Is A Mercedes A Good First Car?

Mercedes is a vehicle manufacturer that has a reputation for high-class luxury.  Owning a Mercedes is a dream for many and has been recognized as the most sought-after car brand.

Even though owning a Mercedes would be fulfilling a dream for many people, is a Mercedes a good first car?  This article will dive into the pros and cons of owning a Mercedes as a newer driver.

Is A Mercedes A Good First Car?

A Mercedes could be a good first car for people with the income to support the acquisition and ongoing maintenance.  However, if you have a more modest budget, can’t afford expensive repairs, and don’t care to use premium gas at every fill-up, you may want to consider a cheaper alternative.

Downsides Of Driving A Mercedes As A First Car

Although Mercedes vehicles are wonderful cars to own, that doesn’t mean it is the right manufacturer for every person, especially for their first car.

This section will discuss some of the benefits and downsides of having a Mercedes as a new driver.

Acquisition Cost

One of the biggest downsides to getting a Mercedes as a first car is the acquisition cost. 

Although there are options like the A-Class sedan and the C-Class sedan which aren’t as expensive as the S-Class sedan or AMG line, for a younger new driver the entry cost could still be too expensive.

If you don’t have new Mercedes funds but still want one, another option is to purchase one used. 

For example, a C-Class sedan at 3 to 5 years old can drop from a starting price of over $41,000 to between $20,000 – $25,000 depending on the options and mileage.

Option Cost

Another downside is that the final price of a Mercedes can be significantly more than the starting price depending on the options selected.

For example, if you want AWD, you would have to select a 4MATIC option which is usually a couple thousand dollars more than the non-4MATIC version of the same model. 

Additionally, certain colors, wheels, options like heated/ventilated seats, navigation, and keyless entry all come at an additional cost.

Thus, an A-Class sedan with a few options added can quickly go from the approximately $33,000 starting price to an approximately $43,000 price or higher. 

Unless you just want a base model vehicle the starting price will probably not be your final sales price.

Cost Of Maintenance

Another thing to consider is the cost of maintaining a Mercedes.  Even if you can acquire a new or used Mercedes you need to consider the price of both the regularly scheduled and unexpected maintenance.

The cost of replacing brakes, spark plugs, air suspension, and even the batteries in certain vehicles will be more costly than an American-made vehicle. 

German parts are more expensive than American parts plus the way Mercedes are designed makes them harder to work on, so the labor cost is also higher. 

This combination can make for some shocking bills at the dealership if it’s your first Mercedes. 

Additionally, if your vehicle is under warranty, getting your vehicle serviced at a cheaper place than the dealership can void your warranty in some instances. Thus a cheaper mechanic may not always be an option if you want to keep your warranty intact.

Premium Gas Requirement

Another thing to consider is that all Mercedes require premium gasoline. This is probably a more important consideration for younger new drivers who may not have considered that the cost to fill up a Mercedes will be higher than cars that take regular gasoline.

Although the price of gas is everchanging, the price of premium is always more than regular. Consider how often you fill up and whether you can budget for the additional cost of gas to own a Mercedes.

Lack Of A Manual Transmission

If you want a car with the option for a manual transmission, then a Mercedes is probably not the car for you. 

In the United States, Mercedes no longer offers vehicles with the option for a manual transmission.  You may get lucky and be able to find a used Mercedes in a stick shift like the 2015 SLK250 for example, but those are getting harder to find as the years go by.

If you are looking for a luxury car with a manual transmission you may want to consider Aston Martin, Porsche, and BMW.

Perception Of Others

Something else to consider if you are a teenager or young adult thinking of purchasing a Mercedes as your first car is the perception of other people such as classmates and co-workers.  Although it shouldn’t matter what someone chooses to drive, for some people it does!

Since Mercedes is many people’s coveted dream car, an 18-year old showing up to work in a Mercedes can cause others to be jealous and may cause you to be treated differently by some co-workers, your boss, or even your friends. 

Benefits Of Driving A Mercedes As A First Car

Although there are some downsides to owning a Mercedes as a first vehicle, there are also many benefits. 

The section below will list some of the main benefits:

Not Impossible To Acquire

As mentioned above, although Mercedes has a perception of being expensive, there are some models that are more attainable than others. 

If you want a new Mercedes, consider the A-Class sedan, the GLA SUV, the GLB SUV, and the CLA Coupe.  All of these models have starting prices in the $30,000 range.

Comparatively, an XLE V6 Toyota Camry starts at approximately $35,000 which is similar in pricing to the Mercedes models mentioned above. 

Thus if you are considering acquisition cost alone there are some models of Mercedes that can be more easily acquired.

Good Warranty

Another benefit is that Mercedes has a decent warranty.  A new Mercedes will have a 4 year/50,000-mile warranty that covers many electrical and mechanical components that can be very expensive to replace should they fail.  

Also, if you are thinking of purchasing a used Mercedes, there is a certified pre-owned warranty that lasts for one or two years with unlimited miles.  There is an extension that can provide warranty coverage for up to 4 years, but that does have a mileage cap.

Having a warranty is a great way to protect against having to pay out of pocket for major unexpected repairs, making this vehicle more attainable to maintain for some new drivers.

All-Wheel Drive Option

Most of the Mercedes models have an option for all-wheel drive with their 4MATIC system. 

This can be important for individuals who live in a region that is prone to harsh weather conditions.

All-wheel drive is also a good feature for new drivers because it will provide more traction on the road in general, which is helpful for someone gaining their confidence behind the wheel.

Luxurious Features/Options

One of the reasons people love Mercedes is because these vehicles offer a luxurious driving experience with many highly coveted features and options.

Not only does the quality of the build exude luxury, but they have vehicles equipped with options like massaging seats, Nappa leather seats, a heated steering wheel, cabin air fragrance, and interior ambient lighting.

High Level Of Service

Purchasing a luxury vehicle also comes with luxury service that you won’t experience at non-luxury manufacturer dealerships.  Whether at the dealership or service center you can expect people to treat you with respect and in many cases bend over backward to help provide you with whatever you need.

The services centers are equipped with plush seating, drinks, and snacks, and at many locations, you will be provided with a Mercedes loan car instead of having to wait for your car to be serviced.

Safety Features

Safety features are important for all drivers but even more important for new drivers purchasing their first car. 

Below are some safety features Mercedes has to offer:

  • Blind spot assistance
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Brake assistance
  • Antitheft alarm system
  • Mercedes emergency call service
  • Attention Assist
  • Rear view camera
  • Rain sensing windshield wipers
  • Parking damage detector
  • Tire pressure monitoring

Final Thoughts

Mercedes is an easily recognizable car manufacturer all over the world.  Although these cars are highly desirable, that doesn’t mean that they are the best option for all people.  If you are looking for your first car, you should consider how much you can afford to spend not only to acquire your vehicle but also to maintain it.  If you have a larger budget, a Mercedes could be a good consideration for your first car.

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