Introduction

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class receives a significant midlife refresh, and each of its four body styles is upgraded for the new model year. The design is updated inside and out, the engineering is upgraded and new Intelligent Drive technology debuts. The E-Class Sedan lineup adds a new 2014 E250 BlueTec clean diesel model. The performance-tuned E63 AMG models are more powerful than before and equipped with standard all-wheel drive.

With the 2014 E-Class arriving in showrooms, dealers are actively clearing stock of the outgoing 2013 model. Buyers also can choose from a number of certified pre-owned (CPO) E-Class models. Is the revamped 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class worth the price premium? Let's take a closer look.

    

Fuel Economy

Thanks to the addition of automatic engine stop/start technology to all 2014 E-Class models, the lineup of midsize luxury coupes, convertibles, sedans and station wagons is more fuel-efficient than before. The arrival of the new E250 BlueTec model also helps in this regard, and the E400 Hybrid model will remain in the lineup.

As this article is written, official fuel economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are available for the E350 and E550 models and show a combined-driving range between 20 mpg for the E550 4Matic all-wheel-drive model to 24 mpg for the E350. Last year, this same range measured between 20 mpg and 23 mpg.

The fuel economy improvements in the volume-selling models might be slight, but the numbers give the nod to the new 2014 E-Class.

    

Safety

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has performed crash tests on the new 2014 E-Class as this article is written. The previous version, which shares its underlying structure with the 2014 model, was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, but the car had not been assessed in the tough new small overlap frontal-impact test. Because the IIHS will require new models to pass the small overlap test to earn a Top Safety Pick designation, we cannot assume this accolade will carry forward to the new 2014 E-Class.

However, thanks to its new Intelligent Drive technology, which equips the 2014 Mercedes E-Class with up to 11 new or enhanced driving assistance features, we can assert that the updated model is likely to provide greater levels of safety. From its re-calibrated Attention Assist system (giving the driver greater control over sensitivity levels) and standard Collision Prevention Assist technology, to Driver Assistance and Lane Tracking option packages that containing items such as Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control with Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Brake Assist Plus, and Cross Traffic Assist, the new E-Class is better equipped to keep its driver and occupants safe than the previous version of the car.

Advantage: 2014 E-Class.

    

Reliability

Historically, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has proven itself reasonably reliable, and both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates give the previous version better-than-average ratings in this regard. That bodes well for buyers seeking to take advantage of lower prices for used E-Class models covered by the automaker's Certified Pre-Owned program.

To qualify as a CPO vehicle, a pre-owned E-Class must pass a 164-point inspection and have a clear vehicle history report. In addition to any remaining balance of the original warranty, a CPO Mercedes-Benz is equipped with an additional zero-deductible 12-month/100,000-mile warranty that starts after the original warranty expires (or at the time of purchase for older models). Additionally, a CPO Mercedes can be returned within 7 days or 500 miles and exchanged for another CPO vehicle of equal or, if the customer is willing to pay the difference, greater value.

These benefits exceed the Mercedes-Benz new vehicle warranty, which covers against defects for 48 months or 50,000 miles. The new Mercedes does, however, offer daily trip interruption reimbursement of up to $300 daily if certain conditions are met.

Given that the E-Class is considered to be a reliable vehicle, and given the Mercedes CPO program's coverage and benefits, we recommend exploring a certified-used E-Class.

    

Value

Another great reason to consider a CPO E-Class is that buyers can save thousands of dollars compared to purchasing a new 2014 E-Class -- money that could be invested in the next Chipotle or Tesla.

A 2014 Mercedes E350 Sedan carries a base price of $52,825 including the $925 destination charge. Compare that to a 2010-2013 E350 Sedan covered by the Mercedes CPO program. As this article is written, there are 1,089 CPO E350 Sedans for sale, ranging between $31,769 for a 2010 model with 4Matic and 38,760 miles to $55,995 for a 2013 model with 4Matic and 661 miles. Though the 2013 is priced higher than a new 2014, it is equipped with the Premium 1 Package, the Sport Package, AMG wheels and more.

Additionally, Mercedes is offering low interest-rate financing for its CPO E-Class models, which means that if you can live without the latest and greatest technologies, a CPO Mercedes E-Class makes sound financial sense.

    

Technology

To facilitate the 2014 E-Class models' new safety features, including several automated driving technologies, a new Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera system is mounted on the windshield to provide a clear three-dimensional view of objects within 55 yards and an overall digital sight distance of 550 yards. Algorithms continually process the data captured by these cameras, and this information is used to operate the car's numerous new driver assistance systems. Additionally, those vehicle features dependent upon radar sensing for operation gain new Multi-Mode Radar sensors for 2014.

Wondering if the new E-Class is technologically superior to the old E-Class? The answer is yes.

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The 2014 Mercedes E-Class is a better car than the one it replaces, from styling and fuel economy to safety and technology. In particular, the more powerful E63 AMG, now with standard 4Matic all-wheel drive, represents an impressive improvement. These upgrades aren't free, though, and because the new 2014 E-Class isn't a completely redesigned vehicle, a less-expensive certified-used 2010-2013 model is quite compelling.

If you prefer the 2014 model's new styling and want the latest technology, get the new E-Class. Otherwise, we think a CPO E-Class makes the most sense.

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Christian Wardlaw is passionate about the cars, trucks, and SUVs people actually buy, not the models about which they fantasize. An industry veteran and former editor-in-chief of Edmunds.com, this father of 4 loves to inform and entertain everyday car buyers.

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