This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

E-Class's understated image is a match for its performance. There's rapid acceleration from six-cylinder cars - most capable of sub ten second 0-60 times - while remaining quiet and relaxed at speed. The five-speed auto is the preferred to the manual as its changes are seamless and it generally makes the driving experience more comfortable. Mercedes diesels are renowned for their strength, but four-cylinder cars are less refined, although still acceptable.

Turbo-diesels are fast and civilised and are quick to find buyers. Pre-99 turbo diesels are economical but only really fit for commercial applications. Later CDi units are much better.

Despite its size, E-Class doesn’t feel unwieldy, with a taut chassis and precisely weighted steering for silken, smooth progress. Front visibility is good, but the rear suffers from large rear pillars and can be restricted with three in the back.