2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of interior space, quite comfortable, carlike ride and handling, excellent snow vehicle.
  • Poor reputation of build quality, looks like a minivan, not particularly adept off-road.
List Price Estimate
$1,682 - $2,933

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With this year's improvements to the cabin ambience, Mercedes shows it can admit and fix its mistakes. Still, the M-Class is more of a luxurious and versatile all-weather vehicle than it is an off-road terror.

Vehicle overview

Though a runaway sales success, Mercedes-Benz did not hit the bull's-eye with the M-Class sport utility when it was introduced in the fall of 1997 as a 1998 model. The Alabama-built SUV had buyers lined up for months and demand was greater than supply for a long time. But the quality of the vehicle, in terms of the bits and pieces and the way they were assembled, didn't meet the standards of the company or the wealthy clientele that bought them in droves. The vehicle landed last on J. D. Power quality surveys, an embarrassing standing for a German engineering firm that had prided itself for years on vault-like construction and impeccable quality.

The ML320, powered by a peppy 3.2-liter V6 and equipped with drab, gray bumpers and body trim, was priced to steal buyers of loaded Grand Cherokees and 4Runners, though most of the good stuff like leather and wood and everything that makes a Mercedes a Mercedes was optional. Prices for the ML320 rose easily into the low 40s well equipped. The SUV took hits from the public and media for resembling a minivan and performing about as capably as one off-road, but Mercedes knew that if they built them, buyers would come.

In 1999, Mercedes added standard equipment like Electronic Stability Control, Brake Assist, and BabySmart to the ML320 and introduced the opulently outfitted, V8-powered ML430. With a 268-horsepower 4.3-liter motor under the hood and 17-inch tires at each corner, the 430 leaned toward the sporting end of the SUV spectrum. Fast and good-looking with body-colored bumpers and exterior trim, the 430 was a big improvement over the pedestrian 320.

For 2000, Mercedes has improved the recipe once more. All M-Class models get an interior facelift available in one of three new colors in an effort to silence critics who've called the cabin cheap. Optional third-row seating bumps passenger capacity to seven and a Touch Shift automanual transmission makes driving the M more fun. ML320 buyers get body-color bumpers and trim so neighbors don't immediately surmise that they couldn't afford the V8. The 320 also gets real walnut inside, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, and other goodies for improved ambiance. In addition to these items, a standard navigation system, higher-grade leather, and heated seats come on all ML430s for 2000.

M-Class is equipped with a four-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension for superior on-road ride and outstanding maneuverability. Fast-acting ABS, combined with both traction and stability control, make the M-Class unstoppable in the snow. Blend this inherent ability on pavement and in the slippery stuff with the M's cavernous 80.2 cubic feet of maximum cargo space and long list of standard equipment, and the ingredients for a perfect luxury sport-ute are in place. But true off-road aficionados will want to shop elsewhere for wheels, because the M-Class, despite its boxed frame and four-wheel drive, is much more suited to Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway than a two-track draped across the Continental Divide.

2000 Highlights

All M-Class models get an interior facelift available in one of three new colors, optional third-row seating and a Touch Shift automanual transmission. ML320 buyers get body-color bumpers and trim, real walnut inside, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, revised interior fabric, seatback map pockets and footwell lamps. In addition to these items, a standard navigation system, high-grade leather, and heated seats come on all ML430s.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

15 years with very few problems **UPDATE in 2018
Bob F Deja,07/30/2017
ML320 4dr SUV AWD
15 years of hard city driving in Chicago winters. The exhaust, rear shocks, alternator are still original. I got it with 30k miles, all I did over the 15 years is a rear wheel bearing ($15 on amazon), a cam position sensor ($10, 10 minute fix) front shocks, window controls ($100, 1 hr fix), belt tensioner after 17 years, and the starter went out after 15 years ($150, 1 hr easy fix). That and fluids, belts, oxy sensors. I tow boats, cars with it easily, love it. Most things are an easy fix and easy to get at, the metal quality is superior, always amazed at how easily the bolts come out after so long and so much road salt. Unstoppable in the snow with Michelin LTX tires. ** 2018 update - still have it, still love it, almost 20 years old now. A/C needs a top up every year but still works, original parts. original alternator. Recently replaced the front brake hoses, just because they were old, but they were still in amazing shape, brake lines broke loose with a little penetrant, amazing with 19 years in chicago winters and salt. Went to rebuild the calipers with new seals but they didn't need them, original orange viton dust seals and square piston seal were fine. Pistons were made of some kind of thermal fibercompound, no corrosion, no problems. I have no reason to replace this car, except the body is starting to rust, but starts every time. May keep it another 20 at this point. Last year I thought it was done, oil was all over the undercarriage, thought the rear seal was gone. Turned out to be a failed oring type gasket for a square cover on the front of the engine, 10 bucks at the dealer, easy fix.
No regrets!
palm coast,03/28/2010
After 7 years owning this Benz, I considered buying another car, but have doubts that anything could be as reliable, good looking and fun to drive as this one. If and when the day comes that I do buy another car, I'm sure it will be a Mercedes SUV.
2000 ML430
Adam Campbell,10/03/2015
ML430 4dr SUV AWD
Car is a pleasure to drive. Purchased with 76k. ABS pump, ebay 46.00,mechanic 1000-1400 , ps rack 650.00 mechanic 1500.00, front pads, sunroof issues, catilytic converter broke in two, had it tig welded .overall very happy but I am fairly skilled DIY, don't buy if you are relying on dealer or mechanic to fix your maint. issues .
Not bad at all!
coolman,05/10/2010
I have owned this car for 10 years now and i am still trusting it. It had some minor problem but so has every car. The only problem is the interior parts are not very durable. Little things like the door panel, handle, seat panel etc. Otherwise, it is a very reliable car. In fact, it is more reliable than my newer BMW 7 series. I will get another Benz because of the reliable engine and trans and the comfort, not sure if it will be an SUV but might consider the E class. the m class is pretty worth it for the price and re sell is not bad at all.

Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 18 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed automatic
Gas
215 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
14 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed automatic
Gas
268 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Class 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 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Used 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview

The Used 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is offered in the following submodels: M-Class SUV. Available styles include ML320 4dr SUV AWD, and ML430 4dr SUV AWD.

What's a good price on a Used 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?

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Which used 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Classes are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale - 7 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $22,989.

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Should I lease or buy a 2000 Mercedes-Benz M-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 M-Class lease specials