Crossover & Midsize

Is This 2021 Wagon A Buick, Mercedes, Or Subaru?

We all like station wagons at Motor Biscuit. We study them and even on occasion buy one. So when this popped up in our feed today the question posed is “what is it?” Is this 2021 wagon a Mercedes E-Class, Subaru Outback, or Buick TourX? We ask because it’s impossible to tell. That’s not a good sign. In this case, Mercedes should have given a better effort.

A better effort on a number of fronts. The restyle on the E-Class fascia is phoned-in at best. Really, Mercedes? Is this the best you can come up with? It’s almost identical to the Buick TourX, which came out in 2017. Couldn’t you have given it just a bit more of a distinctive grille and valance? 

The E-Class curvy grille and squinty headlights are not an improvement

E-Class, TourX, and Outback: three of a kind

And honestly, your curvy new grille and squinty headlights are not an improvement over the 2019 E-Class. How was this selected as being an update/improvement over the fascia it is replacing? 

Let’s be honest here. Mercedes has made some blunderful mistakes over the years with E-Class styling. I remind you of just a few years ago when it featured an extra feature line in the back. This accomplishes two things. First, it made the car-especially the wagons, look like a dog running scared with its tail between its legs. 

The design-fail visually shrunk the wheelbase and car itself

Secondly, it was the classic instance of rather than helping to visually extend the body and wheelbase, it shrunk it. The extra feature gave the E-Class the look of those altered-wheelbase Funny Cars from the mid-1960s. Except those looked tough. The Merc looked like a rookie styling mistake. 

Once Mercedes made a refresh of it a couple of years later it eliminated that extra character line. All of a sudden the car looked good. It wasn’t a breakthrough design or anything, but at least it made it look like a designer with some projects under his or her belt knew how to fix it. The design staff should have seen the mistake in full-size renderings or at the very least in clay. Oh, well.

Maybe this design staff should go into plumbing?

So the same staff must have anointed this latest “refresh.” Maybe plumbing would be something they could better handle? Maybe not? As it is the C-Class has become an Outback clone. Especially the slight lift and crap plastic in the wheel openings makes one think cheap not Mercedes. Both the Outback and TourX are vast improvements over the E-Class wagon, which is a real shame. 

In the back, the E-Class now looks like its smaller sibling the A-Class. Hey Mercedes, I think you’re supposed to go in the other direction. The small cars try to mimic the larger, more expensive models. Not vice-versa.

Mercedes calls its Outback-clone the “All-Terrain”

2021 Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain wagon | Mercedes
2021 Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain wagon | Mercedes

Mercedes calls this Outback-looking E-Class “All-Terrain.” Great. Electrification is part of the bag with the inline-six getting a starter generator hybrid system. The 48-volt setup gives the 3.0-liter a combined 362 hp backed by the nine-speed transmission.

The “AMG-enhanced” E 53 All-Terrain has AMG-tweaked 429 hp out of the turbocharged 3.0-liter. Lots of safety features are part of the deal, just like with a Kia. And there are three new silver finishes adding to the 1,600+ silver colors it already makes available. 

So the “new and improved” E-Class wagon is basically designed like a Buick with safety features like a Kia and adds three new silvers to really clinch the deal. It’s all either due to arrogance, or ignorance that Mercedes does this. Which do you think it is?