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Old 20th March 2015, 04:40   #31
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

I have a Linea, an X1 and a Ritz.

The first two come with hydraulic units and I will probably put the Linea's above the X1's in terms of feel. That Steering just feels right, it's beautifully weighted and the chassis complements it extremely well (it is understeery, but super fun to drive around on ghats). And the way the wheel is designed, with perfect notches for your thumbs, makes for a very satisfying driving experience.

On the other extreme, is the VW Polo. That is one of the lightest steering's i've encountered and i absolutely hate it. In fact, even the Polo R Cup race car comes with the same EPS and on that, even with a proper sports steering wheel, full-blown racing dampers & springs, slick tyres and a stiffened chassis, it feels DEAD.
That car handles like it was on rails, (how else can you match/beat a Gallardo on track with a tiny 130hp engine?!) but the steering lacks any feedback what-so-ever :(

Last edited by jalsa777 : 20th March 2015 at 04:41.
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Old 20th March 2015, 08:07   #32
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

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Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
I'd be fairly surprised to find that feature in a sub-15-lakh car, but I personally don't think artificial "heft" is worth it. It doesn't feel the same as the natural weight in a lightly assisted hydraulic setup.

Its like the difference between analog and digital.

Oh and its not just in India :(.
Yes simulated feel might not match natural feel from a hydraulic setup but EPS is clearly the mass choice and I guess the only silver lining for enthusiasts is to hope that there's options to tune it.

Considering the posts here, surely there is a potential for aftermarket tuned EPS. Then why aren't we having it yet? Is it too difficult or potential safety issues than tuning an engine?
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Old 20th March 2015, 08:17   #33
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalsa777 View Post
I have a Linea, an X1 and a Ritz.

The first two come with hydraulic units and I will probably put the Linea's above the X1's in terms of feel. That Steering just feels right, it's beautifully weighted and the chassis complements it extremely well (it is understeery, but super fun to drive around on ghats). And the way the wheel is designed, with perfect notches for your thumbs, makes for a very satisfying driving experience.

On the other extreme, is the VW Polo. That is one of the lightest steering's i've encountered and i absolutely hate it. In fact, even the Polo R Cup race car comes with the same EPS and on that, even with a proper sports steering wheel, full-blown racing dampers & springs, slick tyres and a stiffened chassis, it feels DEAD.
That car handles like it was on rails, (how else can you match/beat a Gallardo on track with a tiny 130hp engine?!) but the steering lacks any feedback what-so-ever :(
+1 to that. I have never really enjoyed the feel of Volkswagens. Even the GTI. I was disappointed because GTI is very much hyped as an enthusiast car. Sure its peppy and fun to chuck around, feels stable on the highway for its size, but the steering feel is quite bad.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 12:57   #34
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

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Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
My car (F30 328i) has the feature you guys are referring to. When you switch to Sports mode, the steering stiffens up quite a bit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Some do : a quote from the BMW M5 Review...
The biggest difference between the F30's sport mode & the M5's is that, the latter offers you adjustments on its hydraulic steering . The regular 3-Series, 5-Series etc. have an EPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gatham.psb View Post
The major factor I guess why EPS is so common in India is to do with the small capacity engines.
EPS is also cheaper to manufacture & maintain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalsa777 View Post
On the other extreme, is the VW Polo. That is one of the lightest steering's i've encountered and i absolutely hate it. In fact, even the Polo R Cup race car comes with the same EPS and on that, even with a proper sports steering wheel, full-blown racing dampers & springs, slick tyres and a stiffened chassis, it feels DEAD.
So true. When the Vento was launched, it had the best diesel engine around. My first comment was, man I wish this car had a hydraulic steering! Also mentioned it in the official review.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 15:18   #35
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Yes, the Civic in India always came with a Hydraulic Power Steering. Sheer bliss to drive and the amazing feedback. The car was indeed discontinued in late 2012, but from the beginning and until the end, it did come with an HPS unit in place.

The only drawback I can see in an HPS system is that they are not maintenance free. You need to check the fluid level often and if the hydraulic pump leaks, it can drill a big hole in your pocket. And that, obviously is the biggest advantage of EPS systems - they are maintenance free as they are driven by electronics rather than hydraulic fluid pressure. Also, EPS systems cost less to the manufacturer and costs next to none to the vehicle owners from maintenance pint of view, hence no wonder that they are preferred choice in mainstream cars over HPS.

