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Old 11-22-2004, 11:53 AM
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04 E320 4 Matic, 95 Audi S6, 99 Carrera 4 Cabrio, 12 Fiat 500 Sport, 00 BMW R1200C 10, BMW R1200R
Consumer Reports

I went to the bookstore on Saturday since we were having a nice winter storm and the weather was wintry. I looked and the Consumer Reports magazine and saw that the E class is on the “WORST” in reliability along with BMW, AUDI, JAG and a bunch more.

When I looked at the actual ratings for the model years. The 2004 E320 only has two categories where it ranks as average: electrical and accessories. On every other category from Engine, trans, brakes, cooling sys, body integrity etc. it ranked above average or best.

What I don’t understand is how this magazine can state that the car is above average in reliability (if you average all the individual categories they rank), yet say that the car is not recommended and has poor general reliability.

Has anyone seen this review? When they write about the car, they also rave about its ride comfort, performance and safety. On the other hand, the Toyota Corolla is the best, but what feature does the car have? There is not much on it that CAN break! It still has rear drum brakes.

I really wonder why all the German cars are getting creamed by all these magazines?

What are your thoughts on this?

Steven Aguirre
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Old 11-22-2004, 12:22 PM
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was '03 E320 - now - '04 S4
I think you hit the nail on the head when you mention features. M-B loads the car up with features - some of which are nice and others just silly.

Every little motor and switch and relay and fiber optic cable has the potential to malfunction. In addition - I don't think German electronics are truly the best. Think about the COMAND/Nav debacle when the W211 launched. :banghead:

My E is a lease. When it comes to cars that I will keep for a long time I buy Japanese. I know that there are some on this board that feel that Japanese cars are beneath them - but I don't have that problem.

There is absolutely zero chance I would own this car without some kind of warranty coverage.
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Old 11-22-2004, 12:43 PM
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2004 E500 / 2001 C240
They are basing this review on the review of the 2003 car. It is based on a few things but mostly the audio problem of the MY2003 - which has been fixed. It is weird. I would take what they publish with a grain of salt.
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Old 11-22-2004, 02:34 PM
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I have actually come to expect problems with my Mercedes but I still feel that it is worth it. For me it has never been critical pieces of the car but instead some of the nice to have features. It is true that if you want a headache free car then go Japanese but I truly believe that you do make sacrafices (and this is from someone who also owns a Lexus).
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Old 11-22-2004, 03:13 PM
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If you ask me Consumer Reports is vastly overrated as a resource. Perhaps when they were testing and comparing steam irons or refrigerators they were in their element but comparos of sophisticated cars and road testing should be left to the auto mags and industry publications. IMHO!
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Old 11-22-2004, 03:20 PM
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I bought a car (name whithheld) once that was highly rated by both Consumer Reports and was the Road & Track Car of the Year. It was the worst POS I have ever owned. I don't rely upon either Consumer Reports or any of the car mags any more. BTW, my Mercedes cars are both doing just fine in spite of what Consumer Reports thinks of them.
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Old 11-22-2004, 03:24 PM
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Amen! I love my Benz too. I'm betting that those CR writers are riding around in Neons or Aztecs!
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Old 11-22-2004, 03:53 PM
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04 E320 4 Matic, 95 Audi S6, 99 Carrera 4 Cabrio, 12 Fiat 500 Sport, 00 BMW R1200C 10, BMW R1200R
Some of them might have an European car. . . a YUGO!!

I love Mercedes Benz cars (most of them). I also like AUDIs and VWs. I don’t dislike BMWs, but I have never owned one but I have driven them since my family has them. The bottom line is that I like German cars. I also don’t think that consumer reports does not test their cars in a very effective way.

One very well known FACT about Japanese cars (of which I have owned a few) is that they hardly ever develop anything new. They just copy another idea and then try to make it more reliable. For example after 1999, all MB models had ESP as standard. Acura came out with the MDX in late 2000 as a 2001 model, but did not make ESP even available until 2002. The MDX is a great car, but has absolutely nothing original about it! Especially when it comes to technological safety items.

I have owned one Mercedes that was flawless during the 120k miles I drove it. That was my 1988 190E 2.3 liter 5 speed. Everything always worked and nothing ever broke! My 1991 300E was a different story, but after a few things, it was totally trouble free for 8 years!

