Need advice buying a second hand Mercedes A160

I am posting for advice to buy a second hand A160.

Despite my age i have never been a car owner, only a pedestrian or motorcyclist. Local rules forbid me to take the family on the bike so i have decided to get a second hand car.

the reason for the A160 is mostly because I saw an ad for one, and after seeing a few reviews and some parked on the way to work i don't mind the form factor and the security equipment seems adequate for my wife to drive around in.

my main criteria are

  • smallish
  • safety
  • reliability
  • cheap

other cars that caught my attention were citroen c3, varous 30x peugeots, and some smallish mazdas.

the advice i need mostly is about the transaction itself

  • what paperwork should i bring ?
  • what paperwork should i recieve ?
  • when should i sign what ?
  • when do i drive away with the vehicle ?
  • how do i go about insurance ?
  • when to make the payement ?

any advice or opinion about this car is welcome (even if you are having a bad day and feel like hating)
2000 classic variant with 120000kms apparently serviced recently.

Thanks to anyone avoiding me being scammed or looking even more foolish.

Comments

  • +8

    It looks like a Getz!

    ~$4-5k for a 2000 Merc with 120,000kms?! You're insane. I hope you have some further savings for maintenance and repair costs.

    • Yes mercs have high repair costs but it's not really that bad. As someone who has owned both Euro and jap cars I'd say I spend about double maintaining the Euro vehicle.

      • Double is pretty bad… Repair costs will be more than the cost of the car in 1-2 years

        • I payed double for my merc and I spend double repairing it, seems fair to me.

  • +6

    Merc/euro cats are expensive to maintain. Keep that in mind expecially for high km cars

  • +34

    if your criteria is :

    smallish
    safety
    reliability
    cheap

    Get a Toyota Yaris

    • I'll second that. 2 in my family drive them and there may be a third. But just don't ever find yourself (ourselves rather) in a front or side collision. :( :( :( :( Say a prayer every morning.

    • Or Suzuki Swift or Honda Jazz.. I like their looks..
      Ops other questions have been answered nicely by Bigsta.

      • +2

        Be careful with Jazz if going automatic.
        Their transmissions are known to fail and there's a characteristic sign of it, around 100-150,000km

        I was close to getting a Jazz and came across one and presto, had this exact sign - I think it's a lag in shift from 1 to 2? can't recall precisely

        • I'm pretty sure the Jazz wth failing transmissions were from the original CVT variety, rather than last model's torque converter. I have no idea what the current one is and I have little to no knowledge about transmissions, so I may have got the terminology wrong.

          But first gen, bad. Second gen, good. Third gen, who knows.

    • -2

      I suspect the real criteria is:

      smallish
      safety
      reliability
      cheap
      a brand emblem that screms 'I'm a tosspot'

  • +2

    But its got to be a Mercedes, Brands Brands Brands
    Dont you know that a flogged out Benz is better than a near new (other car) if your life is ruled by brands.

  • i thought that would come up, it's not so much about brands (i don't even care about motorcycle brands) it's just it seemed like a good deal. I wasn't going to list all the cars i am looking at just one that seemed to be at the top of my list

    I did want a yaris but their second hand prices are so high, it's nearly better to get a new one (or i don't know where to look)

    i have considered a getz, but they don't seem to offer much safety (and maintenance isn't always done on them)

    • +5

      Ford Fiesta, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Nissa Tiida? Just pay $1000 more for something 10X better.

      2004- to 2006 <90,000 KM.

      The quality of car you get for every $1000 more you pay from $3000, increases exponentially all the way up to $15k. Up to $30k, The same scale applies but for every $2000 because you can get cars under warranty, SUVs or both. No point paying more than $30K for good reliable car/suv that you just want to drive and get around (not show off or impress people).

      TLDR. Put as much money as you can feasibly afford without getting a loan up to $15k (I think 8 to 10k is more than enough). Your wife and you should work hard for a month or two to save that extra $3-5k, to get a significantly better car for the dollar. You've went this long without a car, what is 2 more months?

      • for ford's i've always had issues with the ergonomy every time i've sat in one.
        suzukis were too expensive when i looked.

        nissan tiidas were also on the list, just hadn't seen decent ads recently.

