2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain review: The sweet spot

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain

This is a stylish long roof dumper.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain it’s the automotive equivalent of a cronut. This expertly engineered pastry combines the tender pastry of a croissant with the fried goodness of a donut. In the universe of baked goods, cronuts are truly the best of both worlds. And just like this delightful delight, the E450 All-Terrain brings together disparate attributes in one delightful package, primarily the versatility and sophistication of an estate with the enhanced capabilities and more rugged styling of an SUV. This unique blend of traits results in a delightful vehicle that is arguably more than the sum of its parts, just like a cronut.

Like it

  • Surprising versatility
  • Sumptuous interior
  • Smooth running like silk

I do not like

  • Byzantine MBUX infotainment system
  • Sometimes abrupt gear changes
  • Irritating touch-control buttons

Of course, people in Stuttgart aren’t the only ones to follow this path. Audi and Volvo have been doing this for years with the A6 Allroad is V90 Cross Country, respectively, and Subaru’s mass market Outback cleared the track years earlier. These models have shown that this is a viable strategy, which Mercedes-Benz has only now adopted here.

The E450 All-Terrain comes standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive and an adjustable air suspension system. With two driver-selectable off-road modes and downhill speed control, you should be able to take this family-friendly truck to some reasonably remote locations. That said, there’s one big caveat – or more precisely, a relatively small one: this model’s ground clearance is just 5.7 inches under maximum load, so proceed with caution if you venture off the beaten track. This Mercedes looks the part, thanks to new front and rear light designs, an updated grille, and model-specific trim. Unfortunately, those black plastic applications, which accentuate the wheel openings and the underside of the body, make me think of a Pontiac Aztek. Your eyeglass prescription might say otherwise, of course, and at least they don’t look that bad next to the gray paint in this example.

Coating or not, the All-Terrain is a truly beautiful vehicle, with elegant details and simple lines. If you can get over the station wagon stigma, it will look great parked at the end of any subdivision cul-de-sac or parked in the front row at your favorite upscale restaurant. And behind that pretty face is a great deal of versatility. With its folded rear seats, this Benz offers 35 cubic feet of cargo space. On paper, that figure looks pretty small, less than half of what you get in a Honda CR-V, but in the real world, this E-Class’s cargo bay feels much more spacious, being both wide and long. A bonus is the rear hatch, which opens wide so even NBA tall pilots don’t put their melons on it.

Settle into the cockpit of the All-Terrain and you will be impressed. As usual for Mercedes-Benz, this interior is exceptionally beautiful, with a fluid, almost organic-looking dashboard, high-quality components and generous amounts of open-pore wood furnishings. From the switches and air vents to the seat controls and door handles, everything looks top notch. For an extra $ 350, my tester’s dashboard and door panels are finished in the automaker’s MB-Tex simulated leather, which looks and feels pretty much like the real thing. My tester is also equipped with the $ 1,050 warmth and comfort package, which adds warmth to the armrests and steering wheel.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain

The All-Terrain third row seat is a non-adult zone.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Comfort is one of the strengths of this vehicle, its front chairs are highly adjustable and very supportive. The All-Terrain’s second-row seat is reasonably spacious for adults, although a slightly higher bottom cushion and a touch more legroom would be appreciated. Offering an added touch of SUV versatility, this Mercedes-Benz is also equipped with an old-school, rear-facing third-row bench that folds into the floor when not needed. It does provide a couple of extra seats, which could be useful if needed, but I don’t recommend subjecting adult passengers to this for any length of time.

An important part of the All-Terrain’s interior is a duet of 12.3-inch screens, the canvas on which the digital instrument cluster and infotainment system are displayed. Mounted in an elongated housing under a single pane of glass, these panels somehow manage to look futuristic and tacky at the same time. As for the MBUX media array, it’s gorgeous, smooth, and snappy, but it’s also complex, with unnecessary features and too many customization options. While it works well, I prefer systems that don’t have such steep learning curves.

For added flexibility, you can interact with MBUX in various ways. There’s the touchscreen itself, a laptop-like control pad on the center console, you can use voice commands or controls on the steering wheel spokes. For 2021, Mercedes-Benz has changed the latter element, but not for the better. Previous models had a smattering of physical buttons and touch-sensitive nodes that were intuitive and responsive. It has now moved entirely to touch controls and the results are far from ideal. Not only is this arrangement not intuitive, it is difficult to use. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to adjust the audio volume just to inadvertently mute it, or how difficult it is to use the tiny plus (+) pad to navigate Apple CarPlay, which, together with Android Auto, is standard.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain

From the materials to the controls, this Mercedes has a really nice interior.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Fortunately, some of the other technologies of the E450 All-Terrain are much friendlier. Features such as keyless entry with push button start, blind spot monitoring and cross wind assistance are all included at no additional cost. My well-equipped tester, however, is equipped with a lot more equipment. The $ 1,950 Driver Assistance Package includes a number of goodies such as Active Brake Assist with a cross traffic function, which can help prevent collisions with other vehicles crossing intersections, and adaptive cruise control, which is responsive and attentive. Augmented video for navigation – which overlays navigation prompts on a video feed from the forward-facing camera so you know exactly where to turn ($ 350) – and a wireless charging pad ($ 200) are a couple of priced extras. modici. Curiously, adaptive high beams are included in the $ 900 exterior lighting package, although they should likely be standard in a vehicle of this caliber.

Given the relaxed demeanor of this car, it should come as no surprise that the All-Terrain is more of a comfortable cruiser than a corner carver. Especially in Comfort mode, its air suspension offers a ride on a magic carpet, free of vibrations or gritty bumps, even when dealing with strong bumps and potholes. Of course, the relatively small 19-inch AMG wheels wrapped in Pirelli winter tires with rather generous sidewalls help digest a lot of those road imperfections. Further enhancing the refinement of this vehicle, the example seen here features the $ 1,100 acoustic comfort package, which includes extra cabin insulation and laminated glass, making it remarkably quiet inside.

The powertrain of this car is also mostly smooth. Motivation is provided by a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six that’s more silky than buttercream glaze. It offers sturdy 362 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque, but that’s not all. Mercedes-Benz’s EQ Boost lightweight hybrid system helps improve efficiency and performance, adding an additional 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft as required. In operation, it is seamless to the point where you wonder if it does something, something I wish you could say about the All-Terrain shift.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain

The All-Terrain marries the best features of a station wagon with those of an SUV.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

No, it’s not that bad, but the only Debbie Downer in this vehicle’s powertrain is its nine-speed transmission. It can shift imperceptibly when it feels like it, but at other times, the gear changes are erratic, particularly when slowing to a stop. Refinement aside, at least this drivetrain helps deliver solid performance. Go all-round and the All-Terrain can hit 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, a legitimately fast time. Avoid burying the accelerator pedal when taking off from each stop and this surrogate SUV will give you good fuel economy back. Around town, this Benz is rated at 22 miles per gallon, so on freeways you can expect 28mpg and combined it should return 24. During my week of testing, I averaged a solid 25.3mpg.

With its eye-catching styling, versatile cabin and impressive refinement, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain is a great family truck and, for many drivers, an excellent alternative to an SUV. The only major deterrent is the price of this vehicle. An option-free example can be obtained for just under $ 69,000, including $ 1,050 in destination tax, but the model reviewed here costs $ 82,760, which is far from cheap. If you’re in the market for a luxury utility vehicle and have some cash to spend, try this raised wagon. I assure you it will not disappoint you.

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