the way, I did have a great Thanksgiving! 'cause, on the way to my Thanksgiving dinner, I happened to have a chance to follow a Lamborghini Gallardo up a curvy hill at about 85 mph passing all other cars. My easy-revving 2.3 that never sounded like I was revving higher than usual, my stable SVT/S170 shocks & sway bars, & my pure-hydraulic Focus steering simply made the whole experience fun & easy. & I bought this '05 Focus I ST for just over $16k(MSRP $19,520) including std leather steering wheel & shifter, ABS w/ traction control, & heated mirrors, plus optional heated cloth sport seats w/ side airbags, 500-watt MP3 6-disc changer w/ Sony speakers/subwoofer, & perimeter alarm.
#997 of 1807 Does this mean...
Nov 27, 2004 (8:00 am)
...that you've now purchased a Focus and an RX8 in the last month? Or am I getting confused?
#998 of 1807 The Focus ST is for myself
Nov 27, 2004 (12:31 pm)
while the RX-8 is for the folks.
I test drove the Focus ST on the way to buy the 2nd RX-8 but w/ 16"s & non-sport suspension this time. Both the Ford & Mazda dealers are across from each other, so I decided to compare these 2 cars in the same bumpy fwy & speed bumps.
My left brain sez the RX-8 has the best ride/handling compromise in the world, so I should take the comfy base RX-8. But strangely, I wasn't excited while thinking I was about to own this "best car in the world". & the salesman made a mistake over the phone that this stripped car is an '04 for clearance discount. It's an '05.
It was the '05 Focus ST that made me don't want to let go driving it at the end of the test drive! & this probably has never happened to me before! Despite riding less supple & has a lower handling limit w/ a heavier nose than the RX-8, I find it more fun to play around its predictable drifting nature, plus the pure-hydraulic steering(as opposed to RX-8's pure electric, but even quicker, steering) has more feel, & the more comfortable ultra-tall seating position makes the car seem like 1/3 bigger, despite having the same length.
The RX-8's high handling limit, even the base model, is too high to be explored outside the track. So I couldn't really have fun with it. Also the gas-guzzling rotary engine is so weak off the line that I kept stepping on the gas ending up speeding & still couldn't feel any push on my back. Besides, the comfy base model only comes in automatic!
The ST's Mazda-Developed 2.3 has such great instant low-end torque(more so than the VVT version used in the Mazda 3S) w/o the noisy-to-rev nature of the S40 2.4i.
After I bought the Focus ST, I did have a problem keep speeding up due to the somewhat firm suspension that just won't soften up until very high speed. 'cause the suspension & steering are so confident-inspiring anyway. But this is the best-tuned suspension softness w/in the Focus family. As the S40's sport suspension is down right uncomfortable, while the base is too soft for the not-so-long front springs so I have slow down on speed bumps. Maybe the AWD's slightly longer springs w/ the shocks & sway bars from the 2WD sport suspension is just right, but the AWD's heavy weight w/ turbo's lag is somewhat clumsy to accelerate. The Focus ST's suspension tuning is somewhat like the AWD S40! It's got the SVT/S170's shocks & sway bars but w/o the SVT/S170's lowered firmer springs!
W/ '05's improvement on noise isolation, including a better ventilation air flow, the Focus ST's noise-level cruising on the fwy is tolerable, just a tad worse than the RX-8 & S40.
#999 of 1807 Still debating:
Nov 27, 2004 (5:09 pm)
I still like the S40 but the price of the car and people's horror story's of last generation and current Volvo's scares me as well. I have owned a 1998 Mazda 626 as a lease and alot of people had problems with them and I really didn't have any complaints about the car. Now I have an 02 Acura CL with none of the tranny problems that other people have been having. I just had the oil kit installed in the tranny as part of a recall by Honda Motor Co.
I took a look at Volvo's raings and the S60 is fairly reliable. The 70 Series is very unreliable as is the 80 Series. I;m still a couple years away on my decesion about the S40. The XC 90's reliability hasn't been a thing of beauty either but I think will wait and see since its an all-new brand new model.
S40 is small and compact which I like. I do not like the Camry and the size of it. Its just too big.
Good customer Service.
Excellent Exterior styling.
Very Safe Car
Volvo's shaky reliability history
Resale Value: Do they hold their value well?
Parts: How much will they cost me?
Do any young people drive this car like say like 29 year olds?
My summary is you have chance to get the younger buyer, just don't throw it away on bad reliability.
#1000 of 1807 Re: Still debating: [carguy58]
Nov 27, 2004 (5:16 pm)
Where are you getting your data? S80 2001 and up has very good reliability ratings from all the major sources.
XC90 has a good reliability record from the get go.
And what are those "horror" stories about former S40? It held on, despite it's mediocre heritage.
#1001 of 1807 Re: Still debating: [lev_berkovich]
Nov 27, 2004 (6:28 pm)
The S80 has worse than average reliability according to Consumer Reports as does the XC 90.