2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain Review


A wagon is a better car than a SUV. I have said it a thousand times before, and I don’t mind saying it once more. While this sentiment echoes among car journalists, average American consumers disagree. Perhaps it is less about getting the best car for the job and more about projecting an adventurous image.

This seems to be the thinking behind the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain. Take a regular E wagon, give it slightly more ground clearance, black plastic cladding around the wheels, a tougher looking bumper, and call it an All-Terrain instead of a wagon. Perhaps this will help everyone recognize what a remarkable vehicle truly is. 

Thanks to Mercedes-Benz Canada, we were loaned the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain for one week to test drive. What we learned confirms our love for the long-roof, and this wagon presents a few pleasant surprises.

Exterior Looks are subjective, but I think the E450 is a beauty. The new front fascia incorporates a shaper looking grille and striking LED headlamps. The lower bumper has extensive brightwork to give the car a rugged, off-road vibe. The side profile of the E450 is both unique and visually stunning. It has a distinctive European vibe thanks to the long roof and sweeping character lines. The black cladding around the wheel gives the E450 that extra ruggedness that is well appreciated. Our tester is equipped with the optional 20” wheels. While the standard 19” wheels will be better suited for off-road purposes, the larger AMG-style rims do make the car look more sporty and proportional. The rear end keeps the horizontal LED tailights from last year, which I personally prefer. A beefy bumper is accompanied by a metallic looking slider, and two chrome exhaust tips. I do think the off-road treatment of the E450 is a success. The beauty of a wagon is not lost by the added masculinity. On the contrary, the E450 does give off that all-terrain vibe consumers love these days.


The interior of the E450 is more flashy than its exterior. Flowy aluminum trims with the black-and-white striped inlays showcase the sculptural nature of the deck design. The reflective surfaces also help to spread the interior mood lights for a stunning visual at night. Attention to details is what sets the Mercedes vehicles apart, and it is evident in the beautifully crafted seat control buttons, speaker grills, and the art-like steering wheel design. 

The front seats are very comfortable with supple leather surfaces and 4-way power lumbar support. The seats of our tester are heated. They are also equipped with integrated massagers which we definitely put to good use during our one week test drive. 

The back seats also provide ample head space and plenty of legroom. Rear passengers enjoy dedicated air vents, USB-C charging ports, a power socket, and an unobstructed view thanks to the panoramic sunroof. 

Overall, the interior of the E450 is high-tech, comfortable, and sumptuous.


The MBUX system of the E450 is still one of the best infotainment systems in the market. It consists of a few different components. First, the two 12.3" displays that are positioned right next to each other under a single glass pane. The left screen sits right in front of the steering wheel and displays important vehicle information such as the speed, fuel economy, and engine rpm. The right screen, which is also a touchscreen, sits atop of the center console. It is multi-functional, and has an extensive, yet intuitive user interface. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are available with the premium package.

The second part of the MBUX system are touch buttons on the steering wheel. Instead of the Blackberry phone style touchpads that I am used to, the E450 comes with touch sensitive sliders that provide no feedback. This is perhaps my only complaint about the car. These touch buttons make adjusting audio volume, selecting the correct items on the infotainment menu, and setting cruise control speed so frustrating. It is a guessing game most of the time, and I practically stopped using them all together when I was on the road. 

Thankfully, there is another way you can control the many functions of the car without taking your hands off the wheel. This is accomplished via the LINGUATRONIC voice assist. It is a natural language smart assistant that functions like the Apple Siri or Google Assist. Simply say "Hey, Mercedes", or press the voice command button, and you can ask the car to make a phone call, plot a new navigation route, close the roller sunshade, or change the interior light. The voice assistant can control basically anything that is not safety related. The system is smart enough to understand natural language commands like "I am cold" or "I am hungry", and responses by raising cabin temperature, or to find the closest restaurant.

The final part of the MBUX system is the good old track-pad that is located in the center console. There is a padded resting place for the wrist, which allows your fingers to scroll through the display menu effortlessly. 

One cool optional feature of the new infotainment system is the augmented reality style navigation system. When you are close to a junction, the center display would pull up the video feed from the front camera, and superimpose arrows to show you exactly where to turn. It is a very cool technology but does require you to take your eyes off the road to see. If you don’t want to take your eyes off the road while driving, the optional head-up display provides all of the same information directly onto the windshield in front of the driver. It is one of the larger, higher resolution HUDs I have seen.


