1999 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 290 GDT 2.9 turbo diesel 602 from Costa Rica
The G is a cool car, but it's not a GOOD car
To begin. I am guilty of buying a 20 year old car that needed a little love. I need to be completely transparent that the previous owner and mechanic really didn't do the best job keeping the car up. Despite that, a lot of things have broken and/or don't work that simply shouldn't have for a car with just 114,000km (that's only 70,000ish miles).
I have always had older cars. 8 years old is probably the newest I have had, so I'm used to needing to put some work and parts in them and I'm normally OK with that. I got a SIMPLE version worker truck, a w461 (the 290gdt), on purpose to avoid some of the complications of the fragile w463. I bought it because I have always liked the styling of the G and I wanted an automatic, 2 door turbo diesel that was tough and would last me forever. I thought paying 2-3x times more that any other vehicle of its age was a indicator of how strong they are. NOPE!
At first, I blamed a lot of the troubles on the previous owner, rather than the quality of the car. Now, however, after a year and a half of owning it, it has been in the shop for 12 of the 18 months. This is supposed to be a tough car (why I bought it), but it isn't. The G-class is the most delicate and unreliable 4x4 I have ever owned by far. I will go further to say I have never heard of anyone having a less reliable car than this one. Bolts have just fallen out of the A/C mounting bracket (apparently this is common), there are important wires and components under the fenders which are completely exposed to rocks and such, so going off road breaks things. The vacuum and electrical systems are quite fragile, the engine is really pretty rough and loud, even for a diesel. The motor is strong, but has prehistoric technology and performance. The top speed is maybe 110km/h. The suspension components aren't really very strong for a paramilitary work truck. I know my mechanic well and he isn't the problem, because each time it breaks it's something different. I am part of the G-class club and we all pretty much agree that our trucks are just a hobby second car (if they are more than 10 years old) because they aren't reliable and it costs a fortune to fix them. Other than the way they look, I can't think of much good to say. If you want a serious, reliable, comfortable 4x4... Go Toyota or Nissan.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 26th September, 2018