Review: 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Affluent early adopters who want style, practicality, and something a bit out of the norm are prime R-Class targets, with late-forming boomer families and forward-looking empty nesters topping the hit list. While Mercedes contends that the R-Class creates the luxury Sport Touring segment, Volvo partisans may well counter that the XC90 is already there. And its corporate cousin, the Chrysler Pacifica, is definitely present in spirit if not sheer sumptuousness. Although critics may see the R-Class as an overgrown station wagon, or worse, a mega-minivan, other manufacturers--notably Audi with its soon-on-the-scene Q7, BMW with its upcoming V-Series, and even Mazda with the new Mazda5--clearly believe that buyers are ready for a new breed of people movers aimed at adventurous on-roaders.

Practical and personable, the new R-Class has the style and spirit to score with buyers, no matter what niche it may occupy.

What's Hot

  • Distinctive style
  • Outstanding overall utility
  • Comfortable seats in all three rows

    What's Not

  • Conventionally hinged rear doors
  • Limited cargo space with seats up
  • Third-row cupholders are optional

    Unconventional but engaging, the R-Class brings the Mercedes-Benz touch to the premium people-mover segment.

    The R-Class upgrade roster includes the following Packages: AMG Sport (body/interior trim, 19-inch wheels, 255/50 tires), Lighting (corner-following Bi-Xenon headlamps with washers, corner-sensing fog lamps), Entertainment (harman/kardon LOGIC7 sound system, rear audio controls, CD changer), Premium (Entertainment Package plus Panoramic Roof, power liftgate, DVD-based Navigation, Tele-Aid), Sunroof (power moonroof/rear-quarter windows), and Rear-seat Entertainment (harman/kardon sound plus dual 7.0-inch DVD screens). Tri-zone climate control, full leather upholstery, Airmatic/Adaptive Damping suspension, integrated iPod adapter, power rear liftgate, multicontour seats, Sirius Satellite Radio and Keyless Go (R500 only) are also available.

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