Mercede's best value economy / performance / reliability
A few days after I bought the car, I had to change the AC evaporator; a leaking problem. It was available at $200 from the dealer. I changed it myself. This problem is common on those models, specially for the ´93 to ´95 models. This is an expensive and delicate job, since the dashboard has to be fully dismantled.
Full tune-up (spark plugs, filters, injectors cleaned) for $100.
Auto transmission fluid and differential changed (around $60 for parts and fluid).
New genuine MB engine coolant ($40).
Front lower suspension ball joints ($50 for parts at the dealer, very reasonable).
"New" used light switch ($40).
Now sunroof is starting to giving me trouble (common on those models).
Another well known problem on every MB model from 93 to 95 is the engine harness. MB made the wire insulator from some crappy rubber that deteriorates, leaving the wire exposed and producing all kind of problems (ECU, coils, etc.). Mine was probably changed by the previous owner.
Finally, four cylinder engines from ´93 had a weak head gasket, and had to be changed around 100K kms. Again, mine was probably changed by the previous owner.
Mechanical and engine parts are very easy to get, because the engine was used on C-Class models and even on the newer E Class. Usual wear & tear parts are cheap, but electrical and body genuine parts can be very expensive, but they usually don't break.
This car was well maintained by the previous owner, but he had not made any servicing for the last 30K kms, at least. That's why the full tune-up and fluids.
This car is a very good compromise between economy, power and reliability. The new fuel injection system (Bosch Motronic vs. the previous KE Jetronic) makes it more powerful and gives it more torque, and the engine need less maintenance than the previous models (230E from 85 to 92). And of course, more economical... Around 10kms per liter in city/highway use, and around 12kms per liter on highway.. not bad for the size of this car.
I owned previously a 1990 300E, and I can say this car feels less heavy, specially in the front end, and the performance is more than adequate.
The interior looks like new after 16 years, and the wood trim on all door panels and dashboard gives a nice sense of luxury. Every time you get into the car, you can´t believe is that old.
And of course, the unique sense of safety. From the "thump" sound when you close the doors, the superb handling, non-fading brakes, airbag... makes it a very good choice for family rides.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th February, 2010