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2003 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
7.8
Out of 10

Based on 385 Ratings for the 1998 - 2005 models.

Review this car
more rating details
  • Value
    7.8/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.1/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.4/10
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Talk about value

By on Thursday, October 02, 2008

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

"This is my 2nd ML320. I leased a 2002MY and liked it enough to buy a 1999. I have driven it 60k miles (just under 100k on the odo now) as the 2nd owner and had very few minor repairs. The balance between performance and economy is ideal. I average just under 20mpg regularly. That is much better then the 14-15mpg average I was getting in my 2004 Grand Cherokee 4.0L. The ride is a bit bouncy on rough roads compared to passenger cars, but it is quiet and composed. I have to remind myself that it is not a car and has proper off-road capability with the low-range transfer case. I have even taken it on a couple 4x4 runs with a local club. It tows my pop-up camper well and does great on slick or icy roads. Resale is not the best, but that has made my initial cost an amazing value! Other vehicles in the same price range I have found pale in ability, reliability and quality. Mercedes owners have cirticized the ML for it's materials, but it is a truck. The materials are more rigid and durable. I don't expect it to be as luxurious as my Mercedes coupe. I will buy another ML320 if this one ever wears out. It seems to be happy everywhere; camping, highway, grocery or at a Valet when headed to a classy dinner. I can't speak more highly of this car. I think Mercedes hit a home-run with this one."

20 people out of 20 found this review helpful

High maintenance woman?

By on Friday, June 06, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

"You might be wondering why I gave my car lots of stars and then said I would not recommend it. I have been happy with my ML since I bought it new in 2002. It drives beautifully, feels solid on the road, and makes me feel like my family is protected. Although it's on a truck chassis, and drives like a larger vehicle than it actually is, it's still a really, really nice truck. However, as with all Mercedes, maintenance is quite expensive. The car eats tires, brakes and gas. Each visit for service brings up some new issue that needs to be addressed so that it's always a big expense. So while I'm very happy with the car, it takes a certain car mentality to maintain this big baby, and that's why I wouldn't recommend it to a friend unless I know that they are prepared for the commitment."

15 people out of 15 found this review helpful

This car last forever

By on Friday, March 23, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 250,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "You will get money out this car"

Cons: "Oil consomssion"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I haven't had any problem with this car in 12 yrs all the org parts with over 250k miles. I will buy another ML"

14 people out of 14 found this review helpful

ML 430 - 2001

By on Thursday, December 04, 2008

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"I have read some of the reviews and a few have been unlucky with their MB purchase, sorry. I have experienced problems with many different brands as well (on my 8th car). My MB has been very reliable and I have only changed minor part during normal sevice. The car is build to last and the engine can easily run 250,000+ miles. I really think you will get a lot of value if you buy a used MB +6 years and avoid the high price deduction as for new model."

12 people out of 12 found this review helpful

I didn't expect this - best car ever!

By on Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price; great intro to Mercedes engineering"

Cons: "Gas filter causes car to start slowly"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this car. I have driven Fords & Lincoln's for 30 years, always leasing new vehicles. Obviously I liked them but I never loved them, and tired of the cost of leasing and the bureaucracy of Ford Credit. So, after much deliberation I bought the 2004 ML 350 in December 2010. I also bought a $100 deductible warranty. I compared the combined cost, after factoring in the not so great mileage and the added cost of premium gas and concluded that the buy was worth the risk associated with a used car. In the 3 years since I bought it, I have driven it over 60,000 miles without any major repairs. My initial warranty was two years / 24,000 miles. When I approached the mileage limit, I bought a new warranty that is assumable and covers it for another 100,000 miles, up to 205,000 miles. In more than three years of relatively high mileage driving, I have had warranty claims of less than 1/2 the cost of the warranties. That notwithstanding, peace of mind..."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

A Real Performer

By on Wednesday, August 15, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"This car is awesome (1998 ML320)-bought it new. We have 168,000 miles on it and it still purrs right along (1/2 qt oil/5000 mlies). We have had some fixes on it that are no more troublesome or expensive than with any other luxury car. It is comfortable, a pleasure to drive, and be seen in. We have been across the US 3x in it, hauled trailers with it, and have been in 6" deep snow numerous times; it just keeps on going and at 33 mpg on long trips. We will get another."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

My third ML...

