Well, that’s rather upsetting: I learn from Autocar that Mercedes-Benz is not at all sure about the future of its estate cars.
Sometimes it does seem as though the whole motoring world is going to become SUV-shaped. I think this is a good time to remind the company of its greatest load-lugging hits. Maybe Benz will reconsider and keep on making the things.
Where do we start? Ideally at the W123 end of things, because that’s how you begin to make a legend. You don’t see many around now. There are some five-figure examples around, but I was rather taken by a 230TE automatic with a family back story and more than 250,000 miles. It does need work, but a great spec includes self-levelling suspension, rear-facing child seats and electric windows. There is rust, though – front wings, wheel arches, doors – so the £5000 asking price is just the starting point. Sorting that out plus the paintwork is going to be £2000- £3000. Worth it, though.
Unarguably, the W124 model is the very greatest estate known to humankind. This really was peak Mercedes for build quality and overall engineering integrity. It had a lovely wide and flat load bay and children love the rear-facing seats, but they’re only really suitable for the school run. There are less decent ones around now, but a 1995 280TE automatic with 124,000 miles for £7000 is as good as it gets for value. Leather, electric roof, air-con and windows that all work. There was a lot of detailed history largely reproduced in the advert, which is always reassuring. That’s the one to buy, and £7k is as cheap as it will get.
If you want cheap, then although a 2003 E-Class would not have been Merc’s best, they were at least huge inside. An E320 CDI with 140k miles and three previous owners is £1695. It is a teeny bit tired and there’s some wheel-arch rust, but they all have that, of course. Full history, it says, and it seems to be ready for work.