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Mercedes-Benz M-class (ML320, ML350, ML500 and ML55) 2005 and earlier



  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I was reading a few of the last posts and noticed someone saying in Africa, Afghanistan etc, the real vehicles doing the work are Toyotas, Land cruisers etc.

    Click on the link and see who is doing the REAL HEAVY work in Africa, scroll to the bottom of the page.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I too would like to slam JD Power and hide my head in the sand. I mean, that would be the most logical thing to do considering that I already plonked down a tidy sum on my ML and have to justify my decision.

    Even if the data is skewed, their questionaire is junk, whatever!!!. How is it that some of the other premium brands remain winners. Do they know something about the survey mercedes doesn't know? Does JD Powers have a hidden agenda to ruin Mercedes? I dont' think so.

    Some people have posted that we expect more because of the brand. Of-course we do, Why would I spend the extra money if I thought I was getting the same quality as a chevy, chrysler or kia.

    Like I have said before, I am not a Mercedez hater. I love my ML and will definitely consider the new ML when I am ready to replace mine. But, I am not afraid to face the truth. Mercedez should start paying attention to quality if they want to remain a premium brand.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I was looking at the future SUV Models and the new Dodge Durango looks erily like the ML. Check this edmunds photo. EHICLE/2004/Dodge/100122259/023363-T.jpg

    I remember reading some where that Merc/Chrysler is looking for more synergies in it's product range and that the next gen Mitsubushi Montero, Jeep Grand Cherokee and ML would share the same platform. Looking at the new Dodge Durango it seems like Dodge has been looking at the Mercedes parts bin too. Hmm.........

    Well atleast Chrysler/Dodge was placed well above Mercedes in the reliability survey. (Sorry folks, couldn't resist)
  • normjulznormjulz Posts: 1
    I am trying to decide b/w the x5 3.0 and ml320 with basically the same features. x5 has 43k miles and no extended warranty @ $33K. ml has 34k miles and dealer extends warranty to 12/05 or 100k miles whichever is first and cost is $30k. I am leaning towards the ml to be the better deal overall. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanks, norm
  • tomjavatomjava Posts: 136
    $30k for FY01 ML320? You'd offer it for $24K or lower for mint condition.

    Good Luck.
  • What I was referring to in my post was the Mercedes "military" vehicles used in Iraq. I was not referring to cars or SUV's. My only point was that Mercedes does not just manufacture luxury vehicles. They have experience in commercial trucks and economy cars (A Class). The initial ML SUV was not designed as a "luxury" vehicle and was only upgraded after consumers who never use their vehicles "off-road" showed a demand for it.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    Well, it depends on what you are looking for in an "SUV". The X5 is pure "S=Sport". There is absolutely no U=Utility in it. Have you seen the cargo space. You'd be lucky if you can squeese two Laptop bags in there.

    The ML320 has some "Sport" and great "Utility" value. Then again, you have to worry about quality issues. The X5 will probably keeps it's value much better than MLs.

    I shudder to think of what I would get if I where to put up my 1999 ML320 for Sale. I would most likely end up running it to the ground.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    Both are excellent. ML is SUV -> sport utility vehicle. X5 is SAV -> sport active vehicle. You can find more info from dealers. SAV is a bit less off-road capable.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    For the record, the X5's reliability ratings are even lower than the ML's. Some of this may be due to the X5 being a more recent design so its stats are more heavily weighted by the typical terrible first year or two of a new design.

    But both are pretty bad. (I'm typing this after just getting a call from the dealer saying that they have decided to replace my 2000 ML320 transmission with 49K miles on it after I complained about a relatively minor hesitation in downshifting, something that felt to me like a faulty kickdown switch. I'm not feeling very chipper about taking this otherwise nice SUV outside the safe harbor of a warranty.)

    - Mark
  • tiger2dolltiger2doll Posts: 39
    Hi All,

    I have a 2002 ML500 with 10k miles on it. I took it to the dealer for the FIRST ever service on this vehicle. He performed an A service. But the service docs from MBZ mention that on a new vehicle the First Service to be performed is a B service. I brought it to the attention of the Service Advisor - he spoke to the Shop Foreman. Foreman mentioned that they always do A then B then A and so on. The Maint Schedule on Edmunds also mentions that the B service should be performed first on a new vehicle. Any thoughts ??

