by Deiondre van der Merwe
Wagons are a dying breed for fans of German luxury cars, and yet, somehow, Mercedes-Benz persists in producing the E-Class Wagon. There was a time when wagons were reserved for trips to the kids' soccer matches, but that time isn't now, with many consumers opting for more space, housed in a more appealing package than your average cookie-cutter SUV. The slopey E-Class embodies practicality and luxury in a long-roofline package that's certainly easy on the eyes. An applaudable amount of standard features grace the wagon and the 362 horsepower generated by the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 doesn't hurt either. Still, it has its work cut out for it with rivals including the Jaguar XF Sportbrake and the Volvo V90.
The 2020 model is getting ready for a midlife refresh, so it goes on physically unaltered. However, some changes have been made to the equipment roster, adding blind spot monitoring, a parking damage detector, keyless entry, push-button start, and a new leather option. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster has now been added to the Premium Package.
|E450 4MATIC Wagon||
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
Not to be mistaken for your average wagon, the E450 knows what it has and flaunts it. The front end bears the classic twin-blade grill and is set off by a set of full-LED headlights. Moving down a shapely side profile to the rear sees another set of LED lights that sit well above contoured chrome tailpipes. Its classy demeanor is set off further by 18-inch alloy wheels.
A total length of 194.2 inches makes the E450 marginally shorter than a V90 and Jaguar XF Sportbrake, and the same goes for its 115.7-inch wheelbase. It's also on the narrow side in comparison to the competition with a width of 81.3 inches including the mirrors. The wagon's hunkered look is attributable to a low height, and the E450 stands at 57.7 inches tall. A portly curb weight of 4,343 lbs means that it's heavier than both the Jaguar and the Volvo.
A feisty twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 power plant makes an easy task of dragging around an over four thousand pound hunk of metal. A nine-speed automatic gearbox rifles through gears expertly and the amalgam drives 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, thanks to the standard-equipped 4MATIC system. The combination allows the E450 to run from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, making it quicker than the similarly AWD supercharged Jag. The motor offers a subtle growl and ample power, but it's let down by a high curb weight. The gearbox does a fine job of keeping the V6 on the boil, however, slurring smoothly in Comfort mode and sharpening up shifts in sportier driving modes.
A pleasant surprise offered by the E450 is that from the driver's seat, it feels far less yacht-like than one would assume after glancing at its outward appearance. It tackles undulations with ease, and the already soft ride is made even more pillowy when the optional air suspension is specced. Maximum comfort can be obtained in Comfort mode, and the wagon will effortlessly cruise with little to no interruptions. Brisk acceleration is delivered by the Merc, thanks to the fireball under the hood, and the brakes perform well and eagerly without the sharpness that drives faces into headrests. The wagon manages dexterity around the bends that the Volvo lacks, although the Jaguar XF Sportbrake is a far more involving driving machine.
One of the few categories where the E450 leaves a lot to be desired in, is its fuel economy. Its EPA estimates of 19/26/22 mpg best the V6 Jaguar XF Sportbrake's 18/35/21 mpg figures. It's put to shame, however, by the Volvo V90's EPA estimates of 21/31/25 mpg. A large 21.1-gallon fuel tank allows for a vast range, however, and you can expect to cruise for approximately 460 miles before a gas stop will be necessary.
Premium materials clothe the entire cabin of the luxury wagon and the E450 claims a maximum of seven occupants in the wagon, thanks to an innovative, but slightly claustrophobic and uncomfortable, rear-facing seat system in the back. Its 41.7-inch front legroom measurement is bested by the Volvo V90, but at this size, even the tallest of occupants won't be wanting for space. Multiway power-adjustable front seats with memory and four-way lumbar support allow for maximum visibility and comfort, and the driving position is supremely comfortable. Second-row space is decent, too, and the 36.1 inches of legroom is more spacious than the Volvo. The curious rear-facing third-row seats are best reserved for children, as you need to climb in through the tailgate, and the seating position doesn't favor anyone with legs. Standard Black MB-Tex leatherette and natural grain Brown Ash wood trim give the Mercedes an overall look of plush sophistication.
The E450 offers class-leading trunk space and its 35 cubic feet of trunk space outshines the Volvo V90's 25.5 cubic-foot offering by a mile. The German wagon is only slightly bigger than the XF Sportbrakes' 31.7 cubic feet of space. There's ample trunk space for an extended holiday with the family, even if you're Tom and Kate Baker. Seats fold down to open up a total of 64 cubic feet, which is still more than the V90, but around five cubes less than the XF.
General storage space is generous enough, but narrow door pockets are a bit of a letdown in a car this size, but the glove box is decent, at least, as is the storage bin beneath the center armrest.
It might be the lesser of the two wagons offered by Mercedes-Benz, but the E450 is still an E-Class, and as such comes packed with typical E-Class features. These include a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, keyless entry, push-button start, and a hands-free power liftgate. A leather-clad multifunction steering wheel is a standard feature along with multi-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, navigation, and 64-color ambient lighting. Extra features are available in the form of heated seats, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, soft-close doors, and adaptive cruise control. Buyers can also opt for a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation cluster and a head-up display. Standard safety features are inclusive of a traditional rearview camera and modern safety tech appears in the form of active brake assist, driver-attention assist, crosswind assist, blind spot monitoring, Pre-Safe technology, and adaptive braking. The E450 is outshined by the Volvo V90 in terms of standard-fitted indulgences, however.