So far, my brother’s Toyota Matrix has had a lot more issues (very small ones) than my E320 4-matic. Not to mention, my E has tons more features his does not even have!

As I stated in the first post, I think the Consumer Report’s accuracy or reviews are contradictory if their reviews of a 2004 E has everything (except 2 fields that are average) well above average.

I have a video from 1992 that compares the, then brand new, Lexus LS400 (that we did have in my family) to the 300E and 300SE. They put both on the track and different road types and the Lexus just could not keep up in any way! Mercedes was comparing a V8 to a I-6 and the Mercedes was amazing.

When you translate Shakespeare to Japanese, something gets lost in the translation. That is why I still like the feel and overall performance of a Mercedes. But I do hate it when they get badmouthed when it is not justified.

Steven Aguirre

O, When Lexus first came out, they were secretly fixing tons of engine leaks and other problems without the customer knowing about them so that their reputation would not get tarnished.
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Old 11-22-2004, 04:01 PM
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Whichever one is available (1 of 5)
Consumer Reports are good at evaluating appliances and household items under $1500, so they should stick with washers, dryers, refirgerators, blenders, etc. As for automobiles, evaluations and reviews should be left to the automobile magazines. I think that CR does have several brick walls at their facility to test crash tests.
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Old 11-22-2004, 05:53 PM
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Consumer reports need to stick its head in its ***. They ranked the 2003 Honda Accord and gave it gloating reviews. yet when i had the pos it rattled, airbag blew up on its own, and countless other problems. yet they said it was reliable as a rock.

CR needs to evaluate household appliances and stop thinking they can rate cars.
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by MB Fanatic
Consumer reports need to stick its head in its ***. They ranked the 2003 Honda Accord and gave it gloating reviews. yet when i had the pos it rattled, airbag blew up on its own, and countless other problems. yet they said it was reliable as a rock.

CR needs to evaluate household appliances and stop thinking they can rate cars.

CR staff don't rate cars for reliability. CR's reliability ratings are based upon what their readers - many thousands of readers, in the case of a car like the Accord - tell them about their experience with the cars. Sorry you had a bad experience with your particular Accord, but your experience wasn't typical of most other CR readers who reported on Accords. If CR staff gave the Accord a glowing review for things other than reliability, they were hardly alone in praising the Accord.
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by paulhu
Consumer Reports are good at evaluating appliances and household items under $1500, so they should stick with washers, dryers, refirgerators, blenders, etc. As for automobiles, evaluations and reviews should be left to the automobile magazines. I think that CR does have several brick walls at their facility to test crash tests.
CR's car reviews are too summary to be very useful. Apart from the brevity, though, I would give more weight to the opinion of a magazine that carries no advertising than I would to the opinion of a magazine that relies upon advertising from the makers of the very products it reviews.
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:35 PM
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04' E500 w/Appear. PKG, Panorama Roof
As a long time CR suscriber I can tell you they have a strong bias in many areas and one in particular is in cost and zero tolerance for electronics that have any hint of troubles.

They seemed sceptical of the "Drive by wire" technology and are way behind the times in so many areas I find them useful for appliances ( As long as I am looking for a cheap whatever) and paint.

Great cars ( High-end) and any High-end anything- applicances, tools etc... they bias against.....

So if your looking for a lawn mower or vacum- fine- ... otherwise.. they are out of their league
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:37 PM
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Though I didnt base my purchase of the accord on CR's ranking, I did purchase it because I used to have an older accord and it was an excellent car. But my TL is living up to its standards so im not complaining too much.
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Old 11-22-2004, 07:03 PM
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04' E500 w/Appear. PKG, Panorama Roof
I didn't buy my Mb because of how it was rated... I bought it because I loved the style, Have seen their legendary Tank-like Cabins in a full collision, and drivability was awesome.

I find that after years of chasing- BMW and Lexus were still "chasing" the E. And I own a Lexus as well so I speak no ill there.

The point is- I think few people buy a $65K car based on a magazine article, no matter how good a review the writers attempt. It could turn some off, but the buyer of a MB, Bimmer or Lexus at this price range is probably looking at a lot of facts, not just CR.

