I just bought a used 1998 ML 320. What a gem!!!! Plenty of power/torque, good acceleration, and an AWD system that handles itself great in the snow. Everything works, leather is in perfect condition, Bose stereo is fantastic, everything is what you would expect from a Mercedes Benz. Previous owner was a Mercedes Technician, so the vehicle was very well maintained. His wife hit a deer, and he didn't feel like making necessary repairs. So I got lucky, being a co-worker of his, he basically gave me the car for 2K and i had to repair the vehicle myself. A fender, hood, & bumper later, and I'm four wheelin' in the snow!!! You would never know this thing is 15 years old with 200k miles on it!!!!!!
My suv has always been reliable I've had it now for 12 years, the biggest problem has been the window switches that have been replaced twice for $300. Every other repair has outlasted the manufactuers recomendations. I suggest finding a good German repair faculty,repairs are on the exspensive side at the dealer. I've gotten good gas mpg average 20.
Never buy first year of new model. The main problems are only 8 keys allowed to be made. I had 6 keys replaced first year by Mercedes who never told me that once you hit 8 keys the whole locking system must be replaced for $4500. Should have been a recall. I sued in small claims court and won. Windows switch bad in all of them. I have replaced 4 times they only last 3 months. Should have been recall. They knew these problems all along but it was cheaper for them if people sue then do a recall.
It is not an extreme off road machine, or a full time all wheel drive hot rod. It is a tall minivan; so don’t expect a smooth ride like any MB sedan. Gas mileage is in the mid 20s, which is not bad for such a heavy car. The poor off road capability is due to the OEM tires. Once I replaced the stock 255x65x16 with a set of off road tires, my ML will go most places just like other mid size 4X4. MB needs to cut corners in materials to keep the sticker low. My only complaints are the doors. MB must have sub contracted the door design to Chrysler. ML door does not shut like German automobile at all. Driving lights could use some improvement. I added a set of driving lights to aid visibility.
We bought the car used with 64,000 miles on it. It's been a very good car, fairly reliable, but routine maintenance at the dealer has been expensive. Good gas mileage for it's size, good cargo area for my needs. Now has 112,000 miles and motor still great. Never left me stranded, but my clock stopped working last year and instrument panel would have to replaced at a cost of $1,000, so not doing that. Comfortable for me, but not my husband who is tall... he doesn't have near enough leg room, and even getting into the vehicle is a tight fit for him. It needs about another 6-8" of leg room for people over 6 ft. Back window wiper is loud. I still have the original radio which is pretty useless.