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The E-Class All-Terrain is Mercedes’ chunky 4x4 estate

Mercedes runs out of SUV niches. Sets about 4x4-ing its normal cars instead

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Frankly, it’s amazing it took Mercedes this long. In 1997 it was at the head of the SUV trend with the M-Class, but for two decades it’s been letting Audi Allroads and Volvo Cross Countrys get away with the lofty 4x4 estate game. No longer. 

Meet the refreshingly literally-named E-Class Estate All-Terrain. Could be the thinking man (or woman)’s SUV, this. An extra 35mm of ground clearance, 4Matic all-wheel drive, rufty-tufty bumpers, and the usual E-Class’s monstrously capacious boot, but missing some of the weight, the aerodynamic bluffness and, let’s face it, the questionable image of a two-story soft-roader. We like it a lot. 

That’s not to say it’s particularly gorgeous – our eyes need some time adjusting to plastic wheelarches and square-jawed bumpers on the really rather elegant new E-Class. And inside you’ll find a grand total of no clues whatsoever that this is the new Benz of choice for Mudfordshire’s pony club. Wipe-down dash? Thought not. It’s the familiar mix of baroque S-Class ambience with more screen real estate than your local IMAX. 

Could be the thinking man (or woman)’s SUV, this

On a more heavy-duty engineering note, you’ll be unsurprised to hear 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard fit, as are 19-inch (or optional 20-inch) wheels wearing slightly taller tyres than a standard E-Class. Mercedes has also included its Dynamic Select system of driver modes as standard, and thrown in an All Terrain mode, which, apparently, noticeably further increases ride comfort on rough roads compared with the E-Class. Which hardly struck us a boneshaker, really.

Power – 190bhp of it – comes from the E220d engine that’s very probably the best four-cylinder turbodiesel in production today, and following up soon will be the 255bhp, 457lb ft E350d V6 version. If your eyes are furiously scanning ahead for V6 or V8 AMG versions, don’t bother – there’s no plan for an E63 All-Terrain. Until a plucky engine swapper gets busy with the spanners, anyway.

So, for, we suspect, a tickle under £50,000, is this E-Class All Terrain the new ‘All The Car You’d Ever Need’ king? And if not, what beats it?

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