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The Mercury Cars Guide : March 20th 2010
16--- Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au Saturday, March 20, 2010 Baby Merc a solid performer AFFORDABLE: Mercedes Benz aimed their 190E at younger buyers who could not afford the prestige marque's more expensive models. Graham Smith's used car of the week: Mercedes-Benz 190E (1984-1994) M ERCEDES-BENZ has always en- joyed a good reputation for prestige, quality, refinement and reliability in this country; it was one that was, and still is, well earned. The problem for most of us is that the price that came with it was way out of reach. That was not only an issue for those of us who lusted after a Benz, but couldnt afford one, it was also an issue for the company if it was to build its sales in this part of the world. It had a good slice of the big-dollar prestige market, but that only got it so far; if it wanted to grow its sales substantially it had to appeal to buyers on a more limited budget. In short it had to take the three-pointed star to the burbs. The answer was the 190E and it was pitched at the young professional who couldnt wait until later in life to drive a Benz. That same quality, refinement, reliability and prestige is now available to the used car buyer at a very affordable price. model watch The biggest problem Mercedes had when introducing the budget Benz was to avoid cheapening the brand in the eyes of its traditional buyers. It was a major issue for both the company and those buyers who were of the mind the company was abandoning the very things that made it what it was. The 190E was the first move Mercedes made into the sub-compact market that was then dominated by the BMW 3-Series. It was immediately successful being voted European Car of the Year. At the time it was regarded as a radical departure from what had come to be accepted as the Benz norm. The Mercedes driver felt right at home at the wheel of the 190E, the dash layout was like the rest of the range, the seat was firm and flat like those in the bigger Benzes, the fabrics and fittings were also familiar. There was generous accommodation inside and the boot was of a good, usable size. Underneath the suspension was conventional with MacPherson Struts at the front and a five-link independent arrangement at the rear. The steering was power-assisted recirculating ball, while the brakes were a combination of ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear. ABS became standard in 1989. There were a number of engines used at various times in the life of the 190E. Between the introduction in 1984 and 1990 there was a single overhead camshaft 2.0-litre engine that produced 89 kW and 175 Nm. For a little more punch there was a 2.6-litre six-cylinder single overhead camshaft engine available between 1987 and 1991, and that produced 121 kW and 225 Nm. From 1990 to the model's exit in 1994 the base engine was a 1.8- litre single overhead camshaft unit producing 82 kW and 154 Nm. Also available between 1990 and 1992 was a 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine producing 97 kW and 198 Nm, and from 1992 to 1994 there was a 2.0-litre engine with 89 kW and 175 Nm. Up to 1990 it was only possible to have a four- auto transmission, but after that some models were also available with a five-speed manual box. While the 190E was aimed at budget conscious buyers it still featured air, power windows and a radio/cassette sound system. Later models, after 1990, generally also had central locking. on the lot A very tidy 190E changed hands recently for just $4500, which makes the small Benz very appealing when lined up alongside similarly priced Falcons and Commodores. When Falcons and Commodores of a similar age are on their last legs and represent a real gamble in terms of reliability and cost of ownership the 190E is still going strong and will do so for some time to come. Pay $4000 to $9000 for a clean, tidy, well- maintained car. The pick of the crop is the post 1989 model that had ABS braking standard. For that pay $7000-$9000. in the shop The 190E is generally robust and reliable, little of a significant nature goes wrong with them. The body is strong and