by Jared Rosenholtz
Combining luxury, practicality, and athleticism into a single vehicle is a tall order for any manufacturer, but if anyone can do it with style and refinement, it's the Germans. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon is just as plush as its sedan variant, while still expanding on the cargo area with a longer cabin that also accommodates up to two additional passengers. And, powered by a capable 362-horsepower turbocharged V6, it manages to deliver a sportier driving experience that similarly large wagons like the Volvo V90 or Jaguar XF Sportbrake are hard-pressed to match. You can expect a premium-level price tag for this all-rounder, but if you want it all, you're unlikely to find a better deal.
For 2019, the E 450 4Matic replaces the E 400 4Matic of the previous year. The V6 that comes standard also delivers 33 more horsepower than the old model. The steering wheel has also been redesigned, while two additional interior trims are offered to customize your cabin.
Riding on 18-inch alloy wheels, the Mercedes E-Class Wagon is very attractive, and not just because of its long list of features. As stately as its sedan variants, the station wagon is sleek and stylish, sporting the broad Mercedes grille up front, bordered by oval LED headlights nestled atop a bold lower bumper. The roof slopes a bit, which can cause headroom issues, and a sunroof comes standard, along with a power liftgate.
The station wagon doesn't differ too much from the base sedan when it comes to size. It measures in at 194.2 inches long with a wheelbase of 115.7 inches. With roof rails, the E-class stands 57.7 inches tall, while the space between the edges of its side mirrors measures 81.3 inches wide. It does weigh in a bit heavier than its sedan counterparts though, with a curb weight of 4,229 lbs (up 95 lbs more). These dimensions are very much in-line with similarly styled wagons like the Volvo V90, even if it does weigh in a couple hundred pounds lighter in its heavier guise.
Only one engine is offered to power the E-Class Wagon: a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 that develops 362 hp and 369 lb-ft for all four wheels. Rowing the gears for the luxurious Merc is a nine-speed automatic gearbox, although wheel-mounted shift paddles are provided for a more engaging experience.
While the wagon might be large and heavy, the turbocharged V6 provides more than enough power to move it around athletically. Getting up to 60 mph from a standstill takes as little 5.1 seconds, which is impressive for a vehicle aimed at family practically. This makes getting around town a dream, and even highway maneuvers like passing and merging require only the mildest of efforts.
An impressive amalgamation of style, utility, technology, and comfort, the E-Class Wagon manages to add driving excellence to its repertoire as well. With a choice between two steering modes, the steering is light and sharp around town in Comfort mode, while Sport mode adds weight for higher-speed maneuvers. Sadly, neither mode provides a truly sports-like driving experience, as the tires never communicate well with the steering wheel.
With a longer cabin, the E 450 is subjected to more crosswind pressure than the standard sedan, but it still remains composed on the road, even around tighter turns. The heavier wagon may roll a little more, but it is still one of the more dextrous family wagons on the market. This makes it just as qualified at speeding down the highway as it is at cruising around town.
The quick and forceful acceleration provided by the turbocharged V6 engine is evenly matched by the competent brakes, which engage promptly when applied, and build in power progressively to bring the vehicle to a controlled and confident halt.
Ride comfort leaves little to be desired, with a suspension that perfectly absorbs road abrasions while maintaining cabin composure. The seats are superbly cushioned, while noise is dampened, although the purr of the V6 can be channeled through the speakers to deliver a titillating soundtrack for your driving pleasure.
While it may be a luxury wagon, with a throaty V6 engine, the E 450 manages to maintain a fair degree of economy. With an EPA-estimated 19/26/22 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles, the Merc is on par with similar luxury rivals like the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, at 18/25/21 mpg, and only slightly behind the Volvo V90, at 21/31/25 mpg. As you'd expect from a luxury Mercedes, it burns premium gasoline, but with a 21.1-gallon fuel tank, it can cover 464 miles before refueling. This is a fair amount more than either rival.
Upholstered in MB-Tex synthetic leather, the interior of the wagon is plush as can be. But as comfortable as it is, there could be more room. There is space for seven within the cabin, thanks to the rear-facing fold-down seats, although they are only large enough for small children.
While legroom up front is generous, it is a bit more restrictive. Headroom all-round accommodates only adults of average height. The front seats are power-adjustable with up to three positions saved to memory. This helps improve visibility, which can be a bit poor due to the sloping roof and broad rear columns.
Available colors for the interior include Black, Nut Brown/Black, and Macchiato Beige/Black, while a variety of trims can complement the upholstery, including Burl Walnut, Brown Ash, or Piano Black Lacquer. Nappa leather upholstery is also available at extra cost.
The station wagon variant of the E-Class supplies more cargo capacity than any of its kin. Behind the second row of seats, 35 cubic feet of space is presented to buyers. This is a bit more than the Jaguar Sportbrake's 31.7 cubic feet and a lot more than the Volvo V90's 25.5 cubic feet. But the rear seats in the E-Class can be folded to open up a total of 64 cubic feet of cargo space, which is still more than the Volvo's maximum of 53.9 cubic feet. This is more than enough space for all the luggage a family of five could ever need to enjoy even a long vacation.
