Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Essentials

  • Price from £31,485
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 54.3mpg
  • What is it? The biggest, most practical executive estate that a lot of money can buy


  • Shows other estate cars how it should be done
  • Safety kit should soothe the most anxious passenger
  • Economy and emissions are respectably low


  • Sport models are too firm for our tastes
  • Foot-operated parking brake is irritating
  • Prices start fairly high
  • Drive

    Strong, smooth and quiet the E-Class simply wafts you along

  • Inside

    Favourite-armchair comfortable - but some irritating foibles and cabin could be classier

  • Safety

    Goes above and beyond with gizmos including a driver-drowsiness detector and pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians in a crash

  • Reliability

    Decent reliability record and five stars for the saloon model in Euro NCAP crash tests

  • Space

    It's huge, whether you're the driver, a passenger or planning some light removals. The electric tailgate is a useful touch

  • Standard and extras

    Plenty of goodies come as standard, but you can also add a host of extras to tailor the car to your exact requirements

  • What's it like to drive?

    With plenty of engines to choose from there's sure to be a version of the Mercedes E-Class Estate to suit you; we like the E350 CDI which is smooth and strong enough to justify the extra cost in fuel over the E220 diesel. Real thrill-seekers should try the E63 AMG and prepare for take-off. All have self-levelling rear suspension so even heavy loads won't affect the driving performance. Almost all versions offer a haven of peace and quiet. We'd avoid the stiffer, noisier Sport models.

  • What's it like inside?

    Access to the vast boot of the E-Class Estate is easy, thanks to an electrically operated tailgate and luggage cover. Fold the rear seats flat for those 'need an extra spare bedroom' moments. A seven-seat option is available with two rear-facing seats which fold out of the boot floor.

    Getting comfortable up front is easy, so settle in and relax, because it will take a while to fathom out the on-screen menus for different functions all operated by a central dial. Mercedes' foot-operated parking brake is annoying, and the single stalk for indicators and windscreen wipers seems like an unnecessary scrimping in such a luxurious car.

  • How reliable is it?

    Safety kit goes well beyond the basics with gizmos like a driver-drowsiness detector and pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians in a crash. When Euro NCAP crash tested the saloon model of the E-Class it scored the maximum five stars, with 86% for adult protection and 77% for child protection, better than the Jaguar XF saloon (79%/73%) though no match for the BMW 5 Series saloon (95%/83%).
    Owners gave the E-Class the thumbs up in the latest JD Power survey, ranking it highly across the board and 'above average' for mechanical reliability.

  • Should I buy one?

    Certainly the Mercedes E-Class Estate is no budget option, but it will hold onto its value so it's a better investment than some rivals. Fuel consumption and emissions are both reasonable (if not as impressive as those of a BMW 5 Series), so if it's your company car, bills won't be astronomical. Everything you'd expect in a car of this calibre is fitted as standard, but you can up the price and the luxury with numerous additional extras.