2002 Mercedes-Benz C240 (W203)

This was the first car I purchased to daily drive after I completed my undergraduate education and began my career.  Having just started, the budget I set for myself was under $19.9K (USD).  However, I did not want to do something boring like a run of the mill Honda Civic or something.  And, I did not yet have a family to tote around - so something that was not huge seemed O.K.  I felt like I had found the perfect solution with a 2 year old Mercedes-Benz C240!

Left Side of the C240

This car was a great "value" luxury car to enjoy many of the perks of a Mercedes-Benz (service, dealerships, warranty, etc.) without a lot of the heartache (maintenance cost, etc.).  Thinking back, finding and owning this car really shaped my thinking about every daily driver car I've ever owned since.  The car required a lot of miscellaneous service and repair, but this never bothered me . . . when I took it to the dealership, they gave me a nicer/newer car to drive while they fixed this, and I never had an unexpected bill because the service work was performed under factory warranty!

Interior of the C240

I was always impressed with the interior.  It looked and felt like one of a car that was far more expensive.  There was ample wood trim, a nice light/luxurious leather, and various extra features that made the car feel like a luxury car (like the motorized rear sunshade, Bose stereo system, etc.).

Door Frame Rail

The reputation and perception of the C-Class at the time was that of a "bargain Benz," implying that maybe it didn't reflect the quality and values of a Mercedes-Benz.  Consequently, I had somewhat low expectations when I purchased this car.  Fortunately, it blew my expectations out of the water and continued to impress me every moment I owned it.  I've driven dozens of C-Class cars throughout the next ten years of production, and I can confidently say that they don't build them now like they did when this one was built.  This one had a nicer ride, quieter experience, steering, and overall sense of luxury as compared with the newer ones - perhaps cost cutting in action.

The Engine

The C240 was the configuration with the slightly smaller motor, but it still was fantastic for a daily driver.  A C320 (or even an AMG) would have been more fun, but likely it would not have fit the price range I was trying to meet at this stage in my life.  Acceleration was smooth, consistent, and ample.  It was also very quiet and controlled with solid steering.  I could not have asked for much more in a daily driver!

The Key

I liked this car so much that I only wondered what an S-Class must have been like.  At the time, I only imagined it as something worthy of royalty!  I set my sights on trying to obtain one of those one day, and I ended up being able to find a great one.  So, consequently, I sold this car to a friend of mine, John.  He enjoyed it for a brief period of time before he moved to the Cayman Islands.  During his ownership, he actually purchased an extended warranty that stayed with the car after he sold it.  He was kind enough to sell the car back to us, and my girlfriend (now wife) purchased it from him.

During the time we had it, we experienced gas mileage as follows:

My Experienced Gas Mileage

It protected my wife very well in one car accident that it had the misfortune of being in, as well.  It was still a heavy Mercedes-Benz with Mercedes-Benz safety.  My wife even loaned this car to my little sister to drive across the country and use for several months in various states during her medical education.  During that time, it was never washed, cared for, cleaned, garaged, and it went past its scheduled service by over 1,000 miles (gotta love younger siblings, sigh . . .).  It still never had a major issue or breakdown.

Front Right Side

I added a few minor accessories to finish off the look: Valve Stem Caps, License Plate Frame.  I also wrote an external review on this car a while back here:  ePinions Review on the C240.

We never really envisioned needing anything else other than this car . . . that was, until we were so lucky to learn that we were expecting a new addition to the family. :-) While this car was great in so many regards and did everything it was supposed to very well - a full sized stroller in the trunk and a rear facing car seat on the base were just not happening very easily, especially with the very far back seating position my wife and I use in the front.  For my wife, we ended up getting her a much larger car next time around that served us well for even longer.

My Expectations Were Exceeded In This Car From: 8/2004 - 1/2005 and Early 2007 to 4/2009.

Last Updated on Sunday, 21 October 2012 19:09
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