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Discussion Starter #1
I swear I'm not ranting, but need convincing on the '06 164:

I went to the NYC Auto show today with the sole intention of falling in love with the new '06 ML to replace my 2000 ML (which we really love.) I was totally presold on getting this car, not "in the market" at all.

These things disturbed me:

Hard pebble grain leather with snug bolsters...felt like football pigskin.

Giant cupholders...staring up like an empty swimming pool. (Imagining the junk & dust etc they'll collect with no easy way to clean.)

The RAILS bordering the console. The female MB Product specialist at the show told me (a guy) that "market research indicated that women wanted a place to put their purses" so they moved the stick and added a "vanity". (I'm thinking, women wanted to put their purses on top of their coffee?)

The cargo space squeezed. Jeez.

No third row option anymore? Why?

The exterior door handles...Give them a good tug... feel kind of wobbly to you? Not MB integrity I'd expect. Same with the:

Telescoping steering wheel... didn't feel smooth or "Euro" at all...more like a GM attempt at luxury. Did you try it? It felt awfully tenuous.
Product specialist said re: the Transmission stalk move she envisioned some "Lizzie Grubman" incidents ...like mistaking neutral for reverse, but said their were many warning systems to ensure you didn't goof, though would be intuitive to do so...

Then I heard that MB did away with their scheduled maintenance program.

So I checked out the XC90. (really liked it on first pass)
The X5. still can't live with the cargo space. (The X3 was a nice surprise and I may test drive it, though the cargo space was still less than optimal.)The LR3 (not for a few years of happy customers folks, I have too many unhappy colleagues who've suffered the Range Rover curse)
The Allroad is being discontinued this year, so no Audi option yet.
The H3 looked...well, to "H" (see www.fuh2.com, it's hilarious)

Was I just having a bad day at the Car show, or are these irritants legit?

Thanks! Maybe I should just get an '05 CPO.
 

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froogleyankee - 3/31/2005 6:55 PM

These things disturbed me:

Hard pebble grain leather with snug bolsters...felt like football pigskin.
Get the MBTex/Alcantara with contrasting stitching (Appearance package)--nice.

Giant cupholders...staring up like an empty swimming pool. (Imagining the junk & dust etc they'll collect with no easy way to clean.)
I'm not a huge cupholder fan, but the ones on my M3 work for my cell phone and sunglasses. If they bother you, retrofit the euro unit with lidded compartments.

The RAILS bordering the console. The female MB Product specialist at the show told me (a guy) that "market research indicated that women wanted a place to put their purses" so they moved the stick and added a "vanity". (I'm thinking, women wanted to put their purses on top of their coffee?)
The rails are intended to be grab bars for your passenger to hold onto during those extreme off road maneuvers.

The cargo space squeezed. Jeez.
Still plenty adequate, IMO.

No third row option anymore? Why?
Beacuse, M-B has two 3-row vehicles coming out soon--the GST (R-Class) 6-seater people hauler, and the Gelanewagen (G-Class) 7-seat off-roader. The now 3rd row is a plus for me--accomodation of a 3rd row takes space from somewhere. The M-Class now has an under floor compartment and 25 gallon fuel tank.

The exterior door handles...Give them a good tug... feel kind of wobbly to you? Not MB integrity I'd expect. Same with the:


Then I heard that MB did away with their scheduled maintenance program.
Yeah, that sucks. But considering my '98 didn't have it and base price has only gone up 17% in 7 years, and the dollar is in the toilet against the euro, that's not too bad!

so I checked out the XC90. (really liked it on first pass)
Drive it. Maybe the new V8 is okay-if you want to look like a soccer mom.

The X5. still can't live with the cargo space. (The X3 was a nice surprise and I may test drive it, though the cargo space was still less than optimal.)
Agree. X5 is short on utility. X3 ride is pretty stiff.

The LR3 (not for a few years of happy customers folks, I have too many unhappy colleagues who've suffered the Range Rover curse)
It's also a 5,600 lb pig which is ponderous and gets terrible mileage. Lots of room and 3rd row option, though.

The Allroad is being discontinued this year, so no Audi option yet.
The H3 looked...well, to "H" (see www.fuh2.com, it's hilarious)
You didn't mention Toureg or Cayenne. Neither too great in v6 version, though.

Was I just having a bad day at the Car show, or are these irritants legit?

Thanks! Maybe I should just get an '05 CPO.
As much a little thing let you down, the W164 will overall be a far superior vehicle to the W163. More style, safety, quality (TBD), luxury, power, economy, but at a steeper price.
 

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Whats really interesting is that they obviously emulated a less expensive vehicle (Lexus) and developed a vehicle that costs lots more and has less features. I say this even though I cannot stand the Lexus SUV's.
 

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Hard pebble grain leather with snug bolsters...felt like football pigskin.
Personally, I like that. I do not like the smooth style leather used in most Japanese and American cars. It lacks character and quickly becomes shiny and cracked. The deep-grained, pre-stressed leather used by MBZ seems to wear much better.

