Last post on Aug 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM
You are in the Mercedes Benz M-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG, SUV
#6690 of 8199 ML Ownership Experience
Nov 17, 2002 (5:56 am)
Although my question regarding how many other customers have become disillusioned with Mercedes Benz was a rhetorical one, I would like to recount my first-hand experience with two other disappointed former ML owners. One was a life-long MB fan who had a negative experience with a ML 430. He commented on the build quality as well and ended up trading "up" for the X5. The second was also a life-long MB fan who had multiple sedans and coupes. He was disappointed in the rough ride, poor mileage, and quality which was not in keeping with his previous MB's. He ended up trading for a domestic SUV. He coincidentally had purchased a S500 (MY 2001) which he was very unhappy with-he traded that one in for a Lexus SC 430 which he is delighted with.
I have driven several MB sedans and coupes but frankly didn't find anything special about the experience. They take a second seat to BMW when it comes to performance and handling. They take a second seat to Lexus with respect to appointments, fit, and finish. I would refer you to the J.D. Powers surveys to determine the trend for the MB line.
I believe both the engine and transmission are manufactured in German plants. Those preformed well in my personal experience. The remaining components however can assume a large role in determining the overall driving experience. I don't know if it would have increased the price by 50% but by "saving" on these items, MB may have reaped a short-term return but a long-term deficit from unhappy owners.
My personal experience regarding resale of the ML has been dissapointing. I purchased a MY 2000 for about $41,000 and in about three years was offered (and accepted) $26,000 by a car dealer. I turned down an offer of $27,000 by a private party. I don't think that was "good resale value". I would hazard to guess that the resale value on the ML's is significantly below that of MB's sedans as well as several other lines of SUV's (BMW, Land Cruiser, and Lexus come to mind).
As I have said in one my earlier posts, I was a enthusiastic ML fan initially but rapidly became disenchanted with the product. IMHO caveat emptor-definitely "question" a product you are making a modest investment in and don't succumb to the marketing of a brand on a subjective basis.
Nov 17, 2002 (8:04 am)
Your ML retained 63% of it's value after 3 years?
I think you did very well.
#6692 of 8199 Reviewing Owners of Brands
Nov 17, 2002 (9:22 pm)
My guess is, MB owners probably have a larger percentage of persons that send the steak back because it's slightly overcooked or get irked then when the salad has cherry tomatoes on it when they specifically asked for no tomatoes.
I've found owners of the C230s, for instance, to be far more generous with their appreciation and I think it might be because these owners are probably younger and generally more enthusiastic about everything, and also because it's probably not their 8th or 10th new car.
MB's burden, I think, is not only because it is seen as at the top of the game, which makes it a target, but also because the relative older age of MB buyers compared to other brands. MB's biggest design defect to date will be that it didn't try harder to appeal to younger buyers sooner.
Mr. JD Powers asks Mr. new MB owner how he likes his car and the reviewer is tough but fair of course and gives his new MB an 8 or less out of 10. Mr. JD Powers asks the young Subaru owner and 10s across the board and given with enthusiasm. What is Mr. JD Powers really rating: the new car or the new owner?
Nov 17, 2002 (10:33 pm)
He's a phony...the real Mr. JD Power does not have an S in his name.
#6694 of 8199 Third row seat options...
Nov 18, 2002 (5:45 pm)
My mother, my two sisters and my little niece are visiting us over the Holifays. We never drive around with more than 3-4 people in the ML320 ('99, and it's been a darling), but now there'll be 6 of us... squeezing 4 in the back is not an option, driving around in two cars most of the time seems silly. That means getting the third roaw seat from MB, I assume... then again, shelling out $1k for a two week one-off thing also seems kida silly... anyone knows of any products that might provide a cheap-o one off alternative? Don't think I am a monster set out to endanger my little nieve's life - I'm nimble, and *I* can sit in the back if I must (most likely it'll become the mother in law's regular seat, though
Nov 18, 2002 (6:56 pm)
For those 2 friends of yours there are probably thousands who feel differently.
