2003 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C240 2.6L V6 from North America

Summary:

Excellent and reliable vehicle

Faults:

Catalytic converter failure at 25,000 miles (under warranty).

Steering linkage break.

Headlight bulbs blown.

A/C compressor blow-out and melted fuse/wiring harness.

Door handles broke.

Wear on driver's side armrest.

Tan interior gets very dirty (not MB's fault).

CD magazine jams.

General Comments:

Absolutely love this car. Easy to toss around, needs very little maintenance (the above repairs being minor). Runs like a beast with no warming up.

Power is adequate (only 170hp), but enough to get you by on the freeway. Hits 100 mph effortlessly. Idles at 500rpm, so quiet you don't know it's on.

One downside, the AC is very loud and not the coldest.

Going 165,000 miles strong, using Mobil 1 and 87 octane gasoline for its life. Acquired new with under 20 miles.

I baby the car when it comes to maintenance, but drive it very aggressively. No complaints, and no car note. Love this car.

I do not use the stealership, invest in a good independent mechanic you trust. Can picture myself driving this up to 300,000 miles (knock on wood!).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2012

2003 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C240 Wagon 2.6L from North America

Summary:

Pretty good for a used car

Faults:

This is the "Baby Benz", so rear passenger space is limited.

Parking brake did not release easily. Required stepping on the parking brake pedal and disengaging several times. Mechanic fixed the problem.

Previous owner at 60,000 miles did not change ATF filter & fluid, fuel filter, or differential fluid. Bought parts from Authohaus AZ. Spark plugs should have been changed at 5 years. Replaced all plugs after I bought the car. The plug gaps were way off - between 1.2 to 1.5 mm, should be only 1.0 mm. Acceleration was much better after that.

CD changer stopped working; does not detect CDs. The 7 speaker system sounds mediocre to my ears. [update, comes back intermittently]

Rear seat headrest covers (all 3) keep falling off. Used self-adhesive velcro strips to fix.

Acceleration is not great from dead stop. This is surprising because a 97 Villager with 150 hp can out accelerate the MB C240 from standing still. My guess is the MB's electronic automatic transmission limits how fast it shifts.

Cost of repairs and parts are higher than for previous cars I've owned. While I do my own routine maintenance, this car requires 8.5 QTs of synthetic oil, 2 air filters, and 12 spark plugs (I bought iridium plugs). Had to buy several new tools because of how difficult it was to change oil and spark plugs.

And, it has to run on premium unleaded gasoline. Oh well.

Update: Aug 2011 - replaced with Bosch Iridium plugs, used Mobil 1 ATF fluid and filter, used Mobil 1 differential fluid. Cleaned fuel system with Techron twice in a row. Now car accelerates much better.

Update: Dec 2011 - Bought 4 snows on alloy wheels and it is drivable in the snow.

Update: Feb 2012 - Found information online on resetting an ECU module. Acceleration is much better now.

Update: Mar 2012 - The stereo is now dead, so not even radio. Based on on-line posts, the fiber optic connections are at fault. Will probably replace with a regular system. - Came back in Oct 2012. Probably the cooler weather.

Update July 2012 - replaced all the worn bushings and rear shocks with Bilstein TCs. Now the car does not wallow, ride is much better. Front struts to be replaced.

General Comments:

While I have several complaints about costs and maintenance, I really do like this car. The car handles very well on the road with a smooth and even ride.

Sound proofing is very good and wind noise is very low on the highway. The engine runs smoothly at highway speeds.

Very adjustable and comfortable leather seats. Love the moon roof and the rain-sensing wipers (!!!).

Liked the ability to operate the sound system (radio & CD changer) from the steering wheel (when it worked). But I'm unwilling to spend $500 to repair the system.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 22nd November, 2011