For the past three years, Mercedes-Benz has been consistently hitting design home runs with the S-Class, then the C-Class, followed by the GLC utility vehicle, all of which won Wards 10 Best Interiors honors the past three years.
Now, the all-new E-Class sedan gets its moment to shine, and it truly does in each judging criteria of the inaugural Wards 10 Best UX competition.
Connecting a smartphone is fast and easy, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well, providing access to apps and information already loaded on your smartphone.
The display screen is mesmerizing, with its crisp, colorful graphics spanning one massive 2-ft. (62-cm) sheet of glass stretching from the left side of the steering wheel all the way to the passenger side. A brow over top helps prevent glare.
The information available on this jumbotron is truly staggering, but Mercedes designers were smart in configuring menus to be simple and straightforward.
Whether the driver or passenger is cycling through radio and audio options, reading the digital owner’s manual or deciding on a favorite ambient light color, each page along the way is graphically compelling and in some cases animated. Kudos to the design team for insisting on airy menu pages with minimal clutter to distract or frustrate.
Toggling through all this information is another highlight in the E-Class. As we have said about other Wards 10 Best UX winners, redundancy is the key to success.
Choose your favorite method of interacting with the car, using the touchpad or the rotary-dial controller ergonomically placed in the center console or the touch-sensitive control buttons on either side of the steering wheel. You also can use voice commands to perform many functions.
What puts the E-Class over the top is its world-class driver-assistance systems. Want to creep through a construction zone with no hands on the wheel or feet on the pedals? Let the car accelerate, brake and steer itself at speed on the highway for a spell? Change lanes automatically? Read and obey traffic signs? It’s all possible with the new E.
Finally, let’s talk price. We know $73,000 is a lot of money, but consider the market for midsize luxury cars and the features onboard the E-Class at this price. We also tested other premium vehicles that were well-equipped and cost more. The WardsAuto staff unanimously preferred the user experience in the Mercedes.
Don’t forget some of the other features that came on our E-Class tester, such as massaging seats, wireless phone charging, Burmester surround sound and front seats with Rapid Heating functionality.
Indeed, Mercedes is on a hot streak.