I use the ML as a utility vehicle. I can fit 7 in it. I've fit loading pallets in the back, 2X4's, cabinets, trash, yard waste, tables, ladders, luggage and after I clean it up I can still take it to the opera. The X5 just doesn't compare. Your life-long MB fan friend who had multiple sedans and coupes and who was disappointed in the rough ride and poor mileage doesn't understand that the ML is a truck - it's not a sports coupe or a sedan.
By all accounts the reliability of BMWs are worse, and the ride of Lexus is too soft. I'm not arguing with you since everyone has the right to his/her opinion. In the words of that famous sybarite Goldilocks, to me "it's just right."
Nov 19, 2002 (11:10 am)
I have been following this site for 6 months - before I purchased my 02 ML 320. This site gave me a lot of information and insight regarding problems with the ML. After test driving/researching several SUV's (Acura, BMW, etc) my wife and I decided that the ML was by far the best choice. In fact this is our first MB. While I liked the MDX, to me it drove like a mini-van. The 3rd row was too cramped - though I like the fact that the 3rd row folded down. Finally, for $40K, I did not find the interior to be attractive - in fact it looked cheap.
I purchased a 02 Brilliant Silver with: leather, 3rd row, moon roof,CD player,power folding mirrors for $40K ($3800 off sticker). After 5 months and 7,200 miles(knock on wood)we have had no problems. I find the vehicle has good power and great gas mileage (22.2 highway, 18 around town). The 3rd row has come in handy a number of times. In fact, we had a 5'10" teenager sitting back there, without a complaint. This is by far the best riding vehicle I've owned. We sold our 2000 Chrysler TC Limited to buy the ML. So far, my owner satisfaction is higher than the TC Limited, which cost $32K and was a very fine mini-van. My wife and I feel very safe in the ML, which is a big reason for buying it. We also get a lot of compliments from neighbors and friends about the overall appearance of the vehicle. We like the redesigned front lights and bumper, as well as the interior.
By following this site, I have come to the conclusion that the 02 model has overcome many of the previous quality problems. Most of the posting and problems are from owners of 1998-2000 model years. I'll continue to read this site, hoping that other happy 02 or 03 model year owners will share their satisfaction. While I would like to think that I won't experience any problems, I am not naive to believe that won't happen, but then again that would be true for any vehicle!!
#6697 of 8199 Mac320...you actually believe what you wrote?? no comment.
Nov 19, 2002 (2:09 pm)
#6698 of 8199 RE: New ML Owner
Nov 19, 2002 (2:37 pm)
I would have to agree with your remarks. I purchased my '02 ML 320 a year ago this week. I had owned 2 Jeep's previously and was very pleased moving up to the ML. The Jeep's had a much rougher ride that this vehicle. However, the gas mileage is about the same.
My ML now has 15,000 miles on it and I still enjoy driving it every day. The only real problem I have with mine is the trip computer (date, compass, mpg, etc) up near the sunroof does not work properly. I have tried to reset it many times, but it only works for a few days. After that, the date will jump ahead or display some crazy number (11-18, 11-19, 87-26, 6A-45, etc). The dealer tried to fix it, but all they did was reset the date. However, that didn't resolve anything. I will asked them to look at it again next time. Other than that, I can't complain.
My ML 320 had one option I never had before and that is heated seats. At first I thought this was a silly option for the expense. However, now that I have had it, I can't imagine not having it in the future. Nothing like toasty seats on a cold morning!
Another thing that is great about the ML compared to the BMW and Lexus, is the size of the rear cargo area. The ML can hold much more stuff than the other 2, so I found it to be the only real choice for me when I bought mine.
I am a Realtor, so I have a lot of people crawling in and out of mine. The only real complaints from my clients have come from short people. They think it is too hard to climb inside.