doesn't suffer from rust to any degree; the paint quality is also of a good standard such that they still sparkle if looked after. Under the bonnet the early cars had a single row timing chain, later ones a double row that is better over the long term. Listen for any signs of a rattle that might suggest a worn timing chain, particularly in the earlier cars with the single row chain. It's most important to check the corrosion inhibitor that has been used; the correct inhibitor will mean trouble free running; incorrect will mean expensive trouble in the form of a corroded cylinder head. Underneath the front suspension stands up quite well, its worth checking for wear in the bushes; more importantly its worth checking for wear in the rear suspension bushes, which can affect the handling of the car. Check for a service record to make sure the oil has been regularly changed, as well as important items like the coolant. on the road The 190E was no fireball on the road, it was lethargic at best, but its saving grace was that it was quite economical. The ride was smooth and comfortable; it soaked up the bumps well and isolated those in the cabin from most of the nasties underneath. It also handled with aplomb; a natural understeerer, it was a safe and sound driver. Today, its important to check for wear in the rear suspension bushes. Wear there can result in the rear trying to steer the car in a rather unsettling way. Worn bushes can be replaced quite cheaply if needed. in a crash No 190E had airbags, owners had to rely on the renowned strength and integrity of the Benz body. ABS braking was standard on most models, the entry-level model between 1991 and 1994 being the one to miss out on this most important safety feature. owner says Tasmanian Anthony Williams has driven Holdens, Hondas, BMWs, Nissans and Toyotas over the years, but all of them pale in comparison with his 1985 190E. It still rides and handles smoothly and when he closes the door there's still the sold thunk that spells quality. So reliable has it been that fitting new brake hoses recently was the first time hed had to spend anything over and above the normal costs associated with running and maintenance. the bottom line Quality build is shining through in later life with the compact Benz. RATING 80/100 Tilford Trade Clearance Centre TONY: 0417 569 323 ROD: 0419 122 991 56b Gormanston Road Moonah Finance Available TAP 6273 8533 www.tilford.com.au CHEAP CHEAP CARS & COMMERCIALS Hobart's true & original Trade Clearance Centre Wholesale & Trade welcome CARS 90 Mitsubishi Lancer Hatch $1,500 194,000klms, 5 speed manual, ideal first car 92 Toyota Camry Wide Body Sedan $2,950 Auto, 8.10 reg, p/s, a/c 95 Hyundai Excel 5 Door Hatch $3,990 Auto, alloy wheels, CD, p/s, a/c 98 Kia Mentor GLX Sedan $4,500 Only 106,000klms, auto, red paint, p/s, a/c 97 Ford EL Fairmont Ghia Sedan $4,750 Leather, alloys, p/s, a/c 99 Hyundai Sonata GLE Sedan $5,500 Value, 4 cyl, automatic, p/s, a/c 96 Honda Civic GLi Sedan $6,000 5 speed, blue duco, p/s, a/c 05 Toyota Echo Hatch $8,750 Only 44,000klms, 5 speed, economical 4 cyl 93 BMW 318i $9,000 Full service history & books, manual, alloys 02 Ford Focus Sedan $10,000 111,000klms, auto, 2.0ltr, alloys, p/s, a/c 05 VZ Holden Commodore Exec. $11,750 T-bar auto, towbar, tidy, p/s, a/c 04 Suzuki Liana GS Hatch $14,000 66,000klms, t-bar auto, immaculate throughout COMMERCIALS 97 Daihatsu Terrios 4x4 S/Wagon $6,000 5 door manual, 8.10 reg, p/s, a/c 97 Mitsubishi Triton GLX 4x4 Flat Tray $6,750 2.8 litre diesel, 5 speed, p/s 03 Kia Sportage 4x4 S/W $12,000 115,000klms, 5 speed, very tidy, p/s, a/c 03 Nissan Navara 4x2 D/Cab $12,000 111,000klms, manual, rear racks, p/s, a/c 02 Holden Rodeo 4x2 Dual Cab Flat Tray Ute $12,000 150,000 klms, manual, p/s, a/c 04 Ford Falcon BA Flat Tray $15,000 White duco, 3 seater, auto, p/s, a/c 07 Ford Ranger 4x2 Flat Tray $16,500 78,000 klms, 2.5 turbo diesel, p/s, a/c 04 Holden Commodore 1 Tonner Flat Tray $17,500 80,000 klms, black duco, p/s, a/c 03 BA Ford Falcon XR8 Ute $18,000 T-bar auto, alloys, drives well, p/s, a/c 99 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed 4x4 S/W $19,990 7 seater, leather, auto, alloys
March 13th 2010
March 27th 2010