It’s also worth bearing in mind that company car buyers looking for low benefit-in-kind tax payments will struggle to find much that beats the E300de’s staggeringly low official CO2 emissions. Its official fuel economy is very impressive, too, but the hybrid is very expensive to buy.
So the E220d is still the pick of the range, with CO2 emissions that are impressive in this class. In our real-world True MPG fuel tests, we achieved a combined average of 41.2mpg for an E220d AMG Line – a figure some way short of the claimed 57.7mpg but competitive with rivals nevertheless. There’s good news, too, in that even the emissions for the E220d 4Matic are competitive by the standards of four-wheel drive rivals.
Private buyers will be pleased by the E-Class’s relatively strong resale values, which have the knock-on effect of keeping PCP finance payments low. Servicing will cost slightly more than for the A6 Avant, 5 Series Touring or V90, though. If you're looking at the more powerful AMG models, be prepared for fairly hefty fuel bills, and beware the cost of new tyres, brakes and other wear-and-tear items.
We recommend sticking with entry-level SE trim. It comes with a long list of goodies to make life rather more convenient, such as power-folding door mirrors, parking sensors and a rear-view camera, as well as agreeable luxuries like leather trim and heated seats. An upgrade to AMG Line is harder to justify. Its 19in wheels and sports suspension harm the ride and, oddly, manmade leather replaces the real cowhide you get with SE.
Check out the Premium package option if you want more toys. This adds keyless entry, a panoramic roof and fully electrically operated front seats with lumbar support and memory settings. A pricier Premium Plus package adds a 13-speaker sound system and adaptive LED headlights.
Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the E-Class Estate specifically, but the E-Class saloon gets the independent car safety Experts' full five stars. That’s partly thanks to clever safety kit to minimise the risk and consequences of a collision. The list includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), seven airbags and an active bonnet to help cushion unlucky pedestrians, and you can choose an optional Driving Assistance Plus package with blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and a semi-autonomous driving system that can steer, brake and accelerate the car for you.
Mercedes finished a lowly 26th place of 31 manufacturers in our 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey, with rivals BMW, Audi and Volvo all finishing above it. Every E-Class has a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, at least, but this is pretty average by class standards. Mercedes does, however, offer a free roadside assistance programme that covers the car for three years.
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