2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain

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2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Test Drive Review: Dirt-Loving Family Wagon

by Jake Lingeman

The humble station wagon used to be the car for families as diverse as the Bradys, the Foremans, and probably the most famous, the Griswolds in National Lampoon's Vacation. But wagons fell out of favor for high-riding and cavernous minivans in the '80s and '90s, which then gave way to SUVs and crossovers, but some stuck around, including this, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain. Looking at the beefy black cladding on the arches, you might call this a crossover, but it's really an attempt at disguising the humble wagon in much the same way as Audi has the A6 allroad or Volvo has with the V90 Cross Country. Deception, it seems, is the key to saving the station wagon for future generations to enjoy.

With a price starting at a surprisingly reasonable $67,600, the E450 4MATIC All-Terrain Wagon - as it's officially titled - is a high-riding wagon powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six developing 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque before the EQ Boost mild hybrid assistance joins the fray. To fit in with its pseudo-SUV styling, all-wheel drive gives this wagon a penchant for dirt. However, from behind the wheel, it feels like a regular sedan, and with spacious seating for five, exceptional handling, and great fuel economy, this high-rider could be the best of both worlds in one exceptional package. Then, when you thought it couldn't get any better, the E450 All-Terrain has two rear-facing jump seats to make this a seven-seater.

Read in this review:

8.8
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2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain?

Mercedes-Benz is dumping the entire E-Class Wagon range and only the All-Terrain and AMG E63 will be available going forward. Along with the rest of the E-Class range, the All-Terrain boasts a significant design upgrade both inside and outside for the 2021 model year. The old COMAND infotainment interface has been dropped in favor of Merc's newer MBUX infotainment system inside the cabin, while under the hood, the old AMG-derived twin-turbo V6 has been replaced with Merc's latest 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six with mild-hybrid assistance.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful straight-six engine
  • Massive trunk
  • Beautiful premium interior
  • Refined ride
  • Relatively good off-road
  • Third-row jump seats come in handy in a pinch
  • Options are expensive
  • Larger tires hurt the ride quality
  • Not as accomplished off-road as a real SUV

Best Deals on 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
E450 4MATIC All-Terrain Wagon
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$67,600
See All 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Trims and Specs

2021 E-Class All-Terrain Exterior

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Front View CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Forward Vision CarBuzz
See All 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 194.8 in
  • Wheelbase 115.7 in
  • Height 58.9 in
  • Max Width 73.7 in
  • Front Width 63.3 in
  • Rear Width 63.4 in

Exterior Colors

  • Obsidian Black Metallic +$720
  • Graphite Grey Metallic +$720
  • Mojave Silver Metallic +$720
  • Cirrus Silver Metallic +$720
  • Selenite Grey Metallic +$720
  • Lunar Blue Metallic +$720
  • designo Cardinal Red Metallic +$1,080
  • designo Diamond White Metallic +$1,515
  • designo Selenite Grey Magno +$3,950
  • Polar White
  • Black

2021 E-Class All-Terrain Performance

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Front Angle View CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Rearward Vision CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Engine Mercedes-Benz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

But it's the handling department that wagons excel at compared to equivalent SUVs. Around expressway cloverleafs, or roundabouts, or any curvy county roads, the E450 feels as planted as a sports sedan. It stays mostly flat, especially in the sportier drive modes, and the long wheelbase makes high-speed maneuvers feel safe. Then there's the standard air suspension, which is a crucial part of how this wagon feels.

Speaking of drive modes, the E 450 gets two off-road modes that both raise the vehicle higher than its standard 5.75 inches of clearance. The first one is for your average rutted roads, slippery roads and maybe driving on grass, which is always fun. Off-Road+ turns off the traction control and engages hill-descent control at speeds of up to 28 mph. We used the setting at a muddy piece of property and found it more than up to the task of navigating narrow two track roads and semi-deep, rocky trails.

Our only complaint in this area is the 20-inch wheels equipped to our tester with 245/40-profile rubber. They have a very low profile and though the suspension sucks up most of the bounce from the road, there's a harshness to the bumps that doesn't feel great. At one point we barreled from an asphalt road to dirt with a decent dip at the edge. The E 450 banged, loudly enough that we had to get out and check the tires for a flat. Stick with the standard 19s, which come equipped with slightly higher-profile 245/45 all-season tires. Better yet, ask your dealer to hook you up with some tall 18s lying around, even though these aren't technically an option.

