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First car buyer

looking into cars and I came across a 2008 Mercedes-benz c-class-c 300 sport with 75,284 miles. just wondering if its a smart purchase. its around $8,000. would like something to last me around 5+ years and is good on gas. anyone with feedback would be greatly appreciated

No , it is not for a first time buyer. A used European luxury vehicle has the possibly of being a huge money pit.

Also there is no way to predict how long a used vehicle will last.

Also that Mercedes is rated at 18 city and 26 highway so I would not call that fuel efficient .


thank you! do you have any suggestions at what I should be looking into

Concur with the above. It’s the polar opposite of a smart purchase. If you’re looking for reliable and good on gas, and presumably not too harmful to the wallet from a repair/maintenance perspective, your best bet is Honda or Toyota. But you need to research the individual models and years because every car company has its problem children, and you don’t want to end up with one.

If, btw, you want higher luxury factor than Honda/Toyota but better reliability than Mercedes/BMW, look at Lexus and Acura, which are made by Toyota and Honda respectively.


I’d recommend a combination of newest model-year, lowest miles, and best documentation of proper maintenance history, at a price you can afford. I think 11 model-years is too old for you and MB care is probably going to be more costly than many other choices.

Also, reserve $1,000 to take care of any wear items that could pop up in the first year and then budget for that, annually.

Also, each time you find a potential vehicle, call your insurance agent and get a quote. Not all cars cost the same to insure.

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Here are Consumer Reports’ recommended used cars under $10,000:
Compact Cars
Pontiac Vibe 2008-2010
Toyota Matrix 2008-2010

The Pontiac Vibe and its corporate twin, the Toyota Matrix, are reliable and spacious compact hatchbacks. Both have fairly nimble handling, with rides that are borderline jittery. AWD was available as an option, and ESC was standard starting in the 2010 model year.

Other good choices:
Kia Soul 2010-2012
Mazda3 2009-2012
Scion xB 2008-2012
Toyota Corolla 2008-2011
Toyota Prius 2008-2009

Mazda6 2009-2011
Mazda’s midsized sedan is a sporty four-door, with nimble handling, good steering feel, and a supple ride. Reliability is excellent, and the four-cylinder engine is fuel-efficient. ESC was standard starting in 2009.

Other good choices:
Honda Accord 2008-2009
Toyota Camry 2008-2009


Don’t focus on specific cars yet. What do you need? If you don’t need cargo room, a small sedan might work. If you need room for four adults regularly, a midsize car is better, but will be more expensive than a compact sedan. A small SUV or a hatchback, like the Vibe/Matrix might work. Once you have that figured out, consider specific vehicles. We are happy to help you along the way. You can message us anytime.

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When buying a used, inexpensive $8,000 vehicle, condition of a particular vehicle and the care and maintenance it has received are more important than a car make/model with reputed reliability that has an unknown history.

Most folks on this site recommend (for buyers who are not very car savvy) to arrange a thorough pre-purchase check of a potential purchase by a certified auto technician. The $100 -$150 spent will be worth it whether it proves to be a good purchase or a bad deal.


Everyone agrees that Honda and Toyota are generally reliable, but they are very expensive used. A Ford Focus or Fusion, or Chevy Cruze or Maliibu could give good service at a lower price.


About five years ago a co-worker replaced his Mustang with a C 300, tonight he had his car in the shop, he was replacing a light bulb.

European vehicles frighten people, the 2008 Mercedes C300 is on the Consumer Reports recommended list, this model has an above average reliability history on CR.

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So, don’t leave everybody hanging… I value your vehicle knowledge and insight very much…

Does that mean that you wouldn’t necessarily pass on a 2008 MB C300 ? Can you recommend it?

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I would have to agree here… The MB is NOT the choice to make here. I would go with Honda and Toyota. Depending on how much vehicle you actually need would give you further criteria to use in making this decision. My personal “go to’s” in this first car scenario would come from Honda and Toyota.

Honda Civic… Honda Accord
Toyota Corrolla… Toyota Camry

Then their higher line counterparts by Acura or Lexus…

You would be rather surprised what I could do with $8000 in a vehicle purchase…then again I’m not playing fair because I buy things that are broken and repair them myself so…its not apples to apples really. But you have got some great advice here thus far… I hope you use it.


As far as model, and year on the used car market, check out the Consumer Reports Buying Guide, or their Used Car buying guide (available in bookstores). The used Ford Focus is better in some years, and awful in others. Consumer Reports hates the Toyota Tacoma for it’s ride, but they seem to want a pickup truck to ride like a '70s Buick–no way.

Me thinks Katie has left the building as so many seem to do lately .

And Seebear I still say forget reports like Consumer Reports and examine each used vehicle as to weather it is worth buying or not. Who knows , the problem of that year might not be on all of them or it could have been solved on the one someone is looking at.

My F150 4x4 rides nearly as good as my 72 Electra and handles better.

It is a very good looking car and has good build quality but it is not something I recommend. Fuel economy in these C300 models is not very good especially if you put your foot down often. If this is your first car, wouldn’t it be better if you got something smaller, more economical and an easy to fix car ? That way you’ll build up some experience and won’t break the bank.