Sport utilities might be all the rage these days, but there’s a select group of discerning consumers that prefer family vehicles more closely rooted to the ground, keeping the station wagon alive and…

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon Road Test

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
The new Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon has taken five-door ownership to new levels of style, quality and technology. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Sport utilities might be all the rage these days, but there’s a select group of discerning consumers that prefer family vehicles more closely rooted to the ground, keeping the station wagon alive and well all over the world.

Then again, the phrase “alive and well” is subjective, as the wagon sector has hardly been without casualties. Amongst mainstream volume-branded players only three wagons survive where there were once multitudes, Volkswagen’s compact Golf SportWagen/Alltrack, Subaru’s compact Impreza Sport/Crosstrek and the mid-size Subaru Outback (although the Alltrack, Crosstrek and Outback are really classified as crossover SUVs).

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
With sleek lines and a sporty profile, the E-Class Wagon is thoroughly updated from front to back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

That said, amongst premium-badged players the state of the wagon is looking up, with newcomers including Porsche’s Panamera Sport Turismo, available in most global markets, Jaguar’s XF Sportbrake, found in most markets except Canada, and Buick’s intriguing new Regal TourX, a U.S.-only affair as far as we can ascertain—a shame. These join long-timers like BMW’s 3 Series Wagon, the recently renewed Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon, Audi’s A4 Allroad, plus Volvo’s V60/V60 Cross Country and larger V90/V90 Cross Country (once again, the Audi and two Cross Countrys crossovers), and of course the subject of this review, Mercedes’ E-Class Wagon.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
Standard LED headlights look sharp above the standard Sport front fascia and optional 19-inch AMG alloys. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If it weren’t for the new V90 the E-Class Wagon would be alone in the mid-size five-door E-segment, but Mercedes shouldn’t be too worried about this newfound competition from a sales perspective, at least not for the time being. Mercedes doesn’t separate out its five-door sales numbers from other E-Class variants, and even includes CLS deliveries in its mid-size E-segment total, the result being 3,930 deliveries through calendar year 2017, which means it was number one in its segment. The most direct competitor is BMW that managed 3,033 combined 5 and 6 Series sales, but as you’re most likely aware no longer offers its 5 Series Touring to go head-to-head with this E-Class Wagon.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
The LED taillight detailing is really quite stunning. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Despite such a sorry lack of competition, Mercedes not only offers the impressively equipped E 400 4Matic Wagon as a base model, but surprisingly an AMG E 63 S 4Matic+ Wagon as well. That’s right, not the regular 577 horsepower AMG-tuned E-Class, but a 603 horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8-powered beast of a family hauler that can scoot from standstill to 100km/h in a mere 3.5 seconds ahead of a 300 km/h (186 mph) terminal velocity, all the while carrying three passengers plus 640 litres (22.6 cubic feet) of gear in back or up to 1,820 litres (64.3 cubic feet) of cargo when the ultra-convenient 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks are folded flat.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
The new E’s mix of high-quality materials, leading-edge technologies and classic luxury is ideal. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The rear roominess and cargo capacity was identical in my E 400 4Matic Wagon tester, although its forward mobility was more conservatively kept in check. This said 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged direct-injection 3.0-litre V6 (this a less formidably tuned variation on the 396 horsepower AMG E43 engine) is nothing to scoff at, nor its 5.3-second sprint to 100 km/h and top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). Interestingly, these numbers are identical to the E 400 4Matic four-door Sedan and two-door Coupe versions of the same car (the Cabriolet takes 0.2 seconds longer to 100km/h), while all six-cylinder models utilize a highly advanced nine-speed 9G-Tronic longitudinal automatic gearbox that’s lighter than the outgoing seven-speed unit, plus wonderfully smooth and brilliantly quick through the cogs.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
Yes, the instrument panel and infotainment display is actually a single 24.6-inch widescreen display for the most advanced tech in the industry. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Such a “have your cake and eat it too” philosophy typifies Mercedes-Benz, with only the Wagon’s 12.4 L/100km city, 9.5 highway and 11.1 combined fuel economy rating slightly diminished when compared to its siblings, the sedan estimated to achieve 11.8 L/100km in the city, 8.7 on the highway and 10.4 combined, the Coupe rated at 11.9, 9.0 and 10.6 respectively, and the Cabriolet coming in at 12.0, 9.2 and 10.8. Still, considering the performance available, its generous size, wonderfully opulent interior, and wealth of standard features, these numbers are impressive.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
A closer look at the 12.3-inch digital gauge package shows crystal clear resolution plus wonderful depth of colour and contrast. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This is actually a seven-passenger wagon, although the rear facing seats, a la 1986 American neo-noir road action horror film “The Hitcher” starring Netherlander Rutger Hauer smiling from the rear window while seated next to an unsuspecting teddy bear, are probably best left for kids. The front two rows are spacious to say the least, with the second-row outboard positions some of the most accommodating in the business, especially due to my tester’s optional seat warmers. I can think of few more comfortable standard driver’s seats, but take note a $3,100 optional air bladder-enhanced Multi-Contour driver’s seat offers even more adjustability along with massage, etcetera.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
The centre stack controls are some of the nicest in the luxury sector. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I should mention the enhanced heated front seats in my tester were part of a $4,600 Premium package that also includes heatable front armrests, the most amazing digital instrument cluster in the industry thanks to two 12.3-inch tablet-style displays being fused together at centre, a sensational Burmester surround sound audio system upgrade, proximity-sensing keyless access, a foot activated rear liftgate, rear side sunshades, and a panoramic sunroof.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
We can’t get enough of this display! (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The standard power release buttons for folding the second-row seats down, which can be found right next to the seats on each side door sidewall, or from the cargo area sidewalls, make easy work of opening up the luggage area, while they flip down to an almost completely flat load floor. The only heavy lifting is caused by the incredibly beefy, over-engineered retractable cargo cover cross-member, which took a little more muscle to extract than expected. Still, it’s nice to know it was designed to last through the apocalypse, let alone double as a rear strut tower brace.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
A little olde world charm is always appreciated. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