    Thanks & regards,
  • tiger2dolltiger2doll Posts: 39
    Details from Edmunds site :

    The first service to be performed on a new vehicle is a B-Service. Then, if the distance driven since the last B-Service is less than 14,000 miles, an A-Service should be performed. If the distance driven since the last B-Service is greater than 14,000 miles, a B-Service should be performed. On models equipped with FSS which evaluates engine temperature, oil level, vehicle and engine speed, distance driven and time elapsed since the last service, the type of service to next be performed is indicated in the instrument cluster.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I recall an "A" service (single wrench) was what my FSS indicated on my service at about 12K but I could be mistaken.

    - Mark
  • hansenhansen Posts: 18
    Hi folks,
    I recently took my 2001 ML320 for a ton of work (new breaks, tires, piece fell off the moonroof, loose glove compartment door-the usual ML junk) and they gave me a ML 350 loaner. To my surprise, I actually felt that the ML320 had a better ride and even better acceleration. Was it my imagination, or have others had the same experience?
  • I own a 2000 ML 320 which has been pretty much trouble-free for 37,000 miles. I too have been the recipient of a 2003 ML 350 loaner and have to say I agree with the previous post. It did not seem to have as much acceleration as my ML 320 and ride seemed "softer" and not as responsive. In addition, the vehicle seemed to have worse gas mileage judging from how fast the fuel gauge dropped. The only thing I liked better was the automatic climate control system.
    Guess I will keep my ML 320 for a looooong time since there appears to be no significant reason to upgrade my wheels.
  • hansenhansen Posts: 18
    Thanks for the confirmation. Too bad they are going to discontinue the ML320. I am actually wondering if it is worth my while to trade in my 2001 (33,000 miles) for a 2003, since Mercedes gives a price break of $1000 to previous M class owners and there will probably be a very reduced clearance sale on the ML320's. I agree about the climate control, and I also really like the fog lights which my car does not have as well as the automatic headlights.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The 2002 model gained quite a bit of weight when the vehicle was refreshed. That must have offset some of the power gain from the new engine.

    I believe the 2002 also added 17" wheels as standard for the ML3xx, along with new tire models, and there are changes in ride characteristics.

    Please also keep in mind that the vehicles have an adaptive transmission and a loaner may not respond in the same way you expect.
  • jmbarryjmbarry Posts: 1
    Over the years the ML has gotten faster/slower and faster again. look at Wolfgangs model specs and you will see that every year they changes things a bit. So it's not a suprise you "feel" diffferences between model years. I love my ML 350. I do think it feels faster than 320's from prior years. By the way the ML 320 was stopped being manufactured in October, so if they have some on their lots they are leftovers.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The ML350 is definitely faster than the 2002 ML320. While the 2001 ML320 is faster than the 2002 ML320. There's very little difference between the 2000 and 2001 though.

    I am surprised at comments that the ML350 felt rougher. Starting with 2002, there were suspension changes that many think made the ride somewhat more compliant and smoother. I wonder how much of this is the difference between driving an older vehicle with its suspension "softened up" with use vs. a relatively newer loaner.
  • rich96rich96 Posts: 37
    Yes, I too received an ML350 as a loaner a couple of weeks ago. I also felt as if the acceleration was just a bit better (although not by much) in my 2001 ML320. I figured this was due to the additional weight on the ML350. I think the 2001's had a curb weight somewhere around 4500 lbs, and the ML350 is around 4800 lbs. The only thing I didn't like about the auto climate control is that it's a bit hard to see the little light that shows what setting it's on in the daytime with sunglasses on. Other than that, I liked that fact that it had rear vents. I couldn't really tell a difference in the ride quality. However I received the loaner with a full tank of gas. After driving it 65 miles with AC, I had used up a quarter tank of gas! This wasn't all city driving either.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    MLs may have their share of negative points (which car doesn't).
    But I think the review in the link above is totally negative. Don't bother to read it if you already haven't.
    The person definitely has a bias against the ML. His last line sums it up.

    To quote the author:
    "Consider far superior offerings from Acura, Infiniti, BMW, Volkswagen, Nissan and Lexus."

    Edmunds HOST. Be nice, fair and don't delete this post....
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    New review is ridiculous and unprofessional. Guy needs to be canned from Town Hall Review.

    The ML is a SUV, did the guy even go off road once? Where it will beat Acura, Nissan, Infiniti, BMW, Nissan and Lexus handily.

