Mercedes E-Class Estate (2016-present)

Space, luxury and a smooth ride: the Mercedes E-Class does it all - for those who can afford it

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Spacious interior
Smooth, comfortable ride
High-tech options

Weaknesses 

Less rear legroom than rivals
Expensive
Smaller boot than previous car

The Mercedes E-Class Estate isn’t as flashy as many other cars from the same brand, but its unassuming and subtle design covers one of the best all-round family cars on the market.

With a luxurious interior, enormous boot and more computing power than the Space Shuttle (probably), there’s barely a challenge that the E-Class Estate can’t handle.

That’s particularly true if you opt for the four-wheel drive All-Terrain version, which is raised higher off the ground so that it’s more capable on rugged dirt tracks and muddy fields.

For families who can afford the hefty price (new prices start at £36,000 and 2016 cars cost from around £28,000) it offers as much practicality as most will ever need without buying a bulky, tall sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Even so, it’s not the most spacious car in its class. Anyone upgrading from the previous-generation E-Class Estate might be surprised to learn that the car’s boot, with the rear seats down, is 130 litres smaller than its predecessor, thanks to its curvier exterior.

The current car’s 1,820 litre loadspace, with seats folded, is still cavernous and you can fit a two-metre-long box along the flat floor, or an optional third row of rear-facing seats for mini passengers under 115cm tall. But the Skoda Superb provides 1,950l of space.

What you don’t get in the Skoda is the E-Class’ decadent dashboard, which combines glossy high-definition displays with high-quality leather, metal and wood materials.

Standard equipment includes sat-nav, reversing camera, leather seats, mood lighting and bright LED headlights, but you’ll need to dig deeper, or find a used model that’s been loaded up with options, for the full experience.

That’s because the two widescreen displays, which sit next to each other on the dashboard, are optional extras. Controlled with touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel or a rotary dial by the driver’s knee, they are simple to operate while keeping your yes on the road, once you’ve learned the menu system.

Also optional on all but the top-specification cars, is Mercedes’ air suspension, which delivers a pillowy ride, gliding over broken roads and minimising leaning in corners.

It’s limousine quality smooth, whether you’re carrying a car-full of passengers or just taking your rubbish to the tip. If you can’t stretch to this, then there’s nothing wrong with the standard suspension, which will iron out undulations in the road almost as well - with just the odd jolt to remind you that you’re driving on British roads.

Optional technology helps keep the driver relaxed too; a £1,700 package enables the car to accelerate, brake and steer itself on motorways and A-roads where traffic is separated. The E-Class will even overtake by itself if you click the indicator, but you’ll need to keep your hands on the steering wheel for the majority of the time.

It’s a car that lends itself to partial self-driving technology because it’s been designed for comfort rather than fast cornering. It remains steady and level on twisty roads, but feels heavy and ponderous, so you’re better off maintaining a smooth pace.

The E-Class has two sets of Isofix points in the back for secure mounting of child seats. It also has a five star rating from the independent Euro NCAP association.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 16:00

Other Editions