While cargo space is generous, small-item storage is no more impressive than a regular sedan. There is a standard glove compartment and narrow door pockets. There is no in-dash bin to speak of, although there is a bin under the cargo floor, albeit a shallow one.
The wagon comes well-appointed, living up to the expectations of a luxury family vehicle. Synthetic leather upholstery is complemented by power-adjustable front seats with three-position memory. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, and a power tilt/slide sunroof. Mercedes Pre-Safe is included, comprising forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, along with a driver-attention system. Available features with packages or upgrades include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist and parking assist.
A particularly large 12.3-inch COMAND color display sits at the center of the infotainment suite. A touchpad controller and rotary dials grant access to Bluetooth interaction, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and navigation. HD Radio comes standard, but two dual USB ports are provided if you want a more manual connection for your phone. A wireless charging pad is available as an optional add-on, which comes with an additional USB port. The standard sound system can also be replaced with one of two Burmester premium sound setups, while SiriusXM is available to augment your music options.
J.D. Power rates the wagon at 80 out of 100 for dependability, only a few points shy of its first-place award. The vehicle has not received many complaints, and it has only been subject to a handful of recalls. The 2019 recalls included faulty deployment of the driver-side airbag, lack of engagement of the brake assist, and failure of the steering rack locknut. Mercedes-Benz offers a basic and drivetrain warranty for 50,000-miles/50-months, with multiple alternate coverage options available.
The low-volume luxury wagon has not been crash-tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS. Standard safety features comprise a rearview camera, BAS, stability and traction control, crosswind assist, Pre-Safe (forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking), and seven airbags: dual front, driver knee, front side, and side curtain. Available features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, a surround-view camera and Pre-Safe Plus.
Luxury wagons claim to combine superior levels of comfort with smooth and engaging driving experiences, along with high-tech features and comprehensive safety systems for those who believe in putting their families first. It's a bold claim, but the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon is more than eager to back up these assertions.
With a more powerful turbo V6 than the base engines found in direct rivals like the Volvo V90 or Jaguar XF Sportbrake, the Mercedes wagon promises a more athletic experience than your average family-oriented station wagon, and it does so without sacrificing the elements that make wagons so appealing. With impressive cargo capacity, above-average handling dynamics, and a long list of standard features, the E-Class Wagon is hard to match on the road.
But for this perfect combination vehicle, you do have to shell out a pretty penny. The Merc doesn't come cheap, and its fuel economy is slightly worse than many four-cylinder-powered rivals. Slapping on all the extra options to bring the wagon up to unparalleled levels of comfort and luxury will see the price hike as high as $100k. If you're willing to pay the piper, then the E-Class Wagon is certainly an excellent car worthy of your consideration.
The base E 450 wagon will cost you $66,100, but this can quickly climb to over $90,000 as you add the pricey package and standalone options to customize your wagon to suit your personal needs. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and destination charges of $995.
|E450 4MATIC Wagon||
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
If you want the station wagon body, your only choice is the E 450 4Matic. However, there are a host of available packages and standalone features to customize the car to your taste. Some add-ons worth considering include the Warmth and Comfort Package ($1,050), which adds heated front seats and steering wheel. Tri-zone climate control ($760) means everyone can enjoy the temperature they prefer, while the Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) adds a long list of advanced safety features to keep the whole family safe.
Powered by a standard 250-hp turbo four-cylinder, with an optional 316-hp turbo and supercharged variant, the Volvo doesn't have quite as much power as the Mercedes E-Class. Its suspension is a little more susceptible to larger bumps, too. It's extremely well-appointed, though, with quad-zone climate control and Pilot Assist autonomous driving coming standard. And while the V90 supplies an impressive 53.9 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, the E 450 still beats it by 10 cubic feet. But, with a lower MSRP and only marginally less efficient mileage, the Volvo is slightly cheaper. However, the Merc's impressive handling and all-round excellence are worth the extra cost, making the better choice here if your budget isn't too tight.
While the standard powertrain on the Sportbrake is more than adequate at 296 hp and 295 lb-ft, it's the optional supercharged V6 with 380 hp, that really impresses. This power pairs well with the Jag's excellent handling characteristics to deliver a very engaging driving experience for a large wagon. However, the XF does make some sacrifices to excel in performance. It comes with fewer standard features, and the ride comfort is disappointing for a cushy wagon with such a high price tag. The cargo space is decent, however, with 31.7 cubic feet standard and a maximum of 69.7 cubic feet. The lack of advanced safety features is a let down in a car targeted at larger families. Overall, the Mercedes wagon delivers comparable performance without sacrificing in any of the areas that the Jag does, making it the better pick for the price.