Sheer size of the boot. Comfort and refinement. Great engines. Cooler image than an SUV
Not as sharp to drive as a BMW or Jag estate. Touchy-feely interfaces can be tricky
What is it?
One of the biggest boots you can buy, if that’s not too vulgar a way to begin. Sure, the Mercedes E-Class Estate has plenty of technical and engineering talent to entice you towards it and away from the likes of BMW and Volvo, but chances are what will woo you first (okay, after the badge) is the sheer size of that cargo bay. It’d have been cheaper for NASA to strap rockets onto one of these than to commission the Space Shuttle.
With a 670-litre boot awaiting behind the electric tailgate – expanding to 1,820 litres with the rear seats folded down – it’s unlikely the E-Class Estate will be too pokey for your needs. And with a fleet of turbo’d four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines – along with the deliciously crazy V8 E63 – plus all of Mercedes’ latest and greatest passenger entertainment and driver assistant features, you should hardly want for power, frugality, or toys. This is one of the automotive world’s great Swiss Army knives.
As you can read a complete test of the AMG E63 by tapping here, we’ll be concentrating on the more sensible E-Class wagons. They begin at just over £41,000 with the E220d – a fabulous humble 2.0-litre diesel, and stretch past various mild- and plug-in hybrids to the AMG E53, with its 462bhp 3.0-litre petrol turbo straight-six and ‘EQ’ 48-volt boost, yours for just over £71,000.
As of 2021, Mercedes has comprehensively overhauled the E-Class family. Redrawn lights and bumpers have a slightly softer, friendlier look to them, while inside the multiplex screen layout has been overhauled to feature the latest ‘MBUX’ interface. And it now responds to your finger-tap too, as the middle display has become a touchscreen. However, it’s still controllable by other means – like a touch-sensitive steering wheel spoke or the touchpad behind the cupholders.
Just about the only thing that hasn’t been altered is that enormous boot, which comfortably offers more space than a BMW 5 Series Touring, Jaguar XF Sportbrake or Audi A6 Avant. Need this much space on a sub-Benz budget? Try the Skoda Superb Estate. No, really. It’s excellent. And has almost as much touchscreen real estate as the Merc.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
We suspect that, once we’d finished fawning over classic hot hatchbacks and gold-plated Singers, pretty much any member of the Top Gear team would find space – quite a large space, admittedly – for an E-Class Estate in its dream lottery garage.
It’s by no means an entertaining, corner-hungry piece of kit – AMGs aside – but the regular E-Class wagon is a delightfully refined, comfortable, spacious and mature way of moving a lot of stuff around luxuriously. It now has an oddly old-school charm to it too, derived from the very fact it’s not a bolshy, out-of-my-way SUV.