- A luxury limousine look and feel
- Excellent interiors with loads of rear passenger space
- Superb technology and connectivity in the latest generation
- It's not as fun to drive as some rivals
- It can be expensive to service and maintain
- Some elements of the older models feel dated
If you’re looking for a luxury executive car, there’s no shortage of options from Audi, BMW and Jaguar. But if you want a car to nip around town, cruise long distances or commute for business, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is likely to tick all your boxes.
The 2013 version has sharper edges and a limousine look, while the latest 2016 model is more like a smaller version of the top of the range Mercedes-Benz S-Class. They both offer a fantastic ride and great interior space, particularly for back seat passengers.
There’s also a wide range of models, so there should be an option to suit you.
The E-Class isn’t short on opulence and style. There’s an elegant multi-layer look to the dashboard with a wide range of trim choices. The leather seats are comfortable for long journeys and the legroom in the back is vast.
The materials are all high-quality and the gearstick is easy to use. The Comand infotainment system is a little fiddly and lacks some functionality, but most people will soon get used to it.
Boot space is excellent at 540 litres or 640 litres if you opt for the estate, both of which will hold several suitcases. With the hybrid model, you’ll lose around 100 litres because of the specialist technology that takes up space.
The E-Class is all about discreet and effortless power, unless you go for one of the mighty AMG E63 cars. For the rest, it offers a relaxed drive, minimal fuss and only the slightest effort if you need to overtake or tackle a hill.
It has responsive steering and the suspension cushions most bumps in the road well. It even keeps things reasonably level if you push a little harder in the corners. The seating position is good and there are lots of adjustment options, which provides a relaxed ride. External noises are kept to a minimum, even in the very popular diesel models.
The same is true with the latest generation. You can always find a model with optional AMG suspension tweaks and adjustable settings. The AMG trim is all about performance and will provide a better driving experience.
Prices can vary enormously depending on which model you choose and what equipment packs were fitted when new. Depending on mileage, it’s likely you’ll pay slightly more than you would for an equivalent Audi, BMW or Jaguar, but there should be a specification and price to suit your budget.
Running costs aren’t cheap, so be prepared to shop around for a service or if you need anything fixed. The diesels are generally the cheapest to run if you do more than the average number of miles (12,000) per year. The hybrid models will give you some electric-only range so you’ll save on running costs but they cost more to buy.
Mercedes-Benz has a below average reputation for reliability, but the E-Class is a star in its range. It’s the highest-ranked large and luxury car in the latest JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study. However, there are some common electrical and engine issues.
Safety is always high on the agenda for Mercedes-Benz and the E-Class is no exception with everything from collision protection to lane departure warning. Look for options on the latest generation like the remote parking system, which allows you to forward or reverse park into a space or garage using an app on a smartphone. Both generations received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP.
Best for economy - E300 BlueTec hybrid
Best for family - E320 CDI estate
Best for fun - AMG E63
The E220d is the one to go for with its great engine that delivers just the right amount of power for most. It’s also extremely economical. It’s cheaper than some of the other engine options, which means you can choose a model with a higher trim such as SE, AMG-Line or one with option packs that would have been fitted when new.