Pros and Cons of these three cars for my first car used Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, Volvo?

Asked by Feb 05, 2014 at 12:43 AM about the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300-Class 4 Dr 300TE Wagon

Question type: General

Hi all,
I'm looking for my first car; wanting a cheap(er) older wagon I found three cars that I
thought fit what I'm looking for. All are priced under $2,000.
This question may be too broad, but if you know anything about any of these three
cars-- pros and cons, personal experience, etc. please let me know.

The first of the three is a Volvo 240 Wagon circa 1988-1993

Second is a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300 Wagon

And the third is a 1990 Chevy Celebrity Wagon

I'm leaning towards the Chevy Celebrity, but still looking. I've heard that both Volvos
and (obviously) Mercedes-Benz vehicles can be costly to repair. Does anyone know
what kind of problems these specific cars tend to have and perhaps their cost to fix--
plus labor-- I don't know anything about repairing old cars.
I am willing to put in $2,000-$2,500 max. to repair if need be. My family knows a
cheap, reliable independent mechanic who will look at the car before I purchase it, but I
was just wondering if I could get some more opinions on the matter before I talk to him.
Any safety information is also appreciated-- it's hard to find for these older cars.
Thanks in advance, I really appreciate any information!

Also, if anyone can recommend other models that are similar to these please do! In
general, I'm looking for a car
-From 1988-2000
-Preferably station-wagon
-Climate control & heated seats
-radio and CD/ Casette player
-Automatic transmission
-More boxy shape
-5-8 seating capacity
-Under $3,500, but can be less+$$ for repairs

5 Answers


I'd pick the Celebrity. These cars were very durable and long lasting. It will be cheap to fix and maintain. Parts will be much easier to get for a 25 year old Chevy than a 25 year old Benz or Volvo. Just be mindful of the automatic transmission. The Hydra-Matic 200 or Hydra-Matic 250 was under powered and prone to failure. These were found in the Malibu, Caprice, Parisiean, and many other GMs of that time period. Mostly full sized rear wheel drive models though. A Caprice or Pontiac wagon of that vintage would be a good pick as well. If you'd consider a full sized wagon. In Ford country the Escort station wagons were very good cars. My Sister has a '92 model that she bought brand new and she's still driving it every day. HTH. -Jim

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Definitely stay away from the Mercedes, it will cost you too much to keep on the road. The Volvo would be a close second, as the 240's last forever with the right amount of upkeep, but the parts will cost more than the Chevy. Good Luck!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The Mercedes from this era is the best built of anything out there BUT like all machines - it needs to have been maintained. Parts are available but labor is expensive. These cars will last forever if cared for. HIGHLY recommend prior to purchase you have the seller take it to a Mercedes Dealer and YOU pay for a " pre-purchase inspection " - they run from between $125 and $200; You will then know what needs attention and what it costs to fix.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I agree with RickElake. I purchased my current '92 300e with 125,000 miles that had been sitting for six years exposed to all the elements for $2,000. Had to have it towed to my service professional. He drained all fluids, replaced all belts, filters, and fuel injectors (that one just because) removed and treated the fuel tank, battery. Parts, labor and 2 days later $1,400. First turn of key .... cranked right up. New tires. drove it 200 mile around town for week. Then a 800 mile road trip. Success! Since then, regular stuff like brakes and suspension. Today 20 months, 42,000 miles later and me having a very heavy foot. No issues. BTW the paint good detailing ... good as new. The Volvo my brother had one of that era. Parts a major issue. The Chevy mostpart are available on the recycle market. What ever you decide, have it checked out by someone you trust. Keep in mind. The person who checks it out may tell you that it is good when its not, so they will have a new $$$ customer in you. Good luck

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Interested in knowing the outcoming. Please keep us posted.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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