In case you were wondering, the E-Class Wagon’s cargo capacity is only slightly reduced from the mid-size GLE-Class SUV’s maximum hauling capability, so as long as you’re okay with 50 fewer litres (1.8 fewer cubic feet) behind the rear seatbacks and 190 litres (6.7 cubic feet) less when all seats are folded you’ll be fine. For me it’s a reasonable tradeoff when factoring in the performance benefits that come from a vehicle that hugs the ground more closely, not to mention the fabulous improvements that came with this latest E-Class redesign.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
A close look at the infotainment controls shows some beautiful knurled metal detailing. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Yes, this Wagon variant was completely overhauled alongside the E-Class Sedan for the 2017 model year, resulting in a larger, roomier car that nevertheless weighs less. Both get some minor updates for 2018, not including my tester’s stunning no-charge Selenite Grey Metallic paint and its $1,000 optional 19-inch Twin 5-Spoke alloys. The five-door model and all E 400 four-doors get a 14-litre larger 80-litre fuel tank mind you, plus upgraded premium ambient interior lighting as standard, new Dark Ash hardwood along with carryover Brown Ash and Piano Black lacquer as no-cost options on the centre console (my tester had the latter), and a standard Parking package that includes a backup monitor, front and rear sensors, plus more.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
These E-Class seats were fabulous, and they’re not even the optional Multi-Contour versions with massage. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Along with the aforementioned Premium package my tester was upfitted with the $1,000 Lighting package, which is money well spent as it adds active cornering Multibeam LED headlamps featuring 84 individual elements apiece, plus auto high beam assist that makes driving at night a lot easier.

