I owned a Mercedes V230 Trend for three years, having lusted after a big Merc for ages. I had hoped to get the model with the leather trim and tinted windows, but at the time they were out of my price range.
The first thing I noticed about this car was its superior quality. Although the Trend is not the top model, the seats are plush in velour, each seat has a separate three point seat belt - a big plus from me - and all seats can be flattened or even taken out altogether if necessary.
It drives beautifully, and the drivers seat is so comfortable it's like sitting in an armchair, making it perfect for long distances. There is a table between the two back seats, very handy for long journeys, and the middle three seats can be swung around to make them rear-facing, which is great when your children are feeling sociable.
The boot is a surprise - its so large, you could almost fit a Friesian cow in there and still shut the door. I've managed to get mountain bikes, buggies and all sorts in there and still have room left for some shopping.
On the downside, this car is the thirstiest I've ever owned. It's not so bad if you are doing a lot of travel, but the school run twice a day emptied the tank by Thursday on a relatively short trip. As an urban vehicle, it's financially crippling. The automatic gearbox seems to think that entering into a 30mph zone means shifting down a gear.
Also, it's extraordinarily and unnecessarily heavy (in my opinion), for instance, although the seats are removable at the back (all seven of them), they are so heavy that I was unable to lift one out on my own. All that extra weight is just making it use more petrol still.
The other problem is that once the electrics go squiffy they tend to stay that way. Some of the electric windows stopped working fairly early on, and the central locking system was downright spooky, often locking and unlocking the doors as I drove along, or at a carpark, waiting until I was out of earshot before unlocking itself again, smirking. I kid you not. There were other things but it just sounds like I'm picking on it now.
Anyway, I liked it for the reasons I've already said, but mostly for the badge - I never called it 'the car', it was always 'the Merc', snob as I probably was at the time, but I don't think I would ever buy another.