Once the transportation of choice in the '70s USA, wagons are fading into obscurity, and only a few remain today. There isn't a single plain-Jane car among them, as they all try to differentiate themselves and attract buyers by being different from the stuffy stereotype. Like its natural rivals, the Volvo V90 Cross Country and Audi A6 allroad, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain sits on lifted suspension and offers a modicum of off-road ability and standard AWD to appeal to the SUV lifestyle market. These premium wagons sit above the like-minded but cheaper Subaru Outback and the sportier and more expensive Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. The E450 All-Terrain uses Merc's familiar mild-hybrid turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine with 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, driving all four wheels. With a huge trunk and rear-facing third-row jump seats that have featured on Mercedes wagons for half a century, the All-Terrain aims to provide a car-like driving experience and remarkable practicality to lure people away from SUVs. Has it worked?
In 2016, when the current S213 generation of the wagon was still new, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain wagon did not yet exist, and the wagon range was made up of normal road-biased wagons. Over the years, derivatives came and went, and this year, no regular bread-and-butter road-biased wagons remain, only the off-road-capable E450 All-Terrain featured here and performance AMG-fettled E63 S. It's the last model year for both, as a redesigned S214 E-Class wagon will debut for 2024. As for the run-out 2023 E-Class All-Terrain, everything stays pretty much the same, save for a price increase of about $3k.
The price of a 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is $71,250 this year - about $3k more than it cost last year. This is the MSRP figure and does not include the cost of any extras or the $1,150 destination fee.
Unfortunately, the E-Class All-Terrain is not as comprehensively specced as we'd like at the price, and in order to get the upgraded Burmester audio system, a surround-view camera, and automatic parking, you'd have to add the $2,290 Premium package. Quite a long list of driver assists are also locked up in the $1,950 Driver Assistance package, notably adaptive cruise control with stop & go, lane-keep assist, and automatic emergency braking. Specified like this, the E-Class All-Terrain will cost over $75k.
The interior is of high quality, with leatherette upholstery and wood finishes. It has all the latest tech, but not all features are standard. The trunk-mounted +2 child seats make it unique in the wagon class.
Thanks to a major update two years ago, the interior of the E-Class All-Terrain is still modern and full of the latest technology, as seen in the large dual digital displays. The design still looks good, and the materials are of excellent quality, from the open-pore wood trim to the very convincing imitation leather on the seats. There is plenty of space inside as well, and the rear-facing jump seats that pop out of the cargo floor are a party trick the competition can't match.
A slab of curved wood trim sweeps across the dashboard, with four round air vents set into it and the dual screens above it. Mercedes still provides a touchpad controller on the center console as an alternative to using the touchscreen, and physical climate controls remain, which we applaud. A few standard features that should really be standard at this price remain on the options list, however, such as genuine leather upholstery and a heated steering wheel.
Thanks to a substantial 115.7-inch wheelbase, the E-Class All-Terrain's interior space is competitive and slots in right between the V90 Cross Country and A6 allroad. The second row doesn't quite offer the expansive headroom and legroom of an SUV, but adults will fit without a problem thanks to the long roof, which doesn't sweep down steeply as in so many coupe-style sedans and SUVs nowadays. But what makes the All-Terrain unique is the rear-facing jump seats in the trunk that are big enough for children and turn the wagon into a seven-seater - ideal for the school run. They're as safe as the rest of the seating positions, thanks to their own integrated seatbelts, and the youngsters will have a lot of fun peering at traffic through the rear window.
Probably thanks to having to ensure there is enough room for the rear-facing child seats, the E-Class All-Terrain's trunk space is huge, not just for a wagon in this class, but for any type of car, SUVs included. The total trunk volume of 35 cu-ft behind the second row is enormous, and this figure easily trounces that of the V90 Cross Country (25.5 cu-ft) and A6 allroad (30 cu-ft). Folding down the 40/20/40-split rear seats frees up a 64-cu-ft cavern.
Interior stowage for bits and bobs is good, with a glovebox, four door pockets, and lidded center-console storage, all of decent size. Beneath the lid at the front of the center console are two cupholders and a handy place to store your mobile phone - which turns into a wireless charging pad if you tix that box. There's a storage net on the side of the transmission tunnel in the front passenger's footwell.
|Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain||Volvo V90 Cross Country||Audi A6 allroad|
|37.5 in. front|
38.2 in. rear
|38.7 in. front|
37.7 in. rear
|38.3 in. front |
39.5 in. rear
|41.7 in. front|
36.1 in. rear
|42.2 in. front|
35.9 in. rear
|41.3 in. front |
37.4 in. rear
|35 ft³ -64 ft³||25.2 ft³- 53.9 ft³||30 ft³ - 59.3 ft³|
The seats in the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain wagon are covered in MB-Tex faux leather, and a variety of interior colors are available. Plain Black is standard, but combinations with Black include Nut Brown and Macchiato Beige. Alternatively, there's Neva Grey and Macchiato Beige paired with Magma Grey, but the latter also requires the MB-Tex-covered dashtop at a cost of $350. Genuine leather in the same color combinations is available for $1,620, or you can opt for an even higher grade of Nappa leather for $2,990, which automatically compels the $350 MB-Tex dashtop.
Natural Grain Black Ash Wood trim is found accenting the cabin, but it can be switched out for Brown Ash Wood, Natural Grain Ash Wood in grey or brown, or Brown Burl Walnut Wood at no extra cost. The only extra-cost option is Manufaktur "Flowing Lines" Piano Black Lacquer at $1,300.
