2022 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain Review: The Perfect SUV Alternative?
The E-Class Wagon is only available in Crossover-Esq All-Terrain guise. It offers seven seats with best-in-class cargo spaceby Brady Holt, on
It’s a classic car-enthusiast grumble: “All these SUVs are nothing but tall station wagons.” But what happens when you get a station wagon that’s almost like a low SUV? That’s the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain, currently the only way you can still get an E-Class station wagon.
The E-Class wagon takes everything that makes an E-Class sedan great — fantastic ride and handling, a beautifully finished interior, cutting-edge technology, a decadent overall experience — and nearly three times the trunk space (35 cubic feet of trunk space instead of 13). But starting last year, Mercedes decided this much cargo space needs some SUV trimmings and created the All-Terrain.
What that means is gray plastic cladding, four-wheel height-adjustable air suspension, and standard all-wheel drive. It comes in at a steep base price of $68,400, which is higher than even most luxury SUVs. We spent a week testing the 2022 E450 All-Terrain and here’s what we found.
The All-Terrain’s slightly higher ride height has little effect on the E-Class’s exemplary ride and handling
The base E-Class sedan is the E350, whose 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. But the E-Class wagon is currently available only in the next-up E450 configuration. That’s a 3.0-liter V-6 turbo with a mild-hybrid boost, which has 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. This engine is a delight — exuberantly powerful, silky smooth, and even more economical than the four-cylinder.
The Mercedes GLE is nice to drive for an SUV, but it can’t match the E-Class’s lower center of gravity. It’s supremely natural and composed, gentle when you’re cruising, and nicely dialed in when you push harder. This is a better experience than you’d get from most sports sedans, to say nothing of SUVs.
We’ve read some reviews saying the All-Terrain has an uncomfortably stiff ride, but those typically came from the optional 20-inch wheels. Our test vehicle wore the standard 19-inch wheels — hardly tiny — and we had no objections.
Mercedes’ Air Body Control air suspension comes standard on the All-Terrain, and its selectable driving modes include
You can also customize these individual settings further. Our favorite setting was Sport, which kept things taught without being stiff or over-the-top.
An all-wheel-drive E350 sedan manages EPA estimates of 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined, while the E450 All-Terrain pulls off 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. (The E450 sedan and the rear-drive E350 both do better.) Our All-Terrain test vehicle reported 27.4 mpg during a week of mixed highway, rural, and suburban conditions.
|Displacement||3.0 L Inline 6|
|Engine Type||Mild Hybrid|
|Torque [lb-ft]||369 lb-ft|
|Combined Gas Mileage||24 mpg|
|Drive||4MATIC All wheel drive|
|Towing Capacity||4630 lbs|
If you loved the smooth, shiny body of the old E-Class wagon, you’re out of luck — it’s rugged or nothing
Mercedes introduced the current-generation E-Class for the 2017 model year and heavily updated it for 2021. Changes included smaller, cleaner headlights and a slightly smaller grille. It’s a more rounded-off look that keeps the E-Class in line with other new Mercedes models. The wagon’s rear end carried over, but the pre-2021 wagon was simply an E-Class sedan with a different rear end. For 2021, every E-Class wagon became either an All-Terrain or a mega-performance E63 AMG — and the latter isn’t available for 2022.
The All-Terrain tweaks include black trim on the front and rear bumpers, plus over the fenders. Mercedes is the last wagon-maker to resist this trend, and by a mile. Its top rivals are the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country, both with roots going back more than two decades.
And you can’t get either of these wagons in non-SUV guise anymore, either. We’d have assumed that for the few customers still buying true station wagons, there’s no need to pretend it’s an SUV — after all, they’ve already made a conscious decision to buy a wagon. But when still given the choice, even wagon buyers gravitated toward Allroads and Cross Countrys, which is why there’s no longer such a choice.
|Optional||Obsidian Black Metallic||$750|
|Nautical Blue Metallic||$750|
|Graphite Grey Metallic||$750|
|Mohave Silver Metallic||$750|
|Cirrus Silver Metallic||$750|
|Selenite Grey Metallic||$750|
|MANUFAKTUR Cardinal Red Metallic||$1,750|
|MANUFAKTUR Diamond White Metallic||$1,750|
|MANUFAKTUR Selenite Grey Mango (Matte)||$3,250|
|Ground Clearance||5.75 in|
|Curb Weight||4,530 lbs|
Interior Quality, Technology, and Cargo
Inside, you get a mix of ultramodern technology and old-world decadence
Inside, the E-Class All-Terrain’s dashboard is the same as other E-Classes. The clean and elegant design is at least a worthwhile result. And you’d never guess the Nut Brown upholstery is leatherette rather than the genuine article. Passenger accommodations mostly match the E-Class sedans, and that’s pretty good unless you like an SUV-style seating position.
