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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
volvo v50 t5 awd<br>saab 9-3 aero sport-combi<br>audi a3 3.2<p>i'm looking for something that's fun to drive, but is at least somewhat practical (more practical than my audi tt) -- i.e., my daughter and a friend can sit in the back seat, i can put a couple of golf bags in the back, maybe put a kayak or a bike on top...you get the idea. but it's got to be fun to drive!<p>anyway, i've read all of the literature from volvo, saab, and audi on these cars and read lots of reviews on cars.com, edmonds, kbb, car and driver, etc.<p>but what do y'all think? what are the strong and weak points of these cars (if you've driven 2 or 3 of them -- or just the v50 if that's all you have experience with).<p>also, is the nav unit in the v50 worth getting, or would i be better off getting an aftermarket unit (garmin, etc.) -- and is satellite radio (specifically xm) offered? i haven't seen it in the literature.<p>thanks very much for your thoughts. i hope to visit my volvo dealer this weekend, and drive one.
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (davidb)

Fun to drive in my world equals this:<p>Nimble suspension, razor resonsive steering, 50/50 weight balance, sporty engine - with smooth performance (ie. no turbo lag, because its NOT turbo) and LOTS of low end torque.<p>BMW 325 'touring' > this means station wagon in german <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/wink.gif" BORDER="0"><br>ton's of extra space for 'throwing stuff in the back'.<p>My wife drives one of these, handels like a dream and looks so much more classy than the mini-van mommas.<p>....the closest on your list would be the Audi. The Volvo is very soft feeling and no torque. The Saab's lack of power robs the fun factor.<BR><BR>
<i>Modified by ss60 at 5:22 PM 3-24-2006</i>
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (davidb)

Out of those? I'd probably have to say A3 hands down, but I should mention I haven't driven the 3.2 only the 2.0T. I liked it WAY more than the V50. There were a lot of things I liked about it. Only drawback (or in my case would have been a plus) is the 3.2 is only available in DSG form. Personally I like it, and it's much more advanced than a "manumatic" like the Geartronic of Volvo. But it's not a manual, so if you have to have a manual, it may not be for you (but give it a chance, it's great!.<p>The saab, well I like that one too but haven't driven it, but a v6 turbo can't be a bad thing! The interiors are much improved over previous years too. They've managed to shed most of the GM styling with the exception of those goofy air vent knobs a la Cadilac. I have a friend that just ordered one and can't wait to check it out.<p>I like the volvo too, like the exterior styling of it (like the interior of the above better personally, but still like the Volvos). Probably the only annoying things is how high the AWD sits (looks like an SUV) and the lack of aftermarket support (audi and Saab have way more).<p>One thing the Volvo and and Saab have over Audi is financing, that was a big decision maker for us. Audi's financing rate was not good so if that's the route your taking you may be surprised. Up here Audi (A3 2.0T) was 5.8 while Volvo (V50 T5 AWD) was 1.9 and Saab (9-3 Aero) was 1.5 (and actually as part of a car show promotion they just had they were offering 1% off which was a 0.5% interest rate!!). With such a big difference in financing, resale is really a moot point. What I'll lose in resale i'll have saved in interest.<p>Good luck!! And a TT eh? *jealous*
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (ss60)

Wow, I'll agree that the 325x touring is nice - test drove it- but I disagree that it's torquey. Quite the contrary, actually. The look is to die for, and space is equivalent to the V50. <p>Pricewise, a loaded V50 AWD is about equivalent in Canada (upper 40Ks) but look at the lease rates. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/eek.gif" BORDER="0"> <p>Anyway, for the same monthly price, I would have picked the Bimmer.. (ok, maybe up to $50 more <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/wink.gif" BORDER="0"> ) but in my case, the V50 ended up about $160 cheaper per month. That's a fair bit of change...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
haven't priced the bimmer yet, but...

it looks like the v50 t5 awd, 9-3 aero sport-combi, and a3 3.2 would all be within a couple of thousand dollars of each other list price. i susupect the bmw 325xi, as with the audi a4 avant, would be more expensive. what i'd really like is an s4 avant -- but my wife would tell me that is out of my price range, so i won't even bother.<p>well -- time to drive them all and see which seems best with the old butt dyno!
 