        I may end up waiting 2-3 months more, i mostly wanted to know what to do before seeing this mercedes that seemed ok.

        • +9

          Mercedes are okay cars in general. BUT the A class is shit. Its worse than a normal car and most of what you pay for is just the logo.

          If you can pay more I think people like Mazdas? Like toyotas they might have a premium on resale though.

      • That's not true at all dude. Take it from a car guy.

    • +8

      There's a reason that the second-hand prices for Toyotas are higher - they're reliable, and cheap to keep on the road.

      I'd be looking at Yaris/Echo, or Mazda 2.

      • This - these small cars hold their value quite well.

        • And almost all of them have been optioned without any safety packs that were available, if they were. Some might feel like praying they don't get hit at the front and side. I pray that my airbags go off properly.

          The chances are low you will be in a bad accident. It's a gamble, but the European cars will probably have more safety gear and won't crumple like tin foil (talking older cars, not modern cars).

        • @Daabido: This is a good/interesting source re: comparing safety of small cars - https://www.ancap.com.au/safety-ratings/small-car

  • +8

    OMG Mercedes A_class

    Any Moose or Elk around?

  • +7

    That is really the ugliest Mercedes you can get, so if that's what you are after…….

    • +3

      it's small and you can stuff a lot of shit in it… my own looks keep me worried enough, i don't need to worry about my car's

      any idea about the transaction part of my message?

      • +2

        Fair enough, I would recommend getting an inspection by nrma or a mechanic you can trust. This way you will be able to have some confidence the car has no major issues that you are not aware of.

  • +9

    I have assumed private sale as a dealer has guarenteed title and will walk you through it.

    When you decide on your car get a REVS check, google it, will guarantee title and let you know if its encumbered or has been written off, you need vin numbers etc to do this.

    • 1 Make sure you get or they send off the notice of disposal (on back of rego papers)

    • 2 Up to you but i would steer clear of euros or proceed knowing that any major repair will cost almost the value of the car and any car 10 years old will need work regardless of the brand. If you can stretch your budget try to get something around 3 years old, you really cant go past the Hyundais and toyotas in the small car segment used. new the golf is great but i would not want to have post warranty.

      *3 what paperwork should i bring ? Just your drivers lic

      • 4 what paperwork should i recieve ? the rego papers, only deal witht he registered ownere and match their name from the rego to their drivers licence. also a good idea to make sure the VIN/engine numbers on the rego matches the car.

      • 5 when should i sign what ? on the back of the rego papers and i also write up a very simple bill of sale for them to sign too

      • 6 when do i drive away with the vehicle ? after you have agreed to buy and have done paperwork with seller including payment
      • 7 how do i go about insurance ? get a cover note by calling the insurance company, you can do this when you do the revs check after you decide to buy

      *8 when to make the payement ? when you have agreed on a price and are doing the paperwork, i would pay by bank cheque or EFT in front of the seller.

  • thanks Bigsta for the answers and the advice.

  • +2

    you must like driving cars which would be better to use to make lemonade

    • +1

      more like lawnmowers : suzuki RGV 250 (92) and honda GBX 250 - but i rarely drive and mostly walk.

  • +14

    Man I would not buy this car used, or at all. Servicing costs are insanely high. The card has some mileage, so some expensive services will be coming up very soon. You mentioned part of your criteria is cheap, this car is not that.

    Go for a Toyota Yaris or Madzda 2. They will be more reliable and have much cheaper servicing costs.

    • -6

      man you sound real cheap, it's very persuasive =)

    • Sorry but servicing costs aren't high, unless you go to Mercedes, and that would be foolish - they see $ signs as soon as someone walks in, that's just their way of operating.

  • +26

    I had an A160 Avantgarde, manual. Built late 2000, purchased at 1 year age from dealer. I really liked the practicality of the car and really liked the look of it. Kinda 'love at first sight' in automotive terms. Brakes were excellent on the car, and the real party piece of the A-Class was the clutchless manual gearbox.

    I have to go through the negatives about the car. Late 90s/early 2000s is when Mercedes-Benz branched out and released many new models. Some were quite sub par in terms of build quality, like the M and A Class vehicles.

