Mercedes E-Class Estate Review
The Mercedes E-Class Estate is a luxurious car that’s also very practical – just don’t expect it to be fun to drive
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Enormous boot
- Luxurious interior
- Very comfortable
What's not so good
- Fiddly entry-level infotainment system
- Alternatives have roomier back seats
- No small petrol engine
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The Mercedes E-Class Estate is a luxurious car that’s also very practical – just don’t expect it to be fun to drive
The Mercedes E-Class Estate is a large, luxurious family car that’s spacious, stylish and has an absolutely huge boot. If you don’t need the massive boot, you can also get the E-Class as an understated saloon, elegant two-door coupe or as a stunning drop-top cabriolet.
The E-Class Estate’s interior is arguably more eye-catching than what you’ll find in a BMW 5 Series Touring or Volvo V90. You get a sweeping dashboard with a smart row of cold-to-the-touch aluminium switches and even entry-level SE models get leather seats as standard.
Unfortunately, the SE’s rather small 8.4-inch infotainment display doesn’t look particularly at home in a plush estate’s interior. You’ll be much better off with the 12.3-inch Comand Online system that’s easier to use, sharper to look at and comes with an upgraded satellite navigation system. It’s standard on E350d models and a £1,495 option on E200d and E220d versions.
Another slight annoyance is that lumbar support to help reduce back ache on long journeys doesn’t come as standard – for that you’ll have to fork out for a sporty AMG-Line version. Thankfully, the standard seats have plenty of adjustment to help you get comfy and there’s absolutely loads of head and leg room in the front.
It’s impressively roomy in the back, too – two six-foot-tall passengers will have no trouble stretching out and the estate’s larger rear windows make it feel even airier inside than the saloon. A BMW 5 Series Touring’s back seats have a little more support, but the E-Class Estate’s wider cabin and softer central seat mean it’s much better for carrying three passengers side-by-side.
The E-Class Estate’s boot is a touch roomier, too. The Mercedes can comfortably carry 640 litres of luggage to the BMW’s 570 litres and you can even flip the back seats down in a three-way (40:20:40) split to carry as many as three passengers and some long items at once.
With all three seats folded down, the E-Class Estate’s completely flat 1,820-litre load bay is easily big enough to carry a bike with its wheels attached and significantly bigger than the 5 Series Touring’s 1,700-litre maximum capacity.
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
You can get the Mercedes with three diesel engines or as a high-performance AMG E43 twin-turbo petrol. The E220d is the best all-rounder and will return around 55mpg in real-world conditions compared to Mercedes’ claimed 67.3mpg. Treat yourself to the pricier E350d V6 diesel if you want a little extra pace to help blast past slow-moving traffic. It’s both smoother and faster than the E220d and returns around 40mpg in normal driving conditions.
All models come with rear air suspension and a nine-speed automatic gearbox to help take the stress out of long journeys but even more relaxing is the optional Driver Assistance Plus package. It’ll set you back £1,695 but means the E-Class Estate can accelerate, brake and steer for you on motorways or in traffic jams (providing you keep your hands on the wheel).
This advanced safety technology goes on top of the impressive five-star Euro NCAP safety rating achieved by the E-Class saloon in 2016, which the estate shares most of its parts with.
The E-Class Estate’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a luxurious, safe and supremely practical family car that’s comfortable and easy to drive, if not quite as fun as a BMW 5 Series Touring.
The E-Class Estate’s cabin looks absolutely gorgeous but its basic infotainment system isn’t anywhere near as good as the standard systems fitted to alternatives
Just five minutes of twiddling the E-Class Estate’s central scroll wheel and you’ll have a good idea what 80 years of repetitive strain injury might feel like…
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'
Even entry-level SE models come with plenty of adjustment for the seats and steering wheel to help you get comfy and there’s absolutely loads of head and leg room up front. Unfortunately, electrically adjustable lumbar support (to help prevent back ache on long journeys) is only standard on sporty AMG-Line models.
The E-Class Estate’s back seats are very nearly as spacious as those in the front and its large rear doors and raised roofline (over the standard saloon) make climbing in dead easy. The seats themselves aren’t quite as supportive as those in a BMW 5 Series and there’s a touch less head and legroom but only your very tallest passengers will have anything to complain about.
The Mercedes will be more suitable than the BMW if you regularly carry five passengers, however. Its cabin is wider than the 5 Series Touring’s and its central rear seat is slightly softer, too
The E-Class Estate’s back seats feel a touch airier than the saloon’s thanks to its larger back windows but to make it feel as light as possible you’ll want the optional panoramic glass roof (available as part of the £2,795 Premium Pack). It does cut slightly into rear headroom, but only your tallest friends will notice the difference.
Fitting a bulky rear-facing child seat’s a breeze thanks to the large rear door openings and clearly marked Isofix anchor points but you’ll have to be careful not to lose their removable plastic covers.
The E-Class Estate comes with even more handy cubby holes than the 5 Series Touring. The front door bins are big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle each and the glovebox is absolutely huge. The front armrest splits in two to reveal a large storage tray and there’s a pair of cupholders under a folding panel in the centre console.
The door bins in the back are almost as large as those in front and all models come with a folding rear armrest with two cupholders and a built-in storage tray as standard. There’s even a pair of aeroplane-style seatback pockets for tucking thin items safely out of the way.
