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I bought this wonderful car in 2003 and its year of manufacture was 1996. It only had 7900 miles on the clock. This car is heavy and durable and makes you feel safe driving at whatever speeds. When on a motorway driving at speeds of 70, 80 and even 90mph it feels like a steady cruise with little realisation of fast speed. The driver and passenger comfort is extremely good at speed or driving in urban areas. It is solid and being automatic it is so easy to drive. It needs very little service and drives like a dream. When I drive in Europe I just have one hand on the wheel to steer it and the car does the rest. It has a petrol engine but the fuel consumption is quite good for town or city driving and even better for the Motorways and Duel Carriageways. I have driven from Poole to London on less than half a tank! Friends I know who have had the older models of Mercedes and then updated them for newer ones always state that the older models are better and more reliable than the newer models. One friend bought the new model in 2001 and he was never happy. He always moaned that it was lighter than his 1996's model and he said the inside condition was very much lower in standard. I actually was in it with him when the parking break ratchet snapped and there was always screws lying about the floor which had fallen from various interior parts. In the end he had to have the gear box replaced. He sold it shortly after this and found another 1997 model which was low mileage and good condition. He still has it now. I would highly recommend that if you are going for an older Mercedes; make sure it's this model. If you can find one with low mileage at a reasonable price you have a solid and powerful car for life. The main purpose of this review is to assist consumers who are interested in this hard economic time to purchase a second hand car that really will assist against long term expenses on motoring.
Well I needed an upgrade from my previous car that apart from the fact that it was a bit girl-y it was also falling to bits. So I decided to ante up and went for the full testosterone upgrade and got a c180. It is P reg one so is almost 10 years old but it is a Mercedes and you can see it. FIRST IMPRESSIONS It is like a tank, everything inside feels humongous. The doors feel heave but close easily but slam with a healthy clank. The engine sounds sweet or should I say works quieter than a mouse stealing some cheese. DRIVING On the motorway this car feels at home. Like leviathan at prehistoric valleys. It does 100mph without you even realizing and cruise control coupled with the automatic gearbox make you redundant. Just steer while you relaxing to some Wagner classics and sipping tea. You feel cocooned in the security of a U Boat. In town it feels sturdy and has a bit of kick even though it is "only" a 1.8 L engine. Being a nearly 2 ton car though it is impressive. I like everything about the car. From the boxy looks to the interiors which might not be the stylish Italian Alfa-Romeo ones or the posh Jaguar ones but the blunt style and the unbreakable feel to every knob, handle and stick makes you feel comfortable and that's what being in a Mercedes is all about. MECHANICS There are few things to be careful about though. On the w202 chassis which is the one from 93-01 there are few tings to be careful about when buying. The viscous fan tends to go very lose which was the case with mine and I could also tell from the bonnet having a small bulge from the inside indicating the fan blade had snapped and hit the bonnet. The are not very expensive but will give you leverage to bargain for the price with the viscous rotor costing about £50 and the blade about £25. ELECTRONICS The problems though are imminent if you key fob fails and/or immobiliser locks. I had this problem and if it is any of these two there is trip to a Mercedes dealer and they charge £135 for a key. 135!!!!!!!!!! What the hell? What is it made of gold? And if the immobiliser is the one that is buggered they charge £95 plus VAT to unlock the engine that has locked because Mercedes has put something to lock it and for them to reset it they need to charge you and arm and a leg. Anyway it wasn't the key or the immobiliser it just needed a booster on the signal which my local garage did for me for next to nothing. Also check the battery because if it is kinda dodgy will give you all sorts of problems with the electronics and a lot of money down the garage. Another thing to be careful is the Air Mass Meter. See because this damn thing has more electronics that a Japanese DVD player manufacturing facility it needs a sensor to measure the amount of hear that goes in the engine. And if that things fails and boy it does your growling Mercedes becomes a wimp, coughs up and loses power for no reason. It will also make it hard to start if it feels like it and will cause it to make a hard shift in gear from 1st to 2nd. Now the best part is that that stupid thing which is essentially a plastic T-Shaped tube with a small PCB with two wires and guess how much Mercedes wants to charge for it: £290.84 plus VAT and some of them don't want even give you the part number. A bit cheeky don't you think .. Anyway even though you would expect Mercedes to charge an arm and a leg so do others with prices of £200 plus. Luckily eBay comes to rescue but just remember to drive and if you notice a hard downshift or some lack of power at any time don't get fooled to think is a one off or that the petrol has an air bubble and if you think is covered under the warranty than think twice. Standard dealers warranties only cover engine and gearbox and for some unknown reason the air mass meter is considered part of the fluid system. OTHER The card has 4 disk brakes which is about right as it takes a lot to stop this monster. Also the car has rear drive which means the car how it was invented with engine, gearbox and differential in order and the front wheels are free to have a huge turning arc which means that the car is easier to park than my old 306 even though is twice as long. The gear box is nice and smooth but now and again lets the car rev a bit too high. Also watch out for the rear aerial which is motorised but tends not to fully retract after a while. WD40 should do the job though. ECONOMY Just about 30 mpg in town but I kind of expected that so keep away if you don't want it. It increased to a lot less than that in motorway roads which this autobahn devourer was built for. OVERALL It is a quality motor. I has prestige, it has style and maybe is not cheap when it goes wrong but it rarely does. I love it. I loved the price you pay for such quality. I love to feel safe, love the space for the passengers, the space in the boot and most of all the comfort and safety it implied. I almost sets the rules for every other car I will own...even though it has the handling of a boat. Well a U Boat that is