Which used Mercedes E-Class estate should I buy?
The E320 CDi turbodiesel is easily the pick of the bunch, thanks to its brawny 3.2-litre engine. At its best when coupled to a five-speed automatic, it will return 36.0mpg.
The E220 CDi diesel is also a sound choice if you don't mind trading some performance for greater economy. It'll return up to 46.0mpg.
The smallest petrol engine struggles with the sheer size of the car, so we prefer the petrol V6s for their refinement, performance and decent economy. If you're in more of a hurry, the E430 V8 is silky smooth and quiet while delivering strong acceleration, or there's the high-performance (and very thirsty) E55 AMG with its 349bhp 5.4 V8.
The most basic trim, Classic, comes with air-con, a CD player, front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control, which should be enough for most people, especially if you can find a car with some choice options fitted.
Alternatively, hunt out an Elegance model, which adds alloy wheels and wood trim, or an Avantarde with sports suspension. Both gained leather seats as standard from mid-2001.