The E-Class Estate’s standout feature is its absolutely massive 640-litre boot. With all five seats in places there’s enough space for as many as four golf bags or just as many suitcases. There’s no annoying boot lip to heave things over and you get a handy storage net and elasticated strap to secure smaller items. There’s even a 12V socket in the boot – ideal for keeping a few gadgets charged on the move.
Need to carry a little more luggage? You can tilt the rear seats forward slightly to free up an extra 30 litres of space in the boot and there’s plenty of space under the boot floor for hiding some valuables safely out of sight. Unfortunately, there isn’t quite enough room to store the luggage cover if you need to remove it.
The back seats flip down in a three-way (40:20:40) split as standard so you can carry as many as three passengers and some very long luggage in the boot at once. Fold all three seats down (using the levers in the boot) and the Mercedes’ boot grows to a cavernous 1,820 litres. That’s 120 litres more than you get in the BMW 5 Series Touring, a massive 294 litres more than in the Volvo V90 and easily big enough to carry a bike with its wheels attached.
Its completely flat floor makes it easy to slide heavy boxes right up behind the front seats and the Mercedes’ 745kg payload is more than any other estate on sale.
Few large estates are quite as comfortable as the E-Class Estate – especially if you pick the optional air suspension. You wouldn’t exactly call it fun to drive, however…
The E-Class Estate isn’t just hugely comfy, it’s packed with tech – hand over £1,695 for the Driver Assistance Plus package and it can pretty much drive itself on motorways
You can get the Mercedes E-Class Estate with three diesel engines and as a high performance petrol-powered AMG E43 version.
The standard four-cylinder E200d model is best suited to pottering around town. It grumbles a little when you accelerate hard but it settles down into a reasonably quiet cruise and returns around 55mpg compared to Mercedes’ claimed 67.3mpg.
The faster E220d model is well worth considering if you do lots of motorway miles. It returns almost identical fuel economy to the E200d version but can accelerate from 0-62mph a whole second faster in 7.7 seconds.
If you rarely venture into town and want an estate that’ll blast past slow-moving traffic with ease, you’ll want to spend extra for the six-cylinder E350d model. It’s smoother, quieter and faster than the E200d and E220d models and still manages to return around 40mpg in real-world conditions.
Fancy an estate that’ll give some two-door sportscars a run for their money? Then the E43 is the Mercedes E-Class Estate to go for. It’ll struggle to return more than 25mpg but its 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 helps it sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds – very nearly as fast as a Porsche 911.
If it’s truly barnstorming performance you’re after, you’ll want to consider the E63 model. It might look broadly similar to the standard Mercedes E-Class Estate but it comes with a 571hp turbocharged V8 engine that’ll rocket it from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds. It will set you back more than £80,000, however.
On a slightly more sensible note, there’s also a plug-in hybrid Mercedes E-Class Estate E300de. Mercedes claims it’ll deliver more than 140mpg, but you can expect to see it return closer to 80mpg in normal driving conditions. Charging the onboard batteries from 10% to 100% takes just 90 minutes using a dedicated household wall charger, after which you’ll be able to drive for up to 30 miles without using the diesel engine at all. Even with these eco-friendly credentials, the E300de’s no slowpoke – it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in a smidge under six seconds.
All cars come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard that’s smooth and easy to use but it’s not quite as responsive when you put your foot down as the eight-speed unit in the BMW 5 Series Touring.
If you live somewhere that suffers from cold winter snaps, you’ll want to pick an E220d or E350d model fitted with Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel drive system. They’ll set you back £1,600 more than the standard rear-wheel-drive versions but should help make sure an icy driveway doesn’t stop you getting to work on time.
The E-Class Estate’s large rear windows mean it’s a little easier to see out of than the E-Class saloon, but its sheer size means it’s still a tad tricky to park or thread through tight city streets. Thankfully, all models come with a reversing camera and a system that’ll automatically steer you into bay and parallel parking spaces.
All estate models come with air suspension for the rear wheels as standard which helps soften the blow of large potholes and keeps the car level when it’s fully loaded. Its body is actually a little bit stiffer than the saloon too, which helps make it a touch more agile in tight corners – if not quite as fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series Touring.
Full air suspension will set you back an extra £1,495 but it’s well worth paying for – especially if you’re a high-mileage driver. It effectively separates you from pockmarked British roads with a cushion of air, making the estate even more comfortable.
The standard nine-speed automatic gearbox is excellent and manages to pick the right gear at the right time, almost without fail. It’s not quite as quick to change down when you accelerate as the 5 Series Touring’s eight-speed ‘box but it slushes gears together at slow speeds more smoothly than the V90’s automatic.
The estate’s just as quiet as the saloon too, but the larger 19-inch alloy wheels on AMG-Line models do produce a little more tyre roar at motorway speeds than the SE’s standard 17-inch items.
To help make long drives even more relaxing, you’ll want to pick the £1,695 Driver Assistance Plus package. It comes with a bewildering selection of safety systems that work together to help the car effectively drive itself on motorways and in busy stop-start traffic. It’ll accelerate, brake and steer for you – providing you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
This bucketload of advanced technology helped the E-Class saloon achieve an impressive five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in 2016, including a 95-per-cent adult occupant protection score. The estate version hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP but expect it to provide almost identical levels of protection.