Used 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV

1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
List price range

Pros

  • Capable sport ute with Mercedes-Benz levels of refinement.

Cons

  • Looks like the Mercury Villager minivan from the rear.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Despite increased sales during the last few years, the good people at Mercedes recognized a gaping hole that had existed in their lineup since 1993. That was the last year that Mercedes offered any sort of AWD vehicle, and the cancellation of their 4Matic sedans and wagons for the 1994 model year left them rather vulnerable to attacks from Audi, Subaru and Volvo. Recognizing this weakness, Mercedes introduced AWD availability to the E-Class of sedans and wagons, and has gone one step further than the competition by developing a true sport-utility vehicle.

Unlike other luxury off-roaders, the ML320 is neither derived from an existing SUV, like the re-designed Lincoln Navigator, nor built on a hybrid car platform, like the Lexus RX300. Instead, the ML320 was designed from the ground up as a unique Mercedes, capable of taking people off road or through poor weather without sacrificing the luxury, safety or performance that Mercedes' clientele have come to expect.

This means that the ML320 combines many technologies that have heretofore been exclusively car or exclusively truck. Mercedes, for example, has decided to use a separate frame for this vehicle. Boxed at both ends, this frame gives the ML320 the sort of torsional rigidity that is necessary for serious off-road maneuvers. To this truck-tough frame, Mercedes has attached a four-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension, the first ever application of double-wishbone suspension technology at all four wheels of a truck. The result is a fantastic on-road ride that enables this tall vehicle to hustle through the slalom at the same impressive speed as the E320 sedan.

The ML320 has all of the touches that we expect of a car that carries the three-pointed star on its hood. Interior materials, except for the plastic on the dashboard, are first rate, the chairs are comfortable for all-day driving, there are multiple cupholders for front and rear passengers, the stereo sounds great and the secondary controls are thankfully devoid of the confusing pictographs that have adorned many of M-B's previous efforts.

Mercedes has priced the ML320 aggressively, making it, in fact, the second cheapest vehicle in their entire lineup. Compared to trucks like the Ford Explorer Limited and Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, the ML320 is easily the superior vehicle in all but the most demanding of off-road challenges. On-road, these American contenders can't touch this Teutonic trailblazer. If your vehicle purchase is leading you to the four-wheel drive neck of the woods, not looking at the Mercedes-Benz ML320 is the biggest mistake you could make.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Used 1998 ML320
tja623, 3/25/2013
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!!!!!!
Never Left Me Stranded
CJBENZ1, 8/26/2010
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.
Sue For the Key Problem I did and won
susan, 5/14/2010
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.
Well-engineered and poorly assembled SUV
Miguel K, 4/2/2005
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.
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Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed automatic
Gas
215 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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
    Good

More about the 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Used 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV Overview

The Used 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV is offered in the following styles: , and ML320 4dr SUV AWD.

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