By on Thursday, April 18, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 159,600

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Comfortable, safe and good-looking"

Cons: "Brake switches, window switches, CD changer"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

Nice-looking ML320, but the flaws are too many to mention at one sitting.

"I'm sure you have heard of the phrase "nothing runs like a (John) Deere when it runs..." Well, that's how I feel about my 2000 ML320. Very comfortable vehicle; very utilitarian, and my dogs love the freedom of having the entire rear seat area to themselves! Still, I purchased the vehicle (now my third ML) with 99,900 miles and ever since I seem to sink about $500 to $1,500 in repair bills into this beast each year, now my 4th. Some of it, like brakes and batteries I can understand. However, the never-ending brake switch issues and window switch problems drive me nuts! They're both good for about a year before you're heading back to the mechanic for new ones. They're either poorly designed or simply cheap parts ... probably both. It's imperative that you find a mechanic who isn't employed by a Mercedes-Benz dealership if you're going to own the vehicle beyond its warranty period. The repair bills are real and they will give pause to why anyone would own such an SUV. But, as I noted in the outset of this review, when my ML320 runs, I truly enjoy driving it. My bank account, however, would beg to differ."

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Nice-looking ML320, but the flaws are too many to mention at one sitting.

After 11 years 183000 Miles, excellent. I love it!

By on Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 183,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Powerful, mechanically reliable, spacious, comfy."

Cons: "17 MPG with 5.0 L engine."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Other than the high gas consumption of this 5 liter monster, it is still driving and as comfy as new. Very mechanically reliable, and very powerful. I also love the space inside and the 3rd raw seats option. I'll keep it for as long as it runs!"

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Since new cost a bit to be safe

By on Tuesday, October 01, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 211,267

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Go anywhere safely."

Cons: "GPM Premium gas. Constant expensive service."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"This car has an amazing safe feeling and has proved itself over and over to be safe and reliable. Poor interior finish! Other than trim falling off, replacing door locks, seats that are in locked down position. Constant & Expensive non drive train services. This car went across country 4 round trips last year with out missing a beat. When it stops running it will be missed."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

beware

By on Saturday, January 10, 2009

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

"I just hate this car, what a lemon. Although my family has now owned 12 Mercedes over the past 34 years, generally with great satisfaction, this car has proved to be the opposite of any previous MB experience. The 1999 ML430 was a my first new Mercedes-Benz and pleasure to drive off the lot, however after spending almost $50,000 for this lemon it has been the biggest mistake of my life. It has had major mechanical malfunctions without any warning 6 times which left my family stranded, needed towing and/or worse. The list of minor repairs seams endless. Numerous recalls. When contacting MBUSA, they either fail to respond to my complaints, ignore our correspondance or just hide the facts. My advice, buy a MB made before 1995 when the Mercedes brand meant quality and dependability."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

GREAT 2001 ML 320

By on Friday, December 07, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"MY 2001 ML 320 IS AN EXCELLENT CAR. I HAVE DRIVEN THIS CAR EVERYDAY SINCE NEW AND HAD 72K MILES CITY/HWY MILES COMBINED. I HAVE THE REGULAR SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE OF THIS CAR PERFORMED BY MY MERCEDES BENZ DEALER. I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH THIS CAR. THAT IS BECAUSE I TAKE CARE OF THIS CAR. PROBLEMS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS CAUSED BY NEGLECTED CAR MAINTENANCE. MY ML IS VERY RELIABLE, FUN TO DRIVE, NICE INTERIOR/EXTERIOR WITH LOTS OF ROOM AND FEATURES. FRONT AND REAR AIR BAGS, PERFORMS GREAT AND GREAT VALUE. THE RIDE IS A BIT STIFF BUT VERY COMFORTABLE. THE ORIGINAL SET OF GENERAL TIRES LASTED 50K MILES. THE FRONT BRAKE PADS WAS REPLACED AT 45K AND REAR PADS AT 62K. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE ML. IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD NEW BUY A CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED ML WITH LOW MILEAGE AND EXTENDED WARRANTY FROM A MERCEDES BENZ DEALER AND YOU WILL BE DRIVING WORRY FREE AND SAVE MONEY ON DEPRECIATION."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

sadly disappointed

By on Monday, August 27, 2007

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

"We have had this vehicle 3 years and it has been in the shop more times than I can count. Thank goodness for the warranty !! Service is an issue since there is only one dealer in the area that works on Merz :( Might be nice to say you own a Mercedes if it spent more time on the road and less in the shop."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Disappointed By The Lost In Value!

