Mercedes E-Class Estate review
The Mercedes E-Class Estate is a luxurious, comfortable car that’s also very practical – just don’t expect it to be huge fun to drive in non-AMG forms.
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The Mercedes E-Class Estate is a large, luxurious estate with a hatchback boot that makes it easy to load in dogs, kids and just about anything else.
It’s based on the E-Class saloon, and gets all the same technology inside as well – if that car’s a business suit, then the E-Class is a trenchcoat: still smart, but a whole lot more practical.
On the outside, it’s easy to spot the Estate model thanks to its extended roofline and hatch boot lid, but it shares the E-Class’ front-end design, which was updated in 2020 as part of a facelift. Alternatives include the BMW 5 Series Touring or Volvo V90, so the E-Class Estate has some tough, established competition.
Inside there’s a sweeping dashboard with two 12.3-inch display screens – one in place of traditional dials and the other in the middle as the main infotainment system. The build quality is excellent, and the materials used are generally tactile and look good, though there are a handful of cheaper-looking plastics here and there.
There is plenty of adjustment available in the front seats, so it’s easy for anyone to get comfortable behind the wheel. There’s loads of space in the back seats, too, as the longer roofline and extra glass makes it feel more spacious, and there’s a good amount of headroom.
The 2020 upgrade made some changes to the looks of the E-Class but the key features remained intact: there’s still 640 litres of boot space, which is class-leading. The seats fold down to open up a van-like 1,820-litre load area, and it’s easy to get things in and out, too. A couple of bikes will go in without taking the wheels off, so there won’t be an issue with the shopping run unless you’re having a party for 500 people.
If you love the S-Class but can’t live without a boxy boot, the E-Class Estate is ideal. It comes with almost as many luxuries, but they’re wrapped up in a vastly more practical package
The trim and engine range is pretty wide, so there should be a model that’s right for you. Entry-level models excel on a motorway cruise as they’re frugal and comfortable, mid-range cars are more luxurious and the top-end AMG models are powerful and quick.
You can choose between petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid models with the E-Class, and the latter lets you drive to work on electric power alone, provided you have access to charging. Even the conventional engines use new mild-hybrid technology to improve efficiency on the updated model.
The engines are a strong point for the car, as is the suspension set-up, which is comfortable. The E-Class Estate isn’t as fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series Touring, but it’s not bad on a twisty road and is nice and settled on a long motorway cruise. It’s perfect for a long trip to mainland Europe, or even just a long commute.
The E-Class Estate gets the crucial ingredients right: it’s comfortable, practical and full of the latest tech, so it’s bound to be up your street if you need a luxurious family car. We’d certainly recommend one to anyone in the market for this kind of car. Visit our Mercedes E-Class Estate deals page for the best prices.
If you want to see more about the 2020 updates to the Mercedes E-Class, check out our video of the new E-Class saloon:
The Mercedes E-Class Estate is an excellent estate, whether you need to carry people or luggage, and just about the only criticism is that it’s rather expensive.
It's just possible this is the car that Tina Turner was referring to when she sang 'Simply the Best'
Recent updates to the Mercedes E-Class added lumbar support and leather seats on all models, so no matter which version you get, you’re sure to be comfortable. Electrically-adjustable heated seats are standard too, so those in the front will have no trouble settling in.
The E-Class Estate’s back seats are nearly as good. They’re not as adjustable, but they are comfortable and there’s loads of leg and headroom for the outer seats. The middle seat isn’t the most comfortable but it’s not bad for a short trip, and nearly all cars of this size suffer from this problem.
The back seats could be more supportive, though, as those in the BMW 5 Series are better in this respect. There’s also a bit less head and legroom than in the BMW but this really is a matter of millimetres, it’s nothing to worry about.
The E-Class Estate’s back seats feel a touch more spacious than the saloon’s, because the larger glass area introduces more light. A panoramic sunroof is fitted to the top-spec model, which adds even more light, but it cuts into the headroom slightly.
Fitting a rear-facing child seat is easy because the rear doors open nice and wide, and there are clearly-marked Isofix anchor points – but you’ll have to be careful not to lose the removable plastic covers.
The E-Class Estate matches the saloon version’s interior storage as well as being bigger in the back. The front door bins can hold a 1.5-litre water bottle each, and the glovebox could hold a pair of hand-warmers for everyone in the family. The front armrest contains a big storage area including USB ports for connecting to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, or just to charge up your devices.