Regards,
Saket
The Civic is Hydraulic but the City is Electric. Hydraulic is only fixed because it is expensive to replace, 85K atleast. But the Electric steering motor is not repaired in most of the cases. They just replace it, not sure of the cost tho.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 18:52   #36
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

Hey Everyone,
this is a great thread and i really enjoyed reading all the comments.

I am a novice at cars than most of you all in this wonderful forum. My car (indigo manza) has a HPS unit, and i always thought, that it had a horrible system since i dont get to do lock to lock turns like say in an i10. my question is by "feel" you mean if you go over a pothole then you almost cringe because you can almost feel it coming to your hands ? Looks like most people prefer hard steering for the preciseness at high speeds, but sometimes i really get a hand-ache. Can the pros educate me a little bit on steering feedback and how the right steering (like the one in a linea or punto) should behave.

Thanks Folks !!
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Old 23rd March 2015, 19:10   #37
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

Our 2012 Corolla Altis feels like it has hydraulic steering. I don't know about the latest Altis.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 19:33   #38
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

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Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Please add to this list if you can think of any. It will help enthusiasts a lot when they go car shopping.
Let's not forget the ole' faithful, sweet and humble Toyota Innova still running, years after its debut with its original HPS.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 20:17   #39
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

What about the hot but dead now optra magnum!!! It has one of the best HPS unit.driving it in a highway at triple digit speeds is a bliss. You can be damn sure about the level of turns and cuts at expressway speeds. Unfortunately the car is no more.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 20:42   #40
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

I have a figo and a civic. Both are hydraulic and both are awesome! amazing feedback and worth sacrificing parking speed steering comfort that the EPS offers.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 21:00   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viper21 View Post
Hey Everyone,
this is a great thread and i really enjoyed reading all the comments.

I am a novice at cars than most of you all in this wonderful forum. My car (indigo manza) has a HPS unit, and i always thought, that it had a horrible system since i dont get to do lock to lock turns like say in an i10. my question is by "feel" you mean if you go over a pothole then you almost cringe because you can almost feel it coming to your hands ? Looks like most people prefer hard steering for the preciseness at high speeds, but sometimes i really get a hand-ache. Can the pros educate me a little bit on steering feedback and how the right steering (like the one in a linea or punto) should behave.

Thanks Folks !!
Hi

Let me try to explain to the best of my knowledge.

There is steering feedback, steering heft, steering precision/accuracy and then there is steering feel. These are somewhat related, but different things.

- Steering feedback is being able to feel the road surface through the steering wheel. You can feel the ruts and small bumps in the road through the wheel, you can feel the wheel feel lighter or tighter in one direction depending on grip. This is not something cars must have, it's a personal preference. Some people want it, some people don't want it that's all. Note that actual race car drivers will use it when they are taking extreme corners at the edge of grip limits, but for most of us on a public road this could be actually useless and is more of an ego-stroking device than actually impacts the way we drive. Most of our cars have understeer built in, or have traction control (which we shouldn't be turning off on a public road) or are just not that powerful that we have to perceive grip from steering feedback and correct our course. Its just a nice-to-have sensation more than anything else, for us. It is a real thing for race car drivers though.

- Then there is steering heft. It is simply how heavy the steering feels to turn. It has nothing to do with performance. It is just a personal preference that some people like it heavy (it's like do you like lime soda salt or sugar). Note that heavy steering doesn't mean more feedback. Some cars have heavy steering but the feedback isn't there. Some cars have lighter steering but give more feedback.
But usually, less assist = more feedback (and incidentally more heavy steering).

- Steering accuracy or precision or directness is how intuitively the car goes in the direction you intend. Can you throw your car into an exact spot between two cones? Some cars can do that with more accuracy than others. This is steering accuracy. This usually affects performance in a track or your confidence about how fast you can go, how fast you can take a corner etc.

- And then there is "steering feel". This is not a thing, actually. This is a subjective term used to describe how you perceive the Steering experience based on the above and other factors. To some people, even the thickness or size of the steering wheel can affect this steering feel. To many enthusiasts (but not all) steering feel comes from precision and feedback. For some, the heft of the steering wheel affects it. Other factors that could affect Steering feel are: how many lock to lock turns in total? Tramlining (some people hate it but some people associate it with more feel).

