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Old 02-22-2011, 10:51 AM   #1
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NBC question about prospective SUV purchase

It's time to replace the Ford Escape used for my rental stuff and I'm considering a used Mercedes ML. There seems to be a ton of them on the cars.com, autotrader etc etc. A good used 04 and up, less than 45K miles are in the 15-20K range, which is where I 'd like to be. I like the AWD, the size is good for what I need, and I'm tired of driving a Plain Jane Escape. Anyone have any experience with the Mercedes ML and have any comments on it? (I'd rather get a Cayenne but.......out of the price range I'm looking at. At least those with any decent mileage on them) Thanks for any comments.

Bob

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Old 02-22-2011, 11:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob O
It's time to replace the Ford Escape used for my rental stuff and I'm considering a used Mercedes ML. There seems to be a ton of them on the cars.com, autotrader etc etc. A good used 04 and up, less than 45K miles are in the 15-20K range, which is where I 'd like to be. I like the AWD, the size is good for what I need, and I'm tired of driving a Plain Jane Escape. Anyone have any experience with the Mercedes ML and have any comments on it? (I'd rather get a Cayenne but.......out of the price range I'm looking at. At least those with any decent mileage on them) Thanks for any comments.

Bob
The ML are nice cars but avoid the first 2 years of 7 speed transmission (2005-2006 if I remember correctly).
My previous boss bought 2005MY new when it first came out and he had couple electrical issue and 2 transmission replacement in 2 years.
His older ML (97MY if I remember correctly) went to 150K miles without major issue.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:59 AM   #3
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Good decision to trade up from the Escape. However, the ML's have never been very well regarded. They have a rep for spotty build quality, a lot of reliability issues, and were generally slower and poorer handling than their competition from BMW and Porsche.

If you can't afford a used Porsche Cayenne, then I'd highly suggest a BMW X5 over the MB ML. There are a ton of used X5's for sale right now so you are likely to find a very nice one well within your price range.

Typical worries on an X5 are mostly electical as the engines are fairly bullet-proof (especially the I6). Typical known problem areas are electric window regulators, electric door locks, remote door locking, nav system, and thermostat.

The X5 17" and 18" wheels/tires are affordable but the 19" or 20" wheels/tires make the SUV handle like a sedan. 20" can be somewhat harsh riding, so the 19" sport wheels are a good compromise.

X5 brakes are excellent but somewhat expensive to replace. Replace the rotors with the pads for the best braking performance.

Be aware that the Sports suspension improves the handling tremendously but the ride quality might be too harsh for some people. Test drive with/without so you understand the tradeoffs.

Best of luck in your search.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I wasn't aware of the build issues with the MB. I'll do further research and see what I can find out. I can afford the Cayenne, I just don't want to spend that much right now when there are so many reasonably priced other used vehicles available. And considering what I'll be using it for, I thought I'd limit myself to something under 20K.

Question...are you serious about needing to replace the rotors with each pad change on the Bimmer?? That would seem to be quite escessive. I could do them myself (assuming they're no different than most others I've changed, especially the Boxster which takes all of about a half hour or so, and there's no special tools needed) but gezzz. Any speculation as to why that would be needed? I'm pretty anal about brakes (it's fun to go fast but more important to be able to slow down at the end of that long straight!) but, unless those pads last 75K miles I'd be suspicious about needing to change the rotors. Could that be something BMW issued for any number of marketing or lawsuit prevention reasons, or do you think it's really necessary?

The ride quailty with the Sport Suspension on the BMW probably wouldn't bother me. I have the RoW M030 suspension on the Box and have gotten used to a somewhat stiffer ride. Shouldn't be an issue, but I will certainly try to get some seat time in both just to make sure.

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

Bob
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:19 PM   #5
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Bob,

Good luck with your search.

I just had to tell you I got a kick out of the last item listed in your signature!

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Old 02-22-2011, 02:02 PM   #6
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Welllllll......I'm screwed on that one. Can't seem to get away from looking at black cars. I need to hire a detail guy to follow me around. Stupid black paint anyway.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:35 PM   #7
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We used to stay away from these back when I was a dealer. They depreciated like crazy and were very expensive to maintain and repair.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:54 PM   #8
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I sorta figured as much on the repairs. The local Mercedes/Porsche/Ferrari dealer is, well lets just say he's not the most inexpensive guy in town! And, at the moment I know of no independents, although I'm sure they're around just like they are for us. Come to think of it though, several of the independents I've used are also Mercedes mechanics. I'll call a couple of them and see what they say.

The depreciation I don't really care about...that's why I'm buying used. Heck, at these prices (17-20K for a 60-70K car when new, that's only four or five years old) the original buyer has absorbed the majority of the depreciation already.......hasn't he?? Sure, it's still going to depreciate some, but I can't see them going down to 3-4 grand any time soon. Could be wrong on that one though! I suppose if gas prices keep going up these guzzlers will be worth next to nothing soon.

After looking some more on the web ad pages I'm starting to like the BMW suggestion a lot more than I thought I would. Nice car...good performance, a goodly amount of room in them, all the amenities you'd expect, and, like Porches, Mercedes, et al, have depreciated significantly in the last couple of years.

This could be a lot of fun, being a buyer in this market.

Thanks again all. The hunt is still on.

Bob
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:35 PM   #9
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I would stay away from them, MB's don't have the best quality. I would try and find a BMW if possible.

I know it is not German, but have you looked at a Lexus RX350? They are getting cheap, and you can't beat the quality. My wife has a 2007, she loves it. It drives like a car, not an SUV. It won't have the sportiness of the X5, but will be sportier than the MB
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Old 02-23-2011, 05:43 AM   #10
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I had an Lexus RX300. Great vehicle.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:53 AM   #11
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The Lexus is another great idea. I've really just started looking and the Lexus hadn't come up yet in my search. But from what you guys say it sounds like a very good possibility.

From what's been talked about here, it sounds like the MB is pretty much out. I'm liking the BMW and the Lexus at this point. Have to see what's available and go from there. After looking at what's on the market right now, I think I can be pretty picky about what i settle on. There are a ton of cars available....none close by but that's ok too. The last two vehicles I bought were over 600 miles away. A one way airline ticket and a day's drive home is certainly worth it...or so far has been!

Thanks again for all the suggestions and tips.

The search continues.

Bob
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:59 AM   #12
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All I was saying in my earlier post about X5 brakes is that its a good idea to replace the rotors with the pads - not required - but still a good idea.

Remember all of these luxury SUV's weigh in at around 4,500 lbs and if you drive at all "sporty", the rotors are going to get some wear and while you may not HAVE to replace the rotors, the last place to go cheap is on the brakes.

That being said, X5 rotors/pads are an easy Saturday afternoon DIY and should last 40,000+ miles so you won't have to do them very often. I only mentioned it because when buying a used vehicle its not uncommon to have to replace the brakes.
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:33 PM   #13
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True True. I hadn't considered the weight. These are all pretty hefty vehicles aren't they. That would certainly contribute to rotor and pad wear.

And yes,...a lot of used vehicles need brake work, either pads, rotors, or almost always the fluid changed, or all three!. Like I said above, I'm prety anal about brakes anyway, so I would certainly give them a good going over before driving home whatever i get.

Anyway, thanks for the help. I do appreciate it.

Bob
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob O
NBC question about prospective SUV purchase
What do you mean by NBC question? Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical? All SUVs will provide about the same protection against NBC attacks.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:10 AM   #15
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:31 PM   #16
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MB's are nice vehicles until you have to "turn a wrench" on one of them. Then, it can become a very costly situation .

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