By on Thursday, July 26, 2007

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"This is my second M-Class, I totaled my first one, a 98, ML320 with over 100,000 miles on it. I rolled this vehicle at a very high speed and walked away from it...not bragging, just blessed! So I got another one. 2005 ML350, didn't like the Dunlop tires so I put Generals on it. Big difference! But now I'm looking to get a new (like new body style) but was suprized at lost in value so quickly...So I'll just keep my old one with 50,000 mile and still in perfect condition. This SUV does everything, hauls 29 ft boat, 28 ft camper trailer, and still look good doing it...and it don't mind getting up into the triple digits if you know what I mean. Its got style, grace, and power..."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Frequent expensive repairs

By on Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 167,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Mercedes Benz seems to have put the ML320 together with a bunch of ideas that didn't quite have the bugs worked out. Funky things large and small routinely go wrong, and fixing them is super expensive. Brakes, for example, are out of sight. The rear cross member on ours has all but rusted off, which is a problem because that's what the trailer hitch is bolted to. And you can't get it aligned without a $$dealer$$, who, of course, has proprietary part$ and machine$, and, in my case, is 90 minutes away. When it's working, it's a great car- drives and handles great-lots of power and lots of interior space. It sports some ingenious seat stowage. The AWD is nice. The driver ergonomics are well-done. I'd be much more inclined to get another one if it wasn't so expensive to keep in good repair."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Good car just expensive to maintain and fix!

By on Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 156,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Good price, great looks, comfort"

Cons: "gas mileage, costly repairs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I am the second owner of the vehicle and it has only left me stranded twice in four years, and those were not because the engine stopped. One was from a broken coolant tank causing overheating and the other was a powersteering pully. Other things that have been wrong with the vehicle have been mostly regular maintenance items except for the drive shaft problem that was just fixed in the last two weeks. This car is driven quite a bit and I was told that this was a major problem for this vehicle because of the power it has and not having a single way drive shaft. Mercedes decided to put a dual drive shaft in with a converter box that does not handle the power of the 268hp engine. If you want a not so expensive mercedes that looks great this is the car for you as long as you know that there will be some money spent on the repairs."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

unlike any other

By on Sunday, August 21, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "high quality"

Cons: "expensive repair"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought it used in 2007 (vehicle made in 2004). Used it for 4 years, still using it, excellent car, no problems at all, i use normal gas and never used synthetic oil, dont thinks is necessary. Highly recommended SUV (unless you have to repair something, it will be extremely expensive of course)"

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Driven for 10 years.

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"I purchased the MB in 2000 and now have 155000 miles under my belt. It has been very reliable. Support has been great with three repairs done by MB for free, long after 100,000 miles. It still looks good, runs good, and handles all the snow Utah can deliver. This has been a great car. I plan to drive it until the wheels fall off."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Know what you are buying

By on Thursday, August 07, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"Great SUV and an exceptional deal pre-owned as compared to new. The styling in 2nd to none, but build quality could have been better. Opulent and comfortable. Don't buy anything pre-2003 as there were some consistent engine problems not ironed out yet. If you have a choice, get an ML500 instead of the 230 or 320 - the torque is amazing and the gas mileage is about the same. Definitely get an extended warranty as parts can be pricy. Only use synthetic oil (Mobil 1), premium gasoline (highest octane available) and only use Mercedes Benz Fluids and filters - If the cost of these items scares you, don't buy a Mercedes."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

By on Tuesday, January 29, 2008

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"Purchased my 2001 ML320 new and had all maintenance done on schedule at dealership. Loved the car, the ride, everything. But once it fell out of warranty had all the named problems: fuel sensors, window regulators, brakes, brakes, brakes, engine light, broken arm on moonroof. Traded in because I was fearful of the electrical diagnostic and costs. Every time I see one, I want to get another, but just leary of maintenance issues. Also, like another reviewer comment, service guy at dealership said he'd never own an M Class because of issues he sees everyday. Got Acura MDX reliable as the day is long, but a much bigger vehicle."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Don't get the navigation system!

