Still spacious, but now with added capabilities and extra car-park protection
Body-cladding is an acquired taste, and might dissuade a few people
What is it?
It’s obvious isn’t it? It’s a Mercedes E-Class estate with extra ride height, some body cladding, 4WD and a new name: All-Terrain. It comes with a choice of two diesel engines and expands the E-Class portfolio beyond the regular saloon and estate. Just in case it’s not obvious enough already, it’s aimed squarely at the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country that’s due early next year.
If we were to look into a crystal ball we could guess that the All-Terrain range might expand to include other engines, and could be rolled out to include the C-Class as well. But at the moment this feels like a tentative toe-in-the-water. It’s only sold in Europe and powered exclsuively by diesel. No petrol, no hybrid. If it’s a success, that might change. Personally I hope it changes to include a twin turbo V8 E63 All-Terrain. With drift mode. For snowdrifts, you understand...
The All-Terrain rides 29mm higher than the estate, the ride height boosted 14mm by wheels fitted with relatively high profile 245/45 tyres and 15mm by a suspension lift. Merc’s air suspension is standard and if you use the rocker switch to stick it in All-Terrain mode, the standard air suspension will push you another 20mm into the air. There’s another setting above that for full-on rock-crawling, with a maximum of 156mm of ground clearance.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Mercedes has jumped aboard the Allroad bandwagon with predictably impressive results. And precisely no surprises. It’s not revolutionary, but in refocusing the dynamics to deliver a more relaxed driving experience, the All-Terrain is the most compelling E-Class estate out there. Still spacious, but now with added capabilities and extra car-park protection.
The body-cladding is an acquired taste, and might dissuade a few people, but I’d have this over a GLE SUV any day of the week. And over pretty much any other family chariot out there.