Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate review

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The most practical full-sized Executive estate you can buy is now even better. Jonathan Crouch checks out the sixth generation Mercedes E-Class Estate

Ten Second Review

The Mercedes E-Class Estate has always been a very classy way to carry rather a lot. Now it's better-looking, cleverer and more efficient than ever. This sixth generation 'W214'-series model retains a sensible side but dials up the desirability, aiming to offer a smarter, more prestigious approach to Executive sector estate motoring than close competitors. It does so with more efficient engines, cutting-edge drive technology and exquisite comfort. Plus there's even more rear seat space than before. Arch-rivals from Audi and BMW still have quite a benchmark to aim at.


It used to be that if you wanted a large, plush practical estate, you bought a big Volvo. For some years now though, that role has been only fully filled by the Mercedes E-Class Estate. Rivals trade space for a bit of style, but this car continues to prioritise practicality, with 615-litres of room on offer even before you start folding seats. This 'W214'-series design is actually the sixth generation version to be badged 'E-Class' and does of course enjoy all the advantages developed for its saloon counterpart, a car offering efficient engines, astonishing technology and luxurious comfort.

According to the Three-Pointed Star, the MK6 E-Class is 'the most personal Mercedes ever', able to sense what you want even before you know you want it, be that media tech, cabin climate or drive dynamics. Much of course, including certain styling elements, is borrowed from the larger S-Class. And of course it needs to be good, hitting the market shortly before new generation versions of its two arch-rivals, the BMW 5 Series Touring and the Audi A6 Avant. To take on those two, this sixth generation E-Class Estate needs to be more than just an evolutionary step forward. Is it? Let's see.

Driving Experience

This 'W214'-series MK6 E-Class Estate now features the AGILITY CONTROL suspension and single-chamber air suspension on the rear axle as standard. The latter features a compact design, maintains ride comfort even with a full load on board and ensures that the vehicle remains horizontal even when laden. All-round AIRMATIC air suspension with ADS+ continuously adjustable damping is available as an option.

As with the E-Class saloon (but unlike new-generation versions of obvious rivals), there's no EV option (surprisingly as the brand's EQE EV can't be had as an estate). Instead, customers are offered a selection of combustion powerplants defiantly still built around two formats currently falling from industry favour, diesels and PHEVs. For the time being, diesel E-Class Estate sales are expected to continue strongly, primarily with the 194bhp 2.0-litre four cylinder E 220 d 48V mild hybrid model. The mild hybrid petrol alternative is the E 200, another 2.0-litre four cylinder variant, which has 201bhp and, like the diesel, is boosted by a 23bhp electric motor. That motor, by the way, is now built into the improved 9G-TRONIC 9-speed auto transmission that all E-Class models have to have.

The same 2.0-litre engine also features in the Plug-in petrol E 300e model, which now offers 312bhp and gets a larger 25.4kWh battery capable of taking the car up to 69 miles without troubling combustion power. Expect powerful Mercedes-AMG variants as usual to top the range. We won't get the SUV-style 'All-Terrain' variant offered in Europe.

Whatever mainstream E-Class Estate you decide upon, your dealer will want you to consider the pricey optional 'Technology Pack', which adds that AIRMATIC air suspension set-up and a rear axle steering system that can add 4.5-degrees of turning angle, reducing the turning circle to just 10.8m.

Design and Build

Although the roofline of this 'W214'-series MK6 E-Class Estate model is more dynamically designed compared to its predecessor and there's a more raked rear window with a slightly sleeker 0.26Cd drag factor, the primary design objectives here remained based around functionality and load compartment volume. As with the saloon, at the front there's a smarter gloss black-framed front grille, which can now be back-lit and is flanked by slim LED headlights.

The key interior changes relate to the back of the car. Luggage space is slightly less than before - down from 640 to 615-litres (460-litres in the Plug-in Hybrid versions, 20-litres less than before). But Mercedes, aided by a 22mm wheelbase length increase and 28mm more body width, has increased rear passenger knee and leg space significantly. And you now get up to 1,519mm of elbow room. Flattening the rear seats with a conventionally-engined version gets you up to 1,830-litres of space (far more than any rival); or 1,675-litres in the Plug-in Hybrid versions.

