Buying Guide

2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Fair Market Price $23,097 R350 AWD


16 City / 21 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

NA / 85 cu. ft.



Slow sales have forced Mercedes-Benz to keep its R-class offerings simple, so the all-wheel-drive crossover is available with a choice of just two V-6 engines: one gas and one diesel. We prefer the diesel because it provides acceleration comparable to that of the gasoline engine with dramatically reduced fuel consumption. Significantly redesigned for 2011, the R-class was given more-SUV-like styling, which goes a long way toward making this Mercedes look less like a minivan. Under the skin, though, the R-class is as close as it gets to a luxury minivan. We mean that with the utmost respect, as the R is a spacious, functional, comfortable people mover. The big R-class is almost fifteen inches longer than the M-class on which it’s based and flirts with a 5000-pound curb weight, but it provides a more usable third row than most SUVs. Options include a three-zone climate system; seating for seven (six-person seating is standard); a rear-seat entertainment system; and a 115-volt, household-type plug. The R might not fit into a predefined category, but if you’re looking for full-size-SUV cargo space combined with refined road manners, diesel fuel economy, and a healthy helping of creature comforts, you’re looking for an R-class.

Drive: 4-wheel

Trim levels: R350, R350 BlueTec

Body style: SUV/crossover, 6- or 7-passenger

Engines: 3.0L turbo-diesel V-6, 210 hp, 400 lb-ft

3.5L V-6, 302 hp, 273 lb-ft

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Passenger volume: 162.1 cu ft

Capacities: Towing 3500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 15.2/42.2/85.0 cu ft

For 2012, the R350’s gas V-6 is replaced with the new, direct-injected 3.5-liter that makes 34 more hp and returns an additional 1 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway. Navigation, voice control, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a four-gigabyte music hard drive are now standard. Mercedes has updated the R-class with LED daytime running lights, directional lines on the rearview camera monitor, and minor interior improvements.

ABS; dual-stage front, front and second-row side, and side curtain air bags; tire-pressure monitoring; and traction and stability control are standard. Available safety features include a rearview camera, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring.

All: 16-18 mpg city/21-24 mpg highway

  • Practical and spacious
  • Room for six or seven
  • Diesel available
  • Stodgy proportions
  • Only available with all-wheel

As close as it gets to a luxury minivan.

  • Acura MDX
  • Audi Q7
  • BMW X5
  • Lincoln MKT

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