1999 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML320 3.2 V6 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Reliable and a cheap luxury second hand buy

Faults:

Nothing really.

It got a good and expensive dealer service when we bought it. Haven't been to Mercedes dealer since.

It had a new sensor fitted for something I can't recall, but the full service cost $4,000 plus!

Since then we found a local guy with the ability to run Mercedes diagnostics and fix any issues with aftermarket bits (nothing needed so far).

Regular oil changes with full synthetic have helped perhaps.

General Comments:

Surprised me. My wife wanted it and I thought it would be a nightmare to own after reading reviews... but it's been fantastic. A really capable 4WD (and I drive a Nissan Patrol as my car). Powerful and smooth. Prefer it to my mother in law's BMW X5. Happy with the quality and no performance issues to date.

These are very under-rated cars with what I consider to be an unwarranted bad reputation. Maybe we got the good one... but others I've spoken to since I bought ours are equally happy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th January, 2017

6th Jan 2017, 10:46

You got a good one, keep looking after it. Someone else took the hit for that $4K service, all the stars seem to have all lined up. Certainly, with time, and your resourcefulness, alternative parts and having an independent expert mechanic makes owning these and similar cars easier. Time also makes common problems more familiar and easier to diagnose or deal with.

I wouldn't say the bad reputation is unwarranted - magazines from different countries have run reliability surveys that back these up. It isn't inevitable that if you own one, it WILL definitely, always (or often) break down on you. There will always be enough samples out there like yours which have given little or an acceptable number of problems (or may be minor enough to be a mere nuisance), hence there will still be people who buy them. I drive a 2001 BMW Compact (hatch), had it now for 6 years and with 165K km, I've known people who have had nothing but trouble with their BMWs - 3-, 5-, and 7-series. I certainly wouldn't dismiss or belittle their experience, but I will give credit to my car as I'd have dumped it long ago if it gave me any real grief.

1999 Mercedes-Benz M-Class 320 from North America

Summary:

A glorified Ford Explorer..

Faults:

Battery went flat, which may have caused the brake system to malfunction (and remained a problem even after the battery was replaced). It would suddenly lock one of the tires while driving at speed. Seemed to fix the problem by switching the ignition off while rolling down hill (in drive), and then cranking the ignition (this somehow may have reset the computer).

Front and back brake pads wear out very quickly, and rotors needed to be changed regularly.

All of a sudden, it started to rust in multiple areas, like pepper all over the bonnet, and large patches on the roof and near the hinges of the boot. The car will leak soon.

The interior plastic is brittle. One of the plastic seat levers broke off, and other plastic parts have cracked.

The driver's seat does not stay fixed in one position, and wobbles when driving.

Electronic windows malfunctioned, center console switches needed to be replaced.

Leak in the exhaust system made loads of noise.

The car burns oil.

The tie rod ends need to be replaced.

The air condition compressor is leaking.

The electronic keyless entry and alarm stopped working.

The fuel gauge does not work.

General Comments:

It looks the part, but don't be fooled, it has the quality of a typical American car. It's not worth the materials it's made from.

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

Review Date: 9th June, 2011

11th Mar 2015, 19:12

My guess is that you purchased a rebuilt car or a lemon that was not maintained.

I have 276,000 on mine and the problems have been (in order of requiring replacement):

Tires (40K).

Brake pads and rotors (around 80K).

Tires again (around 80K).

Tires again (115K).

Power steering pump flushed (125K).

Tires (125K).

Trans flush (around 125K - I pull a trailer for softball equipment).

MAS (144K).

Plugs, tires, pads and rotors (front only) for brakes (150K).

Tires (192K).

Radiator holding tank replacement (198K).

Tires (228K).

Rebuilt transaxle (230K) (oh, and I did put a master window switch and front window regulators in somewhere along the line).

Replaced fuel pump (240K).

Tires (251K).

It's due for tires, and needs a steering pump reservoir and seal replaced.

276K, here is what is wrong currently:

Driver's seat torn in a couple of places where you first sit.

Drivers door lock actuator does not work (that has been about the last 100K miles - the other 3 work fine).

Trans is beginning to slip occasionally accelerating around corners or stop signs.

Paint is chipped in places - back bumper is terrible.

Now, at 276K I have hit upon a problem that I cannot figure out. My CEL has been on and off for about the last 3 years, but it seems that when I put SeaFoam treatment in it, it ran fine again. Now it has gotten so bad that I decided to fix it. I replaced the plugs, plug wires, and coils since my reader said multiple misfires - did everything and it still has a loss of power on takeoff and idles really bad at stop lights.