I want this, I want that, this is the rut that everyone must have asked their parents, till the time they(everyone) reached the age of 18 or so. Many a times, when sulking, people would actually tell their parents that one fine day, they would earn lots of money, have a bungalow with a dog and finally a Mercedes car for the traveling thing. Little does one’s teenage dreams know that acquiring a Mercedes is one part and getting it serviced is another thing. Save some moolah from the servicing cost of a Merc and one can end up buying a Tata Nano with the savings. However, used Mercedes cars are an easy proposition considering that they cot half of what they used to cost when they were new and also finding one is easy courtesy Mercedes’ own used car program. What most buyers would go in for is a used Mercedes C-class, however finding a used Mercedes E-class would be a tough chore. Here are a few tips on buying a second hand Mercedes E-class in India. As always, these aren’t exhaustive tips and a few more precautions from one’s end wouldn’t hurt at all.
Mercedes E-class cars were codenamed as W201,the same code which Mahindra is now using for its yet to be launched new SUV. However, a few things apart, the Mercedes E-class has gone past it days of W201 and has now evolved into an all new vehicle. The E-class is said to be one of the best luxury sedans in the market now. While the status quo of a Mercedes car cannot be rivaled, it is only recently that Mercedes cars have started showing up more on the used car market due to the advent of the many other German competition. The Mercedes E-class cars from the 2002-2006 batch made quite a dent on Mercedes’ reputation in the global market. Though the newer model does redeem some of this bad reputation thing, there are still some gripes going on with this machine. Primary would be the 7 speed auto gearbox which had a mind of its own. Most of the time previous owners would be staring down a huge bill and hence they usually preferred to sell this car and go for a new one or some other German. As for the looks of this car, they can be called as timeless. Many customers would actually prefer a used Mercedes E-class with that oval head lamps and the 3 pointed star in place. Diesel engined E-class cars may have issues with their injectors due to the pilferage of fuel in our fuel stations. The fuel pump in the car also gives way easily and it would cost about Rs 8k to get it replaced. The Wiring Harness of this car also needs change, though not as frequently and it would cost about Rs 50k for a replacement. Most of the time, even the rear suspension does give way in older cars and ones which haven’t been maintained properly. Overhauling the suspension would set one back by Rs 50k again and this includes gearbox and engine foundations as well. Climate control system in older cars are also temperamental and tend to conk out easily.
A bugbear of a used Mercedes E-class would be its electricals components. Moreover, the electrical systems are a complex affair to repair and require servicing every 60k kms or 3 years, whichever is earlier. Some second hand cars have being found having electrical issues including even parking sensors and also alarm. Be sure to get this certified by an expert electrician or mechanic. Many would say that Merc cars are bullet proof however the truth is that even an ill maintained Mercedes car would have rust creeping into it. The rear window panel and also the front wings would have corrosion elements creeping into them sooner. Moreover, the boot section and its hinges also have reported problems of corrosion. The head lamp assembly should also be checked for proper headlight beam and adjustment. If everything seems fine, then it’s a no brainer that the headlamp assembly works good but if it isn’t then some prodding needs to be done under the bonnet. The entire assembly costs about Rs 80k for a replacement. Checkout if the instrument cluster is working fine and if it isn’t then an expense of Rs 25k would be incurred on it. Fuses in the car are known to be temperamental and would lead to several more complicated electrical problems. One of the affected owners told us that due to a blown fuse, head to shell out more than Rs 2 lakhs for the entire electrical assembly kit. Moreover, instead of the ever reliable German mechanicals, many of the earlier E-class cars came with electricals from Taiwan.
A first time E-class owner would be really surprised at the ride quality of the car. It is real good and a steal over its other rivals. The earlier cars didn’t have much of electronic gadgetry going around for them and only the regular dampers and springs thing used to work for them. Noise was but for all parts, absent in this car. Driving experience may not be as good as the competition, but it still managed to instill a sense of occasion everytime a drive was needed. Steering is also pretty direct but then the power steering is known to have fluid leaks. This fluid leak is relatively inexpensive to fix and also easy to handle. Both the front and rear seats of the E-class are very comfortable and be it for everyday use or for long trips, the E-class wouldn’t disappoint. However, the rear seats are better filled with 2 people since 3 would be a squeeze mainly due to the high transmission tunnel intrusion in the center.
There would be many engine options in a second hand Mercedes E-class. However, for long distance trip, our bet would be on the E280 CDI engine. It produced 190 Bhp of power and was a good trade off between the economy and power zones. Even the engine is ultra silent that one would be tempted to crank the engine again in running. There was also a E270 CDI which produced lesser power but would be available for a couple of lakhs less. Most of the E-class cars were available in automatic transmissions which ranged from 5 speed to even 7 speed auto versions. If one is adamant on petrol engines, then the E280 with its 231 Bhp configuration comes into play. Whichever variant one selects, the trim levels rarely change and that means cruise control, wood trim, climate control (AC on the earlier 90s models), chrome detailing and also alloy wheels. The boot space is also massive as it can get.
It is very important to choose the color of the used Mercedes E-class that you must be eyeing. Metallic colors which are pale in color hold their value quite well and way better than green and dark blue. Though ownership of a Merc car is never easy on the pockets, finding a reputed non Mercedes garage also helps. But then one thing needs to be kept in mind that genuine spare parts be used for any repair work plus the service schedules certified by Mercedes be also adhered to. A smart move would be to go in for a car which has recently gone through its service schedules and an overhaul has also being done. Try checking out for any nails pinned inside the cabin. Mercedes doesn’t use any nails for the construction of the car and it is most likely that the earlier owner had carried out some accident repair damage on this car. Many of the workshops remove the car crash safety rods from the sides of the doors so that repair work is easier. The uneven lines on the sides of the wall would actually prove this. This is a risky proposition since the structural integrity of the car is compromised. Also it is better to setup the engine to a particular sensor to check if all the components are working and also the airbags and ABS are working fine. Having dents on the doors removed as also a repainting done would definitely cost a bomb with a Mercedes car. Needless to say, the tyres and tread also need to be checked. Be suspicious of an overtly clean engine bay and also an entirely messy one.
Price of a used Mercedes E-class varies. While the second hand Mercedes E-class price for a 96 diesel model would be around the Rs 6.8 lakhs figure, the same year model in its petrol trim would cost only half of the diesel’s price. A recent 2006 petrol model would cost Rs 25 lakhs while a diesel would command Rs 28 lakhs figure. Fuel efficiency for the diesel hovers around the 11 kmpl overall mark while the petrol returns 8 kmpl overall. Performance and luxury combined defines the Mercedes E-class sedan.