£36,735 - £62,185 Price range
32 - 67 MPG
The Mercedes E-Class Estate has the fixtures and fittings of a luxury saloon, but its huge boot means it can turn its hand to load-lugging tasks that would be unbecoming of a high-end limo. Rivals include the BMW 5 Series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Volvo V90.
Hop inside, though, and you’ll soon forget about the Audi and the BMW – their old dashboard designs simply can’t match the Mercedes, although the Volvo runs it close. Much like the V90, the Mercedes has a simple design that screams quality, backed up by a huge infotainment screen that means conventional buttons are replaced with lustrous swathes of metal and wood.
Look over your shoulder to the huge 670-litre boot behind the rear seats and you’ll remember that the E-Class is also extremely practical. Fold down the rear seats and that leaps to a capacious 1,820 litres (nearly 300 litres more than the Volvo) and it’s wide enough to accommodate a standard Europallet – stick that in your Scandinavian pipe and smoke it!
And, if we were going to savour some high-end Swedish tobacco, we can think of no better places to enjoy it than from the passenger seat of an E-Class. Mercedes hasn’t bothered trying to make a sporty estate, instead, it’s diverted its attention to making the E-Class super comfy. All models come with self-levelling rear air suspension, which will keep the car stable even with a heavy payload.
With the boot filled to bursting you’ll want a powerful engine to shift it, which makes the E220d – with its 194hp and 295Ib ft of torque – a perfect choice. Fuel economy of 67.3mpg and an annual road tax bill of just £30 mean it’s impressively cheap to run, too, and all E-Class estates come fitted with a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox. The E220d hits a sweet spot in a range that includes the basic E200d and the more powerful, but less frugal, six-cylinder E350d.
Although the basic E200’s performance isn’t impressive, even it comes with a decent amount of equipment that includes a powered boot lid, sat-nav, parking sensors, a reversing camera, adjustable interior lighting, keyless start features, heated front seats, a DAB digital radio and 17-inch alloy wheels. Close to a must-have option is the £495 high-definition 12.3-inch infotainment system display that provides the finishing touch to the lavish interior.
If you’re looking for a more off-road focused estate car, Mercedes is offering the E-Class in All Terrain guise with thick wheelarch mouldings, new trim pieces and jacked-up suspension. Read all about it in our dedicated E-Class All Terrain guide.
There is more of a scaled-down S-Class feel to the E-Class’ interior, rather than it appearing like a posh C-Class. In fact, the two huge 12.3-inch digital displays that are standard on the majority of the range look a good deal more classy than the infotainment system you get in the S-Class. They give the interior a high-quality, modern look that is only amplified by the leather wrapped dashboard found in high-end models.
A highly recommended option is the Comand Online infotainment system that costs £1,990 on basic models and is fitted as standard to high-end trims. We liked it for its responsiveness and wealth of features – it follows voice commands surprisingly well, gets live traffic updates and can mirror your smartphone’s screen via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The system is controlled either by a central rotary controller or by two touchpads mounted on the steering wheel.
Mercedes E-Class passenger space
The E-Class saloon is already a spacious car, so the estate can only benefit from the more upright rear roofline – even if you go for the dual panoramic sunroof there is plenty of headroom to spare and legroom is pretty decent, too. However, foot room is tight if the person in front has their seat in the lowest position.
Front seat occupants get incredibly comfortable and supportive seats. Even entry-level models have faux leather, but real leather will cost you £1,595. Despite that, there are no complaints to be had with the front passenger space.
Mercedes E-Class boot space
The Mercedes E-Class estate’s 670-litre loadbay is the biggest in its class – much bigger than the new Volvo V90’s underwhelming 560-litre boot. Flip the 40:20:40 splitting rear seats flat to the floor by using the boot mounted buttons and you unleash a maximum capacity of 1,820 litres – a stonking 300 litres more than the Volvo offers.
Whether you’ll like how the E-Class Estate drives depends on your tastes. If you value communicative steering over a ‘magic-carpet’ ride, the BMW 5 Series Touring is the way to go. However, if comfort is your priority then the E-Class is perfect, particularly if you decide to specify the £925 air suspension that gives the impression that you’re floating on clouds.
If the ride quality doesn’t relax you enough then there is always the car’s strong suit of electronic aids to fall back on. For starters you can have the £1,695 Drive Pilot – it can drive the car autonomously at speeds of up to 130mph and even overtake other cars if you initiate the maneuver by indicating. It even takes the misery out of heavily congested motorways accelerating, steering and braking the car in traffic.
The final element to the car’s comfy ride is the standard nine-speed automatic gearbox, which chooses gears well and shuffles through them quickly.
From launch, the E-Class estate is only available with the mid-range 220d, but don’t let that put you off because it’s the engine to go for.
The 220d replaces the rattly old 2.1-litre model and produces 191hp for a fairly brisk 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds – there’s no discernible turbo lag and the unit is also incredibly hushed. Claimed average fuel consumption of 61mpg is easier to achieve than you might think, because in our hands an E220d saloon averaged around 55mpg during normal driving.
In time the 220d will sit between the lower-powered 200d and the powerful six-cylinder 350d.
Currently there are only two trim levels to choose from – think of the SE as the more-cosseting E-Class, while the AMG Line adds a dose of aggression without the high running costs associated with a performance engine.
Mercedes E-Class SE
SE is the entry-level trim, but in Mercedesland that means you still get 18-inch alloy wheels, all-round LED lights and an assist system that can park the car autonomously. Inside you get a faux leather interior, heated front seats and an infotainment system with an 8.4-inch screen.
Mercedes E-Class AMG Line
As hinted by the name, this trim level gets AMG-Line specific kit such as 19-inch wheels and an aero pack. The sporty looks continue inside with a Nappa leather sports steering wheel, an upper dashboard finished in Artico leather, aluminium pedals, a black roof lining and front seats with four-way adjustable lumbar support.
Likely to be popular options are the Premium and Premium Plus packs. Costing £2,795, the former gets you a memory function for the front seats, mirrors and steering column, plus a panoramic sunroof. For £1,100 extra, the Premium Plus adds to that with a powerful, 13-speaker Burmester sound system and adaptive headlights with 84 individually-controlled LEDs.
Instead of trying to beat BMW and Audi by building a large executive estate that is fun to drive, Mercedes has focused on building the comfiest car in the class, with spectacular results. Fitted with air suspension it is one of the most relaxing cars currently on sale, while the vast suite of driving aids take the pain out of travelling on Britain’s traffic-choked roads and motorways. The Volvo V90 tries to beat the Mercedes at its own game, but can’t compete when it comes to cosseting its passengers, but the final nail in its coffin is a boot that’s uncharacteristically small a car of Swedish descent.
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