    The interior plastics are rather poor quality compared to cheaper cars of the same era. There was a face lift done around 2002 where the interior plastics were improved. Before that time the plastics rattle and squeak. Try the seat height adjustment handle on the driver's seat. It's a plastic handle turning a metal part, and I had three break. I barely used it. Dealership kept a bag of handles in stock for replacements. Tailgate trim has a habit of coming apart.

    Test the indicator stalk and make sure it all works correctly. Mine broke after 6 months and I couldn't switch the high beams off. Replaced under warranty.

    Removing the rear seats to turn the car into a mini van was a nice idea, but the larger seat is VERY heavy. You'll rarely remove it.

    Check that the engines idles smoothly with no sudden rough patches. After 2.5 years of ownership my A160 developed a slight shudder at idle every now and then. Its cause was a kink in the timing chain. Dealer let me drive the car until the replacement part came in. Three days later the chain snapped, bending valves, damaging pistons. This happened at just 67,000km. Engine took a month to rebuild. Fortunately MB extended the warranty for free and I didn't have to pay a cent for what would have been a repair worth half the car's value. The alternator developed a fault at 3.5 years of age, requiring a replacement. The air conditioner struggled on hot days. At ambient temperatures of 37C or more it was impossible to cool the car down.

    1997-2003 A-Classes are well known for the air mass flow sensor failing. At the time I sold my car you had to get an entire PCB replaced at well over $2000 cost. Reconditioned boards at $600 were becoming available.

    If you're buying a clutchless manual model then check that the car drives smoothly at low speed in reverse. The gearbox was known for shaking the car a bit due to the way the clutch operated.

    My employer had an automatic A160. His developed a gearbox problem and was stuck in second gear limp home mode. $2300 for the repaired part in 2004.

    The car requires premium unleaded fuel. Factor that into ownership costs. Parts are likely to be expensive and probably a bit difficult to get. I had to wait for a timing chain assembly to be delivered from Singapore, and this was at a time when the model was current.

    Don't get me wrong, I really liked my A160 and was sad to sell it right after the engine was repaired. The model had well known problems that the next one after mostly addressed. It still retains the funky look, and only reverted to today's generic hatch design this decade.

    Check out Toyota Echos and Corollas from that era. Hyundai Getz were available from 2003 onwards and had a good reputation, and are dirt cheap now.

    120,000km for a 16 year old car is not much. Maybe you'll have more luck with your vehicle. Feel free to ask me anything.

  • +9

    Presumably you do not intend to start doing a lot of driving, so some of the comments in this thread will not be as applicable. E.g. cost of premium fuel isn't a big deal if you are doing 5000km a year.
    If you must have a reliable car that is cost effective to maintain, get a Toyota.
    If you only use the car a bit, and it wouldn't be a big deal if it broke down one day, why not get a fun car? If that is a Mercedes for you, go for it. If you bought one for $3000 and it lasted 2 years with just fuel and oil, you would be financially ahead of somebody who paid $15,000 for a newer Toyota in saved depreciation.
    You just need to accept that instead of the car's depreciation happening bit by bit, it will remain flat until a serious repair removes all the residual value.
    Then you spend another $3k to get something else.
    My own view is that the very cheapest cars available now (say sub $2500) are streets ahead of similar priced cars 15 years ago, and if you can handle the hassle of occasional unreliability and you couldn't care less about a few broken plastic levers or scrapes and scratches, cars nearing the end of their life can provide cheap motoring.

  • Have you considered a BMW 1 or 3 series?

  • juki, what kind of price are you looking at for the 2000 model A160? Manual or auto? Looking at carsales.com.au, there appears to be a very wide range in prices for similar era A160s. From $2000 (unregistered) to near $5000. How long do you think you would keep the car?

    There's just one other point I'd add about the A-Class. In its 4 airbag variant it scored 4 out of 5 stars in crash tests, which for the time was excellent in a small car. Some of its competition was absolutely atrocious.

  • +8

    do not buy

  • you may be interested to know the "form factor" of the early A130 is for an electric car

  • +1

    I wouldn't. I have had a soft spot for the A class since they were released, as I'm into small cars, but recent serious consideration when car shopping put me off, when I realised how risky and potentially expensive buying one could be. The mere fact that the starter motor can't be changed without dropping the motor, and the car won't start without the right one (there are 4 variants), and only MB can tell you which is the correct one for your vehicle, and that a lousy starter motor costs over $1000 (no labour to install, just the part) had me running for the hills (and a nice reliable Nissan).

