New Mercedes E-Class Estate 2016 review
A massive boot and upmarket cabin give the Mercedes E-Class Estate huge appeal
Based on how highly we rate the E-Class saloon, it’s little surprise that we think the estate version is a real hit. It has everything you would want from an executive load-lugger: it’s hugely practical, with the biggest boot in its class, but is also a comfortable, refined cruiser with one of the best interiors of any car in its price range. It won’t excite keen drivers, but it’s still good to drive and has loads of impressive tech on board, too.
Mercedes has been on a bit of a winning streak of late. Jumping from the excellent springboard that is the S-Class limo, the smaller C-Class and E-Class saloons have been among our favourite cars in their respective classes. Now, we’ve finally had the chance to try the E-Class Estate – and it’s a similar story here, too.
The new E-Class Estate rivals the Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring as always, but there’s also a new kid on the block that it has to beat: the Volvo V90. The big Swede has really impressed us with its upmarket cabin, refined character and practical body.
While we’re yet to try the E-Class Estate in the UK, our first drive indicates that it has what it takes to challenge for class honours. For starters, it has the biggest boot in the large executive estate class, with 640 litres with the seats up and 1,820 litres with them down. That’s 80 litres more than the Volvo V90, and 100 litres more than the E-Class saloon, although here the load space is much more usable, thanks to a flat floor, no loading lip and the wide tailgate.
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There’s loads of space in the back seats too, so there’s no compromise when you’re loading up for a family holiday. The seats fold down flat, so longer items will slide in easily if required. The E-Class Estate isn’t noticeably more spacious than the V90, but there’s no doubt that this is a hugely practical and versatile car.
As with every recent Mercedes, the cabin is outstanding. It feels incredibly well made, with expensive-feeling materials everywhere and an upmarket design that makes many rivals feel dated. The clean and simple cabin in the V90 gives the Merc a run for its money, but the E-Class edges it.
The seats and driving position are excellent, giving you plenty of support, while the optional twin-widescreen displays that incorporate the dials and sat-nav are slick, crystal clear and intuitive to use.
As with the saloon, the comfy cabin is matched by a supple ride, although the roads where we tested the car in northern Germany were particularly smooth. Our test car was also fitted with optional air-suspension, so we’ll reserve our final judgment until we drive it in Britain. On the motorway there’s a little wind and road noise, but it’s very minor, and no worse than the saloon, and the only refinement issue is with the 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Keep to low revs and use the 400Nm of torque on offer, and the four-cylinder is fairly quiet, but it makes itself known with a rattly din if you stamp on the throttle. The E 350d’s V6 diesel is the smoother motor, but you can’t argue with the figures: the smaller engine returns an impressive 67.3mpg and 109g/km of CO2.
The 2.0-litre diesel is definitely powerful enough, too, getting from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds. The excellent nine-speed gearbox shifts smoothly, so keeping things relaxed and enjoying the comfortable ride is the best way to use the E-Class Estate.
In terms of involvement, the Mercedes is good to drive, if not quite as exciting as a 5 Series Touring; the steering lacks feel and the car rolls in corners. Yet, the dynamic differences between the E-Class Estate and saloon are so small that they feel pretty much identical from behind the wheel.
Standard equipment on the entry-level SE model is decent, with sat-nav, LED headlights, an electrically powered tailgate, a reversing camera, ambient interior lights, heated seats, DAB radio and 17-inch alloys all included. Opt for the widescreen displays and air-suspension from the options list and you’ll have one of the most comfortable, practical and luxurious estate cars on the market.