These add some dazzle to the E 400 4Matic Wagon’s frontal styling, a car that combines everything I already like about the new E Sedan and Coupe/Cabriolet with a lot more functionality and a certain counterculture five-door coolness. This is especially true with the standard Sport front grille and its more assertive lower fascia, although those who prefer the upscale presence of Mercedes’ more traditional upright grille and less aggressive fascia can opt for a $3,000 Luxury package that also adds a more discrete set of 18-inch rims, a more comfort-tuned suspension setup, and rejigs the interior for more elegance.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
The second-row is roomy and extremely comfortable, as one would expect in a mid-size M-B. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The standard Sport frontal design is much like the rest of the E-Class lineup, but of course this being a wagon its rear styling treatment is completely unique. It comes across more like a two-door shooting brake than a traditional wagon, although its five-door layout doesn’t allow for that designation. Still, the elegantly simple taillights are lovely and filled with complex LEDs, their bright metal-topped edges blending smoothly into a chromed strip that stretches all the way across the midpoint of the rear hatch. A nicely sculpted bumper cap finishes off the car’s backside with some stylish satin silver detailing and two ovoid tailpipes.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
This massive dual-pane panoramic sunroof is optional, but well worth the extra coin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The mostly blackened rooftop is the aforementioned optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof that sheds light on the awe-inspiring interior also noted earlier, its high quality finishings combining with gorgeous $250 optional Metal Weave inlays across the instrument panel and doors, which look a lot like carbon-fibre. Plenty of tastefully applied satin silver aluminized metal brightens up key trim, including a gorgeous row of centre stack toggle switches, knurled detailing for the lower console’s scrolling volume controller, rotating infotainment wheel, and performance mode selector, while the metal-trimmed steering wheel gets the same treatment for its paddle shifters.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
Just like classic American wagons of the ’70s, the E-Class wagon includes a third rear-facing row for two smaller folk. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Anyone raised on American iron will feel right at home with the E’s column-mounted gear selector, but that’s about it for classic station wagon comparisons. The E 400 4Matic Wagon’s drive is unparalleled in this segment, its ride sublime yet its performance surprising, even for the initiated. Turn-in is sharp yet smooth, a tad artificial feeling due to an overboosted rack, albeit brilliantly reactive. Simultaneously it tracks effortlessly at high speed, holding its lane no matter how quickly you’re traveling, and always feeling rock solid and steady, not to mention ideally agile as soon as the freeway starts to bend. In fact, it feels more like an E-Class sport sedan than a five-door family hauler, even reminding me of the wonderful E 400 4Matic Coupe I tested last year. Its sizeable 245/40 Pirelli Cinturato P7 rubber certainly aided at-the-limit grip, and as noted they weren’t overly firm. Just the same, the standard 18s found on the base model, or the 18s and softer suspension setup from the Luxury version would no doubt improve ride quality, but at a slight performance cost.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
The E-Class Wagon offers up nearly as much cargo space as the GLE-Class SUV. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Finding my way was made easier and safer via a standalone $1,500 head-up display that projected key info onto the windshield, while additional options added to my tester that I haven’t yet mentioned include a $590 360-degree surround monitor that provided a bird’s eye overhead view to ease parking, a fragrance-infused $500 Air Balance package (just don’t use lavender, cedarwood, vetiver, marjoram, Roman chamomile, bergamot, orange, frankincense, patchouli, or sandalwood or you might fall asleep, although Mercedes’ standard Attention Assist will wake you back up), a $150 wireless device charger that’s more advanced than my phone, and those rear seat heaters were a $650 option.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
329-hp is nothing to scoff at from a base powerplant, but then again you can get an AMG-tuned E-Class Wagon with 603-hp under the hood. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of note, a heated windshield will set you back $650, while the only other standalone option not featured on my test car was a set of ventilated front seats at $1,200. As for alternative packages, $1,900 Exclusive package could have upgraded the upholstery with Nappa leather, covered the dash top with stitched Artico pleather, modified some of the interior design details, and added illuminated doorsill treadplates, while a $3,000 Intelligent Drive package adds Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Lane Changing Assist, Pre-Safe Plus, Traffic Sign Assist, and Pre-Safe Impulse Side, an industry-first technology that prepares occupants for an impending side impact and hopefully reduces the forces of impact by inflating the front-seat bolsters.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic Wagon
The 2018 E 400 4Matic Wagon provides a lot of functional luxury, tech and performance for the price. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Equally impressive, Mercedes’ Pre-Safe system instantly and automatically closes all windows and the sunroof, pulls the seats upright, cinches the seatbelts and more while doing its best to stop and steer you away from the critical path as quickly as possible. What’s more, milliseconds before a crash Mercedes’ Pre-Safe Sound deploys a high-volume blast of pink noise through the audio system to limit hearing damage from the types of high-pressure noises that occur during an accident. Mercedes says it’s “not designed to protect your life, but designed to protect the quality of your life.”