    • +4

      I was attracted by the funky design and sandwich floor architecture, but as you say it's also a big problem when it comes to repairs. The engine needs to be removed for many repairs, greatly inflating repair costs.

      We are however talking about 15 year old car the OP is interested in. Pretty much any car from that era is one major repair away from being scrapped due to labour and parts costs. If the OP is interested in the car and has heeded the advice on this forum but wants it anyway then I say go ahead and buy. But if the OP is being swayed by thoughts that Mercedes-Benz equals quality and reliability, therefore the car will last longer than a similar vintage Toyota/Honda/Nissan/etc, I think it's a mistake.

      • The saving grace for something less 'exclusive' is the price and availability of parts (esp. second hand), and the familiarity of a lot more independent mechanics with such vehicles. Not having to involve MB (or any factory dealer) in parts and labour considerations is a big plus in keeping maintenance and repair costs down. Personally the decision to buy a second hand vehicle comes down to the condition and service history of said vehicle, but with the understanding of the costs associated with future repairs and service.
        This is especially a consideration with an older vehicle, because it can make the difference between buying something which has been maintained and thus the wear condition of components can be reasonably assessed, and buying something where the condition is a gamble, and several major systems may self-destruct tomorrow (and make the vehicle essentially worthless, especially for its intended purpose).
        In short, repairing a major component in a well maintained 'boring' Japanese car is a better bet than gambling on buying another 'exciting' German car every time something major breaks IMO. But I value reliable, cheap transport over excitement and the hassle of having to replace cars every time something breaks. FWIW I drive a boring (ex-commercial, low powered) German Holden which had been well maintained but used hard before I got it, and has been about as reliable as a similar Japanese car with similar use and less than punctual maintenance in the past 5 years.

  • +2

    Juki; I was in exactly the same position as you (motorcycle for sole transport, no car), until I had to buy a car to be an 'adult' (wife etc).

    You say you're not into motorcycle brands, but I'm going to use them to make an analogy here as I imagine you'll have some familiarity.

    Mercedes;
    You're looking at buying a low-end high-kilometre version of a 'luxury' vehicle brand; think of this as buying a work-mate's "really cool" 1995 Ducati sports bike for a cheap price. It's going to need a LOT of maintenance (old, entry level vehicle so lower quality assembly and componentry, euro service and parts costs) and is going to be lower quality than a comparable Japanese bike of the same era.

    Reliable boring car;
    I bought a 2010 manual Yaris with under 10,000 KM on the clock for under $10k; it's ROCK solid (just did 14,000 KM in a month driving around WA/NT), has had zero maintenance cost outside services ($200-$300). Vehicle is high quality (for an entry-level car), and extremely reliable. Think of it as a Ninja 250/300; incredible bang-for-the-buck, and ubiquitous as a learner bike for this reason.

    Don't throw your money away on a low-grade 'luxury' brand. Buy a workhorse.

  • +1

    don't want to hurt your feelings
    but as a person working close with over 50+ mechanic or tyre shop.
    i will say you have to be really loving that "CAR" to buy it.
    first, it's a junk mec

    second, as a low end car it could build in some where you don't know, i don't know. google knows.

    third, you looking for luxury features? trust me, most of chinese made car at same price much newer model and lower kilometers will have tones of luxury features and better quality compare to this and having more luxury features. Never ever try to think a 2000 low end luxury car will have more function then a 2006 common road car….
    they don't even have a multifunction steel wheel control….

    fourth, you are looking for reliability? go for a toyota, mazda, Hyundai 2004+, they are solid, this one might, will, most likely, broken down every day in your life…..they are on the way to the repair, or waiting to be repaired.

    fifth, maintainers, how much to keep this car? as i know, most of German made car, you better do the service every 6 month or 5000K,japenese or korea made car are 10.000k or 1 year. and normally speaking, they are much more expensive even for a regular services…..why? because they are…

    sixth, repair cost? They will, and sure will using some weired sharp parts, cables, sensors, oil, where other car do not use them, so prepare your money first and finger cross they not broken down till next service…..or repair…

  • +5

    wow so much hate for this particular model, next time i'll say i'm buying a yaris.

