Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review & Ratings: Design, Features, Performance, Specifications ...

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review & Ratings

Our new E-CLASS Estate (new to us, at any rate) has arrived after one year and 13,000 miles in someone else’s care. Now it’s my turn to see how this family holdall will fit into my life, both as a family man and as a hard-working freelance journalist covering a large annual mileage.

My first surprise was to discover that our car was free of any options. However, our now-defunct 2014 AMG Sport trim turns out to offer a pretty impressive list of standard equipment. Our car comes with a DAB radio, as well as part leather seats, sat-nav, self-levelling rear suspension, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and even heated seats. Indeed there’s only one other extra I’d have liked: air suspension at the front as well, because I know it would elevate the ride quality from superb to out of this world.

We’ve chosen to run this version because it is the best-selling car in the range. The 2.2-litre diesel engine provides the best blend of performance and economy (with a claimed, albeit hard-to-achieve 56.5mpg in normal driving) and enough steam on fast A-roads to make overtaking a possibility.

I understand those who might complain about the seats being uncomfortable, because ours are unquestionably and initially disconcertingly firm. Within five miles of first climbing aboard I had convinced myself I’d never be comfortable in the car, but by the time I’d done 500 miles, all those thoughts had gone. It’s the support provided by the seats that actually keeps you comfortable.

I am less keen on the engine, however, because it seems to lag behind the latest units from its German rivals when the whole envelope of performance, economy and refinement is considered.

However we have to put this into perspective: I think the performance is adequate, considering the size of this car and its relatively small motor, and I think the same to be true of the fuel consumption.

Refinement is a thornier issue. This engine has always been noisy, and very sensitive to its installation. In the old C-Class it was terrible; in the new A-Class it is surprisingly good. In this E-Class it’s fine on the motorway, but if you’re in town, or doing anything other than dawdling on country roads, both the volume and quality of the engine’s noise is not what you expect from a sophisticated Merc.

However, if you want ultimate boot space from your estate, the E-Class is the one to choose. Indeed, of all estates on sale, only the boot of the Skoda Superb stands comparison. Moreover, the rear seats fold almost completely flat at the single tug of a handily sited lever, to reveal a vast and brilliantly shaped load area. The only quibble is the parcel shelf. It’s good to see it incorporates a retractable dog guard, but it’s heavy and often awkward to put back into place.

If I’d specced this car, I would have had the optional 80-litre tank. The standard 59-litre one currently gives a range of around 550 miles, but the big tank would extend that to 750 miles. As someone with an aversion to fuel stations, that would be a welcome enhancement.

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