1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 D 2.5 diesel


Future bulletproof icon of Mercedes engineering at its best


Suspension wear and tear - shocks, springs, bushes.

Front wing replaced as corroded.

Leaking rear window, needed replacing (seal).

ABS sensors on the way out.

Some of the exhaust rotted, replaced.

Engine mounts replaced.

Minor engine parts, pulley damper, gearbox cooling pipe, radiator replaced.

General Comments:

This is an auto. I wanted a manual, but a RHD manual 2.5D is incredibly rare.

This engine (and even auto box) will go well past 500,000 miles. They are not indestructible, and do need regular maintenance, but you are rewarded with solid engineering and simplicity.

Easily as comfortable as modern cars, and handles very well. Put winter tyres on and snow/ice is no problem. Most RWD owners fail to do this.

The pinnacle of Mercedes engineering in build quality, while keeping electronics minimal.

Many reports of these 190s having engine problems in the US and Canada is down to poor quality fuel and poor quality repairs. European fuel quality is different, especially diesel fuel.

While SVO (veg oil) can be used in these diesel engines, they do need extra filtration, extra heat exchangers, different injectors, and dino-diesel to flush for the end of day run, except much further south where temperatures stay above 15C overnight. The fuel pump will cope fine. Some fuel line O-ring seals may need replacing with SVO, and SVO will clean out dino-diesel sludge, so best replace the fuel filter and tank filter (hard to get to) after first two tanks of SVO.

These cars can corrode. Early treatment/repairs is essential to stop the rot taking hold. Any 190 forum will tell you where the common rot points are, but these cars are easily the best built. The G-Wagen of the same era also.

I have two colleagues in Germany who have sent photos of their odometers, one at 333,333km and the other at 555,555km.

Body work and gearbox issues can seem to make continued use of the car uneconomic. However, even a recon auto box for £1,500 will still be a better bet than another second hand car for £1,500.

All cars are potential money-pits. At least the 190 responds to cash input, and is a better investment than almost any other car, short of vintage classics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th February, 2013

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 190E 1.8


Replaced radiator at 10 years old.

Leak in boot that couldn't be traced even after replacing boot seal.

Small rust patch inside door frame next to door strap - acceptable for a 10 year old car.

Electric sunroof stuck open - needed a new switch. Luckily you can wind it in manually using a winder in the boot.

General Comments:

W201 - one of the last of the proper "engineered" Mercedes, before the accountants at Daimler Chrysler took over.

1.8 engine is a bit slow, get the 2.0 for extra zip in acceleration. However the 1.8 will cruise comfortably all day long on the motorway once up to speed.

Manual gearbox a bit notchy, not as fluid and light as a Ford. Most 190s come with autoboxes for this reason. You should pay less for a manual.

Good mpg from the 1.8 manual, performance benefitted greatly from using Super unleaded petrol

Quality wise this car couldn't be faulted, first class materials throughout designed to last. A colleague bought one of the first C Class' and you could see straight away where savings had been made, and that's just the interior. My car still looked factory fresh at 10 years old.

I had very few faults with my 190E, I put this down to the FMBSH it had. Speaking of servicing it was a bit of a pain having to get the oil dropped out every 6k, but I made a cost saving by using a fast fit outfit for this and only using a main agent for the major 12k service - competitive at the time for around £149.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd April, 2006

20th Apr 2006, 03:50

For leaks in boot check channels in sunroof, I have same model and same problem. Channels should be cleaned from time to time.