3 Best Mercedes for First Car (+Models to Avoid)

Only one word comes to mind when somebody says quality and luxury in cars, Mercedes-Benz. A name that signifies history, success, precision in quality, and the epitome of luxury.

The German marquee has stood at the top of the automobile world for centuries, but such a luxurious and bespoke possession comes at a price. Although Mercedes is an expensive car to have, I will discuss a few models that are economical and sensible to purchase and could be the best Mercedes for first car.

To avoid the headache of costly repairs and faulty recalls, stay with me to know about one Mercedes model to avoid.

Is Mercedes Good for First Time Car?

Despite the quality, style and luxury, Mercedes is not good for first time car. That’s because they are expensive to purchase, and maintain. Especially it’s not recommended to buy the 2006 Mercedes E class (E350)

A first-time car has to be economical in price and maintenance, rugged in use, and easily reparable. Mercedes is the total opposite of this, they are expensive to purchase, costly in maintenance, and nerve-wrecking in repairs. People usually gift themselves a Mercedes-Benz to celebrate success in business and career or show off wealth. Considering these points, a Mercedes is not a suitable option for first car and one should look at other options, to begin with. I have discussed some pros and cons of having a Mercedes as the first car;


  1. Mercedes’ cars offer excellent build quality and premium products.
  2. Very luxurious in design and comfortable to travel in.
  3. Mercedes is pioneer in introducing advanced technology in both ambient and safety features.
  4. A wide dealer network to ensure premium after-sales services and customer care.


  1. Exuberantly high prices for moderately equipped cars and expensive optional equipment.
  2. Mercedes’ cars are not cheaper to maintain, owners spend an average $1000 on regular maintenance.
  3. Many Mercedes models have a history of faulty parts and manufacturing defects, leading to recalls over the years.
  4. An average repair cost for a Mercedes can go up to $5,000 – $7,000.

But the situation is not all grim and the Mercedes enthusiasts can rejoice, as there are plenty of options in the used car market that can be the perfect Mercedes for first car.

Particularly, the vehicles with pre-owned certification and fewer miles on the odometer are optimal for first-time buyers. There are many recent year models, available in mint condition and have the latest features on board. One can easily get a handsome car, even within a budget of $10,000. Here are the three best Mercedes-Benz models which can be your perfect first car.

Also read: Are Mercedes Reliable After 100k Miles?

1- 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

CLA is relatively a newer name in the lineup of Mercedes and debuted only a decade ago. It is a compact sedan that sits below the popular C class and offers quality and practicality true to the name of the brand. CLA is available in different trims, it is regarded as one of the most fuel-efficient and maintenance-friendly Mercedes, making it a perfect pick for first car.


  1. CLA 250
  2. CLA 250 3Matic
  3. AMG CLA 35
  4. AMG CLA 45

Two engine options, i.e., gasoline and diesel are available and offered in 2 body styles – sedan and coupe.

Mercedes CLA 250 is the perfect pick for first car as it is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine that oozes optimal power, and equipment list includes all the standard safety and tech features. It is not costly to purchase and is very suitable as a daily runner. CLA is economical to maintain as well, and new drivers would enjoy its practicality and ownership experience. Let’s talk some important features that make the CLA 250 an optimal choice;

Price: $7,000 – $8,000

Fuel consumption: Combined: 33 miles/gallon

Co2 Emissions: 155 g/km

Trending Video: How to Easily Bring Back to Life any Old Car Battery and Save Tons of Money (click to watch)

Insurance: Full coverage: $1,650 per annum

Maintenance and Repairs

The yearly maintenance and repair costs: $600 – 750

Fuel costs: $ 1,250 – 1,300

Safety and Reliability

Being a recent year model, the CLA 250 offers all the active and passive safety features. These include ABS with EBD and brake assist, electronic stability control, lane departure, blind-spot assist, 8 airbags, and active-driver assistance technology.

IIHS and NHTSA safety rating: 5 Star

Edmunds Reliability Score: 4.2/5 Star

Also read: 3 Best BMWs for First Car (+Models to Avoid)

2- 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300

If there’s one car that defines the success and image of Mercedes-Benz, it’s the evergreen C class. Launched in 1993, the C class quickly became the face of the brand among automotive consumers and was offered in multiple trims over the years. It has always stood by its reputation of luxury, comfort, quality, and affordability.

C class had always been the most affordable Mercedes sedan till the arrival of CLA, but the legacy that it carries is unbeatable. The 2009 C300 offers all the latest technology and ambient features that a person looks for in a German car. It is a premium vehicle to purchase, insure and use as a daily runner without having to break the bank. Mercedes’ enthusiasts must go for this car if CLA is too compact and modern for their taste.


