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This guy I was talking to today was saying that "ALL" Mercedes from 2000-2005 were very poorly made and had many issues. He was driving a 2000 C230 Kompressor. I asked about his and he said the W202 Was the last of the "Quality" built Mercedes.
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This can get very opinionated, but I agree with the guy. The early U.S. C-Classes (W201)from 84-93 were rated to have top reliability andthe W202's 94-00in general were good. But from everything I've read online from owner reports, unexpected maintenance, to cost of ownership... the facts suggest that W203's are unreliable. Especially the electrical systems, which might explain why Europe uses them as taxi cars since they are basically bone stock without all the electronics. Mercedes has recognized the problem, the patch was the W204.. and I haven't heard of a single problem other than one guy needing a cylinder head at 900 miles which happens.
Im going to have to say from ownership that the w202 1994-2000 has to be the worst Mercedes ever. poorly made interior is about 90% of the reason why I hate them. (its a Mercedes not aFord) thats the first issues with it. second dont get the "Sport" edition of the W202 Thats a real joke. There is nothing sporty about it. The body is way too boxy.As far as newer models the only real issue with the newers one is the W2112003-2008 E Class. know for their electrical issues. I havealso herd some issues with the W220 S Class about airmatic issues. as far as the W203I know 4 people that own W203'S and have never had any issues at all with them. That guy said 2000-2005. The W210 E Class 1996-2002 being one of the best Mercedes ever. I have the W210 E320(Witch is a 2002) and again have had no real issues with it. I will have to agree with AMG About the W201. Hands down a great little car and very reliable.
2002 E320 Special Edition
2000 C280 Sport
I have the 2001 S430 and have to say it has been a GREAT car! I have 165,000 miles on the vehicle now and it runs great. I am planning for another 100,000 miles before i will consider selling and getting another Mercedes. This car has been a GREAT CHOICE for me and i am very happy with this year.
I bought a 2012 GL350 because I wanted a three-row car and figured I'd get (1) quality (2) support from dealership and (3) value. My car was in the shop within 1 month of ownership for a "software update" (on a new car!!!). The dealer, once I purchased, has ignored me, provided no support (and you need a lot to operate the awful GPS/radio) and made me feel like I was in a used car dealership trying to rip me off (okay, I should have walked but they were slick like grease). MB is resting on it's laurels and while the quality may have justified a premium years ago, my short experience says DON'T BUY. I am very disappointed.
My experience with the 1975-1978 280/280SE models have been outstanding. A friend of mine had a 1975 280S with the 4-barrel SOLEX carburetor and lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin for 4 years when transferred with the USCG. He racked up 350,000 miles on the engine without an engine rebuild!! My 1975 280S has 110K miles and the engine is strong but the body is rusted in some areas. He drove his car to Maryland where he just donated the car when it had 395K miles on it!! He donated his newly-rebuilt 4-bbl SOLEX carburetor to my 280S.