I am the original owner and bought it new in 2000. I mainly use it when I need 4WD or hauling so it still has only 75k miles. The engine, transmission, and brakes are great and have never needed any service, but the rest of the car is junk and it has probablems that are characteristic of this model and year, but Mercedes will not admit or correct them since they came out after the warranty expires. 1. This wagon is prone to rust around the fixed rear window in the rear hatch. I had to have it fixed in a body shop for >$600. It affects about 1/3 wagons, but you don't see that as you drive around anymore because most of us who still own ours have had it fixed. 2. The CD player in the rear wheel well has problems with the transport mechanism. I had it fixed twice at my expense but it kept jamming so I gave up and don't use it. 3. This model year had terrible (and known) problems with the insulation on the wiring under the dash. Mercedes used an environmentally friendly material that broke down prematurely and the wires shorted out. My dashboard clock and outside temp. readouts have been useless for years. It would cost thousands to get under the dashboard and replace the wiring, so I just stuck a cheap digital clock on the dashboard. 4. The releases on the rear seat backs that allow them to flip down have an elaborate cable linkage that broke (at different times) on both rear seats despite light usage. (If one broke it could be bad luck, but both means a design flaw.) 5. Both rear window motors failed (at different times) and had to be replaced. 6, The volume control knob on the radio doesn't work properly so I use the + and - buttons on the steering wheel. 7. At speeds over 70mph there is a vibration in the front that neither my tire dealer nor Mercedes dealer can find or explain.
Problems #1-4 are well know to Mercedes owners in chat rooms, but Mercedes will not admit any of them or correct them. I keep the car because the engine and transmission are flawless, the cargo capacity is enormous, and the 4WD is essential in the snow. I would never buy another Mercedes and my daily transport is a 2014 Lexus ES Hybrid. Toyota products are absolutely flawless - I've owned two Priuses, a Camry Hybrid, and now a Lexus Hybrid, and have never fixed a single thing on any of those technologically complicated cars. They have all been passed down to my children and grandchildren and are still in the family with high mileage yet remain flawless.
I bought this vehicle with 132K miles on it from a mechanic that had owned it for 5 years. I had it in my possession for a little over a year. The main reason I bought the car was for transporting my road bike. In terms of functionality, it performs admirably, the wagon bodystyle is very good at hauling around the road bike and makes Costco trips a breeze.
Performance - The engine power is adequate and the transmission shifts smoothly.
Fuel Economy - On the highway you can achieve near 30MPG with cruise control; however, city mileage is near not so pleasant, 12 or 14 MPG.
Handling/Ride Quality - Handling is okay and ride quality was a bit floaty.
Cargo capacity - The wagon is large and performs better than many SUVs for hauling purposes.
Tech - I was pleased to find that this 2000 model year had a relatively good navigation system (with traffic) and Bluetooth, pretty high tech for the time.
Third row seats - These rear facing seats are GREAT, the owner's manual says persons under 5'3" shouldn't sit back there; however, I have driven guests around that are 5'10" and have been more comfortable than a SUV with three row seating.
Reliability - When I took owenership of the vehicle it was in VERY good condition, but over the first few months small electrical glitches surfaced.
The on board computer would say that a bulb was out, but all were functioning.
The computer would also say coolant was low, but it wasn't.
The vehicle also began to develop an odd thumping sound from the rear suspension that was too intermittent for a proper diagnosis.
When I downsized from having both the MB Wagon and Lexus IS, I would have kept the wagon if it weren't for the MPG and the weird electrical issues.
I just love this car, had few problems some even very expensive- air condtion went down 1100$!, window regulators broke 2 times 300$ each, engine mounts 600$ but I do not see a problem in it, I bought it used and expected things to go bad at some point. It is like a beautiful women expensive to maintain but fun to ride ;). I feel sick when my wife makes me drive her Volvo s70. Ten volvos s70 are not worth one used out tire of my E320 Mercedes. My next car ?!? - MERCEDES!!!!!!!