C class 240 - Focus1.8TDCi
I've seen a C240 merc for about £1200. It has done 100k+ miles but looks in good condition. I am concerned about reliability. The review on this site says the ecu can fail after 12 years and can't be fixed - the car is a 99 so 2 more years? Plus, there are also potential rust issues, it doesn't drive as well as the previous model.

I've always like the classic solid look of the older mercs (esp c class). Are there any owners that can give any advice? The owner reviews on parkers have generally been positive.
C class 240 - Bagpuss
I used to have a W202 C250TD. It was an excellent and very comfortable long distance car. The post 97 (facelift) versions are nicer to drive and have better trim than the earlier ones and the V6 in the C240 is very smooth but thirsty if you push it (no surprise). I had no rust issues, but had a few problems with easily damaged paintwork which allegedly is common with later RHD W202s due to problems with the factory in South Africa. No problems other than that.

The steering and feel of the W202 is old school Mercedes which means smooth but rather indirect steering and softer suspension. I prefer this to the psuedo BMW feel and hard suspension of later models and it makes for a very relaxing drive, especially with an auto box.

I haven't heard of widespread ECU failures. Generally, ECUs are repairable and there is (here in Germany anyway) a whole cottage industry of small companies specialised in repairing ECUs as well as Bosch who will repair their own ECUs as well as those of other suppliers. I would guess in the UK it's probably similar. I read an article in a classic car magazine about the ECU repair market and apparently 60% of the ECUs sent for repair are not faulty, the fault is elsewhere either in the wiring, a connector or a sensor.
C class 240 - Focus1.8TDCi
Thanks Bagpuss. This one is the petrol 170 bhp, 0-60 9.6secs which is good enough performance. I'm not too bothered about mpg because the low price and the low mileage I will be doing will offset this.
C class 240 - reddy
I had a '98 240 Sport auto, great car, the only problem I had was the gearbox went into limp home mode a couple of times but 'cured itself' by switching off and re starting-Dealer quickly sorted it out - some kind of sensor if my memory serves me correctly. As Bagpuss said well put togther partictularly in the cabin, I had no rust issues or any other problems. Only changed it as I needed an estate.

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