    A lot of you have made good points and i'll probably end up waiting a few more months. So many people talking about the maintenance costs have scared me away from this model (even if i'd probably not do that many km a year)

    no rush no rush…

    • my sister had an a160 and loved it. But she bought it new and sold it for a B class 10 years later. She did say it cost a fortune in maintainence.
      buying one 16 years old is brave of you I think.

    • +1

      To be honest, I liked the looks of it as well and has clear view to road as well. So if you like it/ looks fine/drives fine and is dirt cheap, go for it. You can sell it after a year or so with a little loss. I know getting a used Toyota is pretty expensive and that was the reason I went for a new Toyota SUV after ridiculous prices for the used ones (3-5 years old). Most of people will say no against a new one.
      So taking all negatives in mind, if you think you will be fine, go for it man.

      • This too - the view of the road is awesome in the car, small front section, large rear windscreen and you sit slightly higher up.

        • True. I hate looks of Getz or old Yarris. Get something you will feel happy to drive. Its a small gamble and you are not spending thousands of dollars.
          My only added advise will be : Get it inspected by NRMA or Merc dealer and you are all set.

          Good luck champ. This car is sexy…

    • You are a motorcyclist but are surprised that people are hating on an underpowered car with a fairly dodgy clutchless (gimmick) of a manual? A friend had one brand new in 1999 when we were at school, his olds bought it for him as they only drove Mercedes. Even newly released with the badge cred and brand new off the lot it got no respect from anyone. Bit of a badge snob try hard mobile.

      </truth>

  • +1

    And please don't consider a Peugeot. i have had one sitting on the side of the road for more than a yr (thats a 2004 pug 407). I'm tossing up whether to fix it or just get rid of it for 2k. They look great but engine's are very temperamental.

    • 2009 308 owner here had it for 3 years & Its a great car, loads of features, very cheap to run. Had one issues about a year ago something with the transmission but cost about $400 to fix.

  • -1

    A160's are lemons.
    They are cheap on the second hand market for a reason.
    Don't do it, look at a Getz instead.

  • First, of all; how much are you willing to spend?

    Do you really need a car? (car is really just a convenience thing, seeing as you get by without one - you might not need it. With regular registration, insurance, maintenance that owning a car require, it might be cheaper just to take a Taxi)

    If you really need to ask this question, I think best for you to buy from dealer - preferably brand new car. (used car from dealer you do get at least 1 year warranty, though used car is pretty iffy even from dealer - or new car for that matter… but that is really another matter). Private sale only for people that know what they are doing and able to take the risk. For me personally, I cannot be bothered with used car - if it is in decent condition it is worth close to brand new price, if it get to the point that it is cheap/bargain price, then it tend to be one for a reason -> meaning it is not a bargain at all.

    Also, Year 2000 A160 in Classic trim. That is really a bad car…

    • +1

      Buying a brand new car is never a solid financial decision, depreciation is real as soon as you pull out of the dealership (maybe around 11%).

      You will always get better value buying a used car privately than going through a dealer (also, be wary of dealer warranties - people are often confused as they don't cover everything). I've bought all my cars privately - and am no mechanic.

      • +3

        Depends on the car. On the upper scale, Landcruiser Prado and LC200 series buck that trend. It's not uncommon to see 1yo LC200 top of the range models selling for $95k+, when a new one is ~$115k drive away. Once you add stamp duty and LCT to the 1yo one, there's not much between the new and used models.

        On the lower end, a new Swift auto (currently) is $15,990 drive away. A search on the market would easily find 1yo and 2yo ones selling within a couple of grand of the new price.

        So, for a relatively small difference on those cars in particular, you're getting a brand new car with full warranty, new tyres, etc etc. Sometimes people on here love to scream the whole 'dont buy new' phrase, without really knowing every cars depreciation rate. Some buck the trend, and for those cars, you're not doing good research if you don't buy new.

        On the other hand, sure, whatever cars have a rental market out there (Commodore/Falcon/i30/etc), depreciation is bad in the first year because the ex-rentals flood the market at a very cheap price, destroying resale on private sellers.

