"On a whim I bought my 2003 ML 350 as a second car since I needed an SUV. My other car is a brand new 2015 Hyundai Sonata sport. Since owning this car, I actually drive the Mercedes more than the Hyundai. The ML is well designed and even though it is 13 years old, the build quality is so high I actually feel like I am driving a brand new car. The gas mileage is horrible due to it being an AWD vehicle. When it snows however, the AWD drive system is absolutely amazing. We recently received two feet of snow and I did not even have to shovel before I drove away. While others were snowed in or waiting for the snow plows to come, I was able to get out of the space I parked in and made it to work with no problems.
Repairs are very expensive at the dealer but I was lucky enough to find an amazing local mechanic who only uses OEM Mercedes-Benz parts and does the repairs for significantly less. After I first bought the ML, I did take it to a Mercedes-Benz dealer to have a full inspection and service "A" completed. They did find a host of things wrong, that the dealership I bought it from neglected to mention (I'm not surprised). The estimate from the Mercedes dealer to fix everything was $8,700.00, the actual price I paid my local mechanic to fix everything was about $5,000.00. The labor rates at my Mercedes dealer were $150.00 p/hr.
oil changes are expensive regardless where you go. The dealer charges $150.00, my mechanic $125.00. The plus side though, if you properly maintain a Mercedes, it will last you forever. The service manager at the Mercedes dealership told me an M-Class came in with 275,000 miles on it and he bought it without any reservation because it was properly maintained. He also told me that they have a customer who regularly comes in for routine maintenance and that ML320 has 475,000 miles on it and is still going strong.
There a few things that are wonky such as the cup holders being made of thin plastic, or the fabric skirts that go around the back legs of the rear seats which are pointless or the fact a replacement fob is $200.00. If you ever need a replacement fob you better have proof of ownership, identity and all of your paperwork in order or the dealership will not allow you to buy a new one. You also better keep your address updated with Mercedes-Benz Customer Care, because if there is a different address in their system from what is on your license, you will be denied. If you give the car to someone else or buying used, change the ownership information with Mercedes Customer Care. This goes for all Mercedes Benz not purchased at a Mercedes-Benz dealer.
I would highly recommend one of these to anyone who wants a high quality, superbly built SUV. If however you cannot afford the repair bills and you cannot afford to use premium unleaded gasoline, do not buy this vehicle or any German car for that matter. These cars will last but you need to take good care of them. if you are handy and or love to work on cars, this Mercedes actually is perfect for you since parts are cheap. If you are handy but have limited experience working on a car, there are many things you can do yourself with the help of You Tube. I changed my air filter and cabin filter as well as a few other little ticky tack things."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."