What's the used Mercedes E-Class estate like?
If someone tells you that estate cars like this, the Mercedes E-Class Estate, have no place in a world increasingly populated by SUVs, then feel free to raise an eyebrow – in full Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson fashion, too.
Unless you demand a high ride height, it's far from a second-rate body style, and this 2016-2023 version of the E-Class Estate proves it with impressive luxury and practicality, not to mention reasonable costs when used.
As far as engines go, there are three diesel options: two different versions of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, and a quicker V6 unit. All of these do a good job of punching the E-Class through the air at a good lick, while offering reasonable economy. Petrol engines can be found in the four-wheel drive E 43 and E 63 super-sporting models, and these are wonderfully responsive but not for the faint-hearted or those without deep pockets.
The E-Class rides well, too, even better on its optional air suspension, and its handling is tidy. There is a little shake and shimmy from the standard steel-sprung cars over rougher roads at lower speeds, but it’s not enough to distract from the general comfort of the car.
However, where the E-Class really scores is its high-speed refinement. Having nine gears in its automatic gearbox – most of its rivals have ‘only’ eight – means at 70mph the engine ticks away quietly, while wind noise is well suppressed. Only a bit of rumble from the tyres stops it beating the peace and quiet served up by a BMW 5 Series at cruising speeds.
Inside is a spacious interior of rare class, with a distinctive dashboard and plenty of adjustability in the driving position. There’s a neat rotary controller for the infotainment system, too, and all the materials and plastics look and feel of a good quality. Its raison d’etre is the boot, though, which has masses of room with the rear seats up and a phenomenal amount with them down. You can even specify two optional pull-up seats in the boot to turn your E-Class into an SUV-busting seven-seater.
In 2020 the E-Class Estate was treated to a substantial facelift. The newer models consisted of an E220d, E200, E300de, E400d, E53 and E63 S.
Tweaks to the exterior styling included a new grille design and new bumpers. While the exterior changes are minor, Mercedes extensively reworked the E-Class’s electronics, allowing the firm to offer a host of new driver assistance systems, ‘energising’ comfort seats and its latest infotainment technology. The revised E-Class comes as standard with two 10.25in screens, for the MBUX infotainment and instrumentation, with 12.3in screens optional.
The revised engine line-up includes seven petrol and diesel plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants across the saloon and estate bodystyles, variously offering rear and four-wheel drive. Outputs for the PHEVs range from 154bhp to 362bhp for the petrol units and 158bhp to 326bhp for the diesels.
Other engine options include the four-cylinder M254 mild-hybrid petrol unit, along with six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, all of which now feature a 48V starter/alternator electric motor. The installation of the EQ Boost system has been tweaked to further improve fuel economy.
What used Mercedes E-Class estate will I get for my budget?
You’ll need to think around £15,000 as a starting point to buy an E-Class Estate of this generation, this for a late 2016 or early 2017 car with an average mileage for the year and a full service history to support it. Considering the amount of car you get for your money, and its obvious quality, this seems like a very good deal indeed.
Spend between £18,000 and £20,000 and you’ll step into a good 2018 or 2019 car with all the same criteria. Look to spend between £22,000 and £25,000 on higher-trim 2019 cars or lower-trim 2020 models and £25,000 to £35,000 on post-facelift 2021 and 2022 models, a little more for 2023 cars.
Check the value of a used Mercedes E-Class with What Car? Valuations
Find a used Mercedes E-Class Estate for sale here
How much does it cost to run a Mercedes E-Class estate?
The most economical engines are the diesels, not surprisingly, with the entry-level E 200d and E 220d averaging a claimed 67.3mpg under the older NEDC tests.
Under the later and more realistic WLTP tests the 2020 E220d records 50.4mpg, the E200 petrol 37.2mpg, the E300de diesel/electric plug-in 217.3mpg, the E400d 40.9mpg, the E53 29.7mpg, the E63 S 22.8mpg,
Tax for all cars registered after April 2017 will be at the flat rate, and there's currently a small saving on that for the hybrid, but any models costing over £40,000 will attract a supplementary charge that's payable for five years from the car's second year. The current flat rate is £180 per year for the annual VED tax (£170 per year for hybrids) and £390 per year for the supplementary tax.
Which used Mercedes E-Class estate should I buy?
For most buyers the 192bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel in the E 220 d will be the default choice, and it's our pick of the range, too. Why? Well it’s pretty punchy once you get above 1500rpm, enough that it’ll match a BMW 520d Touring and Volvo V90 in whisking you up to 70mph with relative ease, then settle itself into an effortless cruise. A lower-power 148bhp E 200 d is also available, but it’s slower with no benefit in emissions or economy, hence why we’d seek out the E 220 d instead.
If you fancy something silkier in an E-Class you need to move up to the six-cylinder E 350 d. This is a super-refined engine and pretty quick too - enough that it’ll breeze you past slower traffic - but the trade-off is it’s quite pricey to buy and run.
In terms of the trim, stick with the entry-level SE version. It comes with enough goodies to make life easy, such as power-folding door mirrors, parking sensors and a rear-view camera, with some agreeable luxuries too, including heated seats and leather trim.
AMG Line models are less easy to justify. The styling upgrades, including 19in wheels and sports suspension harm the ride and, oddly, man-made leather replaces the real cowhide you get in the SE.
Check out the Premium package option if you want more toys, which adds keyless entry, fully electrically operated front seats with lumbar support and memory settings, and a panoramic roof. A pricier Premium Plus package adds a 13-speaker sound system and adaptive LED headlights.
Our favourite Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate: E 220d SE
What alternatives should I consider to a used Mercedes E-Class estate?
The BMW 5 Series Touring sets the standards for driving pleasure in this class. It’s great to drive, with fine handling and a range of strong and efficient engines. On top of that, it’s comfortable and spacious and offers outstanding refinement.
The Volvo V90 is the firm’s best estate to date. It’s spacious, practical and classy inside, with lots of kit. On the minus side the boot is not as large as some of its rivals, including the E-Class, and it’s not as good to drive as the BMW.