Mercedes R-Class MPV (2006-2013)
"The Mercedes R-Class will comfortably swallow up to seven people and almost all of their luggage."
- Interior quality and space
- Comfortable ride
- Powerful engines
- Expensive to buy
- Costly to run
- Disappointing handling
Available in two-wheel-drive short-wheelbase form, or four-wheel-drive long-wheelbase form, the Mercedes R-Class is a big car measuring approximately five metres long. Both the R300 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and R350 CDI L models come with 3.0-litre diesel engines, producing 190bhp and 265bhp respectively. The R-Class is designed to tempt buyers away from premium SUVs such as the BMW X5 and Range Rover, but it resembles something between a Renault Grand Espace and Mercedes S-Class. It rides very well and soaks up bumps and imperfections in the road with ease, but it struggles when pushed in corners. Both engines are smooth and torquey, and provide effortless cruising and excellent long distance capability. The well appointed interior is both stylish and spacious, which is typical of high-end Mercedes models. As with most large, heavy cars, fuel consumption isn't it strongest point, the cheaper R300 CDI is capable of only 37.2mpg on the combined cycle.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Keeping an R-Class on the road is not going to be cheap, and the initial outlay is only the start. Filling the 80-litre fuel tank with diesel will often cost in excess of £100. The engines produce emissions in excess of 200g/km, so even the most efficient model will cost £245 in road tax after the first year.
Engines, drive & performance
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class uses the same chassis as the M-Class SUV, so it's a competent performer that prefers to cruise than be driven enthusiastically. There is lots of grip, especially in four-wheel-drive form, but the car's soft suspension and sheer size limit its ability in corners. There's plenty of power from both engines, and the R350 CDI is powerful enough to overtake other road users with ease. The R300 CDI is capable of going from 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds, too.
Interior & comfort
The R-Class is softly sprung and the high quality interior fabrics mean that passengers can travel in limousine-style luxury. Long journeys are despatched with ease, although the suspension does become uncomfortable on models wearing optional large alloy wheels.
Practicality & boot space
The R-Class has a very spacious, practical cabin with a huge 869-litre boot. This grows to 1,048 litres if you go for the long-wheelbase model, which also benefits from improved rear seat access. All materials are very well made, with useful cubbies and well thought-out dashboard controls. Care is due when parking and driving in town, thanks to the car's massive size and large blind spots, although parking sensors are fitted as standard.
Reliability & safety
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class is built in the USA alongside the M-CLass and GL-Class SUVs, because that's where most R-Class models are sold. Build quality is good, and everything feels well put together, while the quality of the materials used in the cabin are up to the standard of the Mercedes S-Class limousine.
Price, value for money & options
It's far from cheap, but the Mercedes-Benz R-Class is well equipped for those that can afford it. There's sat-nav, a Bluetooth mobile phone connection, a USB port for the stereo and a raft of airbags throughout the cabin. Rear air-suspension, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, cruise control and a seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel gear shift paddles complete the list of hi-tech kit that's included. All models also get sporty AMG exterior styling.