1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review

Used E-Class for sale
List Price Estimate:$1,030 - $2,212
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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Mercedes-Benz introduces an all-new E-Class for 1996, sporting a distinctive countenance, larger dimensions, door-mounted side-impact airbags and more standard equipment. First out of the blocks is the E320, equipped with a 217-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline six; and the E300 Diesel. Later in the year, an E420 V8 will be released, putting 275-horsepower to the ground through the rear wheels, and a five-speed automatic transmission will be offered.

Styling follows familiar Mercedes themes, but the front end of the E-Class is quite a departure from previous Benz models. Round headlamps, available with new gas-discharge technology, contain low beams as well as parking lights and turn signals. Smaller inner lights serve as high beams. Fog lamps are integrated into the bumper covers. The result is a crisp retro look that gives the E-Class a large dose of personality and presence.

Occupants are treated to a new automatic climate control system that can be set for driver and passenger comfort, and filters dust, pollen and odors from the air. The usual burl walnut trim covers the instrument panel, and E320 models come with standard leather seating. A three-position memory feature is standard on all models, and it positions the driver's seat, steering wheel, headrests and side-view mirrors for up to three different drivers. Cupholders are provided front and rear.

E-Class is equipped with improved anti-lock brakes, new standard traction control systems, child-safety locks on the rear doors, dual airbags and new inflatable restraints in the doors. E420 models can be ordered with an Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which helps drivers keep the car under control in hazardous conditions. An infrared remote security system is standard.

The revamped E-Class should compete very well with the new BMW 5-Series and the Lexus LS400. Its understated elegance, newfound personality, and superb engineering will prove to be an irresistible blend of attributes in the luxury car class.

1996 Highlights

All new and sporting a face anybody's mother could love, the E-Class comes in three flavors: E300 Diesel, E320 and E420. A new front suspension and larger wheels and tires provide better handling, while optional gas-discharge headlamps mark new technology. Side-impact airbags are included in the doors of all E-Class models. E420's can be had with ESP, which is a new safety system that makes sure the E420 is under control at all times. The E420 also gets a new five-speed transmission.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Best Car I've Ever Owned
E300D 4dr Sedan
Bought for $22K. Wiring Harness is the only major issue ever ($1,700 to fix). This car regularly travels 800 mi RT to Gulf Shores, 300 mi RT to Spartanburg...and she just is great on the highway. Avg fuel is 28 in the city and 34 on the highway. I've put 120K miles on this car and she now has 223K total miles. Even my mechanic thinks this is an awesome car.
4.75 out of 5 stars
Easy to repair.. and you better be good at it.
E320 4dr Sedan
Trans went out at 150000 miles. Electrical problems and an emission gremlin that has never gone away. At 200000+ miles. Oil seep that I've just lived with for 6+ years of ownership. Annoying but easy to deal with. Squeaky belt but since none of the components running off the belt has ever been replaced.. guess its not that big of a deal. Fuel pump went out but easy to repair plus it was the original. Again not a big deal.. Lots of little things but parts are easy to find, just as cheap/expensive as any car. But easier to repair than any Japanese car I've ever owned. Just need to figure out the little tricks the engineers designed to make repairs easy. This car will go 300K miles.
3 out of 5 stars
My first MB and most likely the last!
E320 4dr Sedan
This car was my first MB and due to the problems and quality most likely my last. At 100K the engine (in-line 6) began leaking oil at the head. I have also had electrical problems with the dash and rear tail-lights. I could live with these issues but the other day while driving down the road my front left spring fell out! The spring pearch had rusted off. If I was going faster someone could have been killed as my spring went bouncing down the road!
5 out of 5 stars
E320 4dr Sedan
I really enjoy this superb and silky smooth car. All aspects of the car has been positive. The car handles nicely and feels quite substancial. My only complaints are typical to many other Benz's of similar years both earlier and later. This car turns heads and is deserving of all the attention that it recieves. Mercedes really stepped up the look on the car. To date this is the best looking E-Class. The 2003 chassis doesn't look as beefy, beefy looks good for a mans car. The 1996 is a heavy and stiff car. This tank is built for the road and it superbly holds the road in all weather conditions. This is close to car heaven. That is so far.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Overview

The Used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is offered in the following submodels: E-Class Sedan, E-Class Diesel. Available styles include E320 4dr Sedan, and E300D 4dr Sedan. The Used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Can't find a used 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz E-Class for sale - 2 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $10,415.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $21,169.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz E-Class for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $11,854.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $21,795.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz E-Class lease specials