2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4matic Wagon

Like most auto journalists, I'm strangely fixated on station wagons, especially those of the European variety. That said, I'm rather cool toward this E350. Beyond the outrageous price, which my colleagues have already covered ad nauseum, there's the fact that the E350 just doesn't drive exceptionally well. Granted, it's better than most crossovers by simple virtue of its lower height. But the big Benz is cushy through corners, and the steering has a very boosted feel. Maybe the E-class comes into its own storming down the highway, but around town it feels very much like the big, heavy, long car that it is.

And then there are some annoyances that simply don't belong in a near-$70,000 automobile. For instance, the seat squabs inexplicably have a storage compartment located exactly where the back of my knees would normally be, and the interior, though attractive overall, has some switchgear that would feel out of place in a low-end C-class.

The E350 certainly has some appeal as a luxurious station wagon in a world of cookie-cutter crossovers. But for those in search of the true sporty wagon experience, I would have to agree with Phil Floraday and point to the nearest Cadillac dealer. Yes, it's true -- an American automaker now builds the best European station wagon.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

Agreed. Niche vehicle, but there sure is a niche.
I'm with Joe D. "Moneyed Folk" who buy these things aren't cross shopping in the way that you and I would. It's a nice, expensive, acquired taste for people who pay cash for something to drive to the yacht club...or whatever it is that they do.
My MBz wagon handles better and gets much better fuel economy that an equivalent SUV....I don't see my car everywhere either. Go ahead and buy an SUV and you will see 100 of them just like yours a day.

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