2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven - story fullscreen Fullscreen

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven

Why buy an SUV when you can have an amazing and sporty wagon instead?

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Being on the market since 2017, it might seem logical to glance over the Mercedes E-Class until a new-gen model arrives in a few years. That actually couldn’t be further from the truth because the E-Class lineup was refreshed for 2021 with new technology, and updated appearance, and a more efficient powertrain. We’ve been itching to see how the new E-Class stands after its most recent refresh, so Mercedes let us spend a week with the E450 Wagon. It didn’t take long for us to realize that the fifth-gen E-Class has aged well, and in fact, we’d take the E450 Wagon over most SUVs – how’s that for a plot twist?

Mercedes E-450 Wagon Powertrain and Performance

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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The highlight of the updated E-Class is, arguably, the revised powertrain. The 3.0-liter inline-six has been paired with Mercedes’ EQ boost system to add a bit of extra grunt when taking off from a stop. Since the E-Class wagon is only offered as an E450 or as the bonkers AMG E63 S, you get AWD as standard along with independent multi-link suspension and 18-inch wheels. The updated E450 drives as well as you’d expect, but it does feel a bit peppier post-update thanks to that EQ system and other mild updates.

How Powerful is the Mercedes E-Class Wagon?

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Drivetrain
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The entry-level E-Class wagon in the U.S. is the E450, and it comes with an EQ-boosted, 3.0-liter, inline-six that delivers a total of 363 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. If you were to go with the AMG E63 Wagon, you’ll be paying nearly double the price, but you’d end up with a 4.0-liter V-8 with 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. There aren’t too many suitable competitors for the E450 wagon that we tested, but you could opt for the Audi A6 Allroad with a 3.0-liter V-6 that’s good for 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Your other choice is the Volvo V90 T6 with a 2.0-liter inline-four that is good for 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

How Fast is the Mercedes E450 Wagon?

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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The Mercedes E450 isn’t the fastest wagon on the plant, but it’s pretty quick, taking just 5.1 seconds to hit 60 mph. Due to its length and utilitarian purpose Mercedes as limited top speed to 130 mph. The Audi A6 Allroad, makes the same 5.1-second sprint to 60 mph and tops out at the same 130 mph. If you were to go with the Volvo V90 T6, the 60-mph sprint comes a bit slower at around six seconds, but you can go as fast as 155 mph if you keep the hammer down long enough.

How Efficient is the Mercedes E450 Wagon?

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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The E450 Wagon is naturally heavier than the E-Class sedan, so fuel economy comes in a bit lower at 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. In contrast, the Audi A6 Allroad manages 20 mpg in the city, but offers the same highway and combined fuel economy. The real winner in the economy race is the Volvo V90 T6. Thanks to that smaller four-banger, it garners 21 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. If fuel economy is really important to you, the Volvo V90 is definitely worth looking at, that’s for sure.

Mercedes E450 Wagon vs competition - fuel economy
City Highway Combined
Mercedes E450 Wagon 19 26 22
Audi A6 Allroad 20 26 22
Volvo V90 T6 21 32 25

Mercedes E450 Wagon Interior Design

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Interior
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Despite the fact that the fifth-gen E-Class is nearing the end of its lifecycle, the latest update as made the interior fresh enough that it’s still impressive. With the 2021 update, the E-Class has been fitted with a new steering wheel that now features capacitive touch controls. The layout and functionality is the same as in older models, but the physical buttons are gone. The bigger highlight here is the updated MBUX infotainment system that isn’t just snappy and super responsive, but a huge improvement over that of pre-2021 models. Outside of this the E450 features the same swoopy interior design with GT-style HVAC vents, a tall but modern center console and, of course, the perforated, supportive, and very comfortable seats.

How Spacious is the Mercedes E450 Wagon?

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Interior
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The front and rear passenger area of the E450 wagon is virtually indistinguishable from the sedan. In the front, you’ll have 37.5-inchs of headroom, 57.8-inches of shoulder room, and 41.7-inches of legroom. In the rear, you’ll find 38.2-inches of headroom, 57.1-inches of shoulder room, and 36.1-inches of legroom. In comparison to the Audi A6 Allroad and the Volvo V90 T6, you’ll have about the same average passenger space, however, the Merc does fall marginally short in front headroom compared to its competition. Check out the table below to see a full comparative breakdown:

Mercedes E450 Wagon vs competition - interior dimensions
Mercedes E450 Wagon Audi A6 All-Road Volvo V90 T6
Front Headroom 37.5 38.3 37.8
Front Shoulder Room 57.8 57.8 57.5
Front Leg Room 41.7 41.3 42.2
Rear Headroom 38.2 39.5 37.7
Rear Shoulder Room 57.1 56.5 55.9
Rear Leg Room 36.1 37.4 35.9

How Much Cargo Capacity Does the Mercedes E450 Wagon Have?