        • 11% is the average depreciation for a vehicle that drives off the lot. $15 990 is for MY15, the newer model is about to come out. You can buy MY14 for $11 500. Smaller cars tend to better hold their resale value, they're in demand. Sure, you could do the calculation on every car in every state, and find a couple might be better bought new depending on many variables. Generally though, "don't buy new" comes out true.

        • @woolfenstein:

          $15 990 is for MY15

          Actually that's wrong, all 2016 plated cars. New model is still 12 months away.

          Smaller cars tend to better hold their resale value.

          I used a $16k car, a ~$65k car, and a $115k car in my comment, but you focused on 1? :/

          Generally though, "don't buy new" comes out true.

          Generally speaking, and lines like "Buying a brand new car is never a solid financial decision" are 2 completely different things.

        • @Spackbace: Actually, you're wrong.

          Compliance plated 2016 ; MODEL YEAR 2015

          "This is usually the case when selling the car privately as well – you shouldn’t be finding previous year build cars advertised as current years models, just because they were complied in the current year."

          http://www.motorama.com.au/blog/buyer-advice/what-is-the-dif...

          basically never **spacky pedantism (and besides, in any situation you could buy a one day old "used car" - you'd save 11% and the manufacturers warranty transfers between owners…;)

  • I wouldn't touch a 2000 model in this class, you will be stuck with expensive repair bills.

  • +6

    Going to be honest, there are a lot of people talking a lot of shit based on the whole 'european car' trash talk that constantly goes on.

    These statements are not true, NECESSARILY.

    I have a 2001 A160 Long Wheel Base model.
    There is NOT another car on the market that has the interior space and flexibility of this car with the external proportions.
    It's a unique design with the way the seats can be removed so easily. Last week I carried a tandem kayak home in the back of mine, 3.5m long!
    I am not kidding when I say, it's an engineering masterpiece, and can carry huge loads.
    We have friends with enormous SUVs and they look in the back of ours and realise that we have more space in our A160 interior than they do.

    We also have a friend who JUST spent $1300 on their Yaris for an aircon compressor. That's expensive in anyone's book, so don't take the Yaris praise as gospel. And no they couldn't believe it either.
    AND my mother in law has had a Getz for 6 months. Low KM and the thing is already falling apart, engine sounds rough and it needs new mounts.

    BUT

    Maintenance costs what? $150-230 for an annual service, that's it. Just don't go to a merc dealer for it!
    Before we found a good independent mechanic, oh god were the repairs expensive. And I mean ridiculously so.
    We had Mercedes quoting us $3500 for a job that the indy did for $1000.
    They quoted us $150 for a job I did myself for $11 parts in 10 minutes.
    We had one catastrophic electrical fault that cost $2000 HOWEVER our indy guy later said that he could have fixed it for far less, shame we hadn't found him by then.

    SO

    A couple of years ago I would have said stay away, but with this new mechanic, everything we get done is affordable and the car has been a dream.
    It's great fun to drive, SO easy to park, economical, and I love the clutchless manual on ours too.
    Secondhand parts from wreckers are REALLY easy to find. That's the key too - Mercedes wanted $700 for a part. Oh wait, hop on ebay, shipped next day for $150. Easy.

    Just be smart about it and the car is as cheap as any other to own and run…

    • Agreed. Having a good reliable indy is a must so the whole "ooh they are so expensive to maintain" is total rubbish. If you want a luxury badge car but only have half a brain you'd better have deep pockets. I had the timing chain replaced in my C class by a Merc accredited shop for less than what my brother-in-law paid for his belt in his Getz. Sure, taking it to a stealership would have cost a lot more.

      Premium 98 octane fuel, no biggie. Keeps the car happy and no need to stuff around with injector cleaners etc, learned this the hard way after moving to Tas and using 95 octane for a month or two.

      I don't drive a lot, nor enjoy it to a great extent, but when I have to I like to drive a car I enjoy and would not settle for anything less.

      LOL at the tin can comment below, that's exactly what I thought about the Getz. +1 for the ebay comment as well, my current mechanic actually advised me that he could get a part in for x amount of $, or alternatively here's the part number, you can call this mob who import from Singapore or you can get it cheaper from ebay as well.