Accessing the front of the cabin can be done via a 'Digital Vehicle Key' stored on your phone. And once inside, the promised 'digital experience' continues, though the dash seems primarily designed around a premium screen format most models won't have. The 'Superscreen' dash, like the bigger 'Hyperscreen' layout of top EQ saloons, sees driver, passenger and central displays bonded together into one expansive (and expensive) layout. Replaced by acres of empty trim space if, as is more likely, your E-Class has merely a big central portrait monitor and a digital instrument display. Either way, you're treated to a new generation version of the brand's MBUX infotainment system, which can take on third-party apps, access social media services like TikTok and even allow you to run Zoom meetings via an in-built camera. There's more built-in Artificial Intelligence to learn your habits and routines (suggesting new routes or automatically switching heated things on when it's cold). And there's an active ambient lighting bar on the top of the dash that works with the various camera safety systems.

Market and Model

Expect pricing in the £58,000 to £78,000 bracket for mainstream versions of this E-Class Estate, with a usual premium of £2,640 over the alternative saloon body style. There's a choice of five trim levels - 'AMG Line', 'AMG Line Advanced', 'AMG Line Premium', 'AMG Line Premium Plus' and 'Exclusive Edition'. Mercedes expects this station wagon model to account for about 20% of all E-Class sales.

There are lots of key options to consider: we'll brief you on just a few of them here. The 'THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control' Digital Vent Control system automatically adjusts the front air vents to a desired ventilation scenario. This can be done for each seat via the car's user profile, but the nozzles can also be aligned by hand as usual. Mercedes has also improved its 'ENERGIZING COMFORT' system with a clever Anti-Travel Sickness programme.

You might also like to add the clever Active Ambient Lighting with Sound Visualisation system, which allows occupants to 'see' music tracks and the sounds of films or apps. Visualisation takes place on dashboard's top Active Ambient Lighting light band. For example, fast sequences of beats can cause rapid light changes, while flowing rhythms can create softly merging lighting moods.

As you'd expect, there's also loads of advanced camera safety and drive assist kit. 'ATTENTION ASSIST', in conjunction with the optional camera in the 3D driver display, can detect signs of microsleep. If the driver's eyes are not focused on the road for several seconds, 'ATTENTIONĀ ASSIST' can detect a distraction and warn the driver acoustically and visually. If the driver still fails to turn their attention to the traffic situation, there is an escalation with a second warning and a continuous warning tone. If the driver still fails to respond to the warning, the system will initiate an emergency stop.

Cost of Ownership

No matter how advanced this sixth generation E-Class Estate might be, if it doesn't return the right efficiency figures, business folk won't consider it. But of course, Mercedes has covered that off thoroughly here. The volume E 220 d mild hybrid diesel variant that many will want manages up to 56.5mpg on the combined cycle in rear-driven form. Of course, if you really want efficiency in your E-Class Estate, then you'll need to stretch to the E 300e PHEV, which has a segment-leadingly long EV range of up to 69 miles thanks to a now-larger 24.1kWh battery.

And otherwise? Well this model series is designed for the long haul. There's plenty of proof of that: Greek taxi driver Gregorios Sachinidis clocked up 2.9 million miles in his 1976 240D and though build quality took a bit of a dip with the W120 series range we had between 1995 and 2003, it's now better than ever with this current 'W214'-series version. This car will easily out-last you, one reason why all-important residual values have traditionally been strong with diesel and lower-order petrol engines. Unless you do something silly like specify an overly bright colour scheme, you can expect to get over 60% of your initial purchase price back after three years.

Another thing we'll need to tell you is that the comprehensive three year unlimited mileage warranty is built upon by Mercedes' Mobilo scheme which delivers breakdown cover for up to thirty years, as long as you continue to have your car serviced at a Mercedes main dealer. And it's worth knowing that your maintenance outlay can be kept a little in check by going for the optional Service Care package that takes care of routine maintenance, spreading the cost of regular servicing, guaranteeing the price of parts and labour for up to four services and covering the cost of all recommended service items such as brake fluid, spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters and screen wash.


Before this 'W214'-series E-Class Estate model appeared, the Mercedes of executive station wagons was perceived as a practical but slightly over-sensible choice in this sector. These days though, it's a much smarter choice - in more ways than one. Today, it feels like a car that's pricey but which offers a compelling value proposition. Yes, there's slightly less boot space than before, but you'll still get more than with rivals; and the rear seat is now a much nicer place to be.

Operating the car is relatively easy and you'll rarely feel as if this Mercedes is imposing its will on you, unlike certain rivals we could mention. The abiding impression is that this is a very carefully considered vehicle, developed by a company steeped in a proud engineering tradition. If you want to carry properly hefty loads in a car of this kind, yet want to do so with more than a modicum of style, this is one to place right up there with its premium rivals. It's better by design.

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