Published on November 20th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez1
Mercedes Benz W210 E-Class 1996 Used Car Review
This is a sought after car by many and one that have been bitten by the depreciation bug quite badly this year to allow many average consumers to take up possible ownership. The 5th generation E-Class, the W124 was a resounding success so when the 6th generation W210 was launched in 1996 it had much to live up to. At first traditional Mercedes owners were horrified at their first sighting of the bug-eyed front-end styling mimicking the Jaguar XJ Series 3, the E34 BMW 5-series and the early Mk2 VW Golf GTi. Early introduction by Cycle and Carriage showed Malaysians an E200 powered by a simple carry forward fuel-injected four-cylinder engine with its 4-speed autobox, the E230 was powered by a double overhead cam 2.3-litre fuel-injected four-cylinder engine and the E280, which had a 2.8-litre straight six was the executive class desire. With double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and fed by fuel injection, the smooth six boasted class leading performance and thirsty appetite for subsidized petrol.
From its launch date in 1996 thru gray importers and only months later thru Cycle and Carriage dealers, the W210 was a hit. For some traditional Benz buyers the W210 looked a little too radical however as more started clogging up the entrances of 5 star hotels and restaurants, W124 owners started coming around to its looks and they started trading up. This of course led to thousands of ringgit discount for W124 sellers as dealers started capitalizing on trade-ins by W124 owners. Today the 7th generation peanut shaped headlamp E-Class, the W211 has captured the hearts of many W210 owners and so their values have started going southwards. With prices ranging from as low as RM20,000 for a E200 from 1996 with Elegance trim and a little more for the E230 and E280, the W210 E-Class seems like a relative bargain for first time luxury Mercedes Benz buyers and a worthy upgrade for W124 buyers. However prices of the W124 have also sinked to as low as RM11K for an early E200 from 1986.
Looking for a good well maintained 1996-1998 W210 is not a problem as there are many around at dealers and personal sales. However you need to be careful when looking at used unit as many can come from owners with financial problems. These owners might have skimmed on maintenance and spruced up their cars just for a sale prospect. After that they tend to be sold off to people who sometimes struggle to keep up the maintenance. That’s where they can have trouble, particularly if service is done by workshops that aren’t familiar with the car and cheaper generic parts are used.
If you want a good E-Class, look for one with a genuine Mercedes service history, if not by a dealer, then by a recognized specialist with a Mercedes background. The W210 E-Class stands up well to the rigors of daily life on the road. They are tough and reliable. Best buy is the E230 if your budget will stand it (priced between RM22 and RM25K); otherwise try a later V6 using the 5-speed autobox or an E200 Kompressor from 1999 (Priced between RM40k to RM55k). Look for evidence of an uncaring owner like scratches down the sides, scratched bumpers, damaged alloy wheels. Also do the usual checks for evidence of an accident looking at uneven panel gaps, mismatched paint and doors, or a boot lid that does not open smoothly. Best to buy are Cycle and Carriage units with detailed service history as UK imported cars tend to rust early.