- Published: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 11:09
SINGAPORE - Love the new E-Class? Chances are the wagon isn’t on your radar, because estates rarely are. It’s cars with four doors that sell well here, not those with a tailgate. That’s a shame, not merely because estates are properly useful, but because they’re a nice way to break away from the herd. As popular as the newly facelifted E-Class is going to become, it’s a fair bet that you won’t see all that many of these Estate versions around.
Want to know what you’re missing out on? The E 250 Estate actually has three naughty secrets that any would-be buyer should be aware of. First, the loading area goes from boot to bed in seconds. Pull either of two levers (one at the rear seatback, another at the tailgate opening) and the seats collapse nearly flat, with a smidgen over 2 metres of loading space available. Given that there are pull-up window shades, if your daughter’s date happens to show up in one of these, I suggest you bring out a carving knife.
There’s a luggage cover that can be set to rise with the automatic tailgate, and a pull-up cargo net to separate the loading area from the passenger cabin, and overall it’s clear that Mercedes knows how its wagons are used by people. No surprises there; it’s been building E-Class estates since 1976, after all.
What is a bit surprising is that the E 250 Estate turns out to be a nicer car to drive than the saloon, at least in Avantgarde trim. Like the four-door, the Avantgarde wagon gets the sporty grille with the centrally-mounted Merc emblem, 18-inch wheels and full LED headlamps so it looks nice and racy, but unlike the saloon, it does without the sports suspension.
That’s a noticeable plus, adding a suppleness to the ride that its four-door sibling lacks. The Avantgarde saloons don’t exactly crash hot-hatch-like over bumps, but the Estate shows just how smooth the going can be in an E-Class with 18-inch wheels. It glides along without detriment to the handling, too, the wide tyres giving plenty of grip around corners. Overall it’s more planted than playful, but it’s still possible to have fun in the wagon, hustling it around with more carefree enthusiasm than you’d have thought possible in such a large, boxy car.
The only engine option is the 211bhp turbo, and it’s a gem, offering refinement and so much ready torque that the Merc never really has to be put into ‘Sport’ mode to feel lively, so it does have the legs to match the racy Avantgarde face.
But you won’t see its final talent unless you peer under the boot floor. There’s a fold-up chair there, allowing you to conjure up seating for two more people in seconds. They’ll have to be small people, and on a hot day they’ll pester you to put the air-con on full blast, but at least they have their own seatbelts. If some members of your family aren’t full-grown and you don’t actually need a full-size MPV, the E 250 Estate is a viable seven-seater to consider. Is it on your radar now?
NEED TO KNOW
Engine 1,991cc, turbocharged in-line 4
Power 211bhp at 5500rpm
Torque 350Nm at 1200 - 4000rpm
Gearbox 7-speed automatic
Top Speed 233km/h
0-100kmh 7.8 seconds
Fuel efficiency 6.6L/100km
Price $277,888 with COE
Also Consider: Audi A6 Avant 2.0T, BMW 528i Touring
Photos by Derryn Wong