Infotainment in the wagon is impressive and on par with rivals in the segment, with a 12.3-inch central infotainment screen with Mercedes' COMAND interface that can be controlled via the touchpad or the touch control buttons on the steering wheel. The infotainment system allows for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and boasts standard navigation. A crisp sound system allows for an entire Depeche Mode album without any distortion and HD Radio and Bluetooth streaming are standard. A head-up display can be added for an additional $1,100 and brings a more digital appearance to the cabin, and a 13-speaker Burmester Surround Sound system is available, too.
The 2020 E450 Wagon has been subject to one recall so far, relating to an inaccurate vehicle location being sent to emergency services in the event of a crash. Mercedes offers a four-year/50,000-mile basic, drivetrain and corrosion warranty. Roadside assistance is also included for the same period.
Safety is one of the E450 Wagon's distinguishing qualities and its sedan counterpart bagged a Top Safety Pick+ award for 2019, making it a great choice for the safety-conscious. The wagon remains officially unrated for safety by the IIHS, but scored five stars overall from the NHTSA. Its array of safety features and seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain, and a driver's knee airbag) gives some peace of mind. Standard safety tech is inclusive of blind-spot monitoring, adaptive braking, Pre-Safe technology, crosswind assist, and active brake assist. Adding the Driver Assistance Package to the mix will see the addition of active and evasive steering assist, lane keep and lane change assist, congestion emergency braking and emergency stop assist.
The Mercedes-Benz E450 is a sublime choice if you're doing some luxury wagon shopping. The confident German is proof that you can provide comfort and practicality without compromising on elegance and power, and it provides an admirable suite of safety features. At base-level, it's more powerful than both of its core rivals, although a Jaguar XF is a keener driver's tool. Its fuel consumption could be better, and additional packages can rack up the final asking price fairly quickly, but the E-Class Wagon offers fantastic cargo volume, and in a pinch, the ability to seat seven. It also offers a plush interior, commits to long drives eagerly, and comes with quite a bit to write home about in terms of its infotainment features. The E450 is a praiseworthy all-rounder in the segment and deserves a spot on your shortlist.
An MSRP of $66,100 (excluding licensing, taxes, and a $995 delivery fee) means that the E450 carries a heavier price tag than both the Jaguar XF Sportbrake and the Volvo V90, although a directly comparable XF S Sportbrake asks a few grand more. The E_Class Wagon is pricey to start and has the potential to get more exorbitant still with the addition of some packages and standalone add-ons. Adding the Premium Package for $2,800 will bring a digital instrument, heated front seats, SiriusXM functionality, wireless charging, and a premium Burmester Surround Sound system to the wagon, and the must-have Driver Assistance Package costs $2,250. Tri-zone climate control can be added for $760 as a standalone option, along with a $1,100 head-up display.
One trim level is available in the non-AMG E-Class Wagon range: the E450 4MATIC. We'd recommend opting for the Iridium Silver exterior paint option for $720 and the Macchiato Beige and Black upholstery at no extra cost. A good idea would be to spec the head-up display and take the Driver Assistance Package that adds notable features like lane keep assist, lane-change assist, active blind spot assist, and route-based speed adaptation. If your budget allows for it, the Air Body Control makes a difference to the comfort of the wagon and costs an additional $1,900, which brings the final asking price to a hefty $72,070 with the air suspension and $70,170 without. That places an ideal E-Class Wagon within a few hundred dollars of the Jaguar XF S Sportbrake.
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is closely priced to the E450 and offers a better exterior appearance over its German counterpart, but you'll need to spec the pricier supercharged V6 engine if you want any hope of the Jag competing in a straight line. The Mercedes beats the XF Sportbrake in terms of standard trunk space behind the second-row seats and offers a far more luxurious and modern interior, all while providing better fuel economy figures. The Jaguar's ride is crashier than the E-Class', but it's also more involving to drive and feels more tied down, making it a better driver's car. However, the XF can't match the level of standard and available safety features that the Merc proudly parades. Both are similar in what they do, but the XF is more enjoyable to drive, while the E-Class is vastly more luxurious, and objectively, is the better wagon.
Over $16,000 separates the two wagons, with the Merc bearing the steeper price tag. The German wagon offers vastly more power from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 than the turbo 2.0-liter four-pot in the Volvo manages, but makes a sacrifice for the power when it comes to figures at the pumps, falling several mpg behind the Volvo. The E-Class is also vastly more practical, not only offering more cargo volume, but also making provision for an extra two passengers - albeit akwardly so. The Volvo offers excellent fuel economy, a luxurious and comfortable interior, and loads of standard features across its three trims, but ultimately, the E450 fits the bill just a little better as a modern executive wagon - largely thanks to its spaciousness and extra performance.