Bear with me here. A big hulking E-class Estate – weighing the thick end of 1.7 tonnes – might not seem best suited to a humble sub-2.0-litre four-pot petrol. But that's exactly what we have here. The entry-level E-class Estate is the E200 CGI, and our BlueEfficiency model in SE trim is the only E-class wagon to nudge under £30,000.
Your £29,785 snags a 1.8-litre four-cylinder. Hardly in keeping with the de rigueur diesels in the executive class, whose promise of wafty torque keeps all those kilos at bay. An astonishing 94% of E-class Estates sold last year were diesel powered, and many of the petrols sold were respectably large on cubic centimetres. In short, can our 1.8 cut it? It's all about downsizing, stupid. The 1.8 four-pot has a compressor to liberate a wholesome 182bhp and 199lb ft of torque, spread thickly like a slather of jam all the way from 1800rpm to 4600rpm. That's over 100bhp per litre. In a goody-two-shoes Merc estate!
The E200 CGI promises 35.8mpg and 183g/km of CO2, so high-mileage company car drivers will still be better served by a diesel. The cleanest E-class Estates produce just 150g/km and sup a gallon of diesel every 50 miles on the combined cycle.
At last, the days of stingy bottom-rung Mercs have passed – our car was pretty boggo and didn't feel stripped-out at all. Merc's Artico artificial leather even feels quite smart to the touch. Just watch out for the extras. Metallic paint costs a chunky £620 while our mid-range nav system was a £1175 option.
- How much? £29,785.
- Engine: 1796cc 16v four-cylinder petrol, 182bhp @ 5250rpm, 199lb ft @ 1800-4600rpm.
- Transmission: Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive.
- Performance: 8.8sec 0-62mph, 138mph, 35.8mpg, 183g/km.