What is it?
The Mercedes E Class is the cliché of estate cars. If anyone ever asks a motoring journalist ‘I have many things, what estate should I buy’, most reply with the big Merc. And this facelifted version does nothing to change that. Still want a massive boot and decent levels of comfort? Step this way, please.
Onto the details of what’s changed, then. The styling has been tweaked front and rear so that it lines up more closely with other, more recently launched Mercs. It’s definitely one of those hard-to-spot facelifts, especially on the Estate. The headlights are a bit more A Class in style and a bit stumpier, but it’s marginal stuff.
Under the skin, the overhauled electrical system means more advanced driver assistance systems, such as Active Speed Limit Assist, as well as 48V mild-hybrid technology across the range (although not this particular 400d).
The interior changes are more obvious. For the first time, the E Class gets the MBUX infotainment/navigation system, so the cockpit and screens feel a lot fresher. There are also digital instruments - again, very smart looking - while two 10.25-inch screens are now standard on all models. In our top-spec, and wordily-titled, AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, the screens are 12.3 inches. There’s also a new steering wheel design with a three-spoke, split-bar look, and featuring capacitive touch controls.
The middle screen is touchscreen but in truth you rarely bother as it’s easy to control - and safer - from the buttons and touchpad arrangement that sits in front of the centre armrest. It’s one of the better systems to program on the move, although still not as intuitive as BMW’s.
Or, you can control the infotainment from the touch control buttons on the steering wheel, which features a new three-spoke, split-bar design. There are certainly plenty of them, working a multitude of tasks, but they’re still fiddly. Fewer and physical for the new E, please.
Mercedes has wisely left the boot alone so it’s still vast. At either 640 or 1820 litres depending on how you’ve got the seats, it comfortably beats all the rivals. Happily, there are two handy seat releases towards the rear of the boot, so there’s no ungraceful clambering required to get the fully flat load floor. Cleverly, when you fold the rear seats, the front two chairs move forward slightly so the rears don’t get caught. A small thing, but no less welcome for it.