The Mercedes Benz ML 250 is a mid-size luxury SUV that was in production between 2011 and 2015 when it was replaced by the GLE-Class in a mid-cycle refresh. The ML 250 is the entry-level model which means that it was and still is the cheapest last-gen ML model you can get. This makes it a really popular car on the 2nd hand market, especially in Europe.
Reliability-wise, the ML 250 is decent, but only if you maintain it well enough. Large luxury SUVs are known to be expensive and that comes with the territory. The most common ML 250 issues are associated with the transmission, the engine, the electronics, the DPF filter, and various fluid leaks such as oil and coolant.
The ML 250 has lost quite a bit of value over the years and many people are interested in buying it. If you are one of those people you need to be aware that even though the price is attainable, the running costs, spare parts, and insurance costs are still comparably high.
Moreover, go for a lower mileage model and one that has been kept in optimal condition. A pre-purchase inspection and service history are a must, otherwise, your ownership experience could be stressful.
Mercedes ML250 transmission issues
The 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic gearbox that comes with the ML 250 is prone to experiencing various issues such as hesitant shifts, delayed shifts, laziness, and sometimes unwillingness to even engage a gear. The reason why is because most people don’t pay enough attention to service schedules and fluid replacements.
All in all, the transmission should last a long time if you take proper care of it. These SUVs are heavy and small issues are known to add up during the SUVs lifetime.
Mercedes ML250 engine issues
Mercedes diesel engines are designed as through and through workhorses which is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good is that they are able to last a long time and that they will never leave you stranded. The bad news is that the engine sadly does experience issues related to the fuel injectors which will need replacing at some point.
You have two options when this happens. You can either replace the faulty injector and hope that the other three will not follow soon, or you can replace all four of them at once and be done with it for a while. The NOx sensors are also a known gripe of the ML 250, and so is the intake manifold.
Mercedes ML250 electrical issues
The Mercedes ML-Class is a through and through luxury car which means that it comes with loads of smart and luxurious amenities. Whatever Mercedes had 10 years ago, you can find in the ML-Class. This includes stuff like multi-way adjustable massage Designo heated and ventilated seats. Features such as these are complex and can cause an issue when the car reaches 10 years old.
Issues such as these come with the territory as the ML 250 was equipped with futuristic amenities back in the day. As such, many of these items weren’t proven as dependable because the ML 250 was the first SUV to ever have them.
Mercedes ML250 DPF filter
Buying a diesel also comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The benefits are efficiency, torque, towing capabilities, and sometimes even outright costs. The drawbacks are that diesel engines aren’t the most accepted means of car propulsion because they are considered as dirty and because they come with many components designed to lower those emissions.
The DPF filter is one of those components that lower the car’s carbon footprint and enables the car to pass emissions testing. However, the DPF filter is both expensive and prone to issues caused by clogging. When that inevitably happens, you will have to either clean it or replace it entirely.
Mercedes ML250 leaks
Older Mercedes diesel engines are known to consume lots of oil, even when there aren’t any leaks at all. If there are leaks of any kind, they will increase your overall oil consumption substantially and thus risk destroying your engine.
The coolant fluid is also sometimes known to leak through seals and worn-out hoses. As such, be sure to test the car’s coolant system and flush it. Replace the coolant fluid whenever necessary because this relatively small 4-cylinder diesel engine is known to struggle with the ML chassis anyway.
Is the Mercedes ML250 better than the ML350?
The Mercedes ML350 is the higher-end model because it comes with a 6-cylinder diesel engine with about 50hp more and a lot more torque. The ML250 is the more efficient option, but only on paper because real-world tests have shown that both of these use more or less the same amount of fuel.
This is because the smaller 4-cylinder engine needs to compensate in order to effortlessly drive the ML chassis. The ML350 comes with a lot more torque which means that the 6-cylinder engine does not struggle nearly as much and thus needs less fuel.
Is a used Mercedes ML250 a good second-hand SUV?
Second-hand luxury SUVs do depreciate relatively quickly, but the running costs are still high. For example, a set of four tires for a car as big as the ML costs as much as four times more when compared to a regular passenger car. Your brakes typically need servicing more frequently as well. Therefore, the running costs are high, even though the car has lost quite a bit of value.
The good thing about buying a used luxury SUV is that they almost always come with expansive option packages which make the car competitive even after reaching 10 years of age. The ML had features such as ventilated seats and 360-degree cameras which still aren’t common on some modern-day SUVs.
Is the Mercedes ML250 an off-road car?
The Mercedes ML-Class can do mild to moderate off-roading if equipped with the right tires and if equipped with the high adjustable AIRMATIC air suspension system. Without these, the ML is not the most capable off-roader and thus should not be used off-road, except for mild off-roading.
All in all, 90% of owners will never take a car such as an ML off-road because it is a luxury car first, and a mediocre off-roader second.