Best Family Car Ever
By Ernest on Tuesday, July 03, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Fun, Opulent, Safe"
Cons: "Doesn't fit most parking spaces or garages"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We needed an all-wheel drive car capable of holding two infants, a double stroller, luggage and 7 passengers. The R was bigger than the E-Wagon or ML, less likely to rollover than any SUV, as large as a GL, all wheel drive, and gargantuanly beautiful.
Initially, I was ready to hate it. I read all the reviews about how cheap it looked inside, under powered its V6 gas engine was, and doughy its steering was. Complete baloney! For 55k-65k it has no competitors, none.
Inside, contrast stitched elephant skin textured leather adorns the doors all the way up to the dash. At that juncture, smokey polished wood panels take over and caress all surfaces all the way down to the center console compartments, which are also carved out of wood. The vents and cup holders punctuate this with steely chrome. All you need to complete the Hemingway mystique of all this are some Cuban cigars, a bottle of whiskey (it has a bottle opener built into the center console), and a WWI revolver.
At his point, I have to say I can't believe we ever considered an Odyssey Touring Elite, which was sea of wobbly plastic, cheap leather, and malfunctioning gizmos. When we test drove them the power tail gate failed in one, the 16" HD screen failed in another, and the engine stalled in the last. Then there were the myriad federal airbag, seatbelt, and sliding door complaints the Odyssey had. You get what you pay for though, for 20k more, the R has zero federal complaints. Not a one.
Then, there's the R's ride, which is like lounging in a first-class Euro-Rail cabin. You hear road bumps, but they are distant and soothing thanks to the longest wheel base offered in any Mercedes. Potholes produce a relaxing, cushioned crackle, like biting into a Snickers bar, a good bass sound but won't rattle you. You can change this serenity with the touch of a button. Paddle shift down and the engine screams and launches 5,000lbs of German steel like an angry bison. But even at high speed, it brakes crushingly, shifts like it's on tracks, and you're always in control. There's no tipsyness like in an SUV and no fishtailing like in most other wagons.
Finally, this car is safe. It weighs about as much as some full size pickup trucks but puts all that weight into crumple zones and a unibody construction rather than the chassis. Even the doors feel safe as they're as large as a sail on a boat and half a foot thick. You're basically in a vault when you're in this thing."
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