I purchased my Mercedes when I was 17 with 53,000 miles on it , I treated it like gold. Servicing it regularly never drove it hard or off road it handles so well and is so comfortable with so much room to haul things. Then I moved to North Carolina I thought about buying a jeep or a truck for the snow and the gravel roads, I thought wrong this Mercedes would climb a tree. as of now living in north Carolina I have driven in over two feet of snow up mountains and never spin out or slide, I now own an ml500 and baby that one, I have been putting my old Benz to the test! I go out every time it snows and drive off road and it never fails, same when I go through hunting trails and mudding even through creeks. I drove it through my local mud sling and made it! I put slightly bigger tires on my baby and I'm up to drive anywhere. I love this car it is truly a Boss with 289256 miles on her!!!
I have just traded in my 1999 ML320. We had a rocky relationship but it did last 12 years so it was not all bad. Frankly I loved the basic design, drive and utility of the vehicle. Maintenance was very very expensive and reliability reminded me more of GM than Mercedes. However, it never failed to start except when the battery died every four or five years so it did serve as reliable transport. So many little and bigger things required maintenance however that it was simply not economical to own and would have been cheaper to walk away from four or five years ago than to keep on the road. I finally threw in the town when the transfer case started acting up and repair was over 5 grand
I bought my 1999 ML 320 with 186k from the second Owner and have been pretty happy with it. The heated leather front seats are great, there is plenty of room in back for my rat terrier and her bed, and the cargo area is huge even with the back seat in place. The engine is smooth and quiet with great torque. The SUV feels sure-footed and is easier to park that I thought. Now for the not so good. An oil change is over $100 because the ML 320 holds 8.5 quarts of oil. The ride is stiff and there is too much wind noise. Yes the cup holders are terrible. And why on earth did Mercedes outfit the earlier ML's with a manual climate control ? The A/C takes forever to cool the interior on a hot day - and my ML 320 has dark tinted windows and I live in Oregon ! I can't imagine the A/C making the cut in Arizona. There are also some blind spots that take some getting used to.
I love this truck. I have put 100,000 miles on over the last 5 years with minimal maintenance. Typically get 21-23 mpg hwy/ 15-16 in town. Not bad for a 6,000lb truck. Down side is brakes! Mercedes recommends changing pads and rotors, very pricey and they wear very fast. I would buy another in a heartbeat, but this one may not wear out.