This is a very safe and solid SUV, while it may lack some bells and whistles; it has all that it needs to be a solid SUV. I’ve owned 4 of these, 1998 ML 320 2000 ML 320, 2001 ML 430, and 2002 ML 500. It was my wife’s vehicle, I bought this for her to keep her safe, and when a new safety feature was released I traded in the previous one for a new one (stability control, curtain airbags…) I lost her to cancer at 31 years old. So now I keep her ML500 in the garage all waxed and clean. Some people complain about that the tires and or brakes wear out around 20k miles, I’ve experienced this too, but keep in mind that this SUV is almost 5,000 pounds, twice as heavy as an average sedan.
I bought this car back in 2012 for $7100 I believe it was actually worth somewhere around 9 or 10 grand but could be wrong but letsI b get down to the point...bought this car with 120,000 or so miles on it. Never had to work on this car all I ever did was kept my oil changed at every 5-7 thousand miles but calls for every 10k. I did have to replace an alternator and upper control arms due to worn out ball joints but that's normal for a car this old the driving handling and comfort of this car I loved it. I even drove this car on solid ice and didn't no it untill I parked and stepped out to feel the ground in solid ice. This has been the best car I ever owned and actually thinking about buying another one due to I lost this car after my wife hit a telephone head on cause she dropped her drink in her lap and took her eyes off the road. Now this thing was built for safety and I'm still shocked at how tough this thing was she walked away without a scratch or bruise. And most cars windshields crack or even bust after hitting a telephone pole at 50mph. This windshield did not. This thing is a safe and reliable car all in one. And that's one of the biggest reasons why I am considering buying another one just like it. You cannot go wrong with the ml320 wished I still had her sitting in my driveway
I purchased a new 2001 ML 320 and kept it for a year and spent the greater part of that year camped at the dealer with the myriad of problems. Things like I could not go more than 2 weeks w/o a headlight bulb on either side blowing or strange sounds coming from the undercarriage or leaks each time it rained, etc. My first MB had been a 1961 220S and was a fantastic vehicle so I knew what a MB was supposed to be! I became very vocal whenever I had to be there for another issue with the 2001 and either the dealer was going to give in or MB itself. I was finally offered a 2002 ML500 which had over 5000 changes made and 200,000 great miles have passed. No major problems, just normal things.
I have owned this car since new. It now has 110,000 miles and is still like new since almost every part has been replaced or repaired at least once. I have found the car is easy to work on and most parts are available on line or at local auto parts stores. There are also great web forums to help diagnose problems and instructions for repairs. There have been so many problems I could not begin to list them all, but one positive thing I can say it has never left me stranded. I would only recommend buying this car if you have the ability to do most of the repairs and maintenance yourself, otherwise this car is just a money pit that is best avoided