To compete with the Volvo V90 Cross Country, which is an all-terrain derivative of the Volvo S90 estate, Mercedes-Benz has launched an E-Class All-Terrain in India. Euro 6 compliant, it is powered by a 194bhp, 2.0-litre OM654 turbo-diesel engine that can run on Euro 4 fuel as well.
Assembled in India, the car, based on the E-Class estate, shares its wheelbase with the standard E-Class rather than the long-wheelbase version.
Measuring a good five metres in length, the All-Terrain is similar in appearance to the E-Class sedan until the B-pillar after which it carves out an estate form with a considerable rear overhang.
If the large 19-inch dia wheels and a plastic cladding that runs along the lower section of the bodywork and bumpers give the vehicle an ‘All-Terrain’ look, the grille features two horizontal slats and is finished in the same shade of grey as the scuff plate built into the lower portion of the bumper. The two present the car with a bold character.
The All-Terrain’s cabin is similar to that of the other E-Class models. But the additional space and ample glass area make for a far more spacious feel. The cabin looks rich and plush. Not as plush as the long wheelbase version though, the All-Terrain features a smooth flowing dash that is also found on other E-Class versions. The instrument panel extends to the top of the centre console, and unlike the unit in European E-Class, has analogue speedometer and tachometer dials.
The view from behind the wheel is good if not as commanding as in an SUV. The electrically adjustable seats provides excellent support. Legroom at the rear is less than what is found in the long-wheelbase sedan version. Not offering the seat recline function and soft pillow headrests that the long-wheelbase sedan features, the All-Terrain’s transmission tunnel, however, is likely to cause some discomfort to the middle row passengers. The cavernous storage bay at the rear is worth 640 litres. Folding down either of the 40:20:40 split rear seat adds to the storage space.
Well-appointed with air suspension, panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, three-zone climate control and an electrically operated tailgate, the All-Terrain could have its ride height raised by up to 35mm at the touch of a button. The maximum achievable ground clearance is 156mm. The 2.9m wheelbase also limits the ability of the car to venture off road. The all-wheel drive system works well by distributing torque between the front and rear axles based on available traction, the car offers five modes ranging from ‘All-Terrain’ to ‘Individual’. If the modes influence the driving experience and the ride and handling characteristics, the all-wheel drive system ensures that power is put down on the road even in wet and seemingly slippery conditions.
With performance and refinement levels similar to that of the E-Class sedan, the All-Terrain may not be as succinct as some of its competitors, but feels strong and in control. The nine-speed auto transmission does its job well even though it does tend to trip at times when the throttle is floored. Weighing close to two-tonnes, the All-Terrain is not exactly sporty or light but nevertheless performs well.
Distinct and luxurious, the All-Terrain makes a nice package. Priced at Rs 65 lakhs ex-showroom (approx), the All-Terrain, however, is in a price bracket that provides the buyer ample choice. For instance, the Volvo V90 Cross Country, which, in fact, is better equipped, or a luxury SUV.
Pros: Distinct, luxurious, spacious, practical
Cons: Price, positioning, kit