Is it a minivan? An SUV? Or just a tall station wagon? Those are several reactions people when experience when they see a 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class for the first time.
The Mercedes Benz R-Class is a crossover with features borrowed from minivans, SUVs, and even wagons. Debuting in 2005 as a 2006 model, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is currently in its first generation, and underwent a refresh last year when it received a new grille, hood, and other front end design elements. The rear received a similar treatment while the interior received an update, especially the dash and center stack design elements. Changes for this year's model include a more refined engine and additional technological features.
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a people hauler and able to sit up to six people comfortably including the driver. Seating for up to seven passengers is an optional feature. Two models are offered: The Mercedes-Benz R350 4Matic and Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC. Both come with a huge number of standard features including sunroof and premium faux-leather (MB-Tex) covering the seats. Two premium option packages add on navigation and high-end sound systems while the Sport package adds 20-inch wheels.
Body style: crossover
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6, 3.0-liter diesel V-6
Transmission: seven-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes Benz R350 4Matic, Mercedes Benz R350 BlueTEC 4Matic
The most significant change to the Mercedes-Benz R-Class for model year 2012 is the 3.5-liter V-6 to the R350 4MATIC model. More powerful yet more fuel efficient, the new engine generates 302 horsepower and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission for EPA-rated fuel economy of 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a stylish minivan-esque crossover capable of hauling six or seven people and their cargo. Changes to the exterior are minimal since the R-Class underwent an extensive refresh in 2011, which primarily included a new hood, grille, headlights, front bumpers, prominent character lines on the sides, rear bumpers, taillights, and exhaust pipe tips.
Like the exterior, the interior of the Mercedes Benz R-Class underwent extensive revision last year. Instrument cluster, dash, and center stack layout were redesigned to be geometrical with the center stack controls better organized than last year's design.
Performance & Handling
As expected, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class interior is a quiet and luxurious place though spacing is not quite as large as it should be for a vehicle of this size. Both engines pull the R-Class strongly though the R350 BlueTEC is slightly quicker due to the diesel engine. The crossover never lets you forget it's a large vehicle, but handling is surprisingly stable for a vehicle of such size. The Mercedes Benz R-Class is ultimately a long-distance cruiser, so interior noise is kept at a minimal while road and wind noise are well controlled. We strongly recommend the optional rearview camera and other optional safety equipment like parking sensors especially if you'll be regularly encountering tight parking spots and such areas.
Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the 2012 Mercedes Benz R-Class is equipped with a huge assortment of active and passive safety equipment. Standard eight airbags include front row airbags; front and rear row side-impact airbags; and head-protection curtains airbags. Other safety technologies include antilock brakes system (ABS); electronic stability program (ESP) and stability control systems. Active safety systems include optional blind spot warning equipment and rearview camera. Mercedes-Benz’s own telematics system, known as mbrace, comes standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mercedes Benz R350 4Matic: 16 mpg city/ 21 mpg highway
Mercedes Benz R350 BlueTEC 4Matic: 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway
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