Giant cupholders...staring up like an empty swimming pool. (Imagining the junk & dust etc they'll collect with no easy way to clean.)
The entire assembly is very easy to remove for cleaning. With the way we Americans use our cars, cupholders are a necessity. However, I always liked the outboard style of those in my W163 – unobtrusive and away from any sensitive electronics.

The RAILS bordering the console. The female MB Product specialist at the show told me (a guy) that "market research indicated that women wanted a place to put their purses" so they moved the stick and added a "vanity". (I'm thinking, women wanted to put their purses on top of their coffee?)
That was a dumb thing for her to say. She should have emphasized the need for a place to hold on while you go through your high-performance on and off-road maneuvers.

The cargo space squeezed.
I’m not so sure about that. It may be slightly more narrow overall, but I believe the most narrow point is actually wider than on the W163 (i.e. between the wheel wells.

No third row option anymore? Why?
First of all, the 3rd row seats in the W163 were hated by everyone except the safety experts. Being constructed almost identically to the 2nd row seats, they were about as safe as one could get in a 3rd row. Not only that, they were good for adults. Believe it or not, as a testament to this, I actually drove around in an ML with seven 6-foot-plus tall, 200lb+ guys and all admitted they were comfortable enough for short trips around town.

The problem was they were a PITA to deal with – heavy to remove, clunky to fold, and always in the way of the driver’s rear view. The alternative would be to do what everyone else does and put in a cheesy fold-flat seat that would be unusable for adults and not as safe. MBZ decided that the market for their mid-sized SUV was not one that demanded 3rd row seating. I’m not sure I agree, but it is what it is.

The exterior door handles...Give them a good tug... feel kind of wobbly to you? Not MB integrity I'd expect.
I have not noticed that at all. They are exactly the same handles used on the E-class.

Telescoping steering wheel... didn't feel smooth or "Euro" at all...more like a GM attempt at luxury. Did you try it? It felt awfully tenuous.
The one I drive had the electrically adjustable steering column and it was as good as all other MBZ’s. The manual adjustable columns aren’t bad, but they don’t exude luxury.

Product specialist said re: the Transmission stalk move she envisioned some "Lizzie Grubman" incidents ...like mistaking neutral for reverse, but said their were many warning systems to ensure you didn't goof, though would be intuitive to do so...
The jury is still out on this for me. I understand the positive points, but I still like the stick in the console, even on an automatic. I found the stalk to be a bit unintuitive, but I am sure I could get used to it.

Then I heard that MB did away with their scheduled maintenance program.
They did this beginning with MY2005. MBZ’s marketing spin was that it was to help offset a large price increase due to the declining value of the US dollar. With 13K miles between services, you’d only qualify for at up to four (and for most drivers, only 3) services, so the total value was somewhere around $1,200 if that much.

I do believe it was a mistake on MBZ’s part to do this for several reasons. First, it gives Audi and BMW a competitive edge in this area. Second, it was good for the dealers. Now, a buyer might be inclined to simply go to a 3rd party shop for an oil change. Not only will the dealer miss the opportunity for the scheduled service revenue, they also miss the opportunity for additional revenue from brake jobs and tires and such. Of course I’m not feeling sorry for any dealers, I’m just pointing out that MBZ is not just taking this away from the customer, it affects their own dealers, too.

- RODNEY
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks for your thoughtful responses.
If I'm trading in an '00 ML320 with 40K mi, will the dealer squeeze me if the next service isn't done? I'm about to hit a new "wrench" in a couple of hundred miles, and they usually cost $$$$.
 

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You can have your next service done by a good Mercedes independent for half what the dealer charges. Having to pay for this service is not a good reason to rush into a big vehicle purchase.

You can count on being squeezed by the dealer in any case. Your trade in value will be shockingly low and you will pay top dollar to get the new ML. On top of that, you get all the first model year problems!

DelJ




froogleyankee - 4/2/2005 7:56 PM

thanks for your thoughtful responses.
If I'm trading in an '00 ML320 with 40K mi, will the dealer squeeze me if the next service isn't done? I'm about to hit a new "wrench" in a couple of hundred miles, and they usually cost $$$$.
 

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The Edmund's road test review of the W164 350 noted that the quality of the interior materials was "AVERAGE" and not what one would expect. BTW, the W164 makes extensive use of MBTex (i.e., vinyl) on the seating...unless you order full leather for about $3K+.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've heard several MB Product specialists and Service people call it "Naugahyde"....

Why not linoleum instead of carpets while they're at it?
Next stop simulated woodgrain vs. actual lumber.
 

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woodyww - 4/4/2005 9:49 AM

... BTW, the W164 makes extensive use of MBTex (i.e., vinyl) on the seating...unless you order full leather for about $3K+.
I wish you could get Leather with Alcantara inserts like on some BMWs--best of all worlds.
 