At the lower end- maybe it swings a lot different. And Yeah I have a Ford PU that is the workhorse around the farm and I think that little 4 cyl will put me in my grave.
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Old 11-22-2004, 10:50 PM
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Consumer Reports reliability ratings are based on surveys of CR subscribers who own the car being rated. The results are compared within car classes, then the rating levels assigned. For the past several years, CR owners of MB products have reported more problems than CR owners of comparable cars, so MB products have gotten low ratings. The ratings aren't reviews of the cars; they're aggregated data reported by owners and leasers.

The fact that my car (or yours) is more or less reliable than the survey results is irrelevant; it's only one car, so it won't change the aggregated result.

These ratings are subject to all the problems of any survey data, but only CR and J. D. Powers report actual data on reliability from numerous owners. It's mushy data, but its the best data available. And according to the best data available, MB cars are not usually as reliable as comparable cars.

And we know why, at least in part. MB makes more complicated cars than anyone else. Most of the problems posted on these boards are relatively minor (the car still runs, but the sunroof won't work, for example).

But it's hard to escape the conclusion that MB quality control is less than it should be. That's what the data implies.
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Old 11-22-2004, 11:06 PM
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i don't believe in the consumer reports survey. the 2005 cars are just out. no way they could have had enough data to predict the reliability of the 2005 cars.
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Old 11-22-2004, 11:07 PM
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That is EXACTLY why I hate Consumer Reports car reviews: The text is the opinion of the writers, but the little graphs with the empty or filled in circles indicating the ratings on Electrical, Body, etc, are survey data collected from questionairs submitted by OWNERS of the vehicles.

Its beyond me how the owners of the cars can speak out positively on the vehicle, and the tone of the article text says only what the article's author believes, yet the recommendation or lack thereof on the subject vehicle almost always disregards the owners opinion & shouts the author's editorial opinion... In other words, the people who actually paid money to own the car seem to love it, while the Magazine calls the same car awful, and recommends against it.

And what's with always recomending the smallest available engine in a car and calling it "adequate". Who the heck knowingly picks something that's "adequate". They may know washing machines or refrigerators, but they certainly have NO clue when it comes to cars. NONE.

Last edited by Barry45RPM; 11-23-2004 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 11-23-2004, 01:05 AM
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I love Consumer Reports, but if you paid attention to what they say, you'd be driving a Toyota Camry.

I love my E320!!!
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Old 11-23-2004, 01:12 AM
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I also love consumer report. I know a secret how to use it, just select item with worst rate and you won't miss.
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:33 AM
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2004 E320 4Matic, 2002 IS300 Lexus, 1993 Honda CBR1000F
Reliability issues

Thank you for sharing. It is a matter of personal preference, the reason why there's so many models. It is a matter of personal choice and the priorities of what is important to us. I have owned Oldsmobile, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Citroen, Porsche, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes Benz. Consumer reports are information reported by owners. In MY personal taste and experience, the sexiest i have owned is the 1982 Porsche 928. The Most reliable, 2001 Toyota RAV4L, 2002 Lexus IS300, 1994 Citroen ZX, 1991, 1993 Honda CBR1000F. The most luxurious style and features.... 2004 E320 4Matic. I like to tinker and have performed all preventive maintenance in my vehicles. Looking forward learning and sharing some experience with MBWorld members....
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:24 AM
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Building on the fact that echoes through this thread, that CR Reviews, lists, ratings, etc., are based on exactly that.... REPORTS of CONSUMERS, replying to surveys....

Two things:

1.) Dissatisfied folks shout and scream, while happy campers revel in silence.

2.) We're talking STATISTICS here, and statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is fascinating, but what they conceal is critical!
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Old 05-10-2014, 04:51 PM
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was '03 E320 - now - '04 S4
Whoa - mother of all thread revivals!

In the span of the last 8 years I've gone from "never again" to MB to possibly considering the next gen C63 coupe.

It seems as if they really have turned around the build quality/reliability because my W211 was the worst new car I've ever had by a huge margin.
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Old 05-11-2014, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by lig View Post
................It seems as if they really have turned around the build quality/reliability because my W211 was the worst new car I've ever had by a huge margin.

My 2003 was a great driver car but the worst reliability of any that I owned so I made the same decision you did. I bought a 2012 Chrysler 300C Hemi and only issue in 2 yrs is sway bar bushings. Otherwise no issues. Total cost of repairs $30 parts in two yrs. MB over same time was over $500 and it was in warranty.
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