A more modest set of LED headlights comes standard with the $74,000 base model, incidentally, as do power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a 12.3-inch infotainment display, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, leather upholstery, dual-zone auto climate control, a powered liftgate, radar-based Active Brake Assist autonomous emergency braking, Blind Spot Assist, and much more.

Of course, the E 400 4Matic Wagon is much more than the sum of its parts, and to that end this grand complication of high quality components is the most impressive station wagon I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving.

A news story that may have passed under the radar this year saw Mercedes-Benz once again winning Vincentric Best Fleet Value in Canada awards for its lineup of Metris and Sprinter commercial vans. You’ve…

Four Mercedes-Benz Vans earn Vincentric Best Fleet Value in Canada awards

2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris and Sprinter Cargo Vans
Both the mid-size Metris and full-size Sprinter won their classes in Vincentric’s Best Fleet Value in Canada awards. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

A news story that may have passed under the radar this year saw Mercedes-Benz once again winning Vincentric Best Fleet Value in Canada awards for its lineup of Metris and Sprinter commercial vans. You’ve seen them everywhere, although one could be forgiven for not paying attention to yet another big white delivery van or silver airport shuttle with blacked out windows.

The Vincentric award tallies up a commercial vehicle’s overall lifecycle cost in order to determine its value, and the Sprinter has earned top marks in the full-Size three-quarter-ton Cargo and Passenger Van categories for six consecutive years, while the Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo and Passenger Vans have won their respective classes for two years running.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van makes an ideal sightseeing vehicle. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

Specifically, the list of Mercedes-Benz winners include the Metris Cargo Van in Vincentric’s “Mid-Size Commercial Cargo Van” category, the Metris Passenger Van in the third-party analytical firm’s “Mid-Size Commercial Passenger Van” category, the Sprinter Cargo Van 2500 V6 Standard Roof 144-inch WB in the “Full-Size ¾-Ton Cargo Van” category, and the Sprinter Passenger Van 2500 V6 Standard Roof 144-inch WB in the “Full-Size ¾-Ton Passenger Van” category.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Passenger Van
The Metris Passenger Van also won its category. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

“We focus on providing the best possible fleet solutions for the Canadian commercial market, and we know that low total cost of ownership is a key differentiator for our vehicles,” said Nicolette Lambrechts, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Vans. “That the Metris has achieved this level of recognition in both of its first two years on the market demonstrates that we are achieving our goal and fulfilling our promise to customers.”

2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van
The Metris is low enough to fit into regular parking garages, making it extremely versatile. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

The Metris fills a unique niche in the commercial market by providing a lot of capacity from a mid-size model, yet making it small enough to fit under the low roofs of many parking garages. Its relatively lightweight design and turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine make it fuel-efficient too, while its rear-wheel drive layout makes for lower repair costs and allows it to haul more weight than front-wheel drive competitors.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van
You don’t just have to get white, as Mercedes-Benz Vans offer a large palette of optional colours. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

“With consecutive wins for the past six years, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has built on a long-established reputation for delivering exceptional value,” added Lambrechts. “These most recent awards further underscore its worth and utility for Canadian fleets from coast to coast.”