The beautiful front seats are as comfortable as they look, well-padded yet supportive whether you’re settling in for a straight shot down the Interstate or will throw your E-Class around curves.
The backseat is also well-shaped and comfortable, though there isn’t a surplus of room to stretch your legs out. The wagon’s one extra trick is a tiny rear-facing third-row seat, which is only sized for small children — even compared with most SUVs’ small third rows — and which fills the whole cargo hold.
A digital panel spanning most of the dash that includes the 12.3-inch gauge cluster and the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, which sits above swaths of open-pore wood on the dashboard and center console. The infotainment system is more about dazzling style than user-friendly simplicity, and the few physical controls are in a sea of similar-looking buttons.
A station wagon is a sensible vehicle. By reshaping its roof versus the E-Class sedan, Mercedes grew cargo capacity to 35 cubic feet behind the rear seat or 64 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down. That’s much more space than you’d get in a sedan or even a liftback like the Audi A7.
Compared to an SUV, the E-Class wagon has a longer cargo floor than a Mercedes-Benz GLE crossover, but your things are squeezed into a lower area. That’s fine if you’re carrying lots of bags, but less convenient if you’re carrying something bulky like a piece of furniture. And in total, the GLE has 33 cubic feet behind its rear seat and 75 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.
|Headroom (front)||37.5 in|
|Headroom (rear)||38.2 in|
|Legroom (front)||41.7 in|
|Legroom (rear)||36.1 in|
|Shoulder room (front)||57.8 in|
|Shoulder room (rear)||57.1 in|
|Cargo Room||35 cu-ft / 64 cu-ft|
2022 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain Pricing
The 2022 E450 All-Terrain starts at $68,400 plus a $1,050 destination charge. That’s a huge step up from the cheapest E350 sedan ($54,950) or even the E450 sedan ($62,750). It’s also more money than a base GLE 350 SUV ($56,150) or GLE 450 ($63,950).
Standard features include a navigation system, a moonroof, a power liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and air suspension. But even at this elevated starting price, you pay extra for adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, a panoramic roof, a wireless smartphone charger, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view parking camera, a self-parking feature, a Burmester surround-sound system, and acoustic side windows; so equipped, our test vehicle rose to $76,250.
And that’s still without genuine leather upholstery, ventilated or massaging front seats, heated rear seats, augmented-reality navigation system, soft-close doors, head-up display, tri-zone climate control, air purifier, or heated front armrests. Those features — a mix of comfort staples and noteworthy extra-mile items — would have pushed the car another $8,000 higher.
The Mercedes E Class All-Terrain’s primary purpose is that of a family car and thankfully it fares darn well in keeping its occupants safe. Out of the box, you get seven airbags, ABS, traction and stability control, forward collision avoidance, blind-spot assist, active brake assist, crosswind assist, driver attention system, and Mercedes’ Pre-Safe.
Beyond that, you can also add some optional upgrades like a heads-up display, a surround-view monitoring system, a lane departure warning, and an adaptive cruise control system with a semi-autonomous driving mode.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain costs more than an equivalent SUV while delivering less interior space. That’s not what you’d expect if you listen to wagon partisans. You’d have to consciously choose to pay extra for its lower seating position and sportier handling, while still preferring a big cargo hold over sleek styling.
If you are indeed shopping for a luxury jacked-up wagon, your choices are fairly limited. Apart from the Mercedes E450 4Matic, the only other options are the Audi A6 Allroad and the Volvo V90 Cross Country. Here’s how the numbers stack up.
As you can see, the Mercedes still dominates in this company in an area where it matters most, cargo volume. It also has over seven seats versus its rivals which can seat just five people. However, the E450 4Matic is also the priciest wagon here. The starting MSRP for the Volvo is $55,200 because it only features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The Audi, just like the Merc features a bigger 3.0-liter mill and comes close at $66,900. All three wagons come with AWD as standard.
So, to summarize, every E-Class wagon is the costly, SUV-styled E450 All-Terrain, its customer base shrinks further still. But within its narrow niche, it’s a magnificent car to drive that can also carry lots of stuff in the back.