  1. C 250
  2. C 300
  3. C 300 4MATIC
  4. C 350
  5. C 63 AMG

Both the gas and diesel engines were offered in four body styles – sedan, wagon, 2-door coupe, and convertible.

C 300 makes perfect sense for first car as it is powered by a 3.0 L V6 engine that offers optimal power and a thrilling driving experience. Meanwhile, it is not that costly to use for commute and repairs are comparatively cheaper than high-end models.

First-time buyers can easily get it within their budget and have it insured. C class offers top luxury and a comfortable drive that is matchless in this league.

Price: $7,500 – $8,000

Fuel consumption: Combined: 24 miles/gallon

Co2 Emissions: 204 g/km

Insurance: Full coverage: $1,100 per annum

Maintenance and Repairs

Annual maintenance and repair costs: ~$800

Fuel expenditure: $1,800 – 2,100

Safety and Reliability

C 300 set a benchmark in safety by offering all the features as standard, including 10 airbags, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, Vehicle stability control, collision warning and avoidance, blind spot, and lane assist. Mercedes introduced a redesigned chassis made of aluminum and magnesium for weight reduction and stiffness. The vehicle is also reasonably reliable and ownership experience doesn’t get tainted due to frequent malfunctions.

IIHS and NHTSA safety rating: 5 Star

Edmund’s reliability: 4.6 /5 Star

Also read: 5 Serious Reasons Why Mercedes are so Expensive

3- 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 (W129)

In 2004, Mercedes took a brave step and took the world by surprise, by combining a sedan with a coupe and launching the CLS class. It gave BMW 6 Series a run for its money and was loved by enthusiasts.

CLS was the first-of-kind Mercedes in the luxury segment that was admired for its bold styling and exhilarating drive. A range of powerful engines mated to an automatic gearbox and a rear-wheel drive, CLS offered an experience like none other. CLS has plenty to offer apart from the luxury and thrilling drive, it is practical and surprisingly fuel-efficient as well. Maintenance and spare parts are comparatively costly as compared to other cars discussed. Overall, the 2005 CLS can be a great package and optimal choice for first car.


  1. CLS 350
  2. CLS 550
  3. CLS 63 AMG

CLS has both gasoline and diesel engines, offered as a rear-wheel drive.

The 2005 Mercedes CLS 350 is the boldest choice for first car but still makes a lot of sense. Although quite expensive as a new, the 2005 model is very cheaper to acquire and use as a daily runner. The only downside is the expensive maintenance and Insurance costs.

A powerful V6 engine moving the rear wheels makes it so thrilling to drive. The safety and tech equipment on CLS 350 is also quite up to date that offers luxury, comfort, and reliability.

A word of caution for first-time buyers as the rear-wheel-drive and powerful acceleration could be overwhelming in the beginning.

Price: $7,000 – $8,000

Fuel Consumption: Combined: 30 miles/gallon

Co2 Emissions: 216 g/km

Insurance: Full coverage: $1,600 – 1,900 annually

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Annual maintenance and repairs: $900 – 1,000

Yearly fuel expenditure: ~ $900

Safety and Reliability

2005 CLS 350 packs the majority of safety features, that include ABS with smart brake distribution, electronic stability control, 6 Airbags, driver assistance, and blind-spot monitoring. It is also fairly reliable, unlike many other expensive German cars that score poorly on reliability charts.

IIHS and NHTSA safety rating: 5 Star

Edmunds reliability score: 4.7/5 Star

Also read: 3 Best Audi for First Car (+Models to Avoid)

The one Mercedes-Benz You Must Avoid for First Car

That one Mercedes model that you should avoid at all costs is the 2006 Mercedes E class (E350). It had too many engine and mechanical problems that troubled the owners over the years. Although the E class has been the definition of mid-size luxury sedans and is loved by enthusiasts, the 2006 E350 had just too many complaints.

The 2006 Mercedes E350 had a total of 110 complaints. The majority of the vehicles had engine and other mechanical problems. There were also reports of malfunctions in the electronic parts and balancing shafts and it was so overwhelming that E350 became the Mercedes with the most complaints ever. It is in your best interest to avoid this particular model year and trim, no matter how good of a deal you’re getting.

Common Issues

  1. Major engine and mechanical parts malfunction.
  2. Airbag assembly and electronic parts failure.
  3. Problems with the air suspension and coil springs.
  4. A common problem of oil leakage.

Mercedes-Benz is notorious for hefty repair bills, so decide and inspect wisely before investing your hard earned bills.

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.