EVER see a poor car dealer? Course not.
We hand them chunks of money every three years or so. Painful.
Here’s another idea. Buy a car and keep it for years or decades.
Then you avoid those frequent trade-ins that line the pockets of the dealer’s chalk-stripe suit.
But what car could last you decades? It needs to be built like a battleship. Timelessly designed so it won’t go out of fashion.
Versatile so it will always be useful as your needs change and family grows. And satisfying to drive, not just for the first few miles but for 100,000.
We are talking about a Mercedes estate. People keep them for years and years, and love them just as long. A car for life.
The E-Class Estate is the biggest and toughest estate Mercedes makes. Which means about the biggest and toughest anyone makes.
True, it’s not a cheap car. But there are discounts to be had right now. And the base model, tested here, has pretty much all the spec you’d want.
This E220d has a diesel engine. A diesel. Hardly fashionable. But it’s a very modern, low-pollution diesel. It doesn’t fall foul of any of Britain’s city clean-air charges.
And for long motorway drives, or towing, there’s still nothing like a diesel. You’ll get 50mpg if you’re careful. It’ll last for ever because it’s engineered to power white vans and German taxis.
But it doesn’t feel industrial. It is quiet for a diesel, performs strongly and hooks up to a syrupy- smooth autobox.
The E-Class’s suspension is level and plush — more so in our base model than in the expensive ones with AMG Line trim and big wheels.
LAST A LIFETIME
Cornering is wholly reassuring. It arrows down a motorway as solid as a rock, in near silence.
Inside, it’s smart enough, well-equipped and colossally spacious.
But mostly, strong. The leather isn’t the buttery-soft kind.
It’s as tough as the hide of a rhino. Everything feels like it is made to last a lifetime. Or two.
That’s obviously what Mercedes is expecting. The body warranty is 30 years. The rest of the car is on three-years unlimited-miles warranty, and you can extend that to ten years and 120k miles.
If you have it serviced at a Mercedes dealer, it also comes with free breakdown and accident rescue, all across Europe, for up to 30 years.
Don’t worry, servicing won’t give you a shock. It’s annually, or 15,500 miles, and Mercedes sells inclusive packages to spread the cost.
Of course, all this good stuff comes with the E-class saloon too. But the estate is more useful. Better still, it stops everyone thinking you are an executive mini-cab driver.
KEY FACTS: MERCEDES E220d ESTATE
- Price: £42,285
- Engine: 2-litre turbo diesel
- Power: 194hp, 400Nm
- 0-62mph: 7.8 secs
- Top speed: 142mph
- Economy: 50mpg
- CO2: 148g/km
- Out: Now