Blue streak

A 300D for the new miilenium outside. The engine, though on the loud side for a modern diesel. is barely audible from within; shifts by the seven-speed automatic are imperceptible except for multigear kickdowns under hard acceleration; the steering feels disconnected from the wheels; and there's virtually no NVH except for a small amount of noise from the run-flat tires at cruising speeds. The plus side is that this isolation, combined with your favcrite sounds from the audio system, makes miles pass by effortlessly.

On the Hollar front, Mercedes wants just $1500 extra for the diesel over the gasser E350. That^s a premium yru'll likely earn hark in fuel savings before the lease is over. The only downside is that the E350 BlueTec is available in just one flavor: RV/D sedan.

Given its fuel economy and ability to effortlessly eat up highway miles, it would certainly make a great road-trip car. Just prepare to answer questions on the rare occasion when you have to fill up. ■ kirill ougarov

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