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Interior
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The Mercedes E450 Wagon offers up 35.0 cubic-feet of cargo room behind the rear seats or as much as 64.0 cubic-feet if you lay down the rear seats. In comparison, the Audi A6 Allroad offers just 30 cubic-feet of cargo room while the Volvo V90 offers up a total of 53.9 cubic-feet. It’s for this reason that we’d recommend the E450 to anyone that hauls a lot of cargo and even to those who lug around a lot but don’t necessarily want to jump into SUV territory, as it is the perfect compromise.

Mercedes E450 Wagon Exterior Design

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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The Merecedes E-Class is only sold in the U.S. as the E450 All-Terrain or the AMG E63 S sports wagon, so you either get over the top aggression and an AMG badge or a slightly toned-down appearance with some extra exterior plastic aimed at going off the beaten path. All told, the E450 Wagon does look a little more capable in off-road situations and the AWD system doubles down on that. Mercedes has managed to maintain a certain level of sporty looks while still adding in the protective cladding around the bottom of the body. In the front, for example, the entire lower portion of the fascia is lined with plastic which sort of cuts into the corner vents a bit but still looks good. Outside of this, the front end is all E-Class all the time, from the headlights to the grille and the somewhat muscular hood.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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You get the same plastic cladding over the wheel arches and along the kick panels between the wheels. Some may say that it makes the car look cheap for a Mercedes, but functionality reigns supreme here, and the plastic appearance is a small price to pay for protection if you do go off the beaten path. What we fond interesting is how Mercedes managed to maintain a slightly sloped roof, and the downward sloped upper body line without making the E450 Wagon look like it’s bent in the middle. We believe this look is possible thanks to the upward slanted lower bodyline and the relatively straight beltline.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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Around back, the E450 wagon looks more like an SUV than it does a Mercedes wagon. Of course, it still has the typical Mercedes touches, like those new taillights and the trapezoidal exhausts, but the ground clearance in the rear looks a little excessive for non-SUV Mercedes. The taller, All-Terrain suspension has the same effect on the side profile and in the front but to a lesser extent. Looking straight on from the rear, it’s clear that you can venture over rougher terrain without worry, but the big plastic skid plate is very dominate.

How Big Is the Mercedes E-Class Wagon?

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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As a larger midsized wagon, the E450 isn’t exactly the nimblest or most subtle vehicle on the road, measuring 194.8-inches long, 81.3-inches wide, and 58.9-inches tall. It rids on a 115.7-inch wheelbase and features just four-inches of ground clearance (measured in the front). The front wheel track comes in at 63.3-inches while the rear comes in at 63.4-inches. In comparison, the E450 is actually smaller all of the way around compared to the A6 Allroad, but rides on a slightly longer wheelbase and sits a bit lower to the ground. The Volvo V90 is marginally smaller but it’s wheelbase is 0.1-inches longer and it sits two inches higher off the ground at its lowest point. In terms of garaging, don’t even think about a single-car garage and even for larger garages, you’ll need to double check to make sure the garage is long enough to accommodate the E-Class or any of its competitors.

Mercedes E450 Wagon vs competition - exterior dimensions
Mercedes E450 Wagon Audi A6 All-Road Volvo V90 T6
Length 194.8 194.9 194.7
Width 81.3 83.1 79.5
Height 58.9 58.9 58.2
Wheelbase 115.7 115.2 115.8
Ground Clearance 4 5.5 Inches 6.0 Inches
Front Track 63.3 64.8 65
Rear Track 63.4 63.4 64.7

How Much Does the Mercedes E450 Wagon Weigh?

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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Despite being able to hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, the E450 Wagon is actually quite heavy at 4,530 pounds. It’s also heavier than the Audi A6 Allroad at 4,486 pounds and the Volvo V90 T6 at 4,185 pounds.

Mercedes E-450 Wagon Pricing

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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The Mercedes E450 Wagon starts out at $67,600, so we’re talking about large non-luxury SUV pricing here, and is the most expensive of its competition. In comparison, the A6 Allroad starts at $65,900 while the Volvo V90 T6 starts at $57,800. If you were to jump up to the Mercedes E63 S Wagon, you’d have to dish out nearly double the entry-level cost at $112,450.

Final Thoughts

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon - Driven Exterior
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While the wagon lifestyle seems to be all but non-existent in the United States, there’s still a small demographic of folks that prefer them, and the Mercedes E450 wagon is the epitome of what a wagon should be. The EQ boosted 3.0-liter inline-six (up 33 horsepower from 2019, by the way) is quick to respond without hesitation. Handling is superb and, while it’s not as sporty as what you usually expect from Mercedes, it’s still easy to sling around tight bends – especially for a wagon. Both long and short trips are beyond comfortable for front and rear passengers, and the biggest downfall is probably maintenance costs, but that’s to be expected once you dive into the luxury wagon niche. In the end, we found that we’d definitely opt for the E450 Wagon over most SUVs on the market as it offered up impressive handling thanks to the low center of gravity and acceleration while still offering ample cargo room. It’s the perfect compromise between sedan and SUV, and it’s a shame there isn’t a bigger market share for wagon body styles because too many people overlook what is actually an awesome car.

Philippe Daix
Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read full bio
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