“The not so SUV, SUV”
Looking for an SUV but not looking for an SUV, then look no further. Mercedes offers you the E450 All-Terrain. A muscular looking off road capable car like SUV with a luxury flair… wait a minute, enoughs, enough, who am I kidding. This is a wagon, which has been dressed up and slightly beefed up to attract the ever enamored SUV public. Now, when it comes to wagons, I have to admit it is a particularly handsome one. Take a look at my recent article on it bigger brother the E63s, which I truly consider the best all round vehicle you can buy or at least could buy. My cohort tend to universally consider wagons as being great vehicles that are good looking and in general terms more practical than SUVs.
However, in North America we get a very limited run of wagons. The reality is that wagons represent about 10 vehicles in Canada. I pitifully small number and majority come from the likes of Volvo, Audi and Mercedes. The All-Terrain is an exercise of subterfuge. Under the wheel arch cladding, beefed up grill and decorative skid plate exists a regular E450 wagon, which is no longer available. This visual trickery is designed to lull you into thinking this is an SUV. Now if the Subaru Outback is any indication of how this works, then Mercedes may have a chance.
Powering the E450 All-Terrain is a 3.0L turbo charged inline 6 cylinder combined with a 48 volt mild hybrid system. This is good for 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque available from 1,600 rpm. It propels the 2,000kg All-Terrain to 100 km in about 5 seconds flat. In side it is all E-Class, combining the best of natural soft touch materials and hardwoods. Two 12.3 inch displays dominate the dashboard and give you access to Mercedes feature rich and immensely customizable MBUX system. The air rid suspension soaks up road imperfections admirably and with an off road drive mode the All-Terrain can provides 5.8 inches of ground clearance, which is comparable to the likes of the Mercedes GLC which provides 5.9 inches. As such it will tackle the occasional trek into the campsite backwoods for light off-roading.
The boot provides up to 640L of cargo space and with the seats down up to 1,820L. Did I mention the All-Terrain also comes with an additional two rear facing jump seats, to give you that real old school wagon driving experience. These numbers are all greater than the GLC and on par with the GLE and in fact the All-Terrain provides more seating than both in standard trim. The fun only continues when getting behind the wheel because this is where a wagon shines. Because of the lower center of gravity, you get that car like driving manner, well because it is a car.
This is what it all comes down to, the All-Terrain is everything a family requires. It has the space, the capability and utility. Sure it does not provide the driving height but you are rewarded with a car that provides much better driving dynamics and considerably more fun if you every hit the twisties. This is what buyers should be considering when planting there well earned money down on a family vehicle. Speaking of money, the as tested All-Terrain rings in at a hefty $94,000+ price tag. Not chump change, but well-appointed and definitely a lot of vehicle that will turn heads at your local grocery store.