2004 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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Key Specs
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Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2004 Mercedes‑Benz M‑Class. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • ML500 performance
  • Interior space
  • Construction quality
  • American-built

The Bad

  • Fuel economy
  • Price

Notable Features of the 2004 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

  • V-6 and V-8 engines
  • True offroad capability
  • Low-range gearing
  • Premium amenities
  • German engineering

2004 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Mercedes-Benz’s conventionally styled luxury sport utility vehicle gained a larger 3.7-liter V-6 engine midway through the 2003 model year, which prompted the automaker to change the designation of the ML320 model to ML350. For 2004, a DVD-based navigation system is a factory option for the ML350; it is priced under $1,000 and comes as standard equipment on the ML500. An Inspiration Edition remains available until late fall of 2003, but the high-performance ML55 AMG model has been dropped.

Built in Alabama, the ML350 carries a 232-horsepower V-6 engine, while the ML500 packs a 288-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. Both models have permanently engaged four-wheel drive with a Low range. The five-speed-automatic transmission features Touch Shift manual-gear selection. Traction control works when going downhill and while accelerating. Mercedes-Benz’s Tele Aid emergency communication system can summon help or track a stolen vehicle. M-Class competitors include the Acura MDX, Ford Explorer and redesigned Lexus RX 330. The German automaker also offers the utilitarian-looking and more expensive G-Class SUV.

Exterior
Measuring an inch shorter than the BMW X5 and 3.6 inches shorter than the RX 330, the four-door M-Class is 182.6 inches long overall and rides on a 111-inch wheelbase. At 71.7 inches tall, the M-Class is 5.6 inches taller than the RX 330. M-Class models have a one-piece liftgate at the rear and 17-inch tires. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights and a p...
Vehicle Overview
Mercedes-Benz’s conventionally styled luxury sport utility vehicle gained a larger 3.7-liter V-6 engine midway through the 2003 model year, which prompted the automaker to change the designation of the ML320 model to ML350. For 2004, a DVD-based navigation system is a factory option for the ML350; it is priced under $1,000 and comes as standard equipment on the ML500. An Inspiration Edition remains available until late fall of 2003, but the high-performance ML55 AMG model has been dropped.

Built in Alabama, the ML350 carries a 232-horsepower V-6 engine, while the ML500 packs a 288-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. Both models have permanently engaged four-wheel drive with a Low range. The five-speed-automatic transmission features Touch Shift manual-gear selection. Traction control works when going downhill and while accelerating. Mercedes-Benz’s Tele Aid emergency communication system can summon help or track a stolen vehicle. M-Class competitors include the Acura MDX, Ford Explorer and redesigned Lexus RX 330. The German automaker also offers the utilitarian-looking and more expensive G-Class SUV.

Exterior
Measuring an inch shorter than the BMW X5 and 3.6 inches shorter than the RX 330, the four-door M-Class is 182.6 inches long overall and rides on a 111-inch wheelbase. At 71.7 inches tall, the M-Class is 5.6 inches taller than the RX 330. M-Class models have a one-piece liftgate at the rear and 17-inch tires. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights and a power sunroof are available.

Interior
The M-Class seats five people on front buckets and a three-place split rear seat that folds to expand cargo space to 81.2 cubic feet. An optional two-place third-row seat increases passenger capacity to seven. Leather upholstery is standard in the ML500 and optional in the ML350. The traditional Mercedes dashboard layout is augmented by a 5-inch LCD display with touch controls in the center console that operate the climate, audio and telephone functions. This feature also controls the GPS-based navigation system that’s standard in the ML500.

Options include a Parktronic rear-obstacle detection system. Several special “designo” option groups that combine metallic paint, two-tone Nappa leather upholstery and Poplar wood trim for the interior have also been available. In addition to the seats, designo Nappa leather covers the door pulls, door panels, front central armrest, gear lever and steering wheel.

Under the Hood
The ML350 carries a 232-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 engine, while the ML500 comes with a 288-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. Both models use a five-speed-automatic transmission with a manual shift gate. The permanently engaged four-wheel-drive system has a Low-range gear setting, and it distributes power among the four wheels as needed to maintain traction. Unlike its X5 and RX 330 rivals, Mercedes insists that the M-Class is a true offroad vehicle.

Safety
All-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front and rear seats, and side curtain-type airbags are standard. The company’s Tele Aid emergency communication system can summon help, and it kicks in automatically to call Mercedes’ roadside assistance center if an airbag deploys. The system can also be used to track a stolen vehicle. Standard enhanced traction control works while accelerating and when going downhill or uphill.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 8/27/03

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.1)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.1)
Value For The Money
(4.1)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

by Jason Ye from Colorado Springs,CO on July 29, 2018

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class (GLE-Class) is a mid-size luxury SUV produced by the German automaker Mercedes-Benz since 1997. In terms of size, it is slotted in between the smaller GLC-Class (based on the ... Read full review

(4.0)

so far so good

by babygirl from ARDMORE al on November 30, 2017

like so many older cars it has a few problems. like the service engine lite came on and even after a through and through check, i cannot find anything wrong Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2004 Mercedes-Benz M-Class currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The M-Class received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker