1992- 300E E320 cars are nice. Reliable and nice to drive.
1994- C-Class cars are VERY reliable cars, four cylinder cars 1996-1998 especially. Very popular with small families and retired folks not looking for giant interior spaces.
On most 1992-95 MB products, watch for defective wiring harnesses and OVP relays. The former is expensive (>$1K) and the latter is cheap (<$200).
Also, on the M104 engine (93-97 300/320's and 94-97 C280) watch for short lived head gaskets.
Road and Track published their survey results for the 1996-2000 E320/420/430 cars, and found it to be one of the MOST reliable cars they've ever done. Surprised? Not me. Despite the "not a decent MB made after 1900" arguments oft heard around here, I feel that the newer small and midsize cars are MUCH better than their 1980's counterparts.
We love both our 1998 MB's, and have found them to be Lexus-like in their reliability and general build quality.
If it's in the budget, a used W210 1996- E300/320 is a terrific car, as good as any Japanese luxury car in build quality and much better to drive.
1998 C230 "Black Betty"