The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class, still finding its unique niche in this very competitive category, earns a mid-pack Total Car Score.
Compared to the others in this segment, the R-Class is neither sedan nor wagon. It is best considered a minivan without the tell-tale sliding doors. However, like those tall family haulers, cabin access is very easy and the R-Class has plenty of interior room for up to seven passengers, a flexible interior and the driver has a commanding view of the road. And, like other products from Mercedes-Benz, fit and finish is exemplary.
However, the M-Class is unlike anything else on the road. Despite its insistence that it isn't a minivan, the shoe seems to fit. It is often called out for its disproportionate styling, large swing-out side doors, tight third row and lofty price — its MSRP puts it far above minivan competitors.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class was introduced in six years ago, meaning it is entering its seventh year of production (it is due for a major redesign in 2014). After significant updates last year, the R-Class only receives minor updates for 2012. These include new standard LED running lamps, a navigation system and a new six-cylinder engine that promises improved fuel efficiency.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a large crossover wagon with seating for up to seven passengers when properly equipped. It is offered in two versions: R350 4Matic and R350 BlueTec.
The R350 4Matic features a gasoline-fed 3.5-liter six-cylinder rated at 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque while the diesel-powered R350 Bluetec is fitted with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, rated at 210 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. All models utilize a seven-speed automatic transmission and feature 4Matic full-time all-wheel drive.
Standard equipment on both models includes MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a sunroof, full power accessories and an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar. Two optional Premium packages (Premium 1 and Premium 2) bundle equipment such as a power liftgate, power-folding exterior mirrors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition, driver memory functions and an upgraded Harmon-Kardon audio system. Stand-alone options include parking sensors, panoramic sunroof and three-zone climate control — leather upholstery is still not on the options list.
The R350 4Matic earns an EPA rated 16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 18 combined while the diesel-powered R350 Bluetec delivers 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 combined.
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