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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Refined, stylish, and impressively spacious

Against Running costs; reliability questions

Verdict A great estate car with bags of class

Go for… E280 CDI Avantgarde

Avoid… E500 Sport

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
  • 1. The Mercedes is one of the best estates available, with up to 1950 litres of boot space and easy-to-fold rear seats
  • 2. The majority of E-Class examples are automatics; manuals are less desirable unless fitted to the smaller-capacity engines
  • 3. Only consider a petrol model if it’s cheap and you don’t intend to cover many miles
  • 4. The automatic gearbox can be temperamental and, in the worst cases, owners could face a substantial replacement fee
  • 5. Some E-Class suffer mystery electrical issues, which can affect anything from the alarm to the parking sensors. The tailgate mechanism can also cause problems
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate full review with expert trade views

This version might look similar to the previous E-Class (’02-’06), but it’s better to drive and more refined. It also gets some advanced driver aids and safety technology.

The E-Class places the emphasis on ride comfort, but it's still enjoyable to drive with reasonable handling.

There’s plenty of space to stretch out inside the E-Class, but a large transmission tunnel means the rears seats are better for two people, rather than three. The Mercedes is one of the best estates available, however with up to 1950 litres of boot space and easy-to-fold rear seats.

Trade view

A diesel E-Class is the best choice; think twice before buying a manual.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Of the eight engines available, the diesels are by far the best options.

The 168bhp E220 CDI is a great starting point to the range, and the most common on the used market. Although it’s not fast, it has enough power for a car of this size. The 187bhp E280 CDI is more enjoyable to drive, and a good trade-off between power and economy. There’s also an E320 CDI with 221bhp, but it’s not that common.

If you really want a petrol E-Class, consider the supercharged 182bhp E200K or the 228bhp E280. There is also a 255bhp E350 and a 388bhp E500. The fuel-efficient 288bhp E350 CGI was introduced in 2008.

The majority of E-Class examples are automatics; manuals are less desirable unless fitted to the smaller-capacity engines.

Classic models get climate control, wood trim, cruise control and alloys, while Elegance adds chrome detailing and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Avantgardes have xenon headlamps, part-leather seats and window glass that reflects bright sunlight.

Sport models get lowered and tuned suspension, upgraded alloys and full leather trim. In mid-2008 the Executive SE edition was added, based on the Classic but including upgraded wheels, exterior and cabin trim.

Trade view

Spacious, classy and comfortable – the E-Class is a very refined executive estate.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

When it comes to depreciation the diesels are king and, as a result, highly attractive to used buyers. Only consider a petrol model if it’s cheap and you don’t intend to cover many miles.

The smallest diesel averages 39.8mpg, while the E280 CDI achieves 37.2mpg and the E320 CDI 34.9mpg. The petrol models aren’t as efficient, with the E220K at 31.7mpg, the E280 at 29.1mpg, the E350 28.4mpg, the E320 CGI 31.7mpg and the E500 23.9mpg.

Emissions for the diesels range from 188g/km to 215g/kM, but the petrols don’t far as well, starting at 212g/km, and rising to 280g/km.

Mercedes dealers are an expensive place to service an old car, and you won’t harm the car’s value if you use a reliable independent garage.

Trade view

A diesel E-Class is the best choice; think twice before buying a manual.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The previous generation of E-Class (’02-‘06) didn’t do any favours to Mercedes’ reputation for reliability. Thankfully, this newer model restored some of the good faith, but it’s not perfect.

The automatic gearbox can be temperamental and, in the worst cases, owners could face a substantial replacement fee, while the largest diesel engine can suffer terminal issues with the injectors. There’s also a possible problem with the camshaft position sensor, which could cause the car not to start.

Other concerns include noisy rear suspension, especially on Sport models. Not every car is affected, and dealers can struggle to resolve the problem.

Some E-Class suffer mystery electrical issues, which can affect anything from the alarm to the parking sensors. The tailgate mechanism can also cause problems

Trade view

Spacious, classy and comfortable – the E-Class is a very refined executive estate.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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