From £35,2059
Mercedes-Benz has given the classy E-Class Estate all-wheel drive and some extra ground clearance to tackle off-road excursions – and it's good

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with fine engines and a typically laid-back dynamic character. Not one for the interested driver, but a good advert for being disinterested.

14 November 2017

What is it?

For country dwellers, off-road excursions can be part of the daily routine. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is designed for exactly that purpose, with a 29mm higher ride height that's partly down to the Air Body Control air suspension (15mm) and also with 20in wheels fitted as standard (14mm).

To complete the package, there’s also some external plastic cladding to protect the body from scratches and scrapes, as well as the 4Matic permanent four-wheel-drive system with 31/69 front-rear torque split. This is the only E-Class estate available with the combination of the 350d 3.0-litre engine and 4Matic all-wheel drive.

The E-Class All-Terrain was launched in other markets last year but the UK is now seeing this venerable V6 diesel combined with the 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox, and it comes in pretty much one standard specification. That includes the equivalent of the AMG Line Premium Plus package that includes a panoramic glass sunroof and the Comand system, with a 12.3in infotainment screen. The All-Terrain is a five-seater only (there's no option of seven seats), albeit with an ample loading bay. It also comes with an electric folding towbar as standard and has a towing capacity of 2100kg - enough to tow another car on a braked trailer. In addition, 20in wheels are standard, although they are equipped with summer, not all-season, tyres.

At £58,880, it’s not a budget option; the car we tested ran to £60,575 with the optional driving assistance package. But Mercedes says it’s aimed at customers for whom price is not the major consideration and who may already own a high-end SUV

What's it like?

The E-Class All-Terrain is a striking car and there’s nothing ungainly about the external changes from the standard E-Class to spoil the handsome lines.

The inside oozes the usual Mercedes standards of luxury, too, but it’s in the driving that this versatile estate really excels. The V6 diesel engine may have been around for a while but it is simply exquisite; turbine-smooth, powerful and unobtrusive, the unit can deliver a mighty punch and is also capable of tugging a serious payload. The 9G-Tronic gearbox is swift and slick, reacting faster to more aggressive throttle inputs than smaller, gentler ones.

The steering is sharp and reacts immediately to input and, despite the 35 profile tyres, the car rides well on the sometimes rough-surfaced roads of the North Yorkshire test route. Only the roughest surfaces challenged the secondary ride with a slightly clattering response but the Air Body Control suspension comfortably soaked up the worst of the plunging undulations.

The Dynamic Select system has the usual Comfort, Eco and Sport modes but, in addition, has an All-Terrain mode. Once selected, this raises the ride height by a further 20mm to give extra ground clearance when driving at up to 19mph. Above this and it automatically lowers again to maintain stability at higher speeds, but a handy device allows you to limit the speed to 19mph (as well as any other speed you choose) to prevent the car from lowering when you don’t want it to on rough tracks.

Any reservations about the All-Terrain’s capability on wet, loose surfaces when clad with summer tyres were dispelled by a towing exercise with a horsebox loaded with a 250kg payload. The car easily hauled the heavy trailer up a steep woodland track and restarted comfortably after a deliberate stop halfway up in what was an extremely challenging test. With the horsebox jettisoned, it proved just as capable on a further section across rocky moorland tracks, although it’s on those surfaces that thicker section tyres would be of benefit.

The rear-powered hatch gives access to the same load space as the standard E-Class Estate of 640 litres or 1,820 litres with the 40/20/40 seats folded flat. A button on the base of the hatch allows deployment of the electric towbar or the same job can be done using a button in the driver’s door. Selectable views on the reversing camera displayed on the 12.3in screen include one looking from overhead, which makes lining up the tow hitch using guidelines a doddle. All these factors add up to a luxury workhorse that is fun to drive both on and off road and is completely at home in both environments. 

Should I buy one?

Not everyone who needs to tow, get along a gravel track or extricate their car from a muddy field necessarily wants a traditional 4x4. Estate cars are a great alternative, in many instances providing more usable interior space than an SUV, and with the ease of manoeuvring of a normal car.

The lower loading bay makes it ideal for dogs to hop in and out of and the decent towing capacity makes it extremely versatile as a load-lugger. For that job, there are cheaper options that will be as capable, but for those who want the luxury sophistication a Mercedes offers, the E-Class All-Terrain ticks all the boxes.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All Terrain

Where North Yorkshire On sale Now Price £58,880 Engine 2987cc, V6, turbocharged diesel Power 281bhp at 3400rpm Torque 457lb ft at 1600-2400 rpm Gearbox 9-spd automatic Kerbweight 2010kg Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 6.2sec Fuel economy 41.5mpg  CO2/BIK 179g/km, 37% Rivals Audi A6 Allroad, Volvo V90 Cross Country

Join the debate

Comments
21

14 November 2017

should read, "providing more useable space than most of the pseudo SUVs we have today". Sorry, still minute in the boot compared to a proper SUV.

i like these a lot, really a lot, and if I could really do with the smaller boot / lower towing capacity, I would definitely have one instead of my SUV. Which is an SUV. The better handling, lower running costs and vastly improved road manners are massively appealing, just it is too small to be useful for me. Maybe I should buy an old rangie and one of these. Hmm....now that's an idea. Off to convince the home CFO.

