Review

Mercedes E-Class estate

Price  £36,060 - £46,560

Mercedes E-Class estate

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Vast luggage space
  • Safe and comfortable
  • Wide choice and decent equipment
Cons
  • Cabin lacks rivals’ flair
  • BMW 5 Series is more fun
  • Performance models expensive to run

At a glance

The greenest
E300 BlueTEC SE Hybrid 5dr £41,695
The cheapest
E 220 BlueTEC SE Auto 5dr £36,060
The fastest
E 350 CDI AMG Line Auto 5dr £43,015
Top of the range
E300 BlueTEC Hybrid AMG Line Premium 5dr £46,560

"All the class of the Mercedes E-Class saloon, but with the added practicality of a massive estate-car boot."

If the Mercedes E-Class saloon is the archetypal executive car, then the E-Class estate is its more practical relative. The estate's styling is arguably neater than the saloon's, although it's a little bland at the rear, while the interior benefits from all that additional space. An extensive engine range and two specification levels mean there's plenty of choice. Even the entry-level E220 CDI turbodiesel and E250 CGI petrol models are good performers, while fuel economy throughout the range impresses.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.8 / 5

Petrol engines can’t match diesels for running costs

Mercedes has developed BlueEFFICIENCY technology to maximise fuel economy and reduce emissions across its range. The E220 CDI is the only model available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes, returning fuel economy of 55.4mpg or 52.3mpg, respectively. The E250 CGI petrol engine is only available in AMG Sport specification. It can't match the diesels for day-to-day running costs, but still returns 45.6mpg economy and emits 144g/km of CO2.

The quiet, refined E350 V6 diesel engine is the best match for the E-Class estate, although it costs a good deal more to buy and run. Mercedes has just introduced its new 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox for the this model, which reduces CO2 emissions to 142g/km while fuel economy remains at 51.4mpg.

Engines, drive & performance

3.8 / 5

The diesels never feel underpowered

No E-Class feels underpowered, even the E220 CDI entry-level diesel. We think the E250 CDI is the best all-rounder, with 201bhp and plenty of acceleration power in low gears, although it can be a bit noisy. The smaller petrol engines need to be worked harder, which hurts economy, but they are smoother to drive.

The diesels are better suited to the estate, which is more about easy cruising and carrying luggage than rushing around. Its steering is accurate and all versions except the entry-level model come with a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Interior & comfort

4.4 / 5

The front seats provide excellent support and comfort

The E-Class estate majors on refinement and comfort, and while the E220 CDI and E250 CDI diesels can be noisy on start-up, they’re quiet on the move. The front seats offer plenty of adjustment and provide excellent support and comfort. Rear-seat passengers have loads of head and legroom, but the middle occupant has to perch on a raised section of the seat.

SE models offer the most comfortable suspension, while the slightly firmer AMG Sport is more controlled on twisty roads. All E-Class estate models feature self-levelling rear air suspension – for nimble cornering even when you're carrying a heavy load.

Practicality & boot space

5 / 5

Big boot is accessed via wide-opening electric tailgate

The E-Class Estate's boot is massive: a 695-litre space that expands to a van-like 1,950 litres when the rear seats are folded down. It's accessed through a large, electrically opening tailgate, with a low loading height and user-friendly automatic luggage cover. Mercedes offers load retention bars and straps, as well as an extra pair of rear seats, as options. The extra seats are so small that they're strictly for children, but they turn the E-Class estate into a useful occasional seven-seater and fold flat into the floor when not in use.

Reliability & safety

3.5 / 5

The interior feels solidly built, but long-term reliability is uncertain

The previous E-Class didn't have a perfect reliability record, but the latest car feels like it's been solidly built from high-quality materials. Sadly, the dashboard just doesn't have the same design flair and visual appeal of rivals from Jaguar and BMW. Safety equipment is comprehensive, though: all cars have at least seven airbags, electronic stability control and a clever driver drowsiness detection system, as well as a pop-up bonnet that helps protect pedestrians in the event of a crash.

Price, value for money & options

3 / 5

All models come decently equipped as standard

The E-Class costs more to buy than rivals, but it's well equipped: all cars have Bluetooth phone connectivity, climate control, alloys, rain-sensing automatic wipers and heated front seats. SE models include part-LED headlights, a DAB digital radio, collision prevention assistance and a sporty grille with a large Mercedes three-pointed star. The AMG Sport model adds AMG styling, the COMAND infotainment system and a sportier interior design. 

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 3 reviews
"Now I could tell you that our E350 CDI's 1,950-litre boot is the biggest in its class. I could even explain how the cutting-edge PRE-SAFE auto brake function helps cut the severity of accidents, and that with a drowsiness detection system and nine airbags fitted as standard, the Merc is one of the safest new cars on the road."
4 / 5
"This version, launched in 2009, carries on these virtues and Mercedes-Benz has also tackled some of the issues that made the previous model less appealing to some buyers. This E-Class should be a far more reliable car than its predecessor and it also has a more robust feel to the interior along with improved handling. It looks competitive on price compared with premium alternatives plus there are versions that will be more attractive to company car drivers."
13 / 20
"A cetacean-sized wagon with a very broad range of engines, from a sluggish two-litre to a ludicrous 474bhp 6.2-litre V8. It has a beautiful ride too."
4 / 5
"Mercedes at its best. The E-Class Estate is a hugely practical executive wagon that's also classy, comfortable and refined. We'd avoid the Sport model, though."
Last updated 
21 Jan 2014

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