Used Car Test

Used Mercedes E-Class review

Ever since Mercedes started making cars, it has been a pioneer. With a focus on build quality, luxury and performance, the brand’s values are typified by the E-Class executive saloon and estate, first seen in 1985 when the now-classic W124 was launched.

Since then the bar has been raised ever further, with more technology, safety and comfort features crammed into each successive generation.

The fourth take on the E-Class came in 2009 and it was more accomplished than ever, with a great range of petrol and diesel engines. Later there was the E300 Bluetec diesel-electric hybrid, too.

Models covered

  • Mercedes E-Class Mk4 (2009-2016) – Heavy depreciation makes previous executive model a strong choice as a family car.

Mercedes E-Class Mk4

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History

The Mk4 E-Class arrived in saloon and coupé forms in June 2009. There were E200, E250, E350 and E500 CGI petrol saloons, and E200, E220, E250 and E350 CDI diesels. The 525bhp E63 AMG arrived in August 2009 and a spacious estate in January 2010, with the same engines as the saloon. A cabriolet model was launched in March 2010.

The E300 Bluetec hybrid was unveiled in November 2012, four months ahead of a facelifted E-Class with significantly revised exterior styling, extra equipment – including lots of new driver assistance tech and a DAB radio – cleaner engines and SE or AMG Sport trims in place of the previous SE, Avantgarde and Sport.

An all-new, fifth-generation E-Class range was introduced in 2016.

Mercedes E-Class Mk4 reviews

Mercedes E-Class in-depth review
Mercedes E220 CDI review
Mercedes E250 CDI review
Mercedes E300 hybrid review
Mercedes E350 review
Mercedes E350 long-term test review
Mercedes E-Class Estate in-depth review
Mercedes E220 CDI Estate review
Mercedes E250 CDI Estate review
Mercedes E-Class Coupe in-depth review
Mercedes E220 CDI Coupe review
Mercedes E400 Coupe review
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet in-depth review
Mercedes E220 CDI Cabriolet review
Mercedes E350 CDI Cabriolet review
Mercedes E400 Cabriolet review
Mercedes E500 Cabriolet review
Mercedes E63 AMG in-depth review
Mercedes E63 AMG review
Mercedes E63 AMG Estate in-depth review
Mercedes E63 AMG Estate review
Mercedes E63 AMG S Estate review

Which one should I buy?

If you buy a rare manual E-Class, you’ll struggle to sell it on. It’s the same with petrol cars, apart from AMG V8s, but as buyers desert diesel, this might change.

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Each trim level has a different chassis set-up. The SE majors on comfort, the Sport is stiffer, but the best balance is offered by the high-spec Avantgarde.

All E-Classes are well equipped as standard; the entry-level SE comes with parking sensors front and rear, Bluetooth, heated front seats and climate control, as well as a multifunction steering wheel, artificial leather trim and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Avantgarde specification adds 17-inch wheels, real leather and bi-xenon headlights. The Sport has 18-inch wheels, a styling kit, quicker steering and upgraded front brakes.

Alternatives to the Mercedes E-Class Mk4

If you’re buying an estate, the Volvo V70 offers lots of space for relatively little cash, combined with decent build quality and excellent safety. However, running costs tend to be high.

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The Jaguar XF secured an impressive third-place finish in our Driver Power 2017 used car satisfaction survey, and comes in saloon or estate forms, so it’s a fine all-rounder.

Yet it’s the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 that are the Mercedes’ closest rivals, offering a wide range of engines and trims, superb build quality, strong image and relatively high purchase prices.

What to look for:

Engines

Some diesels can suffer from faulty injectors. Feel for misfiring and look for black smoke from the exhaust.

Seating

Folding rear seats are optional in the saloon, so look out for these. They significantly boost the car’s usability.

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Wheels

Diamond-cut alloys can suffer corrosion under the lacquer; expect to pay £100 per wheel getting them refurbished.

Motors

Four-cylinder engines are quick enough, but can be a bit harsh; the six-cylinder units are much smoother.

Interior

There isn’t much flair in the dash design, but it’s logically laid out and the quality is superb, plus the seats are comfy and supportive. Cabin space is generous for five, and the estate has a seven-seat option. Boot capacity is great at 540 litres for the saloon and a class-leading 1,950 litres for the estate. The dash may look button-heavy, but some people will find that easier to use.

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Running costs

All E-Classes need attention every 15,500 miles or 12 months. Services alternate between minor and major, priced at £260 and £350 regardless of engine, except the AMG V8 models, which cost more.

Auto gearboxes need fresh fluid (£284) every four years or 31,000 miles. Chain-driven engines mean there are no cambelts to replace, but air-con needs to be checked every service; regassing costs £149.

Brake fluid should be replaced every two years (£90) and the coolant every 15 years or 150,000 miles (£390). Mercedes offers maintenance payment plans starting at £35 a month to help with budgeting.

Recalls

Sixteen recalls so far is hardly cause for celebration. The first came in October 2010 for possible leaks from the power-steering system. The most recent was in March 2017 due to potential electrical short circuits.

In between were campaigns for airbag and power-steering failures, the engine stalling or failing, fuel and oil leaks, the front seats working free and the self-levelling rear suspension not working properly.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

Fifth place overall in our Driver Power 2017 used car satisfaction survey shows how talented the E-Class is, and first for safety is no surprise. It achieved top 10 rankings virtually all the way across the poll, scoring impressively in every area aside from a surprisingly low 11th for practicality, plus 45th for running costs.

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