There is only one engine option for the E450, which is a 3.0L inline 6-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 362hp of power and 369lb-ft of torque. The engine is silky smooth with ample low end torque. On top of that, there is a mild hybrid system (EQ Boost) that adds an additional 21hp of power and 184lb-ft of torque when called upon. All that torque is sent to all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission and the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. 0-100km/hr happens in just 5.2 seconds. If you want an even faster wagon, we Canadians also get an E53 AMG that is equipped with 429hp of power and 384lb-ft of torque. The powertrain of the E450 is well sorted, with few gear shift hesitations and very little turbo lag. 

The E450 All-Terrain comes standard with an active air suspension system. The system not only keeps the car very smooth on the road (despite the optional 20” tires), but also proves useful for off-road adventures. The air suspension can raise the car an additional 20mm, and keeps it at that level regardless of the load. The same system can lower the car by 15mm at higher speeds to reduce drag. 

While the relaxed demeanor of the E450 doesn’t stir up too much excitement, the car does feel very planted in corners with just a hint of body roll. The 4Matic AWD system does a fantastic job of sending just the right amount of  torque to the correct wheels when tackling challenging terrains and slippery roads. 

With the 48V mild-hybrid system, the E450 is quite fuel efficient. Officially, it is rated at 10.6L/100km city, 8.4L/100km highway, and 9.6L/100km combined. Our one week city test drive finished at 11L/100km, but we did put the car through its paces. Regardless, it is more fuel efficient than most wagons and SUVs on the road. The only caveat is that the E450 engine only accepts premium gas.

Safety and Driver Assistance

Just like most Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the E450 comes with a comprehensive list of standard features. They include:

  • Car-to-X Communication
  • In-vehicle, one-touch calling features
  • Active Brake Assist
  • Crosswind Assist
  • Blind Spot Assist
  • Traffic Sign Assist
  • Active Parking Assist
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Adaptive braking technology
  • Parking Damage Detect

Of course, as a Mercedes, many of the advanced safety features are only available with additional packages. They include: 

  • Dashcam
  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC
  • Active Steering Assist
  • Active MULTIBEAM LED Lighting System
  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • Active Blind Spot Assist
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Active Lane Change Assist
  • Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function
  • Congestion Emergency Braking
  • Active Emergency Stop Assist
  • Active Speed Limit Assist
  • Enhanced Stop-and-Go
  • Active Stop-and-Go Assist
  • 360 camera
  • PRE-SAFE Impulse Side
  • Route-based Speed Adaptation

While not specifically rated for the E450, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class earns a 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS.

Cargo Space & Storage

The E450 has an impressive amount of cargo room. With the 2nd row seats upright, there is 640L of cargo space. That number is increased to a whopping 1812L with the 40/20/40 2nd row seats folded. Not only is there more cargo space than most of the midsize SUVs, the perfectly flat floor, low loading height, almost flushed rear deck, and high roof all make this cargo space extra practical. There is a shallow storage compartment below decks, and even more storage space below the lower deck, where the battery is located. 

The rear seats can be folded via electric buttons on the side walls. You will find another toggle switch on the right side of the trunk. It unlocks one of the biggest surprises of the E450: a rear-facing fold-up bench in the trunk area. The manufacturer recommends the bench to be used for children with child seats, but I wouldn’t have a problem sitting in the trunk for a short drive. In fact, I would argue that it is more fun than sitting in the third row of some 3-row SUVs. 

Additional features in the trunk include a mesh storage pouch, a trunk cover that automatically raises up when the lift-gate is opened, and a sturdy mesh separator for pet owners.

In cabin storage options are equally impressive. The glove compartment is average in size, but the center console storage compartment is above average. There is a dedicated wireless charging area for your smartphone, and the side door pockets are very spacious. Rear passengers can find two additional cup holders and a storage compartment in the center folding armrest. 

In terms of practicality, the E450 is unmatched by most of the cars and SUVs I have test driven.


I hope by now you are as convinced as I am that the E450 All-Terrain is a great car. The handsome exterior, luxurious interior, capable drivetrain, increased off-road ability, unparalleled practically, impressive fuel economy, and comfortable ride all make it an excellent SUV alternative. There is only one thing that keeps me getting one right away: the price. Our tester costs a whopping $94,100. Even without all the added packages, a base E450 All-Terrain still costs more than $80,000. The high sticker price will keep this beauty out of most buyer’s reach. At the same time, if you are one of the lucky owners, there will be no other on the road. 

Test Vehicle

2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain


Base: $80,900 CAD 

As Tested: $94,100 CAD


Hyacinth Red


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