Kia vs. Mercedes

We have a 2003 Kia Rio, 37,000 miles, excellent condition, and were just offered a 1991 Mercedes 300E wagon, 172,000 miles, ok condition. We can’t keep both. Obviously the Mercedes is a better car, but we’re afraid of the higher maintenance and operating costs. (We also can’t accept the Mercedes and sell it). What would you do?

The Mercedes is “obviously” the better car? I highly doubt that. More luxurious? Sure, but its also 17 years old and likely rattles as much or more than a 5 year old Kia. Isn’t your Kia still under the (overhyped) powertrain warranty?

I think this is a no brainer, even though I’m not a huge fan of Kia (especially prior generation Kias) and I really like wagons…

Keep the Kia…

I know this is a tough decision for you, but as others pointed out, the Mercedes will tax your budget if you want to keep it on the road in a reliable fashion. Although this is a nice car, it has significant engine and cooling system problems, as well as with the electrical and A/C.

Count on spare parts costing 3 times those on a Kia and labour at least twice. In large centers there are independent shops that can servie this vehicle, but in many areas, you are at the mercy of the dealer.

Your Kia, although not a top rated car, is much newer, and according to published information, has an average repair record. So, count on more breakdowns with the Mercedes (age and reliability) and much higher repair and maintenance costs.

If you are knowledgeable about cars and have 3 times the Kia budget to keep the car running, go for it.

Craig58 will now doubt give you his very informed opinion on Mercedes ownership.

I think it was Craig58 or Benzman who said, “There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.”

If you have a unlimited source of money,keep the Mercedes. Kinda a no brainer to me.

How do you know this one has engine, cooling, AC and electrical problems? Did you run the diagonostics over the Internet?

If I am not mistaken, Click and Clack REALLY like this model Benz - and not just because Ray owns a repair shop. Punt the Kia and enjoy the Benz.

I have this from several sources, including Consumer Reports records. The problem originated with the cooling system and probably spread to the head. It is likely that Mercedes developed some kind of fix for this. But it is something to watch out for.

In addition, the A/C and the usual accessories have below average reliability. These things are all very expensive to fix, if you are used to driving an economy car.

I lived in Asia for 5 years and these cars were very popular. Whatever problems they had, got fixed. But labor there wa 1/5 the US rate and parts were made in Taiwan.

“Did you run the diagonostics (sic) over the Internet?”

I’m really curious about how one goes about this. So far, I have not been able to figure out how to connect the OBD II port on my car to my PC, but I am interested in learning how to do this.

The resident Benz guys say that it costs at least a couple thousand to keep an old one running each year. Can you afford that? If you are willing to try, get it inspected by a Benz mechanic. Make sure the mechanic knows that his inspection will be the basis for your decision to buy.

LOL, I think everyone who has ever owned one has said that.

They are great cars and I don’t really want to own anything else, but they are not cheap to own, For example, today I spent $1050 (and change) to put 4 shocks and a tie rod end on my wife’s '83 240D (including an alignment). I’m not complaining, that’s just what it costs to put top quality parts in one of these. The 300E is a fine car, but it is 17 years old and things will break occasionally. You have to be willing to spend a couple $1000 per year if you want to keep it in top condition (you may get lucky for a few years, but it will cost some money to maintain).

If you are interested, definitely have it checked out buy a good benz shop or a dealer (it will cost a couple $100) and get a detailed list of issues and estimates to repair them. I don’t know what you mean by “OK condition,” but if hasn’t been properly maintained it can get expensive. I/m not trying to discourage you, but you want to understand what you are getting into.

Just to be clear, it costs a couple of $1000 per year to keep one in very good condition. You can probably keep one running for significantly less (for a while anyway).

Go for it. Try to sell the Kia. If it isn’t gone in a week, keep it. That is rolling the dice. You’re taking a bet, but you have assigned limits. If it works out; great.

Evidently this guy should tell us since he diagnosed this fellows Benz with electronics, AC and other issues. Not sure what he had his USB cable plugged into…

Nothing makes me laugh more than a Consumer Reports reader who thinks he is an expert on all cars.

I normally talk to both mechanics and owners; between them you get a good feel for problems. Consumer Reports and J D Power keep satistical records of reported problems, so they will indicate a general trend as well.

Years ago I almost bought and E Type Jaguar. After talking to several mechanics who worked on Jags and several owners, I decided this was the worst possible car for me since at that time I was in sales and needed a reliable car that would also fit my car allowance (cents/mile) budget.

There are some anomalies. Buicks have always shown to be more reliable in surveys than Pontiacs, although they used to be almost identical cars. The difference is in the owners! Pontiac sells ATTITUDE big time, while Buick owners are more relaxed and more inclined to do the required maintenance. The surveys will not unearth these differences.

You simply have the codes downloaded and send them to us. 437 posts later you have your answer!

Seriously, I’m wondering why the OBDII system can’t simply post codes and their corrosponding meanings on a display screen right in the passenger compartment without having to connect to a port. Maybe next year.

Certainly with OBDII they could display the codes and text in the passenger compartment. In fact, engine management computers could be built like PCs, as a commodity item. They all do the same basic stuff. Car companies do not want to standardize to that extent. I’m sure they’d use special tires that only the car manufacturer sells if they thought they could get away with it.

I’ll stop now before I start ranting . . . :wink:

Well, if it isn’t in very good condition, regardless of what kind of car it is, you still have a car that isn’t in very good condition.

“It looks and drives like total crap, but listen to that idle! Rock steady!”

I agree with you wholeheartedly, the sources you mentioned are reliable, but not every car made by a manufacturer suffers from each problem that is highlighted in Consumers Report. I have a 99 Benz C Class with over 100K and it is the most reliable car my wife and I have ever owned. It has had none of the issues CR discusses. My parents always bought American and NEVER got a bad car from GM in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s.

I agree, I wouldn’t own one that wasn’t well maintained. I was just commenting on the cost of maintenance,

There’s no way on this earth I’d trade a low-mileage Kia for a high-mileage Mercedes. Stick with your Kia and pass on the expensive-to-maintain Mercedes Benz. It’s not necessarily a “better” car.