Note that being hydraulic or electric doesn't necessarily result in better steering feel/feedback/precision automatically. Its just an observation that so far, the best electric setups haven't been able to match the best hydraulic setups (in many enthusiasts' minds). But there are many electric setups that give better feel than many hydraulic setups (Maruti vs Hyundai comes to mind).

It is not the steering rack alone that affects steering feel. Your cars weight, tightness of suspension, wheels, tires and grip tires have and other factors can influence it. Even tire pressure can affect it.

Also - steering feel or even feedback doesn't necessarily mean better handling. Some cars offer the worst steering feel with zero feedback but they handle the best. Audis come to mind here. The audi feel is literally like playing a video game console. But very few cars can match a Quattro-equipped Audi's handling and performance. Mercedes too is soft and offers a no-feedback, easy-to-turn feel while delivering great handling. Porsche and BMW on the other hand have always given importance to steering feeland their handling is up there too, comparable with Audi/Mercedes.

Think of the steering feel discussion as something similar to "which Saree looks good" or "which ice cream tastes best". How in the world can anyone hate chocolate ice cream? How can you eat yogurt?! Its like that. Its all subjective and taste varies.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by rajushank84 : 23rd March 2015 at 21:24.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 21:48   #42
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Steering feedback
.......Its just a nice-to-have sensation more than anything else, for us. It is a real thing for race car drivers though.
Very well explained in general.
I would like to point out that even for road users it is useful in emergency scenarios. Well i agree that all kinds of modern safety features now take care of that really well, but having some feedback leads to instinctive measures in emergency situations i feel.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Also - steering feel or even feedback doesn't necessarily mean better handling.
But having better feedback means that one can confidently and (relatively) safely exploit the better handling.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 22:43   #43
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

My experiences with the following cars:

Fiat Uno (1996) : No power steering. Heavy steering and certain level of effort is required to turn from side to side. It was a time (especially in the 90's) when you were told to just get the car barely moving and the steering feels lighter, and then start with the turning manoeuver ! Engine On or Off , you have to turn with the same force to turn to either side.

Maruti Esteem Vx (1998) : Decent setup of HPS. Good feedback. Engine Off, more effort required to turn from side to side but steering was never immensely heavy. Also, a certain amount of shuddering felt at triple digit speeds. And this started right at 100Km/h. No issues with steering alignment and car moved dead straight. Perhaps any other reasons? I never really came to know.

Chevrolet Spark LS LPG (2010) : A very good feedback HPS. Good accuracy. You can feel every change in terrain. Only grouse, steering feels very heavy during parking manoeuvers. Also, when engine is Off, the steering becomes way way heavier and you have difficulty in turning from side to side (Unless you turn it with all your might). I was suprised to see such a heavy steering in such a light car ! Infact, it felt heavier than the Uno, which didn't have power steering at all ! Slight shuddering above triple digit speeds (120-140) and steering feels lighter and feedback levels start going down.

Swift Dzire Vxi (2012) : Low feedback EPS. Steering is very light. Only plus point is, parking manoeuvers are super easy. As the speeds approach triple digits, it feels as if i am driving on ice ! It sometimes causes a 'disconnect' between the driver and the road as the driver doesn't feel the desired feedback with the amount of turning force applied compared to the change in direction of the car. ( I am more used to driving HPS and hence maybe i have a bias)

Ford Kuga (2014) : Low feedback EPS. Feels well weighed during parking manoeuvers. I struggled with the excessively light steering so much, that there were times i had difficulty in maintaining a straight line ! Slight input to the steering caused the car to change course immediately. Also, i was driving mostly above triple digit speeds.

The tyre pressure plays in important role in the steering feeling light or heavy. Increase/Decrease your tyre pressure by around 3-5 psi than the recommended psi and you instantly come to know the difference.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 23:46   #44
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

And who can forget the non-power-steering in Maruti 800 and early Zens. I loved those . Somehow Gypsy didn't feel the same way.
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Old 24th March 2015, 00:42   #45
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Default Re: Cars that still have a hydraulic steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Currently have a Chevrolet Sail UVA Tdci, HPS - its a breeze and doesnt feel overservoed. It should actually do good even when I upgrade the 185 to a 195 section tyre.

Very true.
The steering is beautifully balanced on the curves. Not too heavy and definitely not too light either.

Last edited by Eddy : 24th March 2015 at 10:54. Reason: Corrected typo
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