2013’s The Good 12 – Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Wagon – $50,000-$60,000

MERCEDES-BENZ E350 4MATIC WAGON

Wagons are a rare thing in North America these days. Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class is basically without rivals. The BMW 5-Series GT isn’t a wagon, and it’s ridiculously ugly. The Cadillac CTS and CTS-V wagon won’t continue much longer. Audi no longer sells the A6 Avant on this side of the Atlantic. The Acura TSX Sport Wagon? It’s not very German, it is very front-wheel-drive, and it is not very powerful.

The Good 12 2013 logoThe Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Wagon is German, features all-weather all-wheel-drive, and is definitely powerful. It also looks fantastic in a legitimately blue-blooded, aristocratic sort of way, all the more so in the facelifted 2014 version. The E350 wagon is elegant. Call it classy, sophisticated, even dapper. 

Fortunately, it’s not ostentatious like Caddy’s CTS-V or gaudy like a Porsche Panamera, or meretricious like a Mini Countryman.

The E350 wagon is a traditional car in a crossover world. The vast majority of buyers will direct themselves toward Mercedes-Benz’s own ML350. The E350 4Matic Wagon requires buyers to take a stand, and with no financial benefits over the ML, I can see why. 

Nevertheless, a big-wheeled bruiser of a wagon says something about your car-buying intelligence that no humdrum SUV ever will.

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Engine: 302 horsepower; 273 lb-ft of torque from a 3.5L V6

Base USD/CAD Price: $57,700 / $70,400

City Fuel Economy: 19 miles per gallon

It’s Not Perfect: Oh wait, it is perfect. Except for the fact that somebody else is driving the 516-horsepower E63 AMG Wagon, a car that makes the E350 4Matic seem a bit weak-kneed. And, if we’re nitpicking, the front end is a bit fussy and the interior’s a bit complicated. The upcoming facelift improves the front end issue.

Sales Stats: Aided by multiple bodystyles – sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible – the E-Class is substantially more popular than the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, Lexus GS, and every other premium brand car in its price range.

Viable Alternatives: While you can, the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is a unique proposition.