The list of features in the All-Terrain is fairly comprehensive. As standard, you get a tilting/sliding power sunroof, a power liftgate, keyless entry and go, heated power front seats with memory, dual-zone climate control, 64-color adjustable ambient interior lighting, a garage-door opener, and a 115V power outlet. Optionally available are items such as three-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heating for the rear seats and steering wheel, and soft-close doors.
The MBUX infotainment system has dual 12.3-inch digital displays - one a gauge cluster and the other a touchscreen, which can also be controlled via the center-console-mounted touchpad controller. System features include voice control, "Hey, Mercedes" keyword activation, navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming, HD radio, front and rear USB-C ports, and a seven-speaker FrontBass audio system.
Features that can be optionally added include a wireless charging pad ($200), the MBUX Interior Assistant ($200), and augmented video for the navigation system ($350). SiriusXM with a six-month Platinum Plan subscription and a 13-speaker Burmester audio system are also available, but these two options can only be had as part of the $2,290 Premium package that also contains other features, such as a surround-view camera and rear cross-traffic alert.
|E450 4Matic All-Terrain Wagon|
|Heated power front seats|
|Three-zone climate control|
|Dual 12.3" displays with phone mirroring|
|7-speaker FrontBass audio system|
|13-speaker Burmester audio system|
The powertrain is powerful and smooth, delivering strong performance and decent economy, but it's not as quick as the A6 allroad or as thrifty as the V90 Cross Country. Handling and comfort are good, although the optional 20-inch alloys spoil the ride.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain's engine is the familiar EQ Boost mild-hybrid 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder used in many other Mercedes cars, and in this application, it develops 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The 21-hp starter-generator system plumps up the mid-range power curve and torque-fills to eliminate turbo lag, but in the All-Terrain, the engine lacks the E53's electric supercharger. There is only one drivetrain configuration, and that is a nine-speed automatic transmission mated to 4Matic all-wheel drive. This is enough power to give the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain a 0-60 sprint of 5.3 seconds - quicker than the V90 Cross Country but slower than the A6 allroad. Top speed is unimportant in a wagon, but it's limited to 130 mph here. If trailering is required, opt for one of the Mercedes SUVs, as no towing capacity or factory hitch is listed for the All-Terrain.
The E450 handled better back before it was an All-Terrain, since the higher-riding All-Terrain is indeed more unsettled by mid-corner bumps while leaning and heaving a little more before the body settles. Wheel choice is important, and we recommend sticking to the standard 19-inch wheels, as the optional 20s undoes much of what the four-corner air suspension tries to achieve. Changing direction and steering response are a bit languid but secure enough, and the wagon will hold the road well. The powertrain is a pleasure to use, with the refined engine issuing strong punch, the nine-speed auto swapping cogs with swift assuredness, and the 4Matic AWD providing resolute traction in all conditions. Dynamic Select allows you to tailor the car's performance characteristics according to your needs and offers an Eco, Comfort, Sport, Off-Road, Off-Road+, and a customizable Individual mode.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain's mpg figures are helped by the mild-hybrid system, so the EPA's gas mileage estimates of 21/28/24 mpg for the city/highway/combined cycles are decent, matching the combined figure of the A6 allroad.
With an ample fuel capacity of 21.1 gallons, an impressive 506-mile range is possible on a full tank.
|3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas |
|21 / 28 / 24 mpg|
Some driver assists expected at this price are absent, notably a surround-view camera, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, but all of these can be added via the Driver Assistance and Premium packages.
The NHTSA's safety review of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain wagon returns full marks in all categories. The IIHS hasn't tested the wagon specifically, but the related E-Class Sedan earned top marks as well as a Top Safety Pick+ award for 2022.
Standard safety features are somewhat lacking, and the ones we would have liked to see standard at this price level include adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view camera. These are all on the options menu, along with automatic emergency braking, the Pre-Safe system, active lane-keep and lane-change assist, evasive steering assist, and rear side airbags. As standard, you get forward-collision warning with automatic braking initiation, the Mercedes emergency eCall system, blind-spot monitoring, automatic LED headlights with auto high beams, crosswind assist, rain-sensing wipers, and the expected federally mandated features such as airbags (nine in total), ABS, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, and a backup camera.
|E450 4MATIC All-Terrain Wagon|
|Rear side airbags|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
There is no separate J.D. Power quality and reliability rating for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain model, but the E-Class as a whole performs well, scoring 81 out of 100. It's certainly a lot better than the Audi A6's poor score of 63.
Should something go wrong, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain's warranty will keep you covered for four years/50,000 miles - the same as the powertrain warranty.
In the same way a V90 Cross Country is a high-riding V90 wagon, the E-Class All-Terrain is the E-Class wagon that has been jacked up by 1.2 inches, given black plastic fender flares, a unique grille and lower air dam, and under-body skid plates. It runs on 19-inch alloy wheels, but 20-inch AMG alloys are available. All exterior lighting is of the LED variety, and the headlights activate automatically. A power liftgate and power tilting/sliding sunroof are standard, but a power panoramic roof costs extra. We love how wagons look, and the All-Terrain is an idea combination of sleek and sporty. The available Night package blacks out all the exterior trim, while you can also order chrome door-handle inserts and LED logo projectors.
The Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain is a roomy, versatile wagon with an enormous trunk, a handy +2 third row, and decent soft-roading ability courtesy of its height-adjustable air suspension and 4Matic AWD. Truth be told, it's probably all the SUV most people will ever need and has all the off-road ability necessary to traverse gravel roads and terrain where cars can't go. But the fact that it's good seems to matter little to Americans who still prefer the image that goes with SUV ownership, with wagons relegated to an ever-shrinking niche with an underserved stuffy image. So extolling its undeniable merits feels a little futile. Those who buy it will find it's all the car they'll ever need.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain: