The Mercedes ML 270 CDI (W163) is the first ML-Class to ever come out and many people also deem it to be the very first true luxury mid-size SUV. The ML 270 CDI is also the cheapest and least powerful version of the W163 which also makes it the cheapest and least powerful Mercedes ML model to ever come out. So, is Mercedes ML 270 a good car?
The ML 270 CDI is a good car and there is no going around it. It may not be the newest and most capable SUV out there, but the costs certainly do make it great value for money. However, this only makes sense if you are able to find one that has been kept in good condition and one that will not dry out your wallet on service and maintenance costs.
This ML model comes with an inline 5-cylinder diesel engine that is known to last a long time. It is also mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox and 4MATIC AWD straight from the factory. The design of the W163 is dated, but it still looks good. The interior of the ML 270 is really dated, but some people love the flare.
Reliability-wise, the ML 270 comes with one of the most dependable MB engines ever, but it suffers from other issues such as suspension issues, electrical issues, rust issues, issues transmission issues, and issues with the power steering. The value of these is great, and so is practicality.
Mercedes ML 270 CDI – The powertrain
The Mercedes ML 270 CDI comes with a 2.7L diesel inline 5-cylinder engine with 163hp and 295lb-ft of torque. This is enough for the ML 270 CDI to sprint from 0mph to 60mph in less than 12 seconds which is not really fast by any means. However, the ML 270 CDI is designed for cruising, not racing.
This engine is mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox which is not the fastest nor the most advanced automatic out there. The power is being sent permanently to all four wheels which makes the ML 270 CDI a relatively capable SUV, even with a relatively weak engine.
Efficiency is relatively bad for a 2.7L inline 5-cylinder diesel because the 270 CDI is able to return around 25MPG. This is because Mercedes was not hard struck on making the most efficient engines back in the late 90s and because the technology didn’t allow that either.
Mercedes 270 CDI – Design and chassis
The Mercedes 270 CDI W163 is now a 25-year-old car which means that it looks dated and that it does not enjoy any modern-day technologies. This is obvious both inside and out, but some people like driving an older car because they feel more mechanical and more tied to the road. All in all, the W163 is not a classic SUV, but the looks alone could definitely justify that.
The suspension and chassis tuning of the W163 are tuned for comfort and there is no way of getting around that. The body rolls into corners a lot and the car dips and dives during acceleration and hard braking. The W163 feels like a boat to drive because it is not dynamic at all.
Mercedes 270 CDI – Reliability and common issues
The W163 can be a reliable car, but only if it was maintained well during its lifetime. There are many of these around virtually dying from lack of care, but if you manage to come across a well-kept example, it is likely going to serve you for a long time. The most common 270 CDI issues are related to the transmission, rust spots, the electricals, the power steering system, and the suspension.
Buying a used ML 270 CDI can be both a really enjoyable experience and one that will prevent you from buying a used luxury car for life. A pre-purchase inspection is a must, and so are extensive service history and maintenance records.
Mercedes 270 CDI – Value and practicality
You can get a W163 270 CDI for little to no money as these have depreciated a lot since they came out. However, running costs are still comparably high because the ML uses beefy tires, beefed-up suspension, and sometimes even hard-to-find parts. This means that the overall service and parts replacement costs are high.
The W163 is a really practical car as it offers enough space for up to five individuals. The trunk space is huge as is the case with all cars from this segment. The ML 270 CDI is also easy to get in and out of and the visibility is also great.
Is the Mercedes ML270 CDI worth it?
The Mercedes ML 270 CDI can be worth it if you are able to find one in decent condition and one that has been kept in good hands over the years. Because these are cheap, many people buy them, and drive them, but don’t really maintain them and that is why the second-hand market is brimming with trashed cars.
One of the reasons why the ML 270 CDI is so cheap is because there aren’t too many people interested in buying 25-year-old luxury SUVs.
Is the Mercedes ML270 CDI not powerful enough?
We live in an era where mid-size family SUVs can offer upwards of 700hp which is downright crazy. However, the 163hp the ML 270 CDI offers is more or less the same, but on the other opposite side. Therefore, the ML 270 CDI is not powerful enough and most people who drive modern cars will say that the ML 270 CDI is really slow.
However, if you want a cruiser and you don’t care about swift accelerations and dynamic driving in general, the ML 270 CDI is enough.
Is the Mercedes ML 270 CDI safe?
The ML 270 CDI is a 25-year-old car which means that it can’t match modern-day cars for safety. However, Mercedes was always into making safe cars, no matter how old they are. This means that the W163 is safe and it shows that a designated and experienced driver is much more important than loads of software active safety features.
All in all, the W163 is robust and built like a tank. The good thing is that it is also a heavy SUV which means that crash testing has proven that the W163 is a true 5-star safety-rated car.