If I had to do it again, I would in a heartbeat. My only regret was getting it in Capri Blue. The paint is too dark and it shows everything. It looks sharp when it's clean, but that doesn't last long. I should of held out for the silver, which was my first choice. However, they didn't have any in stock.
Nov 19, 2002 (2:55 pm)
Hello people. I've been lurking here for some time but have never posted. This fall I had been looking to pick up a 2000 ML 320 and had my eye on one in pretty nice shape with 39k miles. I'm cautious about these things and looked at it for a while. I knew I could get pretty decent money for my '93 Lexus ES 300 by selling it on my own (as opposed to dealer trade-in offer) and decided to try to sell the Lexus before buying the ML 320. As it happened, before I could sell the Lexus, the ML 320 was bought by someone else. I was kind of bummed about that, but started my search anew. Not long thereafter I found a dealer here in NW Ohio that had one remaining '02 ML 320 (Black w/Java like I wanted w/ M1, M5, basically everything but M2 and third row seats). When I asked in mid-October for the best offer from the dealer he moved on the first try (to my amazement)from $41,720 sticker to $37,856 or a discount of $3864 or about $1000 below invoice). I figured it would take days of haggling to get to about $39,500. I later learned there was a dealer incentive in place of $1500 making this possible. For the first time ever in buying a car I did not haggle at all, believing this dealer was down to the bone b/c '03s were out etc. Took delivery on October 18th and the vehicle has been fantastic. Like some other obsessive compulsive's posting here, I did not like the idea of having that beautiful MCS screen controlling only the CD and Radio, so after trying to figure a way around buying the MB Motorola v60 phone, I bit the bullet and ordered that too. The phone is pricey, but it is truly very slickly integrated and works great. I've had an occasional problem where signal strengh was marginal, but overall it's fantastic. Would like to add the NAV at some point, but the phone had much greater utility for me and buying both would have been bleeding the turnip a little too much. Maybe I'll add it down the road. My other observations are as follows:
Compared to the 2000, it seems the 2002 is considerably quieter as far as engine and wind noise goes. I've been told that MB added Thinsulate to the doors at some point along the way.
Having read this board, I was very atuned to the squeaks and rattles issue and drove many miles without the radio on looking for any tell tale squeak or rattle. I did discern a slightly metallic rattle from the tailgate area which you had to listen for to hear while going over a decent bump at low speed. This minor imperfection was starting to bug me, when I read here that MB had engineered a solution for the tailgate rattle. There are two hard rubber/plastic cylinders sticking out of the tailgate opening just outside the weatherseal that have a slot for a screwdriver. On the end of each cylinder is a ball-like swivel. The cylinders can be screwed out or in (in my case out) to hold the tailgate more firmly against its latch by placing more tension on the tailgate. My intial efforts to turn these a little by hand did not cure the rattle. Later I actually screwed them out more with a screwdriver and the rattle is completely gone. This thing sounds and rides like a vault now.
The only barely discernable noise now comes from the plastic cargo plates moving against the cargo tie down rings in one place and this can be easily halted with a little velcro or something.
I'm extremely pleased with the quiet ride now. The ride quality is very nice. Mildly bouncy like the truck it is, but very soft and responsive otherwise.
I had considered the Lexus RX 300, but it really is much more of a car than the ML 320. The last straw was looking at the shiny black ML 320 with its positively monstrous (now 17 not 16 inch) tires and comparing them to those on the RX 300. The RX 300 looked like it had Honda Civic tires on it by comparison. By the way, that is not intended as a slam, my Lexus ES 300 still rode like a vault with 80K on it and was problem free, so it was hard to part with. Lexus makes great sedans, but MB really got it right with the styling of the ML IMHO. I see there is a new Lexus SUV out now incidentally.
Anyway, thus far I'm like the the styling changes to the 2002 over the earlier models which I also thought look great. It seems that MB has worked hard to solve the fit and finish problems they encountered with the earlier vehicles.
Thought I'd add my thoughts. Happy motoring.