The Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain is a posh, comfortable estate car that can deal with driving down rough roads and is also pretty good for towing. It has comfy raised air suspension and four-wheel drive as standard
To mark it out from the standard E-Class, the All-Terrain gets a louvred grille design and black plastic wheel-arch extensions.
The interior is unchanged though, which means you get a smart, minimalist and modern-looking dashboard design with plenty of high-quality trim pieces on show. It’s not quite as nicely built as a BMW 5 Series Touring’s cabin but nevertheless feels a little more special.
The Mercedes’ sat-nav system’s not as easy to use as the BMW’s however, although the E-Class’ pair of 12.3-inch infotainment displays (the All-Terrain gets the top-of-the-range system as standard) are sure to impress your friends with their swanky graphics.
The All-Terrain’s front seats have loads of room, and electrically adjustable front seats make it easy to get a comfortable driving position. The 5 Series feels a little more spacious for your mates in the back seats, although adults over six-foot tall will still be able to get comfortable in the Mercedes.
The news is even better when you open the All-Terrain’s huge boot, which is more than 10-per-cent bigger than those in the 5 Series Touring and Audi A6 Avant. The wide opening and square shape of the floor make loading the E-Class a doddle, and with the rear seats down there’s more than enough room for some giant flat-packed furniture.
The All-Terrain won’t quite handle ‘all terrains’ but it’ll tackle rough tracks – and it still comfy on the road
The All-Terrain is just as safe as a regular E-Class – which was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP – and it also feels the same to drive. Comfortable and relaxing, it’s a much easier proposition than having to manhandle a giant SUV – such as a Land-Rover Discovery – on tight country lanes.
It’s also a good deal quicker than a similarly priced diesel SUV. The All Terrain’s 258hp 3.0-litre diesel engine whisks it up to motorway speeds effortlessly, has lots of power for overtaking and is more economical than the Discovery’s engines. As a result, it’s a great car for travelling long distances in – helped by suspension that smooths out bumpy roads really well, and a cabin that’s quiet even at motorway speeds.
The E-Class won’t handle the tough off-roading a Land-Rover will take in its stride, but the All-Terrain’s air suspension can be raised to deal with heavily rutted tracks and the four-wheel-drive system gives it grip even on muddy roads.
That four-wheel-drive system also makes the All-Terrain a strong tow car – it can pull trailers weighing up to 2,100kg and has a handy rear mounted camera with guidelines that make it easy to hitch a trailer. That said, the Land Rover Discovery’s 3,500kg tow limit means it’s a better tow car.
If that’s not an issue for you though, then there are plenty of reasons to choose the Mercedes over an SUV such as the Land Rover Discovery. It’s easier to drive, quicker, feels posher and will be cheaper to run, on top of that you get off-road ability that you don’t get with a regular luxury estate.