in 2012 Luxury Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $37,910 - $38,765
Original MSRP: $52,690 - $53,840
MPG: 16 City / 21 Hwy
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2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Most test drivers agree that the Mercedes R-Class has one of the most luxurious and high-quality interiors found in a luxury midsize SUV. With seating for six or seven, it’s an especially luxurious minivan alternative. It also has enough space in its third row for adults, which is something that most midsize SUVs can’t match. Its biggest drawback, though, is its switchgear. With the COMAND media interface, confusing stalk controls and electronic gearshift, reviewers say it’s easy for drivers to get distracted.

  • "The cabin boasts a rich blend of materials. Almost every surface that isn't wood is padded, and what little hard plastic can be found is of high quality.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "There is no other minivan cabin as attractive or as luxurious as the R-Class.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Materials and workmanship, as always with MB, are excellent.” -- MarketWatch
  • “The cabin is still a comfortable place to spend a road trip no matter where you're sitting.” -- Autoblog

Mercedes-Benz R-Class Pictures

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Comfort is a standout feature of the 2012 R-Class. Reviewers say that even the third row is big enough to fit adults -- just as long as they’re shorter than 6 feet. The base R-Class seats six, though buyers can opt for a middle seat in the second row in place of a console and get seating for seven.

Leather upholstery and power driver and passenger seats are standard. Memory seats and heated front seats are optional.

  • "Generous room on supportive (front) seats. Entry and exit are easy via large doors and no-stress step-in height.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Business-class seating in all rows.” -- Car and Driver
  • "The R-Class provides roomy first- and second-row seats and a third row that's workable for adults providing the trip's not too long.” -- Cars.com
  • "The second-row bucket seats are a little more comfortable than the bench seating you'd find in a sedan or wagon.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "As it has since day one, the R-Class continues to score big points when it comes to pampering passengers.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The bottom line is that unlike many other three-row creations out there, the final thrones in the new R-Class are actually good for something other than child cruelty.” -- Autoblog
  • “For a long road trip with the family and luggage, the R-class is a perfect tool to take along with roomy enough third-row seating for average-size adults.” -- AutoWeek

Interior Features

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class comes standard with a leather-covered tilt and telescopic steering wheel, burl walnut wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-disc CD changer and a power sunroof.

A hard drive navigation system is optional, but many reviewers criticize the design of the system and placement of the screen, saying it requires a long glance away from the road.

Though reviewers love the cabin’s classy materials and high-quality fit and finish, they aren’t so fond of the R-Class’ COMAND system, which integrates controls for the stereo, navigation system and Bluetooth. They say it complicates simple tasks and is distracting to use. Test drivers also complain about Mercedes’ electronic shifter and multitude of stalk controls, saying they’re very difficult to get used to.

  • "We weren't in love with the shallow depth of the available navigation screen, but the automaker's COMAND system is among the best in the business at managing vehicle functions." -- Motor Trend
  • "Gear shifting via the short column lever takes acclimation. The lever returns to the same position after each shift, requiring the driver to monitor gear selection on the instrument panel screen.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “Usually it takes a few moments to acquaint oneself with the latest features in a car like this, but the controls of the entertainment system were incomprehensible. I had a maddening struggle to try and operate the DVD player for the rear seats and somehow rendered the entire system mute. All in all, the painful experience with the center console might have soured me on the entire car.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "While everything is plenty comfortable from a passenger stand point, we did run into a few issues behind the wheel. Our biggest gripe is that the nav screen is still located low on the dash, meaning the driver has to spend too much time staring down and away from the road to get an idea of where he or she is headed. It's a distraction that would require a significant redesign of the dash to fix.” -- Autoblog


Cargo space is another one of the R-Class’ strengths. The R-Class provides 15.2 cubic feet with all three rows of seats in use, 42.2 cubic feet with the third row folded down and 85 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down. That maximum capacity beats its sibling, the Mercedes M-Class, as well as less expensive competitors like the Audi Q7. A power liftgate is optional, and reviewers say the R-Class has plenty of storage cubbies.

  • "Second- and 3rd-row seats fold to lay flush with the floor, providing a cargo hold that's nearly 8 feet long. The available 2nd-row console protrudes above the seat backs, though. Liftover is low for easy loading. Deep door pockets and multi-chambered 1st- and 2nd-row consoles provide abundant small-item storage.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Spacious cargo area.” -- Car and Driver
  • "Visions of wealthy surfer dudes chasing tasty waves isn't exactly the first image we'd associate with the freshened up … Mercedes-Benz R-Class, but right before our drive in-and-around New York City, we received this tidbit during the press preview: it'll swallow 7-foot boards. Good to know.” -- Motor Trend

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