Safest car?

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William- While it is true that MB quality has slipped in various rankings, I think they are still the best bet for the long term. I worry abot the major
systems when I buy a car- engine, transmission- and I don't think that those have slipped in quality on the MB's.
Consumer magazines don't have all the answers either- when they report problems-per thousand cars, or a similar summary, it can be misleading. I don't mind having to have an electrical part replaced ten times on a car with an engine that will go 200k.... It's better than having a cylinder head rebuilt once....
AS for the safety, I've always driven MB's and SAAB's(safe and great in winter until GM). I had two major accidents in my family in the MB's (one involved a hurricane and a tree actually falling on the hood of the car and rolling over the windshield and over the car....) I Don't think that accident would have been survived in many other cars, and i actually had the car back on the road in 2 weeks...
good luck....

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Which MB vehicles are you referencing, the $30,000 4cy cars or the $75,000 cars? Surely you don't believe they are of the same quality.
Chris O'Malley wrote:

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Yes, ALL bad!!! ;-)
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I own a 1980 Mercedes and two newer Mercedes. The newer cars are more lightly built with lots of plastic parts. Fasteners have become smaller, oil filters have shrunk. Overall, the quality of the newer cars has decreased and the cost of replacment parts has increased a lot.
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If safety is the #1 issue then you might consider a minivan like a Windstar or Honda. You sit high. Later models have all the bells and whistles for safety (ABS, Traction, multiple airbags). Lots of mass and better handling than an SUV. If you are thinking car then later Volvo's with side air bags and side impact rails offer lots of protection. I think what you want is a car with multiple (including side) airbags and as much mass as you are willing to pay to drive around. Howard
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hnelson wrote:

Safe? The safest is probably that monster Mercedes SUV. Reasonable that we can afford? Volvo is pretty good, as is Mercedes and BMW.
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SUVs are not particularly safe as a group, as has been pointed out out here and other auto NGs several times.
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You mean pointed out as unsafe by the anti SUV's people? That's not what the US Senate investigation revealed. The death and injury rate for children has been going down dramatically over the past several years. That drop is attributed to the fact that more and more children are riding in the larger safer SUV's and getting out of the small more dangerous econoboxes. No mater how one tries to spin it, one can not defy the laws of physics. There is no question that properly belted passengers are much safer in a larger vehicle that has more area in which to build in the crumple zones required in all cars, light trucks and SUV's offered for sale in the US.
mike hunt
Door Schmetterling wrote:

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Then explain why minivans and large 4-door cars, which weigh less than large SUVs, have lower own-driver death rates and lower overall death rates than large SUVs. Also, midsize 4-door cars, which weigh less than midsize 4-door SUVs, have a lower own-driver death rate and a lower overall death rate than midsize 4-door SUVs.
See page 16-17 of http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/regrev/evaluate/pdf/809662.pdf
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On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 03:57:43 GMT, "hnelson"

Just because something is heavy it doesn't make it safe...
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William Hamilton wrote:

