2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Review
Reviewers report that the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class’ only downsides are its high price tag and minivan-esque styling. Otherwise, it offers a luxurious and roomy interior, standard all-wheel drive and a car-like driving experience.
Most critics say it doesn’t get much better than the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class for a seven-seat family vehicle. It comes with plenty of convenient features, and its interior is one of the nicest you can find in a luxury crossover. Automotive journalists note that it’s one of the few crossovers with a third row that’s easy to access and comfortable for adults, since most of its rivals offer third-row seats that are barely acceptable for small children. Most critics recommend the diesel engine since it’s more fuel-efficient and feels just as quick as models equipped with the gasoline powerplant. Some automotive writers even praise the R-Class’ swoopy, sleek exterior.
But that exterior is also one of the Mercedes R-Class’ biggest drawbacks. In its efforts to make the R-Class less van-like, Mercedes gave it wide-swinging doors rather than space-saving sliding doors, which can be a problem in crowded parking lots. Though they’re one of the most useful vehicles on the market, many American car shoppers shy away from minivans, opting for cooler-looking but gas-guzzling SUVs. And although the R-Class isn’t a minivan, reviewers say its looks are close enough to one that it might as well be.
So, if you’re on a Mercedes-Benz budget and don’t mind looking like you’re driving a minivan, reviewers say the R-Class, especially when equipped with the diesel engine, is a great choice. Just keep in mind that a diesel-powered, luxury-branded van lookalike may draw some curiosity from your friends and neighbors.
Other Luxury SUVs to Consider
If the Mercedes R-Class’ roomy third row caught your eye, you should also consider the Lincoln MKT. It cost thousands less, even when equipped with optional all-wheel drive, and reviewers say it has a third row that’s one of the roomiest in its class. Plus, reviewers appreciate its luxurious interior and family-friendly features like a refrigerated second-row console and self-parking system.
Buyers who are interested in the R-Class’ diesel engine should check out the Audi Q7 TDI. It costs less than the Mercedes Bluetec SUV, but has the same annual fuel cost, according to the EPA. Plus, it comes with standard all-wheel drive and offers an interior that test drivers say is classy, refined and high-tech.
Details: Mercedes-Benz R-Class
The R-Class comes in two trims, distinguished by their engines: the base R350 and diesel-powered R350 BlueTEC. Both come standard with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. For 2012, Mercedes has replaced last year’s mediocre gas engine with a stronger powerplant, and has updated the transmission for increased fuel economy. Both trims both now come standard with LED daytime running lights, directional lines for the rearview camera and minor interior enhancements.
See the full list of 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class specifications.
- "R-Class combines Mercedes-Benz luxury and driving dynamics with minivan-like utility. This SUV's ability to transport 6 adults in executive-jet comfort is unparalleled in this class. It's not cheap, but slow sales should mean discounts are available.” -- Consumer Guide
- "A comfortable and luxurious way to move a family, the R-class might be the strangest Benz in a long time.” -- Car and Driver
- "It seems that for those Americans who want to haul more than four or five people in a Mercedes, the GL is what they want. But if that big SUV leaves you cold, by all means, check out the R-class. There's a lot to love here -- just not the monthly payments.” -- Automobile Magazine
- "Do I want it? If you put high value in the functionality of your vehicle, carry six or seven passengers often and don't mind driving around a vehicle that closely resembles a (gasp!) minivan, then yes.” -- AutoWeek