Seat Time: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon

July 29th, 2014 at 9:09am

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: Daimler AG
Make: Mercedes-Benz
Model: E350 Wagon
Type: Sport Wagon
Competitors: Volvo XC70, Acura TSX Sportwagen, Cadillac CTS wagon (BMW 5 Series wagon, Audi A6 Avant — currently unavailable in U.S.)
Price: $58,600 (base); $73,275 (as tested)
Made in: Final Assembly: Sindelfingen, Germany (Engine & Transmisson from Germany)
Drivetrain: 3.5-Liter V 6 Engine w/ Direct Injection (302horsepower)
EPA Ratings: 19city, 26highway, (21combined)

Final Impression:

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon InteriorThe station wagon was once an unquestioned icon of American car culture. From the ’60s Woody Wagon to the Griswold’s Family Truckster to the even Simpson’s animated Canyonero, it was the moveable feast for a variety of U.S. families. But then the minivan became de rigueur followed closely by the crossover, leaving the wagon wandering for 21st century relevance. But thanks to Europe, the station wagon never fully disappeared from American roads. Volvo and VW continue to lead the way with the German luxury brands adding models to the station wagon stable until there was only one. So when the LAST LUXURY WAGON STANDING — a Mercedes-Benz E350 — showed up in the Autoline driveway it was time to evaluate the state of today’s station wagon.

But the E350 is hardly just any station wagon. Mercedes puts its best foot forward with the design of this luxury people mover. The sleek restyled Blue Metallic exterior is only equaled — in our test car — by a beautiful interior with a matte brown Eucalyptus wood trim accenting the black MB Tex upholstery.

And of course the car came standard with the usual array of luxury convenience and safety features like a power sunroof, intelligent wipers, nine airbags and a power liftgate to start. But the real meat of the Monroney were the options, which included everything from a $1,600 air suspension package to a $2,900 curve illumination system and what Mercedes calls a PO1 package that has a cornucopia electronics that rings in at $3,900.

Now, despite all the bells and whistles on this $69,000 station wagon, there are four items that stood out during our test drive. Unfortunately, two were negative starting with the emergency brake. Unless you turn it off, it constantly beeps at you to disengage it, which of course you do. I know it’s for safety purposes, but it’s still frustrating. And the other item which isn’t new to the E350 is the DISTRONIC cruise control which, unless you set it up just right, slows the car down abruptly. Of course these issues can be dealt with easily if you conquer your own laziness, but sometimes you don’t remember it’s on until you’re driving and then, well there’s that lazy thing again.

But then there were two positive items to highlight about the E350 starting with the incredibly smooth ride of this wagon. Of course much of that is thanks to that $1,600 AIRMATIC optional suspension package on the car, but boy is it worth it. The car feels like it’s floating above the road as you drive. And our final observation is that I’ve yet to find another manufacturer who has created a better Start/Stop system. The system worked so seamlessly in the E350 — shutting off the engine when you came to a stop sign or stop light — that sometimes you didn’t even know everything was off. It’s a terrific addition for those who are looking to save a little money on gas, though if you’re driving a luxury car like this you should be able to afford a little more than the average consumer.

Comments are closed.