We have owned this car for about 60,000 miles, and had an extended warranty through last year. This car has been driven through city and country, with many miles off-road locating petroglyph and Indian ruin sites throughout the Southwestern United States. This is our third Mercedes and we have driven them an aggregate of over 250K miles, so I am somewhat biased toward the three pointed star. All of the suggested service was performed and the additional repairs required have totaled less than $1,000 which included the new platinum plugs at 100K miles. I would buy another one without a second thought.
The turning radius is nice and tight. The compartment under the passeneger seat is also a nice feature. The power and growl of the engine in passing Lexus SUVs is also a very favorite feature. It is also a good sight to watch other offroaders look at you while trekking offroad.
Change the placement of the cup holders and reconfigure the rear deck. If possible, boost the miles per gallon; but please keep the power!
I needed a car in the AWD category which was suited for rough off-roading trips in the country and daily suburban mom, and which wouldn't embarass my husband when he had to park it next to his super-status-concious coworkers. For the money, this car fit the bill. Remembering there wasn't much out there in the smaller 6+passenger SUV category at the time and that this car was originally priced considerably less than the other entries in this category, like Lexus and Toyotas, I can forgive many annoying flaws. I'm still a loyal owner, but I haven't had any of the reliablity issues the other reviewers had, and I wouldn't tolerate them if I did.
The short wheel base gives it great advantage in going in and out of small ravines and over boulders off roading, while making it easy to park in the suburbs and city. It sure beats a Ford pickup for comfort, even if our Lexus sedan outclasses it in every comfort, reliablity, and luxury area.
Fix the cheap stuff, like broken coffee holders, bad trim, tailgate latching problems. Make the seats less stiff. And above all, I HATE to be towed and when I'm offroading, it's a day's walk to a phone, so fix the reliablity problems.
I bought this 1999 model in late 1998. I know the 1998 models and numberous problems. I have done 69K miles and have had the following warranty repairs. Transmission Control Module (Warranty) Driver Side Power Window Switch (Warranty) Alarm System (Warranty) Power Steering Hose (Recall) Auxulliary Cooling Fan Harness ( Out of Warranty: $400). Besides this I have done the regular maintenance, brakes, belts, etc. Overall it has been very reliable. I have never been stranded. I hear a lot of horror stories and sometimes think about trading it in. But since I have had no major problems, I don't want to start making new car payments and will probably keep it untill the first major problem.
I like the towing capacity, low-range gearing, AWD, Back seats are awsome. Third row seating. Gas mileage (Avg 18 mpg in mixed driving) Handles well in snow and rain. Good cargo space.
I wish they would not source any electronics from US Suppliers and build this thing in Germany rather than Alabama.
We have owned a 1999 Mercedes-Benz ML430 vehicle for four years. It has been extremely reliable. This is our second Mercedes and won't be our last. I recommend keeping up on service. We have had no problems. I do wish the front leg room was just a little bit bigger. I am 6'1" and it could be just a little longer.
It handles well and is fun to drive.
The cup holders need improvement. Also, the CD deck is inconveniently located in the back hatch area.
My 1999 Mercedes-Benz ML320 is a joy to drive. My
friends and I always use my car around
town because it is just amazing. I
hope to purchase this vehicle in a
newer model very soon so I can
continue to enjoy my driving