By on Monday, November 19, 2007

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

"We bought our ML500 new in 2002. Please, if you're looking at pre-owned ML's & think you need the navigation system...think again. We have it, and it is so slow & unreliable. You literally have to be less than a block away for it to work. It is so inefficient! Really frustrating, especially when you are lost & need the navigation system in a hurry. Also, the "check engine" light is obnoxious! Maintenance costs are too high, and resale value is pathetic. The 500 is sporty, and has a lot of power. Good looking, and has been pretty reliable in the 5+ years of ownership...but JUST SAY NO TO THE NAVIGATION!!"

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

GOOD CAR BUT A FEW PROBLEMS

By on Friday, January 27, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 131,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "GOOD IN SNOW, COMFORTABLE FOR LONG TRIPS"

Cons: "RUST, POOR GAS MILEAGE"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I HAVE OWNED THIS CAR SINCE 2008 AND BOUGHT IT WITH 80,000 MILES ON IT. I HAVE REPAIRED A FEW THINGS LIKE 2 OXYGEN SENSORS AND REPLACED THE BRAKE PEDAL SWITCH TWICE, BUT OVERALL WITH RELIABILITY I HAVE NOT HAD ANY PROBLEMS. IT IS A GREAT CAR. AT AROUND 100,000 MILES, RUST STARTED SHOWING UP BY THE WHEELS. IT IS AWD, SO IT DOES WASTE MORE GAS. I AM GETTING ABOUT 14 CITY AND 19-20 HWY. IT IS A 13 YEAR OLD CAR, SO THINK ABOUT THAT. IT IS GREAT IN THE SNOW, NEVER GOT STUCK ANYWHERE. GREAT PERFORMANCE FOR A 3.2 LITER. TREAT THE CAR WITH FULLY SYNTHETIC OIL AND PREMIUM GAS, WHICH I ALWAYS HAVE. AND THIS CAR WILL LAST YOU A LONG TIME. I HAVE TO CHANGE SOME TIE ROD ENDS RIGHT NOW, BUT I MEAN THE CAR HAS 130,000 MILES AND THEY ARE ORIGINAL."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

I love my ML430

By on Wednesday, July 07, 2010

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"My Ml is a tank. I love it. Burns more gas than I like but well built and reliable. I just had an accident where I ran over a large cement block that had fallen from a truck at 45MPH The ML rolled over it, causing damage to the underside of the floor and door. Nothing wrong with the frame or driveline. Another car would have been road-kill. If you can find one for under $10K with less than 100K miles - BUY IT!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

WORST VEHICLE I EVER OWNED

By on Thursday, December 11, 2008

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"I HAVE AN ML 320 WHICH HAS BEEN A HEADACHE. THERE HAVE BEEN MAJOR REPAIRS AND I AM CONTINUALLY AT THE DEALERSHIP. I WOULD NEVER RECOMMEND THAT ANYONE BUY A MERCEDES. THIS IS MY 2ND ONE AND MY LAST. THE REPAIRS ARE ASTRONOMICAL. THERE ARE A FEW GOOD FEATURES - IT HANDLES WONDERFULLY IN THE SNOW AND IS A COMFORTABLE RIDE. BUT UNFORTUNATELY THOSE DO NOT MAKE UP FOR ALL THE MECHANICAL ISSUES."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Low re-sale

By on Thursday, February 21, 2008

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"Amazingly out performs sports sedans, powerful, responsive, stable, etc. Had this ML500 for just over a year, roomy, safe & comfortable on long trips, sporty and responsive as my 5 series BMW! I can tell those who had bad luck with the ML's, get a good mechanic and in the long run, yes it costs more to perform repairs/maint but not as often as many other cars, so it's a wash! One thing that shocked me was the low re-sale value, good for pre-owned shoppers!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I have owned

By on Friday, July 27, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

"Bought my 2002 used. What an incredible vehicle. Looks good. Drives flawlessly. The sound system is amazing. Is very comfortable yet very solid and safe. Amazing power for a 6 Am always proud to be seen driving my ML."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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