G Wagons are popular and coveted by many people, but not all models are really reliable. The Mercedes G Wagon series has been in production since 1972 and has had many generations, facelifts, and upgrades – notwithstanding, the exterior (body) design is still the same.
Talking of G Wagon years to avoid, over the course of 40+ years of the series, only a few model years are flagged as “problematic” and should be avoided, especially when buying “used.” These worst years include the 2015 thru 2020 model years – these years are linked with frequent failures.
Mercedes G-Class SUV (G Wagon)
The Mercedes SUV, commonly called G Wagon, is actually named Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The first ever model of the SUV launched in 1979 and has since remained in production – with many evolutions done on the design.
But then, the body shape of the Mercedes G-Class SUV has remained the same since its inception – box-shaped.
Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a four-wheel drive mid-size SUV built by Magna Steyr in Austria and sold globally by Mercedes-Benz. The SUV was initially built for military use, but as the newer models became much more luxurious, civilian drivers started craving the ride, so civilian versions were built too.
Characterized by its boxy styling – similar to Jeep Wrangler – the G-Class SUV looks pretty stunning in its exterior design.
It is equipped with three fully locking differentials; G Wagon is one of the few passenger cars to come with such a feature, and this makes the ride a deal-breaker for serious off-roaders, irrespective of the very expensive price.
The G-Class SUV is one of the longest-produced series in Mercedes-Benz’s history – currently 43 years in production. There are many engine options if you’re getting the G Wagon brand new from a dealership. All models and versions have four-wheel drive as standard.
G Wagon Years To Avoid
It is important that even though these model years are flagged as the worst, some people still own and drive them up to this day. We have mentioned them as the “years to avoid” because a seeming number of people – who own these model years – lodged many complaints about their G-Class SUVs.
Hereunder are the G Wagon model years to avoid, especially if you’re buying used.
- 2015 G Wagon
- 2016 G Wagon
- 2017 G Wagon
- 2019 G Wagon
- 2020 G Wagon
Hereunder are the reasons why it’s advisable to stay away from these G Wagon model years when looking to buy the trendy off-road SUV. Also, these models years were recalled by Mercedes-Benz.
Common G Wagon Problems
1. Engine Problems
The most complaints reported for 2015 thru 2020 model years include engine failure and “plunging” fuel economy. 2015 G Wagon owners allege that the engine typically starts showing signs of failure after about 100k miles.
A couple number of reports indicated that the engine problems started with the failure of the crankshaft sensor at about 80,000 – 150,000 miles.
The average cost of fixing 2015 G Wagon engine problems ranges from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the parts to be changed. G Wagon parts are pretty expensive – because it’s a luxury vehicle. Also, it is important to inspect the engine professionally and fix components that are already wearing out.
2. Door Handle Failure
Door handle failure is one of the most reported issues with G Wagons produced since 2002 to date – the complaints were just higher for the 2015 – 2020 model years. Along with the door locks, the window regulators and lock actuators reportedly fail too.
These problems are alleged to typically occur at an average of 90k miles. Some older G Wagons had these issues too, and the average repair cost falls between $130 and $200. This is one of the cheapest repairs to get done on your G Wagon.
3. Brake Light Switch Failure
Quite a number of G Wagon owners allege that the brake light switch fails before 100,000 miles, and when this occurs, the ESP and BAS warning lights get lightened on the dashboard.
Of course, the only solution is to replace the failed switch, which costs an average of $150. This service would take a couple of minutes for a professional Mercedes mechanic to fix it.
4. Brake Problems
The most commonly reported braking system problems with 2015 – 2020 G Wagons include excessive wear, brake rotor failure, and brake pad failure.
The annoying part is that these brake problems occur much earlier than anyone could have expected – below 60,000 miles. Well, it is said that the brake components in most G Wagon are made with “softer” material, so they need to be replaced pretty often.
5. Interior Problems
While the interior of G Wagons is incredibly furnished and finished to “perfection,” there are some flaws that you may not like. Some owners of the 2015 – 2020 G Wagon allege that the seats are uncomfortable, and some of the interior components started failing pretty too sooner than they expected.
Also, there were reports that the G Wagons interior does not provide sufficient space for the passengers, and the electrical system – AC/heater, lights, and wiring – starts failing at low mileage.
Fixing the electrical/wiring issues costs an average of $600; sadly, there’s nothing you can do to increase the interior space offered by the G Wagon.
6. Sunroof Cracking
Another common problem reported for several G Wagon models is sunroof cracking. Some owners of the G Wagon allege that the sunroof in their SUVs started cracking even before they hit 100k miles.
Replacing the sunroof is quite an expensive repair; it costs an average of $600, depending on your location.
What Are The Best G Wagon Years To Buy?
Alright, we’ve talked about the worst years you should avoid, what about the best years to buy? Basically, you can buy any G Wagon model that is not mentioned above – as one of the model years to avoid.
But then, older models manufactured before 2008 lack some of the impressive features and techs that made many people want to own a G Wagon. That said, you’d be good with any of these models:
- 2008 G Wagon
- 2009 G Wagon
- 2010 G Wagon
- 2011 G Wagon
- 2012 G Wagon
- 2013 G Wagon
- 2014 G Wagon
- 2021 G Wagon
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Year Mercedes G-class is The Best?
Based on owners’ sentiments and overall expert assessments, the 1996 to 2003 G Wagon models have the sturdiest drivetrain and powertrain, but they lack cutting-edge driver assist technologies and infotainment features. Newer models manufactured between 2010 and 2014 are the best bet for most people.
Is Mercedes G-Class Reliable?
From several indications, the Mercedes G-Wagon is a reliable ride. First, the SUV was intended for military use, so it was made with very strong and durable materials. Mercedes G Wagons can go for a million miles, but the highest we’ve so far is around 400k miles. With proper maintenance, your G Wagon would serve you for over 20 years, apparently.
Are G-Wagons Expensive To Maintain?
Yeah, they are expensive to maintain. Well, it’s not just G Wagons, but premium/luxury cars are the most expensive-to-maintain cars you can have. On average, you’d spend $17,000 on maintenance for your G Wagon over the course of its first ten years of service life. There are chances the SUV may require a major repair within that period, and that can significantly skyrocket the maintenance cost average.
G Wagon years to avoid? Just stay away from the models built between 2015 and 2020 and buy any other G Wagon model – you’d be fine. G Wagon is a great ride you can take with you anywhere, and they hold up their value for a long time.