Sedans & Coupes

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Pros and Cons

Yes, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has just won MotorTrend‘s prestigious Car of the Year award. It was already a great luxury sedan before the 2021 redesign, but apparently, it’s gotten even better following its mid-cycle refresh. So much better, in fact, that it beat out some serious competitors such as the Porsche Taycan and the Hyundai Sonata.

But even though we know MotorTrend thought the E-Class was the best new or significantly updated car of the year, what did the judges say about it during testing? Was the praise truly universal, or did some of the reviewers have things they didn’t like? To figure that out, let’s take a closer look at MotorTrend’s pros and cons for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

What the Mercedes E-Class did right

We’ll start off with the pros because, well, the E-Class did so well in the 2021 Car of the Year test that it beat every other competitor. As we already mentioned, that’s especially impressive when you consider the E-Class beat out the Porsche Taycan. That alone is worthy of praise. After all, the Taycan is absurdly quick and reportedly drives so well, you wouldn’t even know it’s electric.

MotorTrend also praised the E-Class’s chassis’ excellent tuning, its refined powertrains, and its high-end cabin. That sure sounds like a recipe for a great luxury sedan to us. To be clear: Not every sedan needs to be a luxury sedan. But any automaker that wants to build one should nail all three of those.

“The E-Class delivers on every front you can think of — both from a passenger’s view and from the driver’s standpoint. It’s the one that makes everyone feel special,” wrote one reviewer. Again, that sounds like the ideal luxury car.

Another reviewer who was fairly hard on the refinement of other COTY competitors said, “What fantastic ride quality. It’s one of the best of any car I’ve driven in a while.” So even the more critical judges were impressed by the new E-Class.

What the Mercedes-Benz E-Class did wrong

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No car is perfect, so even the MotorTrend Car of the Year has its downsides. And even the best car in any particular segment may not be right for every single buyer. If your parking area is too small for a certain car, for example, it won’t be a good choice for you regardless of how much praise reviewers have for it.

As far as MotorTrend’s criticisms went, however, judges focused on only a couple of potential downsides. The first is that the infotainment system proved confusing for some. The second is that once you start adding options, the E-Class quickly gets expensive.

As the review points out, “Although its screens are gloriously crisp, the new infotainment system and user interface raised the ire of nearly every editor for its needlessly complicated nature.” Our experience with that same infotainment system wasn’t nearly as negative. But knowing luxury car buyers tend to be older, it’s probably a bigger problem than we realized at the time.

The other potential downside to the E-Class is its price. Yes, it may start around $55,000, which is pretty average for midsize luxury sedans. But once you start adding options, don’t be surprised to see the price top $75,000. Then again, while you can find less expensive competitors, shouldn’t it be worth a little more to get the Mercedes?