Spanner

14 November 2017
Spanner wrote:

should read, "providing more useable space than most of the pseudo SUVs we have today". Sorry, still minute in the boot compared to a proper SUV.

i like these a lot, really a lot, and if I could really do with the smaller boot / lower towing capacity, I would definitely have one instead of my SUV. Which is an SUV. The better handling, lower running costs and vastly improved road manners are massively appealing, just it is too small to be useful for me. Maybe I should buy an old rangie and one of these. Hmm....now that's an idea. Off to convince the home CFO.

 

I suspect the author means It provides more useable space by having a longer and wider boot floor which is more useful than height in the loadbay for most people.

14 November 2017
Campervan wrote:

Spanner wrote:

should read, "providing more useable space than most of the pseudo SUVs we have today". Sorry, still minute in the boot compared to a proper SUV.

i like these a lot, really a lot, and if I could really do with the smaller boot / lower towing capacity, I would definitely have one instead of my SUV. Which is an SUV. The better handling, lower running costs and vastly improved road manners are massively appealing, just it is too small to be useful for me. Maybe I should buy an old rangie and one of these. Hmm....now that's an idea. Off to convince the home CFO.

 

I suspect the author means It provides more useable space by having a longer and wider boot floor which is more useful than height in the loadbay for most people.

 The boot is quite small compared to a discovery. Which is I suppose an absurd comparison. But all SUVs are not equal.

Spanner

14 November 2017
Spanner wrote:

Campervan wrote:

Spanner wrote:

should read, "providing more useable space than most of the pseudo SUVs we have today". Sorry, still minute in the boot compared to a proper SUV.

i like these a lot, really a lot, and if I could really do with the smaller boot / lower towing capacity, I would definitely have one instead of my SUV. Which is an SUV. The better handling, lower running costs and vastly improved road manners are massively appealing, just it is too small to be useful for me. Maybe I should buy an old rangie and one of these. Hmm....now that's an idea. Off to convince the home CFO.

 

I suspect the author means It provides more useable space by having a longer and wider boot floor which is more useful than height in the loadbay for most people.

 The boot is quite small compared to a discovery. Which is I suppose an absurd comparison. But all SUVs are not equal.

 

According to Internet info the width of the E Class boot is just over 1metre X almost 2.0 metres long seats folded therefore identical to the Discovery in floor area but not in height hence the talk of useful boot spave being equal to most SUV's. 

15 November 2017

I think these comparisons are missing a key point. Whilst ultimate boot space is important, the key metric which SUVs are generally superior in is the 'packaging' of the passenger space. If you have three passengers in the rear seats, pretty much any of the usual SUVs in the 'large' class - Disco, ML, X5, Q7, TReg - are superior to the top estates - A6, E class, 5 series. This is usually due to a more upright seating position, higher off the floor (new Disco is a lamentable exception to this surprisingly) and greater width. The back of an A6 or 5 tourer is tiny. I have a Treg and a Tiguan and both are way better than any of those estates for lanky teenagers, bar perhaps the E class. And the estate cars are LONG.

SpiersyG

16 November 2017

Disco 1.95 m long to merc 1.79m seats down, top of the seats, seats up to back of the car, disco 960mm, merc 798mm, height disco 950mm, merc 798 mm. so 16cm less long seats down, 17cm less long seats up, 16cm shorter to the roof line. Max width disco 1240mm, merc 1170, 7cm wider. It just seems a lot less. Must be the door opening.

Spanner

14 November 2017

broadspeed.com have these listed at £49k for a new one....£58k is the sticker price. That £9k could get a nice tow truck shogun. Double hmmm.

Spanner

15 November 2017

Believe that and you'll believe anything. They advertise a price then you have to email them for a real quote would you believe. Remember to give them your junk email address

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

16 November 2017
xxxx wrote:

Believe that and you'll believe anything. They advertise a price then you have to email them for a real quote would you believe. Remember to give them your junk email address

Just taken a look at myself, and nope, not gullible. Useful when negotiating real world discounts, as I have done so in the past.

i wonder what broadspeed would say, have you used them? I haven't.

Spanner

jer

14 November 2017

Jesse's reviews are a bit like a generous marker at school/university, but still enjoyable. Do they only come in brown and the first reviews were also Brown! 35 profile tyres are a joke on this car no need whatsoever for them. My 35 profile Dunlops were cut by the speed bumps and broken surfaces on conventinal roads they also require a high pressure to avoid damaging rims if you hit anything bigger than a matchbox. So forget gravel tracks or anything else.  Have they squeezed another 20ps out of the old v6? or is the data wrong (261ps). When I drove this engine in a CLS it was good partic the default economy mode response and when moving away you knew is was a diesel so strange how they've fixed it and anyways where is the in line 6 in this new car? So overall a bit dissapointed. I'd also like the plastic body kit in body colour for my £60k.

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