we have never had the car in the shop, for major problems, just o2 sensors replaced a few times and a few other maintenance parts, still drives well and has held up well 146k miles or so and you still take it on a 6 or 8 hour trip without worrying about anything bad happening to it
I bought it in Nov 1997 brand new with 4 miles on it.Its now 16 years old in Nov 2013 and accumulated about 85,ooo miles.My verdict:this car is extremely reliable and economical to maintain,during the past 16 years it never turn me down,never brakes down on the road,in parking lot or at home,it starts on time,i follow the car maintenace program every 10,000 miles,the major expenses on this car is my battery last year and replace my 4 tires 3 time during the last 15-16 years and the rest are minor repair or maintenance,annual inspection for sticker thats why i never traded it to any type of car,my 98 Mercedes Benz C230 is my buddy for the last 15 years she is always with me all the time.
Beautiful External and interior design,W or S button switch(S for normal driving,W for winter or wet driving),Burl walnut wood trim,
retractable rear headrest,programmable garage door opener.
I've owned my C230 for 14 years now, and the only reason I still own it is I couldn't sell it in good conscience with its flaws. The transmission was showing problems since new, but there were so many other problems that were more pressing when it was new (many pages in one visit) that I didn't notice that they left that one off. Then when it started to slip big time at 90K Mercedes refused to repair it. A mechanic at the dealership told me confidentially that it is a known problem. I complained to everyone, including the CEO of the entire company, and at every level in between, to no avail. This is my second that I bought new. Never again. Luckily this was not my only vehicle.
The vehicle is marvel of design in many respects. If you didn't get a lemon, it would be a nice vehicle. It is capable of around 30 mpg on the highway. It has plenty of room inside for 2 adults and 3 kids, with a large trunk. I had a few of the early 190s, and this vehicle looked like a full-sized vehicle compared to those cars. The ABS system has to be the best there is. In the snow or ice, when you lock up the brakes, it stops straight. While I hate the Mercedes company with a passion for its belligerent customer service policies (not enough room here to discuss my experiences over my 25 years of ownership of various vehicles), Some aspects of its engineering are world class.
The transmission was always a problem. It was not designed to be used in this vehicle. And the cost of a new transmission, even a rebuilt one with a core charge, cost more than the car was worth at 90K miles. The check engine light has been going on for 135K miles since new, and they have refused to fix it from the start. Every car company will manufacture a bad car at some point. What the do to stand behind those cars is what sets them apart. Any time I have ever had to ask a Mercedes factory rep to fix a serious problem, all with cars I purchased new, they made me feel like I was asking for a favor to fix their mistakes.
This is my first Benz, I bought it not long ago from old lady that passed away so truly it was the "Little old lady that drove it on Sunday" car. It had less than 68 K on it which was extremely low mileage for a 14 year old car, but unfortunately she took very poor care of the car bordering on car abuse. I have been going through it repairing what I can and getting all the service caught up, mostly by doing the work myself. The trick to owning one of these old Benz's is that you don't want to constantly pay somebody else to do the work, (no dealer) you need to be able to fix it yourself. Fortunately, the car is actually quite service friendly, though parts can be expensive.
It drives very nicely.
Very solid ride, super tight turning radius, gas mileage with the 4 has been around 26 for me, calls for premium but been running regular. Good amount of space inside, trunk has lots of room, full size alloy wheel spare.
Brakes are 4 wheel disc with ABS for good stopping.
Handling with standard original shocks is still good though I will replace them soon enough.
Engine access for service is pretty good, lots of room to get in there and work.
4 cyl engine is buzzy.
Good power when couple with 5 speed auto, though it will rev higher.
Over 60 and it turns around 2500 rpm.
Not the quietest ride, good amount of engine and road noise but I understand the Germans don't want you to be too isolated from the road.
Front cupholder just okay for standard water bottle, big gulp, fahgettaboudit.
They use the engine vacuum for everything, if you have a leak (and they all leak by this age) you have to wait for the pump in the trunk to catch up.
So doors/trunk may take seconds to open.
Also use an IR based smart key so no long distance unlocking and dont loose it, will cost over 300 bucks to get new one from dealer.