2001 Mercedes Benz E320 Wagon (344)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the Mercedes Benz E320 Wagon and I really hated to give it back. Does that tell you anything? Yes, I liked it a lot but it wasn’t without a few flaws. First, I liked the cargo area cover they had designed to lift out of the way when you open the tailgate.

Good idea, but I just couldn’t get used to pulling it back down before I closed the gate. Then when I looked into the rear view mirror next time it was invariably after getting on the highway, or freeway and your visibility is zero out the back window. Then you’d have to pull over go around and pull it out of the way.

I also was ticked because the rubber cover on the emergency brake peddle fell off a few times. You just have to wonder what else is falling off that you can’t see.

On the other hand, I loved most of the things they do for the mature drivers, like the fully automatic window controls so you can put the windows up or down with the flick on a button. I always wanted to tell other designers that I’m a big boy and can be trusted to know when and when not to use that feature. Most try to protect me from myself, as they must expect I’ll get my extremities caught in the closing window.

Handling & Performance:

Of course Mercedes Benz is simply the greatest car in the world to drive and I can’t say enough, and for that matter I can’t say too many good things. This is such a smart car and the ESP – stability program will really impress you too.

Some folks rave about the “TipTronic”, or Touch Shift feature to shift but I find it nearly useless. But just the great handling characteristics of this car make it a dream come true for those who love to drive. This will hug the curves like I hug my wife. “G” Force!

Styling:

Mercedes has never been more beautifully designed, and all models follow the same look and feel so whatever your price range you get that great Benz look.

They’ve designed in a single windshield wiper that works great. So why cant every car take a lesson from MB?

Fit and Finish:

Of course Mercedes cars are built with outstanding attention to detail, and the components are the finest. But even the best sometimes fail and so I didn’t get too excited when the outside temperature reading was 140 degrees.

Conveniences:

Usually they provide the best and this was no exception even if it didn’t have the rain sensing windshield wipers and the air-conditioned seats.

Cost:

Very pricey. In fact the options on this model, including a Glass Sunroof, special paint and special order items brought the price to over $55 grand.

Recommendation:

This is a great family car and it has most of the conveniences of an SUV, except for the off road capability, and that is almost never needed or used. It is estimated that more than 75% of the SUV’s never get off road, so if you don’t need that, consider a Van or a Station Wagon. Although I love Mercedes automobiles, I think I’d opt for the Volvo for the cost savings.

The Competition:

Audi A6 Avant $37,350, BMW 5-Series Sport Wagon $37,200-53,480, Saab 9-5 Wagon $34,695,40,875, Volvo V70 $29,450-34,950.

Good News:

It’s a Mercedes Benz, good gas performance, and a history of quality.

Bad News:

Pricey, touch shift is an almost useless appendage.

Standard Equipment:

3.2 liter V6 engine, 5-speed touch shift auto trans, speed sensitive steering, dual zone climate control, 10-way electric front seats, multi function steering wheel, 8-speaker sound system with weather band, cassette, leather upholstery, burl walnut trim, electric adjustable steering column, power windows, tele/aid emergency calling, dual front air bags and side front and rear air bags, baby-smart child seat recognition system, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, antitheft alarm with engine immobolizer and anti tow, ESP (Electronic Stability Program).

Gas Stats:

20 City and 28 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $47,850.

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