  • +5

    Can I also add that if you sit in a yaris or getz, you feel like you're sitting in a shit tin can.
    Get in even a 15 year old Mercedes and it's comfortable, quiet, feels solid and safe. You can drive long distance no worries in one of these.
    I can't even stand my Mother inlaw's getz for more than half an hour, it's noisy, cramped and I feel like I've got aluminium foil between me and the next car…

    • +2

      Haha. True. I hope OP takes the gamble after getting it inspected. Whenever I see this on road, I love the looks and style.

    • Couldn't agree more. The rigidity closeness of fit on a German car is something that doesn't come up on spec sheets.

      I still wouldn't buy an A160 purely based on the looks. Many years ago, I was made a fool trying to get into an A160 because I mistook it for a Jazz I had on loan.

      • The second generation Jazz is almost a clone of the original A class. Buy a Jazz instead, but replace the tyres with something decent. Going from the OEM Bridgestone to Continental changed the calibre of the car by 100%.

  • I wouldn't get it personally. Be prepared to spend a lot on servicing and repair costs.

  • +1

    Cheap and Mercedes don't really go well together. Especially at 16 years old with 120,000kms…if something goes wrong with it, think about how much you're willing to spend to fix it. You're better off looking at something other than a Mercedes e.g. Toyota

    • Absolutely agree. The problem with these luxury brands is that the people that tend to buy them don't tend to hold on to them for very long which probably contributes to why many expensive european cars don't perform very well in the reliability index as opposed to Japanese cars.

  • +1

    Compared to your other choices, regardless of what some above are saying about late in life Mercedes maintenance costs, that's the car I'd pick. Having owned a C3 (and still have a C4), as well as Peugeots, avoid French cars like the plague they are! They have a built in ability to go wrong in novel and expensive ways.

    We looked at an A class Merc, ended up going with a Golf which we sold and replaced with a Skoda and it was the best decision we made for the Missus car.

    • My god you poor bastard. A C4 AND a C3?!!!

      hahaha I can only imagine what you've been through.

      Sounds like you got out reasonably unscathed (Thousands of dollars and not 10's of thousands?).

      I hope the OP reads your reply lol.

      • The C3 was just a constant drain, but nothing over the top.
        The C4 liked expensive things like engine fusebox, gearbox, starter and more… all up probably dropped $8k into it over 18 months.
        My issue with Citroen and Peugeot is that they put things in STUPID places, like having to remove half the engine bay (battery, air filter, ducting, wiper arms, and more) to get to the starter.. or just trying to get the battery cover off! And don't get me started on the lower windscreen seal.

        I was actually surprised with the Skoda. The Mrs is hard to please when it comes to her car (hence so many in a short period), but she loves the Yeti we got her and so do I. Seriously thinking about replacing the long suffering Holden wagon with an Octavia later this year.

  • -2

    As someone who has worked in the industry for years, I will plead, beg and sympathise that you stay away from this utter shitbox of a car.
    Some of the funniest/heartbreaking moments working as a car salesman were when people would bring these cheaper class Mercs in for a trade in and have their hearts broken with a reality check of just how poor they are as vehicles.

    This car will be worth $1500 as a trade in and the yearly service bill after 3 years will average out to at least $1000 a year.
    The electronics, the clutch, the diff, the engine- literally everything will have a severe chance of breaking down and causing you major repairs or even write off.

    Spare yourself the pain and avoid this car at all costs.
    Personally I love Mercs, I've got a a 2015 Merc and I love it, but the A Class, B Class and CLK class are genuine shitboxes that should be banished from the world.

    They are as bad as any Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, Renault, Citroen, Peugot or Alpha Romeo… Avoid at all costs.I beg you OZ B friend.

    When I read the part about the A class Merc or the Citroen I laughed out loud to myself like it was a sick joke.

    Hyundai, Toyota, Honda Jazz etc… anything but the A Class, Renault or a Citroen. They just aren't built for Australian conditions and there are just horrible manufacturing standards during the left hand to right hand conversion process.

    The electrics in these vehciles literally fry/cook in the Australian sun. The brake calipers literally melt because they're designed for the European snow.