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DONT GET the w164 ML AKA 2006 the quality is not good and it is not up to standards the 2005 G5OO is way better and its more firm and rugged and it doesnt feel woobly or lose like a ml if you want the ml badly save soem $$$$$$$$ and get the pimped out version / ////AMG WHICH HAS BETTER 1) LEATHER 2 ) PERFORMANCE ALSO ML500 PERFORMANCE ISNT BAD ITS OKAY

CONCLUSION THE CHPICE IS UP TO YOU
THE BEST SUVS TO ME ARE

RANGE ROVER
MERCEDES BENZ G500,G55 / ////AMG
PORSCHE CAYENNE V6 , S , TURBO
VW TOUAREG , V6 , V8 , V10 DIESEL OR , TOUAREG W12 INFINITI FX45
VOLVO XC90
BMW X5 ,3.0I,4.4I,4.8I

OR WAIT FOR THE NEW AUDI Q7 SUV 7-SEATER COMING SOON EARLY 2007 3.2 V6 OR 4.8 ENGINE
4.2 ENGINE GOING TO HAVE AROUND 35O HORSES AND UP
G E R M A N C A R F A N S DOT COM
 

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alroumi - 4/10/2005 10:27 AM

DONT GET the w164 ML AKA 2006 the quality is not good and it is not up to standards the 2005 G5OO is way better and its more firm and rugged and it doesnt feel woobly or lose like a ml if you want the ml badly save soem $$$$$$$$ and get the pimped out version / ////AMG WHICH HAS BETTER 1) LEATHER 2 ) PERFORMANCE ALSO ML500 PERFORMANCE ISNT BAD ITS OKAY

CONCLUSION THE CHPICE IS UP TO YOU
THE BEST SUVS TO ME ARE

RANGE ROVER
MERCEDES BENZ G500,G55 / ////AMG
PORSCHE CAYENNE V6 , S , TURBO
VW TOUAREG , V6 , V8 , V10 DIESEL OR , TOUAREG W12 INFINITI FX45
VOLVO XC90
BMW X5 ,3.0I,4.4I,4.8I

OR WAIT FOR THE NEW AUDI Q7 SUV 7-SEATER COMING SOON EARLY 2007 3.2 V6 OR 4.8 ENGINE
4.2 ENGINE GOING TO HAVE AROUND 35O HORSES AND UP
G E R M A N C A R F A N S DOT COM
Excuse me, Touareg V6 and Cayenne V6 are better than ML V6? I guess I don't understand your criteria. Obviously, it's not performance.
 

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Hey I agree 100% with you....My local MB dealer called me and asked if I would come in for a test drive and give my opinion on the new 164 ...sssssssoooooo I did,a nice ML500 not too impressed with the power of the engine,I compared the dash to a 04 dodge durango,the dvd system I almost broke off with my elbo when getting in,it was attched to the back of the armrest.Probably the best thing was the way the ml500 raised itself approx 6" by the push of a button on the dash for off road'n..say goodbye to lift kits..over all I rated it a 7,this was $68,000 ml500 loaded and it still didn't WOW me,I would possibly consider one after a few years of depreciation after the style grows on me.I guess I'm a still a hard core W163 fan ...... [;)]
 

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Alright, don't rip on me - I am a Mercedes salesperson . I obviously have my own opinions, but at least I can answer some questions.

The Leather insert seats are like footballs - good observation and comparison. The alcantara seats look and feel the best in the new ML.

As far as the center console is concerned. The biggest reason for the shift from center column to the steering column was primarily to make the electronic transmission more efficient and easier - the Honda and Acura have no center gear shift - it does add room and gives Americans the large cupholders (It holds a 64oz drink).

Cargo space is smaller, but the rear shoulder room and head room have been increased.

There is no longer a third-row seat because Mercedes is moving to the new G-wagon as the 7-seat option, along with the new R-class.

The door Handles are the same as all of our cars, so you might have seen a show car, which may have been different than production.

It is a great car and you really can't do it justice without driving it. This is a solid vehicle - it will grow on you if you aren't first brainwashed by the marketing blitz first.

I hope I helped.
 

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Somehow the fact that Mercedes has designed a vehicle with cupholders for fat Americans who guzzle down 1/2 gallon sized sodas, really takes away from the reason of why you might want a Mercedes. Might as well buy a Honda Pilot.
 

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Tim - 4/21/2005 11:53 PM

Somehow the fact that Mercedes has designed a vehicle with cupholders for fat Americans who guzzle down 1/2 gallon sized sodas, really takes away from the reason of why you might want a Mercedes. Might as well buy a Honda Pilot.
While I agree the cupholders are a bit tacky, the vehicle, in general, seems well-designed. I may replace the cupholders with the euro covered ones.
 

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BM has nothing to do with the fact that American buyers are abscessed with cup holders. Otherwise cup holders would not make to the top of the marketing selling points.

- American buyers said - here is the 32oz jug, now design us SUV around it. And they did! [:D]
 

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Tim - 4/22/2005 2:53 AM

Somehow the fact that Mercedes has designed a vehicle with cupholders for fat Americans who guzzle down 1/2 gallon sized sodas, really takes away from the reason of why you might want a Mercedes. Might as well buy a Honda Pilot.
I'd buy a W 164 today if MB would put a bottle holder in it -- one that can accommodate a 750 ml bottle of scotch. A few drinks always make the trip go faster...and sometimes my vehicle, too.
 
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