Purchased a leather interior, auto version on E-Bay (!!) as a second car for wife and kids and we squabble over who gets to drive, it has 140k on the clock and I'd prefer it over my 2008 diesel Passat. For an older car with a big mileage I'm hugely impressed, only concern is that it's a bit cramped inside and it may prove to be a bit small for growing family, but don't want to sell it.
I owned a C250 TD for just over two years, a joy to drive, but not as economical as some say, averaging just 32mpg driven gently. Mine suffered constant steering problems which even mercedes struggled to identify. The windscreen creaked terribly in cold weather (under 6 degrees)and I spent over £700 getting rust sorted only for it to show up in other areas, Mercedes 30 year warranty is only honoured for seven years..not impressed! Having said all that, I miss it dearly and would love another Merc, when they can build a rust free car. Mechanicaly this car is unbreakable. I do my own servicing but always used genuine parts, it never let me down once.
I bought a V-reg C220CDI manual [I know] two years ago, with 73k miles. It has now covered 102k miles and goes from strength to strength. Very comfortable, cruises beautifully at 80-90mph [where legal], economical. I share the view about superb manoevrability-the turning circle is staggering. It corners impressively, rides smoothly and feels solid and safe. Everything else I get in feels lightweight!! I find the manual change a bit sticky when cold but otherwise fine [can't see what all the fuss is about]. If there's a gripe, it's the rust! I went to Merc recently and they told me that it had at some point been resprayed on the wings and for this reason they would not do anything about the rust on the wheelarches, and that anyway, the warranty would only be valid for 5 years. Bit of a cheek, I thought! Oh, and £535 for a new front wiper motor! Ouch!
I have owned a 2000W Reg 220CDI Elegance Estate for 5 years and 110,000 miles. It now has 140,000 on the clock. In terms of practicality, handling, economy, reliability and comfort, after many years motoring it is probably the best car I have ever owned. For many long distance drives to South of France carrying furniture etc it has provided effortless travel.
Gripes are small: it normally goes back about every 2 years for some rust treatment under the 30(!) year manufacturer warranty. Turbo lag from standing start is a bit tedious, but plenty of power once on move and the knock down auto gearbox is excellent.
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