Mercedes-Benz

E-Class Estate -

First Drive

Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, side, action
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, front
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, side
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, rear
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, interior
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, instruments
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, display screen
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, boot
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, camera
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, rear seats
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, Comand control
Mercedes E-Class Estate, 2016, badge

MATURE, majestic and most importantly for many a Mercedes-Benz, the all-new E-Class estate is out to please the masses - literally.

This king-sized estate is as luxurious as they come yet loaded to the limit it can carry as much as the average van.

Now in its sixth generation the stretched version of the E-Class saloon has been at the top of the pile for many a year but the latest iteration faces stiff competition from Volvo with its big V90 estate.

Rear seats up and there's a backpack of space between them in favour of the Swedish offering but in terms of maximum capacity the Mercedes can muster a full supermini boot more than its new found rival.

The new E-Class estate also has the edge when it comes to feel and on the road proves its abilities in true Mercedes' fashion.

The kick off point for most will be the E 2220 d fitted with a new four cylinder 2.0-litre diesel rated at 67.3mpg with a CO2 figure of 109g/km.

For such a large car that is incredible fuel economy and the engine suits the big estate wonderfully well with plenty of pull through the gears. It's also good for more than 40 to the gallon on average without any issue.

The estate is a fraction longer than the saloon and like all versions of the latest E-Class has a nine-speed auto box as standard.

Paddle shifters allow for manual gear selection if required and the drive mode is variable giving plenty of scope.

There's also an adaptive suspension set up which can lower ride height by more than half an inch and the all round demeanour is little short of being smack on.

The new diesel is a top class engine producing 194bhp which gives the estate a 0 to 60 time of 7.7 seconds, topping out at a claimed 146mph.

Mercedes is also making the new E-Class estate available with its Drive Pilot technology that is as close to fully automated driving as you can get at the moment.

It's a £1,695 extra that incorporates the whole gamut of vehicle detection systems including adaptive cruise control, lane drift and blind spot monitors plus road sign recognition and pedestrian detection.

Working together they allow the car to be driven hands free for a limited amount of time before a safety over-ride cuts in and demands the driver proves control is still in the hands of a human.

The system is more an extension of cruise control than fully autonomous but is another example of how technology can take the strain out of journeys while making safety paramount.

In base SE trim the E-Class estate is priced from £38,230 and even with the Drive Pilot plus a Mercedes Comand online and nav system and a surround view camera fitted, the car we sampled came in at under £44,000 - and in the executive league that's competitive.

What Mercedes has got just right is the feel to the interior which blends high tech kit such as a 12.3-inch display screen in the centre of the dash with traditional instrumentation in front of the driver.

The cabin on this car was also delightfully finished with leather upholstery contrasting with an aluminium trim.

And for the record, luggage capacity in this executive class estate ranges from 540 litres with all seats in use to 1,820 litres with the rear seats folded.

In anyone's book the latest E-Class is very much a car at the cutting edge yet pure and proper - the estate adds practicality which at the moment can't be matched by any other car maker.

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