2017 Mercedes E400 4Matic wagon: long live the third row

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With a new model for 2017, the E-Class wagon continues as the only one available in its class. It also has a rear-facing bench seat. And if you get the right package, you can kick your foot below the rear bumper to open the hatch. That's about all we need in a vehicle.

The wagon gets all of the innovations in the new E sedan, including Benz's latest near-autonomous suite and a high-tech interior with big screens and touch-sensitive controls. Air suspension is again standard, and you can choose the Luxury appearance, with its hood-mounted three-pointed star, or the Sport, which sticks a big emblem in the grille.

In part because the E wagon doesn't sell in huge numbers, Mercedes will again offer it here with a single powertrain: The E400 has a 329-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and standard 4Matic all-wheel drive. It also gets M-B's new 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic.

Mercedes always likes to point out that although the long-roof E isn't the brand's most expensive model, it's bought by some of the richest customers. Translation: Old money likes itself some practicality.

The US market will not get the E43 AMG version that Europe gets – basically a 396-hp version of the same 3.0-liter engine and an AMG body and suspension kit – but we're told to expect an AMG variant of the wagon soon. That likely means an E63 wagon to go along with the yet-to-be-released sedan. That is definitely all we'd need in a vehicle.

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