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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Northern NJ
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Remember why you bought the ML350 in the first place... was it because you wanted a Benz, because your wife wanted a Benz, because you wanted a luxury car, because the ML350 is one of the safest cars you can buy, because you got a really good deal on it, or some other reason?
If you bought the ML350 because you like German cars and you were willing to pay the premium of owning one at the time of purchase, I would keep it. You're right - naturally aspirated engine removes the possibility of turbo failure and MB can't design a reliable air suspension if the survival of the company depended on it. You still have the 7 speed transmission, and various electrical issues that can go wrong though. Do all the necessary maintenance (and even the seemingly unnecessary stuff - is the 7 speed auto sealed? Even if it is, change out the transmission fluid) and keep the ML350 to 150K miles.
I (personally) am not a huge fan of Hybrid vehicles because you will need a battery replacement in ~10-15 years and ~150K-200K miles. As I own my cars for much longer than that, it essentially guarantees that I will need to shell out $2-3K at some point to replace the battery. However, it may be worth it for you depending on what percentage of your driving is city driving. If you're driving 200K miles in 5 years, or 40K a year, I'm assuming you drive mostly highway and you may or may not recuperate the Hybrid premium. You'll have to run the numbers on Highlander vs Highlander Hybrid. I'd say there's a good chance you may not need to change the Hybrid battery if you sell the car in 5 years and 200K miles.
The most economical thing to do would be to trade in the ML350 and buy a used gas Highlander and drive it until it dies. I would say the cost of ownership of a new Highlander Limited and keeping your ML350, should be comparable when factoring in depreciation and maintenance. But, the new Highlander Limited will be in the shop less often and be less of an inconvenience. All depends how much Benz ownership is worth to you.
2001 Camry LE 2.2L, Black, 146K as of 7/19
Bought 10/16 with 131K
2001 Camry LE 2.2L, Lunar Mist Metallic, 97K as of 7/19
Bought 6/01 brand new