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2002 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

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$72,500

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

SUV

Body style

5

Seating capacity

183.5” x 72.3”

Dimensions

Four-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2002 Mercedes-Benz G-Class trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best SUVs for 2024

2002 Mercedes-Benz G-Class review: Our expert's take

By Cars.com Editors

Say you’ve got a fat wad to blow on an SUV. Lexi are too common. Ditto Escalades. Humvees are old news.

How to show the neighbors a couple acres away in the next McMansion that you’re hot stuff?

Maybe a Mercedes-Benz G500 is your answer.

The G stands for Galaende-wagen. That’s German for ”cross country vehicle.”

Originally designed for use by the German army to patrol borders, its boxy shape dates to sometime after the first energy crisis.

Built in Graz, Austria, by Steyr-Daimler-Puch, the G500 is finally being imported by Mercedes-Benz after years of gray market imports. Two-thousand a year will enter this country at a starting price of $72,500. That’s a bargain compared to the $135,000-plus tariff asked by some importers.

Still, is this four-wheel-drive automotive brick really worth it?

Depends on how insecure you are.

The G500 driver sits high in the saddle, with a roof so high, even the Kaiser’s pointed helmet could fit without brushing the headliner. It has the Mercedes bank vault feel when you slam the doors, giving the impression that this vehicle could outlast the next war, not to mention the next battle over a parking space at Wal-Mart.

The G500’s imposing slab sides and tall stance provide an incredible feeling of space inside the vehicle that belies its relatively short 183.5 inch length. This also means slowing down for corners, as rollovers are a hazard for such high-profile vehicles. However, the Electronic Stability Program helps keep things on an even keel.

Power is quite strong. The 5-liter V-8 is rated at 292 horsepower, fed through a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Four-wheel-drive is constantly engaged, with a high and low gear as well as front, center and rear locking differentials.

The ride off-road is firm, but quite good. Most owners will never take it any farther off-road than the bush at the end of the driveway. Still, this off-road alacrity is tempered by a highway ride with a jiggle. It has loads of ground clearance and a very tight turning radius.

Inside, Mercedes-Benz has tried to endow the G500 with luxury accoutrements. That means the usual dose of wood and leather. It certainly helps. But there’s too much hard plastic and squared-off edges to fully hide its military past. There’s an industrial feel to the interior.

The gauges and controls come straight from the C-Class, the Mercedes-Benz least-expensive line. The instrument cluster’s half-moon shape is every bit as easy to understand in the G-Class as it is in the lesser C-Class. Ditto the simple automatic climate controls.

But the Mercedes-Benz ”COMMAND” center can be just as daunting to figure out as it is elsewhere. ”COMMAND” combines controls for the navigation system, cell phone and stereo in one unit. While the audio controls are simple enough, the rest of it can be tough to figure out without instructions. Without a manual, I couldn’t figure out how to map a course to State College, necessitating a call via Mercedes-Benz’s Tele-Aid. I was then informed that it would cost $2.95 plus airtime to answer one simple question.

Well, at least it was cheaper than filling the tank.

Normally, I accept an SUV’s lousy gas mileage as part of the equation. These vehicles are built for tough tasks, not fuel efficiency. But the 9 mpg in the city, 14.5 mpg on the highway and overall average of 13 mpg was a bit eye-opening. Keep in mind my final stint in the G500 returned a mere 7 mpg on premium fuel.

But this vehicle is all about standing apart, uh, make that above the crowd. The Mercedes-Benz G500 is for those who find conformity uncomfortable and subtlety unsavory.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.8
  • Interior 4.1
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value 3.7
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 3.8
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Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Best 4X4

I purchased my 2002 two years ago with 83K miles. It came with full service records. It is amazing off road in desert sand and I have had no problems. Fuel mpg is poor (15mpg average) but fun to drive and solid.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.0
  • Interior 4.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Having fun
  • Does recommend this car
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful. Did you?
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5.0

High class vehicle.

This car is in excellent condition. If I sell the vehicle is because I did not used it much time. But is perfect and comfortable.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 4.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Transporting family
  • Does recommend this car
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5.0

Very fun

It is Great vehicle but it is a gas guzzler. Very fun. Love the ride. Lots of options. I personally would by it. Though I don't car about gas mileage.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Does recommend this car
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful. Did you?
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See all 11 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Mercedes-Benz
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
48 months/50,000 miles
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance
-12 months/unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years old or less/less than 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year/unlimited miles
Powertrain
1 year/unlimited miles
Dealer certification required
164-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

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