Black body cladding and a radiator grille give the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain a look similar to an SUV. (Manufacturer photo)

Black body cladding and a radiator grille give the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain a look similar to an SUV. (Manufacturer photo)

Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain has a nostalgic third row

Modern features of the new wagon include a hybridized powertrain and the latest version of MBUX.

Mercedes-Benz modified its E-Class wagon to create the new E 450 4Matic All-Terrain, a five-door, seven-passenger wagon with SUV properties such as increased ride height, all-wheel drive, all-season tires, off-pavement driving modes, and black body cladding for the front, back, and fender flares. The All-Terrain’s radiator grille and stylized skid plate replicate those of the brand’s SUVs.

Pricing starts at $68,650 with a $1,050 destination charge included.

Under the hood you’ll find an inline six-cylinder turbo engine with EQ Boost, Mercedes-Benz’s new hybridized powertrain. It includes a 48-volt starter-generator that enlivens low-end torque (zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds) but also boosts fuel efficiency. Specs are 362 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque, 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. The All-Terrain transmission is a nine-speed automatic.

All-Terrain’s interior is prime Mercedes-Benz: handsomely crafted, artfully styled, solid, comfortable, loaded with passenger-pampering features, power everything, and tech to the hilt.

My tester’s brown and black upholstery color scheme with grey metallic and natural grain brown ash wood trim was particularly attractive.

Space for back-seat passengers is good, and the comfort level doesn’t stray much from what the driver and front passenger are given.

Two 12.3-inch side-by-side screens and a center console touchpad are elements of the newest MBUX system in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain. (Manufacturer photo)

Two 12.3-inch side-by-side screens and a center console touchpad are elements of the newest MBUX system in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain. (Manufacturer photo)

Two seats in the third row count toward calling the All-Terrain a seven-passenger vehicle, but referring to them as seats is a stretch. Each one is in two separate pieces, a bottom and a back, and the pieces are stowed beneath the cargo area floor. When lifted up into place, they form two little seats seemingly intended for dolls. There’s a saving grace, however. Like a bygone station wagon, the seats face backward. Certain to generate some reminiscing.

The latest iteration of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system makes quite a presence with two 12.3-inch side-by-side screens. A console-mounted touchpad replaces the previous control knob, which doesn’t qualify as an improvement since using the touchpad increases driver distraction. But there are control options including using the touchscreen, and there’s always the “Hey Mercedes” voice command system in which you just say those words out loud and the voice assistant does the work for you.

Push-button jewel lights positioned between the usual overhead reading lights provide excellent illumination when the spotlights are inadequate. And they’re cool looking, to boot.

Sixty-four color ambient lighting doesn’t shore up the All-Terrain’s off-road intentions, but it sure does reinforce the interior’s luxury atmosphere.

Said with only a tiny bit of hyperbole, driving characteristics of the E 450 4Matic All-Terrain are flawless. The air suspension ensures a gentle but not floaty ride, and the cabin is whisper quiet. Steering, handling and braking behave with Mercedes-Benz precision.

The All-Terrain’s 4Matic all-wheel drive, all-season tires, and extra 2 inches of ride height showed off favorably during our recent Pineapple Express weather. And no worries if conditions had been dicier, because the All-Terrain has an off-road drive mode for that.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain has all-wheel drive and a stylized skid plate with mirror chrome finish. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain has all-wheel drive and a stylized skid plate with mirror chrome finish. (Manufacturer photo)

2021 MERCEDES-BENZ 4MATIC ALL-TERRAIN

Base price, including destination charge: $68,650

Price as driven: $87,770

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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