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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Mar 1, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Sleek and elegant - two words I thought I would never use to describe a station wagon. To me, station wagons were always big, bulky family vehicles like the one Mike and Carol used to shuttle their kids around in the classic TV series "The Brady Bunch". Now Mercedes-Benz has combined the versatility of a station wagon with the styling of a luxury car to create the E320 Station Wagon, the first station wagon I would be proud to park in my garage.

Upon arriving home with the vehicle, a visiting friend anxiously awaiting a ride in the wagon suggested going out to dinner. Going out to eat in a shiny new car sounded like a great idea, but where should we go in a luxurious new Mercedes? I was considering Ruth's Chris Steak House or possibly PF Chang's China Bistro. However, being a good host I took my friend's suggestion and off we went to L.A.'s popular King Taco. OK, so King Taco wasn't my first choice, but I knew we would get some looks pulling into the parking lot of the east L.A. taco eatery. The E320 Wagon was clearly designed with comfort and convenience in mind. Dual-zone auto climate control will keep you and your passengers at just the right temperature while a 9-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system will keep everyone entertained. Volume up/down buttons for the audio system are among the controls located on the E320's multifunction steering wheel. The interior features leather seating inserts, a burl walnut trim and split-folding second row seats. Whether you have a large family or plan on making some new friends, a third row seat comes standard allowing you to transport up to seven passengers. The center console has compartments within compartments and, with the press of a button, your cup holder appears to cradle your favorite beverage within easy reach.

The E320's 3.2-liter V6 engine provides plenty of power and I found the speed sensitive power steering to be quite responsive. A driver-selectable comfort mode starts the vehicle moving in second gear and upshifts at a lower rpm providing a smoother ride and greater control on slippery surfaces. And who says you can't have it both ways...the 5-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission allows you to manually downshift and upshift by nudging the shift lever left or right from the "Drive" position. To make sure you get from point A to point B in one piece, the E320 has numerous safety features including a steel reinforced cabin with front and rear crumple zones; front and side airbags with head protection curtains; and the Tele Aid emergency calling and communication system that works perfectly, I discovered, when I accidentally hit the SOS button in the vehicle and heard a voice response immediately! Although the 320E is loaded with standard comfort and safety equipment, the creative use of lightweight materials helps to keep the car within 50 to 100 pounds of previous models. Priced in the low 50's, the E320 is an exceptional value as it combines the practicality of a wagon with the comfort and luxury of a Mercedes. And while your at it, why not make your driving experience even more enjoyable by adding the optional equipment that was on my test vehicle, including a power sunroof and a Harmon Kardon sound system with CD changer. The Mercedes-Benz E320 Station Wagon is a versatile vehicle, perfect for any occasion ## even a visit to your local taco shop!

For more information on Mercedes-Benz products, go to

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: Mercedes-Benz E320 Station Wagon Price: $49,950 MSRP Engine type: 3.2 liter twin-spark 18-valve aluminum V6; sequential fuel injection; electronic throttle control Horsepower: 221 hp @ 5,700 rpm Torque: 232 lb-ft @ 3,000 - 4,800 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / Rear-wheel drive (Optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive) Transmission type: Five-speed electronically controlled automatic with driver-adaptive shift logic and Touch Shift Front suspension: Four-link, coil springs, gas-charged twin-tube shock absorbers, stabilizer bar. Rear suspension: Five-link, coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar. Wheels and tires: Front: 8.0 x 16-inch, 5 dual spoke 225/55R 16 95H Rear: Same Brakes: Front: Vented with four-piston floating calipers Rear: Solid, with twin-piston fixed calipers 4-channel ABS Anti-lock, Brake Assist, Electronic brake proportioning Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Overall length: 190.3" Overall width: 71.3" Overall height: 57.0" Curb weight (lbs.): 3,966 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 19/27 mpg 0-60 mph: 7.1 0-100 mph: N/A 60-0 mph: N/A

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