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Three rows of awesome: The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon returns for another generation

There's never a guarantee that a small-volume model like this will return after a new generation is introduced, but you can't deny the staying power of rear-facing seats.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon
Behind the first two rows of seats lies a set of standard, foldable, rear-facing seats, which bumps total passenger capacity up to 7 individuals.

It's a rare day that I get to write about an all-new wagon. Crossovers have taken the world by storm, and even the once-ubiquitous sedan is falling prey to its charms. Wagons, already a niche purchase, are falling even more by the wayside. But there's still hope, and it takes the form of the Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon.

Although Mercedes-Benz is expected to roll out a whole litany of E-Class Wagons (or Estates, depending on your regional parlance) for Europe, the US will get just one -- the E400 4Matic. It packs a 3.0-liter V-6, good for 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, which mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission. It'll be available in either Sport or Luxury trims.

Looks-wise, not much changes from the E-Class sedan -- on the front end, at least. Out back, the taillights are closer to the S-Class and C-Class coupes, with a strong, almost unibrow-like chrome strip spanning the width of the rear end. Inside, it's exactly the same as the E-Class, with a whole new dashboard that's equal parts S-Class and E-Class.

Also returning with this new E-Class Wagon is its standard third row of seats. Thanks to a set of rear-facing seats (waybacks, if you talk like a cool kid), there's room for seven individuals inside the wagon. You'd be hard pressed to find too many cars in the US that still offer waybacks -- I'm pretty sure the Tesla Model S still offers them, even though it's not a wagon.

While the E-Class sedan has an entry-level AMG variant, the E43, the US won't see a similar trim level on the wagon. That said, according to Mercedes' press release, "another AMG E-Wagon model is not to be ruled out." The last few E-Class Wagon models included AMG E63 variants, so I'm optimistic that it will return later in the product's lifecycle.

The E400 Wagon should be at dealerships by early next year, and pricing is still to be determined.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon