2003 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 from North America


Great design, but poorly assembled / executed


Nothing too major, just numerous trivial things which have necessitated a visit to the dealer - and I'm not that fussy about squeaks and rattles, which is just as well... It's just that I expect the remote entry keys to work - I don't like having to open the doors manually and set off the alarm. Likewise I like to be able to put the drivers window up once I've sent it down. I'd like the fuel gauge to be more accurate, but the thing which really got me was the battery failing without warning which left me stranded. There were a couple of other things like trim pieces falling off and an O2 sensor which needed replacing. All in all not too good for a new low mileage 'quality' SUV.

General Comments:

I'd hoped that by now MB would have gotten the bugs out of what otherwise would be a great SUV.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th December, 2003

9th Jan 2004, 21:15

I bought my ML350 when it was first released (Nov. 2002) and have never had any problems. I bought my MB expecting to drive a top quality vehicle and I have not been disappointed. I am also very satisfied with the dealer service.

30th Aug 2004, 23:11

I have had my ML350 for almost 2 yeras now and had bought it brand new. I have put on almost 66,000 km in two years driving up in Canada. This vehicle has surpassed my wildest dreams.

15th Mar 2005, 13:39

Don`t forget, it`s an US-Benz...Better buy G-Class.

29th Jun 2005, 20:53

I've owned my ML since 2003, and its been the worst vehicle I've ever owned. Build quality is a joke for a Merc and the less I say about reliability the better. Not a car which you could drive across Australia without breaking down. I'll be trading this piece of junk in for a Toyota LandCruiser when the lease expires.

2003 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML500 5 liter gas from North America


A lower cost GM product would be better value


Many silly little electrical / trim problems, which I would have thought would have been resolved by now - considering how long the ML has been in production.

Battery failed at 15,000 miles.

Door locks keep on playing up - dealer can't seem to fix them.

Fuel gauge next to useless.

Clock gains about 10 minutes / month.

Window got stuck down.

Remote entry system keeps on playing up.

Car alarm goes off at random times - usually in the middle of night.

Tires are wearing unevenly and no, it's not been curbed or off road.

Drivers power seat gave out at 12,500 miles.

Random warning lights, which the dealer can never replicate.

Front pads shot at 11,000 miles - just been in for service, now it needs new pads and rotors all round, which are not covered by warranty $$$$. We drive it very gently.

General Comments:

Potentially a great SUV with great safety features, but way too many problems & defects for a true MB.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th July, 2003

23rd Jun 2004, 13:09

The writer is exactly correct about the many small defects of the M. But the most critical things is the brakes. I own an M (and am urgently going to get rid of it). The brakes have always been a problem. The first set of front pads were replaced at less than 12,000 miles. The second time (under 20,000 miles) it was both the front and rear pads! The next time it will undoubtedly require new rotors as well.

The pads are very expensive. The rotors are amazingly expensive. The dealer keeps trying to justify this obvious design defect by throwing it back on my driving. Well folks, I was trained as a mechanic as well as an engineer. I know design problems when I see them. I'm quite sure that the dealer is just giving me the MB "party line" but I'm not stupid. Unless I pulled a 5,000 lb trailer or drove down from a mountain every day, there is no justification for this kind of brake wear.

2003 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML500 5.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Perfect for the school run and the occasional rural escape!


Vehicle was shunted in Kensington.

General Comments:

This is my first Mercedes M-Class and I was unsure what to expect following a 1999 Range Rover 4.0 Vogue which I felt was, one of the best cars I have ever owned.

Parking in town in a 4x4 may seem like a hard job, but it isn't in a ML500 thanks to the excellent rear parking sensors and the perfect handling. The interior is comfortable, but not quite to the usual build quality of a Mercedes-Benz due to this model being manufactured in the United States!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th April, 2003

13th Apr 2003, 12:32

Sorry to hear your ML got shunted in London - trust it's been restored to its previous glory :-)

I've had a Range Rover which was great off road, but had too many silly little problems for my liking. However compared to my ML it was a paragon of reliability. My ML is a 2000 and has been nothing but trouble, although it was OK for the first few thousand miles the gremlins soon began to multiply and the MB dealers were unable to fix many of them.

Hope yours is OK in the long term.

8th Dec 2004, 16:01

Dammit : I wish someone would crash into mine : I'd risk a little whiplash to offload that piece of garbage to the knackers yard. Mind you with over 60 MB documented repairs in 3 years I rather suspect that the air bags wouldn't deploy and this death-trap would finally kill me off.

Power Steering failures, heated seat elements that burn through the leather seats (yes really.. and no, I don't smoke!) and brake fade that can only be fixed with new rotors (average every 13k miles)...

I wonder if the mother-in-law would like to borrow my car...