1999 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML 320 3.2 from North America

Summary:

Awful. Worst vehicle I've owned by far

Faults:

The harmonic balancer ground a hole in the upper oil pan and damaged the idler pulley and fan belt. Had it all replaced for a large sum of $, only to get a recall notice shortly after. We did end up getting reimbursement from Mercedes, but only after jumping through several hoops. With the amount of $ they charge for their vehicles, you would think their customer service would be much better to support THEIR mechanical failures (which are incredibly numerous).

2nd recall on catalytic converter. Amazingly the MB dealer found our was "OK" and didn't replace it.

3rd recall for defective lower power steering clamp. Had it fixed, only to have a SECOND recall for the same part as the original "fix" wasn't adequate. Yeah, no kidding as I ended up replacing my power steering pump less than 2 years after the MB dealer supposedly "fixed" the hose problem. Maybe I should ask for reimbursement on that repair as well?

I'm still trying to get a MB dealer to return my call for a 2nd recall "fix" appointment. TERRIBLE service and incredibly overpriced service from all Mercedes "authorized" dealer service centers.

Various poor quality parts, design or defective fittings such as: the interior door panels became dislodged from housing, broken seat latch (rear folding seat), broken driver's side headlamp cover (which of course cannot be replaced without replacing the entire headlamp housing) & broken rear stop light cover.

Cup holders both broke in the front, aside from them being absolutely useless at a depth of about 1.5" to begin with - horrible design.

Power window panel/switches replaced twice already.

Horn (both low & high) replaced twice.

All brakes and rotors had to be replaced, as were the ball joints and rear struts (despite never off-roading or towing or any other heavy stress to the vehicle)

Tensioner, pulley and serpentine belt replaced a SECOND time.

Major (and regular) electrical malfunctions: sensors, lamps, inoperable dashboard displays, et al.

General Comments:

About the only good thing I can say about the ML320 is that it is a very solid vehicle - no worries about the family getting injured in a minor accident - and it handles fairly well, but rides like a truck, not a luxury vehicle. Very hard ride.

I have noticed the ML supporters love to insult those of us who are MB critics by insinuating that we don't maintain or take care of our vehicles. Fact of the matter is, Mercedes is ALL about a name and nothing about quality. Most of the items in the reviews I read have little or nothing to do with regular maintenance, unless of course you're a lifelong Mercedes driver who considers engine and suspension repairs and recalls as "maintenance".

I've driven Toyota's for most of my life, and despite being 1/4 the price of a Mercedes, the quality is FAR superior. Thankfully I didn't buy my overpriced Benz new, so someone else absorbed the incredible decline in resale value for the first couple of years (which is another issue with them - they hold no value whatsoever over the years, despite their 'name').

This is by far the WORST vehicle I have ever owned, and I would never buy another Mercedes. I have told everyone I know the same. Unless you're willing to throw money out the window so that you can boost your ego and say you have a "Mercedes", look elsewhere for something that won't give you the headaches and drain your bank account.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th January, 2010

5th Jan 2010, 17:03

What is so unusual in having to change brake pads and rotors on a 10 year old vehicle with 130,000 miles on it?

There's also nothing extreme in 'switches' that need replacing after such an amount of time and use either.

Regardless of your opinion, Mercedes-Benz makes excellent vehicles and has been doing so for over 100 years. Your list of complaints is trivial, when it should be obvious that 'premium' does not imply perfection.

Seeing as you think it is unreasonable to change the brakes on a 10 yr old car, (which is being unrealistic) your opinion of the ML is not valid in my opinion.

7th Jul 2010, 00:45

From Australia: bought 1998 ML320. I had lots of problems and money to fix it, too numerous to list it. Will never buy Mercedes again.

18th Mar 2011, 06:05

Worst car I have ever owned. I will never buy another Mercedes again.

18th Mar 2011, 14:02

please read your Consumers Report annual guide every year to keep updated on cars and their reliability. The new one just came out. Pick it up at supermarkets or newsstand anywhere.

That M Class has had many issues with it... cooling, drive system, electrical, climate system, body hardware, and power equipment and radio... amongst other problems.

Also, in all fairness, it did good in other areas. Please use the Consumers Guide and this website... Carsurvey.org... before you buy any car, new or used.

1999 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML430 V8 from North America

Summary:

A terrible, terrible vehicle

Faults:

I have had so many problems with my 1999 ML430 (98K miles), I want to cry. It's been a very, very, troublesome vehicle from the day I bought it.

My current stable is made up a BMW 3 series and Volvo S80 (as well as the ML430). The Mercedes has easily had twice (if not thrice) the amount of issues of both my other vehicles combined. Not to mention one of the poorest after sales service dealers I have ever encountered, with a cost of ownership that is stifling. Unlike your other consumers that have had the unfortunate happenstance of owning one and complaining, I want to bring these issues to your attention so that maybe you can rectify your bad product line.

I, personally, would never again purchase a Mercedes Benz (or related product) as long as I live, irrespective of if I ever get my current MB vehicle running again or not. I won't even take a new Mercedes given to me for free. And I mention my problems to every person that will listen so that they never make the same mistake I did.

My vehicle has, thus far, gone thru two MAF's, one CPS, one power steering reservoir, one power steering unit, a myriad of hoses and sensors, routine maintenance (not limited to 4 brake pad changes, 4 tire changes, one set of spark plugs, and one coil), as well as several recalls. All at my expense.

My Mercedes dealership even refused to refund my cash related to fixes that were performed before recalls were done (for instance, my power steering hose connection failed, which caused the p/s pump to overheat. I took it to Mercedes, they wanted $2400 to fix. I took it to another independent shop who did it for $1100. A month later I got the recall letter in the mail to fix the power steering hose connection, which is what caused this issue. When I called Mercedes, they refused to refund my cost to fix this). This would be laughable if it was not so sad.

My latest issue is: My battery died after the truck sat in my garage. Tried jumping it, but it wouldn’t start. Went out and bought a new one and put it in. Now the BAS/ESP light is on and I have no throttle/acceleration when I hit the gas pedal. Idle seems perfect in Park/Neutral and drive … when I hit the gas sometimes there is no change to idle, other times it becomes erratic. I towed it into the dealer and they said I need a new MAF. After they put in a new one, it did the same thing.

Then they said I need a new throttle. Then they said I need a new ECU. I told them to go pound sand and towed it home. I took it home, performed the throttle reset process (leave key in ignition for 5 minutes without starting, then starting) and it worked perfectly until a month later. Then did the same thing again (no throttle response). Now nothing is fixing it. Several shops later and it's still a massive metal sculpture. Now, I have had a $40,000 paperweight in my garage for the past few months.

MB products are inferior to even the cheap Asian products, service dealers are made up of deplorable techs that know less than average artisans, vehicles are overly engineered to poor standards.. it's not just a miracle that they are running on the roads, it's a miracle that the MB company is still in business.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st May, 2009

3rd May 2009, 16:55

10 years and 100,000 miles and that is all you've had to change. There is nothing unusual to me in changing brakes and sensors on occasion.

The recall thing, well, what can they do when you already paid someone else. If you had gone to them MBZ, maybe they would have helped you.

Benzes are high-tech sophisticated vehicles and are not perfect but appeal too many.

Hey, you know this already. Right?

Why did you keep yours for 10 years?

Obviously MB is still in business because they make cars that last when properly serviced.