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Re: haven't priced the bimmer yet, but... (davidb)

Hi! It's a fun decision. I went through it.<p>Check out my postings on the following (under Bassman)<p>Steering<br><A HREF="http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=52374" TARGET="_blank">http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=52374</A><p>My short reviews of a bunch of cars.<br><A HREF="http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=52406" TARGET="_blank">http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=52406</A><p>I freely admit I never drove a new (2005 or greater) Audi A4. Only the A3 2.0T and also the new Jetta GLI (same power train). I have also driven the 1994 Golf III 2.0 4-cylinder (for 187,000 miles), the 2001 or so Golf GTI 6 cylinder 5-speed manual (I was REALLY UNIMPRESSED by this one), and the 2001/2 wonderful Audi S4. My own opinion of the NEW VW offerings (at least in the US) is that they are smooth but not sporty. The 2001/2002 S4 is AWESOME. My old Golf was really spritely, quite sporty for a cheap car. The new 6-cylinder A3 or 6-cylinder A4 with quattro? I don't know. All I CAN say is I went in, thinking I'd purchase "German" again, driving the A3 with sport package, and came away only marginally impressed by the sporty handling. The reviews say TSX versus A3. I say S40 beats both for real sport handling (remembering that none of these are real sports cars).<p>I was blown away by my initial drive of a S40 FWD (eventually purchased V50 AWD).<p>I'm opinionated, and others are also one way or another. For my part, I'm not visually oriented, so I don't care about the interior as long as it feels of high quality (Volvo and Audi both feel good). I was concerned about practicality, performance, price, expected pain in dealing with dealerships long term. I'd listen to people's specific, detailed reviews and forget generic sounding things from marketing hype. Most of all, you gotta drive the stuff yourself. Don't let the talking of the sales guy distract you. Pay close attention. I've learned a lot through test drives about what to pay attention to. For all you know, maybe you'll suddenly decide you want RWD and go for a G35, although that car is much less practical - it's a decent buy for the $.<p><br>
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (ss60)

Here is a link to a Navigation post I started that really took off with peoples comments. You should check it out. It is posted in the XC90 forum, but the Nav is the same unit in the S40/V50. <p><br> <A HREF="http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=53255" TARGET="_blank">http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=53255</A> <p>
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (davidb)

Of the three you mentioned, I have looked at two of them.<p>I had wanted an Audi for years and went to look a couple of months ago at the new A3s. I liked how it drove, but was really anoyed at the way they option them. You can only get the v6 with the DSG, which on the car I drove made a weird clunk from the rear of the car with each shift. I prefer manuals so I am inclined not to like anything where I don't shift myself. ALSO, by the time I priced one out the way I wanted, it cost as much as an A4, which was way to much in my opinion. <p>It did drive nice and is a beautiful car UNTIL you get to that huge schnooz on the front. I really am turned off by Audi's new design direction. I tried to force myself to like it, but just can't, UGLY is UGLY. To make it worse, VW is doing practically the same darn thing, thus negating the visual impact Audi is making. I gon't get what they are thinking. <p>The SAAB looks quite interesting, but I haven't seen one in person yet. It looks like it would be quite a bit larger than a V50, so I would ask how big a car do you like? I love the tailights, but they look like copies of Volvo's idea, just in a clear motif. <p>If you aren't a big name snob (I am), the VW Jetta GLI seems very much like the Audi A3 base yet costs thousands less. Also, I was impressed with the new Passats for the $$$. <p>In the end, I want to try the Volvo because it is different and not everyone has one. I love the design of the interior, which while not as beautiful as an Audi, has a unique look to it that is refreshing to me. <p>Besides, if I don't end up liking it, in a few years I can get a certified used Audi S4 Avant which melted my heart when I drove it. Fantastic car!<p>Anyway, theres my opinion for what it worth.<p>MichaelD.
 

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Went looking at the SAAB a while back - to my eyes the proportions are wrong and it ends up looking too big in some areas (there's too much metal over the window line, which makes it look wrong, somehow.) Interior was a mess compared to the V50, although the seats looked pretty good.<p>If I was looking at another A3, I'd have to go second-hand and get the old-shape S3. Leather recaros, quattro drivetrain, 225bhp standard, quick remap to 260bhp and you're laughing.
 

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MarkE<br>We didn't get the previous A3 in the States <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/frown.gif" BORDER="0"> I sure think there were cool cars.
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (ss60)

this means station wagon in german , FYI in Germany there is at least 14 words corresponding to "Station Wagon" Audi=Avant , Bmw= Touring, Merc= T modele, Vovlo = V modele, Ford= Tournier, Fiat=wagon, Alfa = sport wagon, thats all I can think of now but you get the point , in Germany there is at least 14 different words for "combi = station wagon" oh ja , some use Combi, Sport Combi and Kombi.
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (ss60)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>ss60</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"> The Volvo is very soft feeling and no torque. The Saab's lack of power robs the fun factor.<br><i>Modified by ss60 at 5:22 PM 3-24-2006</i></TD></TR></TABLE><p>The Volvo has way more torque than the BMW, and the potential for even more with just a chip upgrade.<p>And the Saab has plenty of power, you have no idea what you're talking about. It will flat smoke a 325i.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
drove the a3 last weekend, will drive the v50 this weekend...

