Deep space – Mercedes-Benz E220d Estate

We say: smooth diesel and huge boot make for a real contender

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Swoopy roof makes the E Estate look a bit CLS. No bad thing …

The old Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate’s bigness was almost unrivalled, which is sort of the point of these kind of cars. Capacity was 1,855 litres with the rear seats folded flat, which put it squarely in commercial vehicle territory. The new one loses 35 litres of space, but gains a CLS-style sloping roofline that may not make it classically pretty, but does give it a bit more style than the old generation.

And because there’s 1,100mm between the arches, it’ll swallow a standard-size Euro pallet. We didn’t know parents had started loading their kids’ paraphernalia onto pallets and forklifting them into the back of cars, but Mercedes assures us they have, and that this is a gap in the market it’s selflessly filled. How very kind of them.

So that last bit’s a lie, but the facts are thus: the new E-Class Estate is among the biggest cars in its class. The Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5-Series Touring hardly struggle when it comes to the rigours of family life, but the E-Class promises more still. There’s a maximum payload of 745kg and an optional rearward-facing third-row bench seat, which can accommodate kids no older than six, and no taller than 3ft 9in. And that’s before you get to all the little hooks, cubbies, securing rings and the like that are scattered about the cabin. It’s a paragon of utility. And opulence – just look at the dashboard. One of this year’s best with proper S-Class levels of excellence, quality materials and clever tech abounding.

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