It might seem like an oxymoron to call a family car ‘sexy’, especially a wagon with all its emphasis on function over form.
However, when it comes to the E-Class All-Terrain it’s clear that Mercedes Benz have definitely gone to great lengths to make this people-mover more than a little racy.
Here’s what we found when we took the Benz from Sydney to Byron Bay to Brisbane and to Buderim, then back….With a baby in tow.
From the outside the E-Class All-Terrain exudes a sense of undeniable confidence. Yes, it’s big and practical but streamlined within an inch of its life with an elegant front grille that almost smirks with seductive personality.
Perhaps that’s why we often noticed passers-by doing double-takes. This is a car that creeps up on you and before you know it you’re throwing it admirable glances at though its smooth five-spoke alloy wheels just winked at you in the sunlight.
You start to really feel the opulence as soon as you open the front doors, where you’ve got touches that feel trademark Mercedes Benz.
There’s the souped-up wide flat screen display that takes up more than two-thirds of the cabin.
It appears to float out of the dashboard thanks to luxe gold track lighting—which you can change the colour of, should you so desire.
The rest of the five-seat interior is all leather. Certainly intimidating for parents with untidy toddlers but once you get over the initial fears and make no eating anywhere near the vehicle a rule, you immediately come to appreciate these finer details.
It also turns out that errant baby spew slides quite easily off an all-leather surface. And when you’re caretaker of a Mercedes Benz, trust us, you wipe that stuff off faster than it takes the car to go from 0-60 (about 5 seconds).
Worth mentioning right of the bat is the tighter than tight turning circle.
On a car of this length, tight corners and U-turns should be a challenge but we’ve driven hatchbacks with far less precision and flexibility. Whether you’re in a tight angle at the school drop-off or taking the road far-less-travelled (with a gravel to match) the All-Terrain lets you swiftly and deftly correct a mistake without much of a thought. Great for curbing those navigational arguments.
Driving the E-Class All-Terrain is much like travelling Business Class. You need to get from A to B but you’re a little bit excited about the journey in-between.
This is because it’s a car where everything takes on new meaning. ‘Speed humps’ become merely ‘road pillows’ thanks to the generous Air Body Control suspension, while merging will make you feel more like a pilot than driver thanks to the semi-autonomous drive-assist technology which is arguably one of the coolest aspects of the All-Terrain.
This essentially checks for obstructions and futuristically merges the car for you. All on its own.
Ever felt that familiar hint of road rage while on the highway as the car in front sits a comfortable 10k below the speed limit in the overtaking lane?
We know it well. Or we used to.
The E-Class All-Terrain’s intelligent drive-assist essentially removes all sense of irritation by measuring the speed of the vehicle ahead and adjusts your cruise control to match without you lifting a finger.
The result is a driver who will happily sit behind even the most unpredictable Sunday Driver singing Kumbaya like a blissed out hippie.
It’s pop psychology meets futuristic tech. What a time to be alive.
Space & Practicality
About the only thing about the E-Class All-Terrain that feels traditional is the space, which is what you want.
That is, after all, why God invented the station-wagon in the first place.
Up front there’s definitely a novelty factor in being able to stretch your pins all the way out. Enough to prompt you to give guilty thought to the person (or children) sitting in the back seat. You needed worry, there’s more than enough room for 3 fully-grown humans in the rear.
You can also extend the load deck further by folding the rear seats entirely, or halfway, or in any formation that fulfils your Tetris-loving desires.
This proved especially welcome when we carted a useless oversized breastfeeding pillow on this journey and it became almost a joke of how many places we could find to store it.
You’ll also find an abundance of thoughtful extras, such as water/coffee cup storage in the centre console (along with numerous USB plugs for phones/kids games), ultra generous door bins and glove compartments bigger than most inner-city Sydney apartments.
Of course, to top it all off Mercedes Benz have thrown in a retractable sunroof. No doubt a slight nod to parents who haven’t quite given up those sports-car fantasies. We appreciate that, guys.