    The ML is a utility vehicle. Did the guy try to stuff 15 trash loads of stuff in the passenger compartment? Which I did, and which can never be done in the Infiniti and BMW?

    Has he even driven the Tuareg, or FX45 or the RX330? Does the Murano, FX or BMW even have the option of 3rd row seats?

    Is there even a check for competency before being allowed to write for THR or can anyone do it?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Our test team is made up of members, like many of you, who like to go to dealers and check out cars. The hosts get a feel for various members who are car nuts and who are always driving the latest and greatest. So we asked a few of them to collect their reviews in one spot. Otherwise, their comments would just live in the discussions that they normally frequent.

    I don't think many dealers encourage test drives off-road, btw - Land Rover may be the exception with their parking lot courses. Ditto on stuffing a new model with trash!

    Steve, Host
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I wonder what the purpose is.
    Taking the SUV acronym apart the U stands for UTILITY! Hellooooo anybody out there.
    The review even questions whether the ML is a truck or not, did they even look underneath or towed anything at all, in five years of ownership (ML430 trouble free) I have been towing, many times my 25 Ft fishing boat around 6000lbs loaded with tandem axles trailer, I have towed once in off-road conditions an 8000lbs load (tractor on trailer to a camp) the ML did it with no problems, the real question is whether those other grocery haulers are trucks or not with the exception of the Tourareg they are cars on SUV uniforms.

    Take a look at this picture I took at the plant a few years ago, the ML transmission and frame and see if any of the darlings mentioned look this big and strong.

    The slanted hood is there for a reason, visibility, any ML owners, can you see any hood while driving or all road? Did you think the ML handles well or is the article correct? Are all the other negatives correct or not?

    From the first sentence to the last the whole review is a bash, I find the writing style very familiar, is to be found at the Mercedes and VW bashing topics like at News&views, is this a Camaleon game? It reads like the biography of a serial killer, the author makes a little effort and finds a couple of bright episodes in his childhood. Is Edmund’s a professional and objective site or agenda ambassadors?

    HOST, if you think I am wrong read it or read it again, even a small thing like opening the hood is a pain for the reviewer, full of negatives, I just hope he did not hurt his wrist.

    From the same author, excerpt;

    “The Corolla is the leader in reliability and you can pick up a used one for a song. A used civic also will cost peanuts and will definitely run forever. avoid a 2.0 jetta, especially a 2000 like the plague. burning oil, window problems, etc.”

    I don’t think in downtown Tokyo I will find more negatives.

    My two cents.
  • Greetings,

    I'm one of the lucky ones with a 1998 ML-320 that's had very few problems. Sure, I get frustrated by the 20,000 mile brake pad replacements and the rubber trim that keeps falling off the sunroof but other than that I've had 116,000 miles of trouble free driving.

    I bought an extended warranty which started at 50,000 miles but so far have not had one dollar in claims. My warranty runs to 150,000 which I'll hit in about a year.

    This all leads me to ask how many other folks have hit the 100,000+ mile mark? For the few of us who have, I hope we'll all continue to have many more trouble free miles ahead.

    Jethro Jackson
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Steve, I got to put my $0.02 in that this was a poor review also.

    I've but on these forums for years, and while bluedot seems like a reasonable guy and is certainly prolific, he has an opinion on everything, many times making snap judgments on subjects he's only vaguely aware of. I've been as big a critic of the ML as anyone, but this review was out of bounds and close-minded.

    - Mark
  • I support the views/comments of markjenn, thor8, ctic and mercara. Up until now, I always considered Edmunds to be a accurate, reliable, honest and unbiased source for information. I will now view ALL information provided by this website as questionable and worth a grain of salt! It is too bad that the quality of this site has degraded to this point and consumers no longer have a reliable source for automobile product information. I guess you get what you pay for ... I do not pay anything for the information I receive from this website and, sorry to say, that is about what it is worth.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A link to our reviews by the paid staff?

    Road Tests & Awards

    Recent stories have focused on the ML 500.

    Steve, Host
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    bluedotguy could have saved himself and us a lot of time by just writing:


    He would have been more honest too.

    Regarding bobeberhardt's comment that he thought Edmund's was an unbiased sourced of info, the prices maybe, but TownHall definitely not. TownHall is inhabited by fanatics.

    You have to be very wary of advice you get.

