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  #1  
Old 03-06-2003, 09:07 AM
deuce's Avatar
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Location: Greensboro, NC
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Question Opinions wanted on Wagons and such

Well, it's time to buy the wife a car. We've narrowed it down to a few models but nothing is in stone. She wants to look at the following:

1. MB E320 Wagon (93-95)
2. Volvo V70 Wagon AWD (years?)
3. Honda Odyssey (98-00)

I would love to go with the Benz but I'm not the one driving it so I'd rather it be mostly her choice. Does anyone out there have any opinions/experience with any of these cars? I know the Volvo maintenance costs are similar to MB but how is the reliability? Also, how long can I expect the E320 to last. I have a diesel and know that it'll run forever, are the gas engines as durable? I've had several Hondas and am well aware of the reliability but the cost on the Odyssey that we want may be prohibitive. Finally, if anyone has suggestions of other vehicles that would be along the same lines as these three I'd love to hear the comments. Thanks in advance.

Munsey

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Deuce
'02 CLK430 (Nightwing) 54K
'11 ML350 109K
'21 VW Atlas (Wife's Rocket)
'94 Bronco XLT (Son 1)
'06 Honda Odyssey 180K (Sold)
'02 E320 151K (Sold)
'96 E300D (RIP Riggo - 12/16/2010) 198K
'03 Honda Odyssey 34K (Sold)
'95 E300D 145K (Sold)
'01 Mazda Tribute 19K (Sold)
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2003, 06:45 PM
A. Rosich's Avatar
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I have own Mercedes-Benz station wagons for 20 years.

I like them for being so space efficient, reliable, great built, and driving characteristics.

From the three options you mentioned, a well cared for E320T should last you a lifetime if you also take care of it. The Volvo might also too, but who really cares? The Honda? In about ten years the design would be so outdated you will want to throw it over a bridge.

The 104 engine is almost indestructible (if the problem with the engine wiring harness and the leaking front block gasket has been taken care of).

Be adviced that the wagon (T-series) is a little more noisy on the road than the sedan. Although, due to its perfect 50/50 weight distribution and bigger brakes (very people know about this fact), the wagon handles and stops much much much better than the sedan. It might be a little slower taking off, but it is almost insignificant. Also, the wagon has a higher roof line and a bigger windshield (total glass area) than the sedan; this combined with the extra side windows at the back, makes the interior very airy and relaxed. Finally, the fuel tank is a little bigger than the sedan, providing you with a little more range.
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CL 500, 1998
S 500 L, 1998
E 320 T, 1995 [Sadly sold ]
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2003, 07:00 PM
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Are these 3 vehicles she suggested? The Odyssey is a big van. A wagon would be the easiest to drive around, also would probably be better on gas. How long do you plan on keeping this "new" car? Japanese cars are really reliable BUT, when something does go, it can get expensive. This is simply because they don't keep making parts forever, like MB
As for Volvo, I don't know much about their reliability or parts availability. I do know that back when Volvo stop production of their infamous 240 series, they said that they would continue to make parts for it for 15 years after production had stopped.
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  #4  
Old 03-12-2003, 09:00 AM
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A. Rosich,

Thanks for the input. I'm sold on the Benz and would love to get the wagon. I just need to find one for her to drive so that she will be comfortable with it. Unfortunately, she's only driven my diesel and is not thrilled with the acceleration so doesn't know that the Petrol engine is a totally different animal. I've seen several E320T and 300TE wagons on eBay but am wary of the service history. I've heard that if the auto leveler hasn't been service properly it'll go quick and is expensive.

rickjordan,

The Volvo and Odyssey are her suggestions, the 320 is mine. She grew up with a Plymouth Voyager and swore she'd never be a "Minivan Mom". Well, now she's thinking about it. She drove an Odyssey the other day and liked it. Said it drove like a sedan, which it should being based on the Accord. They are expensive though. Even a used one will be around $19K so I should be able to nix that one. The Volvo is an option because we've both heard that they are great wagons. But, I have concerns about the durability.

Here are two wagons on eBay that look promising. Ya'lls thoughts?

'95 E320T

'91 300TE

Also, will I be able to hook up a towing package and any idea on the capacity? I have a trailer that I use to haul mulch, plants, trash, etc.

Thanks for your inputs.

Munsey
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Deuce
'02 CLK430 (Nightwing) 54K
'11 ML350 109K
'21 VW Atlas (Wife's Rocket)
'94 Bronco XLT (Son 1)
'06 Honda Odyssey 180K (Sold)
'02 E320 151K (Sold)
'96 E300D (RIP Riggo - 12/16/2010) 198K
'03 Honda Odyssey 34K (Sold)
'95 E300D 145K (Sold)
'01 Mazda Tribute 19K (Sold)

Last edited by deuce; 03-12-2003 at 09:11 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2003, 11:25 AM
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The Odyssey, although regarded by car magazines as one of the best handling minivas, stills just that: A MINIVAN! For me, they are cumbersome, uneconomical and just plain ugly.

Nothing can beat the design/elegant profile of a station wagon, and the M.B. W124 (S124 to be more exact) is to me THE most elegant wagon on the road.

The Volvos are nice, but to me they have two BIG disadvantages: First: their materials deteriorate faster than M.B.'s finishes. Second: newer models rely on five-cylinder engines (with and without turbos). Five-cylinder engines are rough, unrefined, and just plain agricultural. Nothing beats the smooth running of an inline 6-cyl engine (well, maybe a V-12 is smoother, but who wants to put up with burden to mantain them?). The turbos, although good on performance, tend to put too much stress on engine parts, and finally, they are more unreliable. Also, as stated above, parts for older cars are not as widely available as they are for M.B.s

Check out both car on e-bay. The E320 seems a better bet. Anyway, smoked silver is THE best color for a W/S124. Dark colors tend to be too hot on summer days and they are IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.

One comment though, I like to stay away from non-brand used car lots. I do not know your budget, but I will advise you to buy from a Mercedes-Benz authorized dealer. If you can find a local car serviced always at the dealer with a full history it would be great. Another good bet would be a B.M.W., Jaguar, or any luxury car dealership where an M.B. owner decided to change brands and traded its M.B. wagon. This cars tend to be better kept and usually have a better maintenance record.

Be sure to check the rear self-levelling suspension for leaks. This system is expensive $$$ to fix. Also, drive the car around and see if the transmission shifts smoothly. There are NO normal jerks or hard shifts on an M.B. auto. The trade invented that to cover for poor kept cars. Also, run the A/C at all fan speeds and see if it cools properly. Evaporator fixes are also expensive. Finally, on E320s, be sure the engine wiring harness has been updated and check for any oil leaks around the engine block (especially at the front, behind the fan!).


Good luck hunting!
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CL 500, 1998
S 500 L, 1998
E 320 T, 1995 [Sadly sold ]
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  #6  
Old 03-12-2003, 12:14 PM
deuce's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 188
Wow, that's great info. I really appreciate your time and will let you know what I find.

Thanks!
Munsey

__________________
Deuce
'02 CLK430 (Nightwing) 54K
'11 ML350 109K
'21 VW Atlas (Wife's Rocket)
'94 Bronco XLT (Son 1)
'06 Honda Odyssey 180K (Sold)
'02 E320 151K (Sold)
'96 E300D (RIP Riggo - 12/16/2010) 198K
'03 Honda Odyssey 34K (Sold)
'95 E300D 145K (Sold)
'01 Mazda Tribute 19K (Sold)
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