We like the aeroplane-style pouches on the seat-backs for iPads and papers, but they’re a bit of a pain if you have a bulky item. The rear door bins are big too and will fit another big bottle of water for those sitting in the back – and there are cupholders in the front and rear, too.
If this review was one sentence long, you can bet that it would include the fact that the E-Class Estate has an absolutely massive 640-litre boot. Even with five people inside, there’s enough space for four golf bags or a large family’s holiday luggage. There’s no boot lip to heft things over either, and you get a handy storage net and elasticated strap to secure smaller items, plus self-levelling air suspension makes things even easier.
There’s a big space under the boot floor for hiding valuables safely, and you can even tilt the rear seats upright – to get a tiny bit more room while still carrying passengers. The back seats flip down in a three-way (40:20:40) split, and in this configuration, there’s a total of 1,820 litres. For reference, that is nearly 20% bigger than a BMW 5 Series Touring and 45% bigger than a Volvo V90.
Few large estates are quite as comfortable as the E-Class Estate. That said, you wouldn’t call it outright fun to drive.
The E-Class Estate isn’t just hugely comfy, it’s packed with tech – add the Driver Assistance Plus package and it can pretty much drive itself on motorways
The Mercedes E-Class has a wide range of engines, although your choices are slightly more limited with the Estate version than with the saloon
The range begins with the petrol E200, which has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder motor. It has 184hp, plus another 14hp from a mild hybrid system that provides electric power generated under braking. It’s not a full hybrid, but it’s always good to have the extra boost when you need it, and it helps improve fuel economy too.
The core model in the range is the E220d. It uses a 194bhp diesel engine and even without hybrid tech it should return over 50mpg. It’s the best all-round pick as it’s fast enough, yet is still really economical. It’s also available on lower trim levels, which will save you cash.
The E400d model uses the largest diesel engine you can get in the E-Class Estate. It’ll suffer from a slight drop in economy next to the E220d model, but what you gain is a smooth 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with 330hp. This means performance is strong, but the engine is also quieter and more luxurious.
Finally, there’s the plug-in hybrid model. While the saloon version has E300e and E300de models, only the latter is available in the Estate. This is the diesel version, which probably makes sense as it’s better for carrying heavy loads, and more economical on long trips.
The E330de brings the possibility of fully-electric running via a battery pack and electric motor (that can be charged at home or at a public charger). Mercedes claims it’ll deliver more than 140mpg, but that’s the test cycle for you – in reality, it could return way above that if you only ever drive on EV power, or much less if you never plug it in. It’s really up to you to get the best from it.
You get a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard on all versions of the E-Class, and it’s smooth and pretty responsive, if not quite as good as the one in a BMW 5 Series. It’s easily better than a Volvo V90’s gearbox, though, so we still rate it highly.
Some models come with Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel-drive system, which could be useful if you live in a snowy area, but most won’t need this. Switch to winter tyres instead for better bang for your buck.
All of the AMG versions come with four-wheel drive – there’s the E53 and E63 S to choose from. These have 435hp and 612hp respectively, so performance is massive – the E63 S will out-drag supercars with ease.
The Mercedes E-Class Estate comes with air suspension as standard on the rear, which is the only place you can get it in the whole range – it’s not on the saloon at all. This is great news because it helps improve the ride and control the heavier rear end, although it ultimately doesn’t make a huge difference – all E-Class models are comfortable anyway.
At high speed the E-Class settles to a cruise nicely, and absorbs potholes and joints in the road with ease. It’s not quite as sublime around town and through big potholes, but it’s still decent there. Larger wheels fare worse in this respect, and the AMG models are stiffly set-up so can be bouncy at low speed.
Where the car falls down slightly is that it’s not that much fun. It’s agile and grips well in corners, but there’s little drama, feedback or enjoyment to be had from doing so. The BMW 5 Series is top of the class in this respect.
One of few options on the E-Class is the Driver Assistance Plus package. It comes with a long list of safety systems that work together to help the car effectively drive itself on motorways and in busy stop-start traffic. These include blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control, active lane keeping and automatic speed limit assist.
The E-Class Estate is a large car, and even the bigger rear windows can’t mask the fact that the Mercedes is no city car when it comes to parking. Thankfully, standard-fit reversing sensors and cameras make the job less daunting, and visibility is good when looking forward.
The E-Class Estate’s cabin looks absolutely gorgeous and so does its infotainment system, although a BMW’s is slightly easier to use.
Mercedes E-Class Estate colours
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