2021 E-Class All-Terrain Interior

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Steering Wheel CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Seat Adjustments CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Speaker CarBuzz
See All 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.7 in
  • Front Head Room 37.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.2 in

2021 E-Class All-Terrain Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Trunk Space CarBuzz
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Cargo Space CarBuzz

2021 E-Class All-Terrain Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain a good car?

We love wagons, in almost any form, for all the reasons we've mentioned above. You get all the dynamic benefits of a sedan with the space of an SUV. And modern wagons just look cooler than crossovers, although the Brady's Pontiac Satellite longroof was undeniably cool.

Mercedes no longer sells a regular version of the E-Class Wagon, with this crossover in its place to lure in buyers who might have set out in search of an SUV, and we think it's a smart move. This particular wagon, with the buttery-smooth inline-six and EQ Boost, is plenty fast for anyone not looking to lay rubber around every corner, and the stop/start system is up there with the Porsche Panamera hybrid as one of the best we've ever experienced. It's also about half the price of the AMG wagon, vastly more comfortable, and decently capable off-road. The interior strikes a fine balance of spaciousness, luxury, and practicality, and the driving dynamics are almost flawless. We wish Mercedes would include more standard driver assistance for the money though.

Personally, this writer isn't a fan of the black body cladding, but it's a necessity in a world obsessed with SUVs. Rivals like Volvo and Audi all have something similar, but the powertrain here is by far the best. Of course, rivals are cheaper and some are more spacious. We definitely think the 2021 Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain does enough to justify a lead in this segment, but we wouldn't sign a deal without test driving the Volvo first.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain Comparisons

Audi A6 allroad CarBuzz
Volvo V90 Cross Country Volvo
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain362 hp21/28 mpg$68,400
Audi A6 allroad 335 hp21/28 mpg$66,900
Volvo V90 Cross Country 295 hp22/29 mpg$56,200

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain vs Audi A6 allroad

These two vehicles are remarkably similar, right down to the cylinder count and mild-hybrid assistance. The Audi only has 335 hp to play with, but its 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds matches the Mercedes claim. Mercedes wins the fuel efficiency battle though, 2 mpg more efficient across the board than the Audi, and we peg it as having the smoother powertrain, too.

It's another win for the Mercedes when it comes to cargo capacity. It offers five cubic feet more room with the seats folded up, and it has a third row of seats in a pinch. Both have classy, comfortable interiors, but we think Audi pulls it off a little better, and it comes with more toys as standard, with more safety features and the likes of tri-zone climate control, a 360-degree camera, and a 16-speaker B&O sound system. Despite this, its pricing starts at $1,700 less. The Audi may represent better value in this regard, but the Merc makes the most sense to us from a practicality perspective, and the added fuel savings paired with more power - smoother power at that - sway us in favor of the E-Class, if only by a little.

See Audi A6 allroad Review

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain vs Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo's V90 Cross Country might just be the most handsome wagon out there, but looks alone can't win this fight. In one crucial way, Volvo is superior. The Swedish brand always includes a lot of safety features as standard despite its base price being nearly $13,000 less than the Merc.

The Mercedes does make the V90 feel old, however. Volvo's twincharged four-cylinder engines were impressive a few years ago, but not anymore. At just 316 hp combined, it's 46 hp down on the Merc and is nowhere near as refined. Yet the Mercedes is still able to match the Volvo's gas mileage.

We're thankful Volvo started this whole minimalist interior trend, but the Sensus touchscreen system is also starting to show its age. No matter how well you know it, you still have to look down to do something as simple as changing the cabin's temperature. The Merc's tech is much newer and much easier to use, and dare we say it, its interior also feels fresher. The Volvo may be slightly more spacious, but it doesn't have third-row seats, and the trunk is smaller than the Mercedes. We'll always have a soft spot for Volvo wagons, and the V90 CC is exceptionally cool, but the 2021 E-Class All-Terrain is a superior car, even if you have to pay a fair bit more for that superiority. If you're shopping on a budget, though, the V90 is exceptional value for money.

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