Mercedes E-Class estate (2009-2016)
“This latest Mercedes E-Class estate is the most stylish-looking in the model’s history, so rivals have an even tougher battle on their hands.”
- Generous load space
- Good specification
- Efficient engines
- Expensive to buy
- Cabin design lacks flair
- BMW 5 Series is more fun to drive
For any car claiming to combine luxury and practicality in equal measure, the Mercedes E-Class estate has, for the past two decades, been the model to beat. This latest facelifted version is also the most stylish looking in the car’s history, so rivals have an even tougher battle on their hands.
However, the E-Class estate is not the most fun car of its type to drive. That honour rests with its main rival, the BMW 5 Series Touring. However, the BMW isn’t nearly as roomy as the Mercedes, nor does its badge have quite the same prestige. The other competitor vying for the E-Class’ crown is the Audi A6 Avant, but both its driving experience and interior space are inferior to the E-Class. A wild-card rival to the Mercedes is the Skoda Superb estate. Not only is it much cheaper to buy, its load space is larger than some versions of the E-Class.
The Mercedes comes with a choice of five engines: one petrol, three diesels and a diesel-electric hybrid called the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid. It returns 64.2mpg and costs just £30 a year in road tax, which makes it an ideal option for business users on a generous car allowance. For private buyers, the far cheaper but only slightly less efficient E220 BlueTEC diesel is the more affordable choice.
On the road, the E-class estate is a comfortable and relaxing car to drive, with accurate, well weighted steering plus supple and absorbent suspension. On this last point, all models have self-levelling rear suspension, so heavy loads can’t upset the car’s composure.
There are just two trim levels. SE is more comfort-oriented but still well equipped, while top-spec AMG Line has a sportier look and feel. All models have automatic transmission (there’s no longer a manual option). Standard equipment is excellent, with even the cheaper SE version featuring partial LED headlights, DAB digital radio, automatic climate control and heated leather front seats. The standard safety technology is equally impressive.