Based on typical use patterns, Vincentric analyzes cost of ownership of more than 2,000 commercial vehicle configurations monthly. The studies are comprehensive too, factoring in “all major ownership and operating costs for each vehicle, including depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and even opportunity cost, or the loss of potential interest income as a result of owning and operating a vehicle,” said Mercedes-Benz Vans in a press release. What’s more, evaluations are done in all 10 Canadian provinces by using 24 different lifecycle cost scenarios. Vincentric bases each winner on lowest fleet lifecycle costs in the most scenarios.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van 4x4
Mercedes is the only van maker to offer 4WD in a van as large as the Sprinter. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

“Mercedes-Benz Vans have consistently displayed great value to Canadian fleet buyers in the Mid-Size and ¾-Ton van segments,” says Vincentric President, David Wurster. “All four of the award-winning Mercedes-Benz vehicles combined low depreciation costs with strong fuel economy to earn their awards.”

The Metris is a one-size-fits-all affair, but the Sprinter can be had in many lengths and roof heights, plus it’s one of the only full-size vans available with a four-wheel drivetrain. This variety, along with its renowned quality, plus its turbo-diesel fuel-efficiency and overall dependability make it very popular amongst fleet buyers and independent business owners alike.

Did you attend last night’s Killers concert in Vancouver or the Jimmy Eat World show in Toronto? Planning on taking it to the limit one more time with The Eagles this spring or singing “Stay With…

Mercedes sponsorship deal with Live Nation making imprint on Canadian concertgoers

Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada sponsorship deal
Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada are celebrating a new arrangement that brings exclusive benefits to Mercedes, Smart and commercial Van customers. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Did you attend last night’s Killers concert in Vancouver or the Jimmy Eat World show in Toronto? Planning on taking it to the limit one more time with The Eagles this spring or singing “Stay With Me” at the top of your lungs at the Sam Smith show in the fall? Chances are you won’t only be enjoying your favourite songs while taking in some great live shows, but you’ll see Mercedes’ three-pointed star branding on site as well.

Mercedes-Benz Canada inked a deal with Live Nation Canada earlier this year, which now gives the automaker excellent exposure at fun, uplifting events that are ideal for positive brand association.

Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada sponsorship deal
Why not arrive to your next Live Nation event in style aboard this 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA? (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Along with other key branding at venues, an animation of colourful dancing concertgoers will appear on digital screens at key points throughout the event (see video below), culminating with an emotive “Be Moved” message.

“This partnership with Live Nation is about celebrating our passion for performance,” said Virginie Aubert, Vice President of Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Canada. “Be Moved” plays on both the literal and figurative meaning of the word, making a bold statement about the Mercedes-Benz brand, while also extending an invitation for concert-goers to embrace, enjoy and be inspired by the live music experience.”

Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada sponsorship deal
Black-Eyed Peas duo are looking cool in their ForTwo, Smart customers also benefiting from Live Nation deal. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

The Live Nation Canada deal allows Mercedes to connect with music fans of all ages, from teens, which will soon be learning to drive, potentially with the brand’s innovative Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, attending Katy Perry’s upcoming concert tour, young adults at the same event that might choose to get there and go home using the automaker’s forward-thinking Car2go ride sharing program, to parents who may consider one of Mercedes-Benz’ wide array of cars and SUVs for their next new vehicle, while the slightly more mature Foo Fighters faithful may need something larger like Mercedes’ GLC, GLE or GLS sport utility for their growing families.

Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada sponsorship deal
Are you and the girls heading to the upcoming Katy Perry concert? Make sure to get your reserved seats through Mercedes’ concierge service. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

The Live Nation Canada partnership extends for multiple years, “striking a chord with Canadians by celebrating the power of music and live performance,” said the automaker in a press release.

