Buying a Mercedes-Benz G-Class Isn’t Necessarily an Expensive Mistake

In the tier list of off-road SUVs, the Mercedes G-Class stands at the top. With three locking differentials, a ladder frame and all-wheel drive, the original didn’t need a big engine to conquer trails. And as it evolved into the luxury tank of today, its appeal only grew. But Mercedes-Benz never lost sight of the capability and utility the G-Wagon built its reputation on. The latest models can climb 100% grades, offer outrageous power, and sometimes come with 6 wheels. Obviously, a new G-Class doesn’t come cheap—but even older ones retain their value remarkably well. Here’s why.

How well does the Mercedes G-Class retain its value?

iSeeCars recently analyzed over 7.7 million new and used vehicles to determine which depreciate least and most over 5 years. Overall, the data revealed that the average vehicle loses 49.6% of its value over 5 years. The average SUV loses 51.6% of its value in the same period.

2020 Mercedes-AMG G-Class G 63
2020 Mercedes-AMG G-Class G 63 | Mercedes-Benz

However, both the standard and AMG G-Class managed to grade ahead of the curve. No, the G-Class didn’t retain as much value as the Toyota 4Runner. However, the G-Class models managed to snag the #7 and #8 spots on the Top 10 lowest-depreciating SUVs list. The standard G-Class lost 45.2% of its value over 5 years, and the AMG G-Class lost 45.9%. That’s actually better than the Ford F-150.

2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class | Mercedes-Benz

Not only does the G-Class retain its value better than the average SUV, it retains more value than the average vehicle. In fact, the G-Class retains more value than several other Mercedes models. Both the Mercedes SL-Class and AMG S-Class depreciated more than the G-Wagon, losing 63.3% and 61.5% of their value, respectively.

Why does the G-Class depreciate less?

The G-Class is an especially interesting case because it’s both an SUV and a luxury vehicle. Luxury vehicles tend to be replaced by their owners fairly quickly, due to the perception of dated technology. This leads to poor resale value. However, the G-Class seemingly bucks the trend.

2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class interior
2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class interior | Mercedes-Benz

iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly stated that the G-Class’ relatively strong value retention is partly because of its off-road capabilities. As shown by the Toyota 4Runner and similar SUVs and trucks, off-road vehicles tend to hold their value well. The G-Class is also a particularly desirable status symbol—it’s featured in songs and in celebrity Instagram photos. That makes it more valuable.

In addition, unlike many other vehicles (luxury or not), the G-Class hasn’t really changed its looks that much. Yes, the G-Class did receive a major redesign in 2018. However, Mercedes-Benz was well aware it couldn’t change the outside too much, or it would lose a majority of the G-Class’ appeal. Furthermore, the 2018 redesign was only the second one in the G-Wagon’s history—and the first since 1990. A five- or even ten-year-old G-Class looks pretty much the same as a new one. So, someone can buy a used G-Wagon, and not worry about looking ‘behind the times’, which keeps used values relatively high.

What to know before buying a Mercedes G-Class

Even a used, imported G-Class is quite expensive. Doug DeMuro paid over $100,000 for his (admittedly rare) G500 Cabriolet, and a new G-Class starts at $124,500. The twin-turbo AMG G-Class is even more, at $147,500 MSRP.

It is possible to get a new Range Rover for less than the cost of a new G-Class. And it’s not as if the Range Rover is lacking in luxury or off-road utility. However, Consumer Reports ranks the G-Class significantly higher in predicted reliability than the Range Rover. In addition, because the second-gen G-Wagon was made for so long, many parts are actually interchangeable between model years. Meaning, replacement parts will still be expensive, but not quite as much as you’d think.