    You've been warned.

  • Toyota, Toyota, Toyota! There are reasons they're dull, boring and usually more expensive than others and that's because they're reliable, relatively cheap & easy to repair plus have the best resale value of most if not all other brands. If you want a car to be 'seen' in then go for the Merc but if you want a car that will perform well and outlast most Euros plus give you great trade-in or resale value then go for a Toyota. Oh and any idiot with a basic toolkit can still do a basic service (Oil Changes, Filter changes, Brake Pad Replacements etc.) even on the brand new models. Don't put too much importance on recall history either because at least they do them unlike many other manufacturers with much more serious problems that they simply continue to deny.

    I'd recommend looking a the newest & lowest km Corolla Hatchback your budget can afford with the options you're after. If you can handle the smaller size of the Yaris then just go for one of those but the newer shape Corolla is a much nicer car. Stay away from the Euro trash & especially that French stuff. There's a reason they're so attractively priced after a few years! If you can afford to buy a brand new car every 2-3 years then go for any Euro manufacturer you want but if not then stick with a Toyota. Even the Hyundais & Kias are pretty darn good cars these days!

  • haha partly because of ozbargain i'm still a pedestrian and havent bought anything yet. Ive seen a few getz and even the recent ones have been trashed, the person buying them cheap also skimps on maintenance. Toyota's are nice but comparitively there is a price increase. I saw a few nice kias that were ok. I also tried some holdens that seemed ok

    the merc was sold before i got to it, the person said there wasnt much difference in price with other cars regarding maintenance (but he may not be as cheap as us). i still wouldnt mind giving one a spin because they look comfy

    never got to try a citroen..meh you guys put me off it - does anyone feel passionate about suzuki sx4 ?

    feel free to rage

    • +1

      Ha, I actually have a Suzuki SX4 :) Great little car. Apparently a joint venture between Suzuki & Fiat. Suzuki did all the mechanicals and Fiat did the styling and maybe the interior and some of the electrics. Installed an LED bar and was a little surprised when I found that they switched the 'negative' instead of the usual 'positive' on the headlights like most other Japanese cars so I assume that was a Fiat design. Not a problem at all, just a bit different.

      Bought mine because I needed a compact, fuel efficient 2WD with hatchback flexibility but every now and then I needed the ability to switch it over to 4WD for basic rural/acreage work. If you don't need 4WD ability then just stick with a '2WD only' model. Very capable, comfortable and efficient. I've even carried a Dishwasher and Washing Machine in the back, with just enough room left to comfortable long-haul drive.

      Don't get a GYA, make sure it's a GYB as the GYA apparently had an engine issue of some kind. The GYB also has a timing chain instead of a belt which means one less thing to worry about… at least until about 250-300k. Easy to DIY Battery, Air & Oil Filter replacements. Still desirable little cars so should keep their value over the years. Very popular with Motor Homers too as they're one of the few cars that can free-wheel and be towed behind!

  • +2

    I love reading French car bashing. Yes, there has been some bad ones, just like any auto manufacturer. Over the past 18yrs I've owned a Pug 405mi16, 306gti6, Citroen Xsara VTS, Renault Laguna V6 and currently have a Renault Latitude and a Megane 225 at home. All have been great buys secondhand.

    All of these cars have required nothing more then regular servicing except the Laguna and the Xsara which needed a window regulator replaced. If you find a good independent mech that knows euros you'll be a couple of hundred ahead each service. It should also be noted that Renault is the majority owner of Nissan and Samsung Motors and most of their cars share components eg X-Trail and Koleos, Megane and Dualis/Qashqui even my old Laguna wagon was mostly a Maxima underneath.

    I feel most brand bashing comes from people who have never owned the cars. They've heard elaborated stories passed on from a friend of a friend or a distant relative.

    Modern cars are pretty reliable. My advice would be to stay away from the first series of any model and any new technology until it has been tried and tested with all bugs ironed out. VW DSG is a good example. The early boxes were notorious for shuddering and possibly failing, now they're brilliant. Ford is going through the same pain with thier twin clutch auto (Powershift) with a class action against them for undriveable cars. But as they develop the software and redesign and flaws they too will be a great gearbox.

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