Along with sponsorship, Mercedes introduced an exclusive concierge service for its current customers (including Pre-Owned, Vans and Smart cars) dubbed Mercedes-Benz Star Access, which personally assists with ticket purchases between 11am and 7pm ET (8am and 4pm PT) by calling 844-389-STAR or emailing mbstaraccess@livenation.com.

Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada sponsorship deal
Mercedes has long affiliated with live events, Phil Collins shown singing his heart out at a previous Smart-sponsored concert. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

What’s more, a separate program called Mercedes-Benz Star Access VIP is designed to “create unique experiences for their customers at Live Nation Canada events across the country.” The program reserves blocks of premium concert tickets for its customers, which will be especially helpful at events that only offer general admission tickets otherwise.

“We believe our customers deserve the best,” said Brian D. Fulton, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. “It’s what they expect from our vehicles and it’s what we strive for in every customer interaction. Through this partnership, we can now facilitate access to the best live events in the country. Live music has the power to move people. We want to be a part of that fun and excitement.”

Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada sponsorship deal
Make sure to contact Mercedes to find out if they have special reserved seats for the next concert you attend. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

“Live Nation and Mercedes-Benz are both brands that are passionate about performance,” added John May, President, Media and Corporate Partnerships, Live Nation Canada. “That passion has made us best-in-class in our respective fields and we’re thrilled to now be working together.”

If you’re already a Mercedes-Benz customer, you can sign up right now at: http://promo.livenation.com/email/setlist/?camefrom=CFC_MercedesBenzCA_website (note: don’t include a space with your postal code). Alternatively, we’re quite certain your local Mercedes-Benz retailer will be only too happy to tell you how you can gain privileged access to all the special perks just mentioned, which are only available to Mercedes-Benz and Smart owners.

Now, go ahead and check out the Mercedes-Benz and Live Nation Canada “Be Moved” video:

 

Mercedes’ B-Class isn’t the newest kid on the compact luxury block, but it’s still a worthy tall wagon that easily outperforms most of its rivals when wanting a practical yet premium experience.…

2018 Mercedes-Benz B 250 4Matic Sports Tourer Road Test

The B-Class moves into 2018 mostly unchanged, but this is hardly a bad thing considering its attractive tall wagon/MPV shape, superb interior, and finely balanced ride and handling.

Mostly unchanged? True, Mercedes has added plenty of new standard features to the base B 250 mix, this raising the entry price by $4,050 to a still very affordable $35,900, or $38,200 for the all-wheel drive 4Matic. And you get a lot for that money. Now standard is the previously optional Avantgarde Edition package, which adds high-performance auto on/off LED headlamps, blindspot assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch tablet-style infotainment display filled with a dynamic guideline-enhanced backup camera plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, this package continuing with power-adjustable front seats with four-way powered lumbar support and a panoramic sunroof, turning what was a good little albeit more rudimentary luxury compact into something you can really Read Full Story
Those not personally invested in the first-generation GLA may not notice that this 2018 version has received a mid-cycle update, but put the new model beside its predecessor and the changes are obvious.…

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic Road Test

While luxury branded competitors scramble to fill niches within all the various SUV categories, Mercedes has long led the way.

The German automaker was one of the first with a serious 4x4-capable SUV, its legendary Gelandewagen, now G-Class, dating back to 1979, as well as one of the first with a luxury crossover SUV in the M-Class, more recently dubbed GLE-Class, a mid-size five-seater that harks back to 1997.

The three-pointed star brand has steadily grown its SUV lineup since then, adding the seven-occupant GL-Class in 2006, now named GLS, the GLK in 2008, now replaced by the entirely new GLC, and more recently this GLA-Class in 2014. The following year Mercedes expanded its GLE-Class lineup by adding a sportier Coupe variant, which was followed up last year by the GLC-Class Coupe.

The last two models have more in common with the GLA than any of the others on that long list. No doubt the success of Mercedes' entry-level SUV, along with the mid-size BMW X6 Read Full Story