1989 Mercedes-Benz 190 190E 2.0 from UK and Ireland


Excellent modern classic


When I got the car 4 weeks ago it had the following problems:

Breather pipes clogged with sludge, leading to oil being forced into the airbox. Cleaned out pipes & replaced. No more oil has entered airbox!

Idle was lumpy. Replaced Sparks (5GBP), HT leads (20 GBP), Oil & Filter (15GBP) & air filter (5GBP). Improved idling immeasurably.

Cold starts were troublesome, had to give it a lot of gas to keep it running after starting. The above plus a quick idle speed adjustment with a screwdriver has cured this.

Oil cap seal had perished, leaving oil to seep out onto the rocker cover and down the channels to the side of the engine block, causing burning oil smell. Replaced cap for 3GBP & cleaned engine. No more leaks or smells detected.

Rear doorcard has warped. This I am told is a common 190 problem.

The drivers seat bolster has a small crack in the leather-twin.

Central locking does not operate from drivers door lock. I'm not fixing this as I feel the car is more secure this way.

Its 17 years old & unsurprisingly the red paint had oxidised on bonnet & roof panels. T cut sorted that out.

In the history files that came with it, apart from services every 6k it details the following work between 100k & 126k miles:

Fuel pump replaced 100k

Wiper motor replaced 119k

Electric window motor replaced 113k

Central locking pump replaced 115k

Exhaust system replaced 110k

Brake system replaced 115k

Front doorcard replaced 115k

Various steering parts replaced 113k

Battery replaced 113k

V Belt replaced 117k

Handbrake cable replaced 126k.

General Comments:

Amazing for a 17-year-old car. I bought it for a bit of fun, but I'm considering selling my other more modern car and running this as my everyday one. The stories about the quality of these old Mercs is true: they really were over-engineered. We have got a 2001 Smart and a 2005 Scenic, but this is by far and away feels the best built and best driving of the three, despite the fact it has done four times the miles of the Smart and twenty times that of the Scenic!!

It qualifies for classic insurance which is great (and cheaper than a Smart cars) - it was 260 GBP for 12 months cover including full breakdown and car club membership.

It is easy to drive, and not that expensive to fuel. Most parts are as cheap as the Ford-equivalent, easy to work on if you are into DIY, and wears its miles very well indeed. I wouldn't be surprised to see this thing still on the road in another 17 years. There is hardly a spot of rust on it.

A few of my friends are now in the market for getting shut of their newer cars and buying one of these after seeing mine. What more needs to be said?

I could have got a car with 80k on the clock with no major parts replaced, but for me, that's a false economy, as they WILL wear out at around this age/mileage. Most parts in cars of this era were designed to last 100k miles, so things will start to go wrong (see my service history file above). Check service history for work done and let someone else's pocket take the hit, so you can then enjoy the benefits of a well-engineered modern classic!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st May, 2006

22nd May 2006, 17:35

You're correct about the build quality of these Mercs, I'm just about ready to sell my 190e 1.8 auto after 2yrs of ownership, although mine sounds like it is in much better condition than yours and has only done 74,000 from new.

I always wanted one of these great looking cars, but could never afford one until recently, and I have not been disappointed, not even for one second. I still love it and will be sad when she goes, but I have replaced her with something more sporty.

These great cars are real bargains, and the fact that so many are still alive speaks for itself. a fantastic car.

4th Sep 2010, 17:03

I got a 1989 190e with 103k on it. Garage kept, this is a 21 year old car, and I love it. It blows my 2003 Montecarlo away. I only wished I had known; I would have bought one new in 1989. It's the best riding car I have ever owned.

16th Oct 2010, 17:26

What $ price do YOU think a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E with about 104,000 miles on it is worth please?

1989 Mercedes-Benz 190 2.6E 2.6 inline 6 cylinder from North America


Very good the first five years


The drive shaft flex plate broke at 30K. The thermostat housing broke at 35K.

The water pump broke at 37K. Very expensive to fix because of it's location and 10 hours of labor flat rate - $800 in 1993.

Radiator leak at 70K. Replaced radiator.

Small light bulbs in the dash often burned out.

Car often hesitated on hard acceleration.

Air conditioning leaks after 7 years. It uses R-12 and it is expensive.

Replaced front struts at 90K miles.

Speedometer worm gear disintegrated in the transmission at 50K miles. This caused the speedometer to stop working and there were some transmission shifting problems.

Rear electric windows stopped working after 5 years.

Becker AM/FM cassette often turned itself off because of the anti-theft circuit. Dealer charged $50 to reset it each time.

Oil leaks around cam timing chain cover.

Oil leaks around valve cover.

Fuel leaks from the fuel pump.

Battery ran down quickly if left sitting for a few days because of some parasitic drain.

Electric fan broke at 45K miles.

Electric fan stopped working because of a switch/relay problem at 100K miles.

Instrument panel plastic deteriorated badly. Became gummy and soft.

Radio antenna stuck in the up position at 50K miles.

Driver door hinges broke at 105K miles.

Rubber donut connecting the shifter to the transmission broke.

Both front headlight bulb sockets failed.

Under-hood noise pad fell off twice.

Hood paint was poor and faded.

Steering bushing was replaced at 45K miles.

General Comments:

I owned the car 15 years and enjoyed it. It had some status appeal and the charcoal grey metallic paint made it very pretty in my opinion. It was quiet and had a comfortable ride. It was reliable the first four years. After that there were constant small things that required repair. Parts were always available and the cost was more than for American cars, but less than for Honda parts.

The interior looked very good - even after 15 years and 100K miles.

Most of the exterior paint looked very good after 15 years.

Gas mileage was good.

Engine power was too low.

Interior noise level was quiet.

It always passed the state dyno emissions test easily.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th November, 2005