Waggling your foot beneath the back bumper to raise the tailgate only works if you order the option, but it now functions with the tow-hook. Later this year a foldaway third row of seats for kids will be available allowing space for seven.
The wagon is available with all the engine options offered in the saloon, the most popular of these is predicted to be the 220 d, featuring Mercedes’ all-new four-cylinder diesel. It promises useful improvements over the outgoing 220 d, its 7.7sec to 62mph, 61.4mpg combined and 120g/km of CO2 are all substantial improvements over the previous engine.
Much effort has been expended not only in making this engine quieter, but also making the E-Class estate’s cavernous cabin structure less of a noise-generating boom box. A strengthened engine bay, floor reinforcement struts and extensive sealing - including the door handles – are the results of this campaign. If you’re noise-obsessed, you can also order an acoustic pack featuring sound-suppressing glass, too, making the mighty, optional Burmester stereo that bit more impressive.
What's it like?
As you’d hope, it’s quiet, and the new 220 d motor is noticeably quieter than it was in the E-Class saloons sampled a few months ago. E-Class engineering chief Michael Kelz says there have been engine management recalibrations since, and they now produce a soundtrack worthy of all the innovation that this engine carries.
The 220 d works very effectively with Mercedes' nine-speed automatic transmission, a refined shifter of gears and a significant contributor to its potential fuel economy. It needs to be good because the old 2.1 diesel was pleasing for its ability to do 50mpg-plus almost everywhere, despite its coarse manners.
You’ll need to play with the dynamic toggle on the centre console to extract performance that feels like 7.7sec to 62mph, but this is hardly a hardship and provides something of a dual character for this car. It’s not a sports estate, but body control is impressive when you push it hard. On optional air springs it’s supple too, producing a ride to complement the near-silence that you ride in.
And so to the rear end. The new, curvier tail also produces a curvier upper tailgate opening, which might make furniture loading more of a challenge, although you’re more likely to notice the boot’s considerable length and intrusion-free flanks. Seats down – they handily split 40/20/40 – the E-Class provides 1820 litres and a flat deck, although this has been achieved by raising the boot floor, and you’ll need a luggage net to stop small items skittering off the front end of the deck to tumble into the rear seat passenger footwells. Unless you’re trying a van-free house move, though, this car is likely to provide all the carrying capacity you’ll ever need.
That said, rear seat occupants may beg to differ despite the claimed gains in leg and head room, space for your feet is limited if those up front sink their seats low, and the cushion could provide more support, its shape presumably compromised by the desire for a flat-folding backrest.
Should I buy one?
As you’d hope of this Mercedes hardy perennial, the E-Class estate does exactly the job you’d expect, but with more efficiency, quietness, pace and a little more dynamic verve, too. Its cabin can look fabulously sumptuous if you tick the right trim and option boxes, and it’s very well made.