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Mercedes-Benz 190 (1983 - 1993)

Last updated 31 October 2016

Smart and compact Mercedes-Benz, excellent performance in six-cylinder form, and good value
Cramped in the back, sluggish performance in diesel and basic 2.0-litre forms


During the late-1970s, Mercedes-Benz decided to add a third model line to its range. In uncertain financial times, the Stuttgart company felt the need to create a new entry-level model that would sit below the extremely popular W123 range - knowing that if the world economic situation became worse, it would have a product that was ready.

Mercedes-Benz did it in an inimitable style orchestrated by design chief Bruno Sacco. As it transpired, the  recession of the early 1980s wasn't as deep as it might have been, and Mercedes-Benz was free to develop its new 190-Series to fight its bitterest of rivals, the BMW 3-Series. The Merc proved to be a huge hit, with almost two million examples built in a production run that spanned more than a decade. The 190 is beginning to find favour in classic circles, thanks to a wide range of engines, solid build quality, and reliable day-to-day running. Nice examples are now being snapped up for what look like bargain prices but you'll struggle to find one for less than a grand.

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