    I used to frequent an EDMUNDS topic called "Ask the dealers". One time a guy was a victim of bushing. This is where someone takes delivery of a car, then the dealer calls them back and tells them that their financing didn't go through and they'd have to pay more. THIS IS ILLEGAL. The poor guy asked the salesmen on that forum for help and the salesmen all told him he should have read the contract more carefully. No one told him he was the victim of a scam. Those salesguys really lived up to their reputation.

    The exchange was already a few weeks old so I couldn't help him, but I was so disgusted that I left the topic (and had to wash my hands afterwards). If anyone wants to read about bushing, here's a newstory on it.
  • mmoskoitzmmoskoitz Posts: 10

    This long note is to show everyone just how far Mercedes Dealers and Mercedes Benz USA are willing to go to resolve problem cars and keep their customers happy. So if you have a problem Mercedes Benz, approach your dealership with this posting or just call the people I mention here.

    My wife and I bought a black 2001 C240 sedan with the C-1 memory package, automatic transmission, and heated seat/headlight cleaner package in March 2001. Our purchase was the first sale for our salesman and we were thrilled with our stylish and relatively inexpensive “Baby S Class”. The car has been a joy to drive when not in the shop. In defense of the dealership, which is an hour from where we live, every service call was handled perfectly. A driver would deliver a clean Mercedes loaner before my wife would leave for work. Over the last 28 months we have driven a variety of loaners including; first generation C320 sedan with the sport package, C320 Wagons, C240 Wagons, ML-320, E320 Sedan, C240 Sedan and a ML-350 Inspiration. When the service was completed, our C240 was returned with a light-detailing job to my wife at work or home.

    The problems with the car included; four attempts at repairing rattles and groans from the front suspension, replacement of both front headlight assemblies, five attempts at the C1 memory seat/mirror system, three or four key replacements, ESP failure, EBD failure, disappearing mud flaps, cracked speaker grill, and two Tele-Aid upgrades. I might have missed something, but you get the gist of it, lots of little things that I never though I would get in a $33,000 car.

    My wife has been a polite complainer throughout, never whiney, just disappointed. She reminded everyone we dealt with at the dealership that our neighbors always asked about our “New Car” every time a different loaner was parked in our driveway. She also told the service manager and loaner scheduler that it was a shame that we might leave the brand. After all, we’re the exact demographic that MBUSA was targeting with the “NEW C” campaign and we also know about how valuable an entry level buyer is in the luxury car segment. After the latest attempt at the recurring front rattles, we my wife decided to contact the owner of the dealership. Cheryl spoke with the owner of the dealership and asked what the dealer and MBUSA could do for us?

    After a few days later the dealership sales manager called my wife and told her that since we took advantage of MBUSA Finance to buy our car there was a variety of dealer allowance money he could use to get us into a replacement car with as little pain as possible. When he said this I researched what MBUSA sales incentives were being offered to dealers. I read about the various incentives and financing offers on C-Class sedans, wagons, and MLs.

    My wife and I debated the pros and cons of the ML350 and the C-320 wagons for several weeks. Most of the discussion was gas mileage vs. carrying capacity. We knew how the C-Class would drive so the sales manager arranged for two separate Thursday night through Monday night test drives of ML-350s. The first was a basic P37 Inspiration edition. The AMG sport seats are great but the dark wood interior looks like dirty plastic according to my wife. I was more interested in the M2 convenience features but I wanted my wife to experience the car herself. The next week we drove a silver ML350 with the M2 full convenience/charcoal leather package, M5 sunroof, Bose radio/CD changer, heated seats and some lightly used all season floor mats. The exact options we wanted and the bonus of a hefty loaner/demo car discount.

    With MBUSA and MB Chase Credits help the dealership offered us an aggressive trade value for our C240 with 30,000 miles on it and dramatically discounted the 3,900 mile demo silver ML350 with M2, M5, 873 heated seats, and 168 Bose stereo/CD changer. I got a three month old ML350, got out of the C240 and MB credit beat the current rate from one of the on line car loan banks. We shook hands and signed the paper work. Our sales person introduced us to his delivery assistant who showed my wife the details of the car for at least an hour past closing while I entertained our 13-month-old son.

    In closing I have to admit that I still have my concerns about dependability issues on the ML350. I hope that unlike my new model year C240 that the bugs have been worked out. I think that a lot of MB dealerships need to learn a thing or two about customer service from the people at my dealership. Specifically I would like to thank our salesman and his manager for making the deal happen.

    Regards M
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