drove the 2.0t a3 with dsg (since the 3.2, which i'm interested in, only comes with dsg, not the 6-speed manual)...still, it drove nicely and was quick!<p>according to the published specs, the audi and the saab have very nearly the same peak hp and torque, while the volvo has a bit less (and the bmw a bit less than that). priced out a bmw 325xi sport wagon, and it would a couple of thousand above the audi, which was a couple of thousand above the volvo, which was a couple of thousand above the saab (roughly 43-41-39-37 for the configurations i'm looking at -- all list prices, i would hope to pay less, maybe considerably less than that). the audi, saab, and volvo are all similarly sized.
 

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Re: drove the a3 last weekend, will drive the v50 this weekend... (davidb)

Depending on what you like, power is only part of the equation. Handling's another thing. I thought the Volvo was way better than Audi A3 WITH sport package. BMW is RWD or always-on AWD, and everyone probably agrees handles well. I didn't drive a Saab.<p>I've driven the Volvo V50 T5 AWD for 4500 miles so far. Handling is awesome (okay, I do have an IPD rear sway bar in, but it's only 150 $ U.S.).<p><br>
 

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Re: drove the a3 last weekend, will drive the v50 this weekend... (bassman)

the audi won't give you the space of say a V50 or saab 9-3 wagon. so I would rule out the audi right there. do like the styling of the saab plus a V-6 turbo. should be sweet, I'm happy with my volvo, but don't think I'd be disappointed with a Saab 9-3 wagon.
 

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Re: looking to buy one of these three cars, and your thoughts would be welcome! (davidb)

I own a V50 T5 AWD (geartronic, unfortunately, or maybe not given the recently discovered cost of a new clutch) and I have driven the A3. <p>I prefer the A3 because of (1) it has a better ride/handling compromise, (2) it is quicker, (3) it is quieter, (4) the DSG satisfies my desire to play Tom Kristensen while still allowing my slush-box-only wife to drive the car, <B></B>AND (5) simple and available iPod integration<B></B>. I looked into selling my V50, but the depreciation hit would make my TCO way too much for me to swallow.<p>That said, I do love my V50, but for a few niggling issues. The decision to decontent the memory mirrors from the U.S. market after publishing it in their sales litereature is unconcscionable. I special ordered the car, and if I had discovered this before I took delivery, I would have rejected the car. My wife and I have a significant height disparity and the memory function for the driver's seat/mirrors was the only item on our "absolutely must have" list. Next, there have been at least two TSBs for squealing brakes, but mine still squeal. Then, there are the wipers that should wipe the glass like Dennis Rodman, but are more streaky than Nick VanExel. And finally, there is the electronics issues. Volvo abandoned the CAN bus for MOST without including an AUX INPUT, so hardwired iPod/MP3 integration will never happen, AND Volvo redesigned the sound system electronics within weeks of starting production, so my early production V50 cannot work with their Bluetooth solution. Yet Volvo claimed the S40/V50 would "take advantage of all of the new possibilities in automotive stereo."<p>Both the Car and Driver and the Autoweek websites have full roadtests of the V50 and A3. Swedespeed also compared the two here:<p><A HREF="http://www.swedespeed.com/news/publish/Features/article_683.html" TARGET="_blank">http://www.swedespeed.com/news....html</A><p>The A3 2.0t is slighty faster than the V50 T5 and gets much better mileage, so I would stick with the 2.0t over the 3.2 V6. Don't go by EPA mileage numbers, rather look at the testers' actual MPG. C/D observed 23 mpg in the A3 versus only 20 in the V50. Autoweek is averaging 25.31 mpg in their long-term A3 through 3 months of testing.<p>The only other significant objective difference is interior cargo room. These numbers are from C/D: Audi A3 cargo, seats: up/down 13/40 cu ft; Volvo V50 cargo, seats up/down: 27/63 cu ft.<p><TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>davidb</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">also, is the nav unit in the v50 worth getting, or would i be better off getting an aftermarket unit (garmin, etc.)</TD></TR></TABLE><p>I have the nav system and absolutely love it. I had no idea that I would use it as much as I do. The restaurant list is handy not only while traveling, but around town as well. Thanks to the nav system, it is very convenient to call ahead for carry-out on the way home from work.<p>Hope this helps,<p>John
 
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