Well, it's kind of like GM. Good engines and such, but lately, Mercedes are plagued with electrical and computer gremlins. Autostick this and integrated alarm system that...
My recommedation - get a previous generation Mercedes. The old tanks that were built to last 20 years or more.(1995/6, IIRC, was the last year)
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Buy the Buick.
You be astonished how well you can get to know your Benz dealer in 10 years, and flabbergasted at how expensive the relationship will be. The Benz has an extremely rigid body, a simply fabulous ride, and a 3-pointed star on the hood. It also comes equipped with a very long list of poor design choices and outright deficiencies that will make you crazy, from the idiotic radio that sounds like a bee in a tin can, to the "hunt, surge, lurch, and slam" transmission logic, the single wiper that looks so cool but is seemingly always in the wrong place, the badly located cruise control lever (you'll constantly and accidentally accelerate when intending only to signal a right turn), front upper suspension spring supports that corrode off in northern climates (the suspension collapses when this happens), rear door window regulators that fail with distressing regularity, a transmission shift mechanism that is exquisitely sensitive to moisture (the shift lever locks in park gear when it gets damp) and is thoughtfully located directly below the cupholder, an engine harmonic balancer that parts company with its pulley, thereby destroying the cast aluminum engine oil pan, electronic keys that are unreliable, multiplexed electronics that are essentially unrepairable by anyone but an authorized dealer, and then only after multiple attempts. The Benz requires premium fuel and synthetic motor oil ($12 per quart), too. By year 7 you can anticipate the need for a new air conditioning evaporator. That will require that the interior of the vehicle be nearly fully disassembled, and will set you back at least $2,000. The tires and brake pads will last no more than 25,000 miles, and are much more expensive than their domestic counterparts. You will need new brake rotors not later than the third set of brake pads. The exhaust is likely to rattle because the catalytic converter will begin to disassemble sometime after 50,000 miles. If you use the electric seat adjusters, the seat support mechanism will develop wear in the joints and an annoying rocking movement while driving. If you park under trees and leaves accumulate in the air intake/rain water bypass, the 1-way drain hoses will clog. Rain water will then overflow into the passenger compartment, short circuiting expensive control units hidden below the right passenger toeboard.
Many of the design choices on late-model Benz's were made to adapt cutting-edge technology, but that new technology is often unproven, and frequently installed solely for the "wow" factor, without regard to life in the real world. A single separate wire from each window switch to each window motor has worked well for decades. Now we have a single wire that attaches to all window motors and all window switches, as well as to myriad other motors and controllers. Similar to a telephone party line in the old days, each signal sharing the single wire is coded differently. A demultiplexer is installed ahead of each controlled component. If the signal is properly demultiplexed, the component operates as the driver intended. If not, call Hans. Perhaps the system needs to be reinitialized (Benz-speak for rebooted). Maybe the control unit is fried. Ether way, open your wallet. It's a door window, for Pete's sake. We need reliability, not new technology for technology's sake. The reliable systems from 1955 work just fine.
Who among us has not complained about the unreliability of Microsoft Windows? Thank you just the same, but I get the willies just imagining depending upon a computer to apply the brakes. I am not talking about the intervention of the ABS system, but the latest brake-by-wire system introduced by Benz. No connection at all between your foot and the brakes, just some circuitry. You want to entrust your safety to Bill Gates? After experiencing their Motronic brain (the computer that controls the engine and transmission) dither endlessly about which gear to choose, then end up slamming into the wrong one, you'll have faint hope that the SBC computer (controls the brakes) will be an eternally reliably servant. The late-model Benz's are chock-a-block with electronic nannies, and every one of them is busily interpreting what it thinks the driver wants, seldom correctly. The Benz has great handling, but get into a tight spot and ask for a sudden change of direction, or rapid acceleration, or encounter a slippery patch and you will wait. Wait while the nannies evaluate their choices. By the time they have chosen a plan the emergency will be over, one way or the other. Oh, and on the subject of slippery, you probably won't want to drive the Benz in winter if it snows in your area. Unless you buy an all-wheel-drive model, the lack of winter traction is scandalous.
If you are still not convinced, and find that you cannot live without the prestige of a Benz, at least do yourself the favor of avoiding a model with the COMMAND system (integrated navigation system, phone, audio, voice activation). It is a perfect nightmare of awful design, is dreadfully unreliable, is frustrating beyond measure, and is bewilderingly difficult to diagnose, let alone repair. The ultimate in electronic quicksand.
The Buick will be a lot cheaper to maintain and will almost certainly be more reliable. It will not deliver much prestige, and hardly any snob appeal. After 10 years it won't be worth much, either, but it will likely still be reliable and solid, if not stylish.
Somebody who's been there, done that ...
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Or Buy a Lexus. I've had both MBs and Lexuses at the same time for several years. Both are fine cars. But since I get to compare the two cars side by side for all these years, the advantages of the Lexus become so obvious. Like right now, I have a S500 sitting in a NJ shop getting almost $9000 of work done on it. It was not entirely due to the car's quality problems as it was involved in a fender bender. But still, this fender bender is unusual. My guy drove the S500 and rear ended a Nissan Maxima. The Maxima had no damage, but the S500 had $9000 of damages in hood, front grill, side panel, lights, radiator, etc.. It's kind hard to believe the damages to the S500 while there was no damage to the Maxima. On the other hand, the people in the S500 - the driver, and two passengers, felt almost nothing except a little bump, while the driver of the Maxima was carried away by emergency crew in a strecher (as a precaution, she turned out to be okay as well). Over the years, the MBs cost quite a bundle to own, while the Lexuses hardly ever give me any trouble.
Joe in Ohio

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That makes the Merc safer! I suggest that the Merc's crumple zone also helped the Maxima driver. (I wonder if the head restraint was set at the right level -- may drivers leave it too low.)
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In a rear end crash, the rear car usually takes more damage, since the nose diving due to panic braking causes the grill of the rear car to hit the bumper of the front car.

Did she have the seat belts on and the head restraint properly adjusted?
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Not entirely true, there is still a hydraulic link between the brake pedal and the front wheels. If the system is functioning correctly then when pedal pressure is applied solenoid valves then close off the link between the pedal and the braking system, but their fail safe position is open.
I've driven a 211 E class at MBUK with the SBC system disabled and you can lock the front wheels if you stand on the pedal hard.
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miknik wrote:

Yes.
Last year I translated a satyric article by leading German computer magazine c't regarding cars and electronics, see http://www.mbspy.com/ctsafety.htm
Juergen
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Bob wrote:

(snip)
Or just buy a Benz from the previous generation in mint condition. No electronics or cutting-edge nonsense - just solidly built.
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On Mon, 20 Oct 2003 02:45:15 +0000, Bob wrote:

You are hysterical!!!
And right on the money as well :)
psycho
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My impression in the UK is that hourly rates at other garages -- Ford, Renault etc -- are not lower than at Merc. Maybe the hours allocated to each job are bit less, but it's not something I have heard much about. In a bigger job a vriation in the price of parts is not necessarily very significant
Maybe US cars in the US are cheaper to maintain, i.e. Chrysler garages charge less for ajob. I suggest that most people don't do their own servicing.
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