Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2002 – 2009) Review

Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2002 – 2009) At A Glance


+Excellent range of refined engines. Comfortable long distance car. Superb ride quality. Models from 2006 are much improved and more reliable.

-Too many quality problems prior to the 2006 facelift including electric faults. Slack manual gearbox. Brake pipe corrosion.

On average it achieves 95% of the official MPG figure

Mercedes Benz used to an advertising slogan that said, "engineered like no other car in the world". Sadly this wasn't always the case and the some cars didn't live up to the promise. However with this E-Class, Mercedes-Benz returned to its core values with an all-new car that supposedly sets the standard for quality.

The big comparison is naturally with the BMW 5 Series but the two are very different cars. While the BMW focusses on handling and driver involvement, the Mercedes E-Class excels when it comes to long distance comfort and refinement. The ride is wonderfully forgiving and makes the E-Class a superb motorway cruiser, helped by impressive noise insulation.

There's a great range of diesel and petrol engines too, offering everything from amazing performance to outright economy. Most people choose one of the CDI diesels, with the E200 CDI and E220 CDI the most frugal while the E320 CDI is a wonderfully strong V6 engine.

Where the E-Class isn't as impressive is in corners, where the artificial steering and lack of body control in bends (compared to alternatives like the BMW) mean it's not as involving to drive. Early models also suffered from electrical problems but when the E-Class was revised in 2006, many of these issues were sorted out, making it a better car all round.

Mercedes Benz E-Class W211 saloon 2002 Road Test

Mercedes Benz E-Class Estate W211 2003 Road Test

Mercedes Benz E-Class W211 2006 Facelift Road Test

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2002 – 2009)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

16–50 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now

Ask Honest John

Suitable replacement for 1998 E-Class?
"My dad drives a 1998 Mercedes E-Class with over 160,000 miles on the clock but it's now getting expensive to maintain. Could you suggest a suitable alternative for under £5,000? He's found a 2004 E220 CDI but drives less than 2,000 miles a year so not sure if diesel will be suitable. And I understand that models prior to 2006 had a lot of problems. He's used to big cars so unfortunately narrows down the choices."
An E-Class sounds like a good shout if he's fond of the brand. A petrol would be ideal for his mileage and he'll probably get a car that's in better condition than the equivalent diesel. Your budget should get a car that's got less than 80,000 miles on the clock and a full service history should mean it has plenty of life left in it. Our review will give you more info on the car and issues that we're aware of to look out for:
Answered by Russell Campbell
I have £3000 to spend on a daily driver. What's your advice?
"I'm about to be made redundant, which means handing back the company car. I'll be using the redundancy cash to pick up a sub £3000 car until I find another job. This price point is awash with cars, from modern Ford Mondeo/Focus type cars with 150,000+ miles and the odd MoT failure, most of which started off as ex fleet. Mixed in, I keep finding some interesting Mercedes. One that caught my eye was a 2004 Mercedes E320 with two owners, full detailed service history, never failed an MOT. Body work immaculate as well. As a rule of thumb, I'll be going over the history with a fine tooth comb. But should I be looking at a modern motor with high mileage or something older with similar mileage which has clearly been loved? Thanks."
If you have less than £3000 to spend on a daily driver, I'd strongly advise against buying an old E-Class. At 16-years-old, it'll be worn out and in need of significant work (and money) to keep it on the road. What's more, being a Mercedes-Benz, all of the servicing and repair costs will be relative to its price when new (£30k) and not a vehicle that's valued under £3000. If you need a reliable and efficient used car, I'd recommend buying a Honda Civic or a Toyota Avensis.
Answered by Dan Powell
What should I replace my ageing Mercedes-Benz E-Class with?
"I presently have an E Class E320 CDI sport auto. I love it but it's a 2007 reg and has done 82,000 miles. What should I replace it with?"
The obvious choice is another E-Class. The current model is a lovely car, although it's fairly big. Many buyers are now moving towards SUVs - you could also look the Mercedes-Benz GLC or GLE. I'd also recommend visiting a Volvo dealer - most of their range is very good, especially SUVs like the XC40 and XC60.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Will my car fail the MoT if a brake warning message is on the dash?
"I have a Mercedes E 220 CDI 2006 model. I have recently replaced the front and rear brake pads and fitted new brake warning sensors but a brake warning message is still highlighted on the dashboard. Is this likely to be caused by a fractured cable in the wiring? Will the car pass its MoT if the warning is displayed but the brakes are proven to be in good order? "
The car will fail the MoT if the brake warning light is on. This was added to the MoT as part of the 2018 changes: Without seeing the car in the metal, it's impossible to say what the cause could be. I'd recommend having the car inspected by a trusted mechanic. You can find your nearest Good Garage here:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2002 – 2009) cost?