On the face of it, Mercedes-Benz is one of those brands that tend to be associated with stylish vehicles driven by high-powered businesspeople and the well-to-do. But it also makes some cars that are surprisingly family-friendly.
Read on for our picks of the best Mercedes models for drivers who need to fit everyone and everything into their car, as well as some brief tips on what to look for when buying a family car in general.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate: spacious and classy
Price (new): from £32,005 on the road
This superbly practical car has picked up some glowing reviews highlighting its suitability for families who need plenty of space for both people and luggage. The E Class Estate boasts a maximum load capacity of 1,950 litres (depending on the version you choose) and a Quickfold lever that makes it easy to create extra room in the back by automatically folding seats down.
There’s plenty of leg, shoulder and headroom for all passengers and Isofix mounting points for those who prefer to attach child car seats using this method. The front seats are heated, while there’s the option to go for contour seats complete with a massage function – now that’s luxurious!
Mercedes-Benz B-Class: compact yet roomy
Price (new): from £21,665 on the road
The B-Class is proof that looks can be deceiving; while it’s similar in size to the Ford Focus, its interior is much more spacious than you might think, making it an ideal option if you prefer family cars that don’t really look like family cars!
The available legroom for rear passengers is more extensive than that for S and E-Class equivalents, while overall load capacity when all of the seats are in position comes to 486 litres. Like the E-Class, the B-Class comes with all kinds of technological wizardry to ensure safe driving, including features such as a radar-assisted warning system that kicks in when you drive too close to another car.
Mercedes-Benz R-Class: a 4×4 in disguise
Price (new): from £44,575 on the road
Now this is a bit of an odd one. The R-Class has all the space and technology of a 4×4, but definitely doesn’t look quite as monstrous as some of the Chelsea tractors you see on the school run, so this could be an appealing option for those who are a little reluctant to join the 4×4/MPV brigade, but could do with the features offered by this type of vehicle.
The car boasts seven leather-covered seats, a load capacity of up to 2,385 litres and plenty of storage options throughout the interior, including compartments between the seats. Perhaps the only drawback to the R-Class is the fact that drivers are likely to be more comfortable driving it over long distances rather than using it to nip around a city or town centre – it may not look exactly like a 4×4, but it can still handle like one.
What to look for when buying a family car
Whether you’ve got your heart set on a Mercedes or something else entirely, there are some key considerations to bear in mind when choosing a new family car:
- Safety - Consult the Euro NCAP safety scores to see how cars fare when it comes to safety for both adult and younger passengers.
- Child-friendly features - Look for seats that you can wipe clean, handy storage options for toys, doors that open wide enough to let you get prams etc into the car easily, and power sockets for charging up electronic toys/consoles on the go.
- Reliability - A good family car should be a long-term investment. Read online reviews and consult message boards to see how other drivers have got on with their purchases.