By KBB.com Editors
For 2011 the Mercedes-Benz R-Class crossover utility vehicle has been given a fresh new face, the same sophisticated fascia that's shared with many of the manufacturer's other models. While the change may seem small, the alteration has given the R-Class a more unified look. Potential buyers may still be left scratching their heads over exactly what to call the R-Class, but the "sport tourer" offers plenty of passenger and cargo capacity for families who want a more luxurious way to get around town. The R-Class includes a seven-speed automatic transmission, standard all-wheel-drive and a choice of gasoline or diesel engines. Unsurprisingly, it's rather spacious inside, with feature-rich seating for six people and so much cargo space it bests the huge Cadillac Escalade.
If you can't quite stand the thought of owning a minivan but require an abundance of space and functionality, the R-Class is a winner. The interior offers three rows of luxury seating and a BlueTEC diesel engine option delivers impressive fuel economy without a power penalty.
Make no mistake, this is a huge vehicle. If you don't find yourself playing chauffer to the neighborhood on a regular basis, something smaller may be a better option. Navigating tight city streets or jousting in cramped parking lots can be difficult at best.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class has an entirely new front-end, complete with fresh fenders, a new hood and a redesigned front fascia. The look borrows heavily from the German automaker's new design language and the big people-mover wears it well.
Driving Impressions The 3.5-liter V6 powering the R350 is partnered with a full-time all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed automatic transmission to create a pleasant, but not spirited, driving experience. The R350 BlueTEC...actually feels quicker, which is no surprise given the engine's abundance of low-end torque. We found that even on winding roads the R-Class smoothly carved through the turns while the seven-speed transmission delivered seamless shifts, with the shift logic always finding just the right gear when needed. Like many Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the R-Class has both Sport and Comfort suspension settings, and we found the Sport setting quite pleasing and agile. Stopping this heavy vehicle is also no problem with its big 13.8-inch front brake rotors and standard ABS and Brake Assist features. The R-Class also has an excellent turning radius, making it even easier to maneuver than many SUVs.
Second-Row Captain's Chair Seating
The comfortable second-row seats in the 2011 R-Class offer nearly as much room and comfort as those in the front, providing rear passengers a comfortable riding experience that's nearly unsurpassed.
Mercedes-Benz has made the R-Class available with a panoramic sunroof that stretches over six feet. The option does much to help passengers feel less trapped in the second and third rows.
What the 2011 R-Class gives up in functionality by opting for traditional hinged doors instead of the sliders of a minivan it more than makes up for in interior comfort. When equipped with the optional panoramic sunroof, the cabin feels more open and spacious than any of its competitors. Attractive maple interior trim and available third-row seats make the R-class as functional as it is attractive inside. Rear-seat passengers are treated to individual seat adjustments, cup holders, a middle console and an optional dual-screen DVD player.Exterior
Thanks to the new nose job, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class has developed a much more mature presence. Though the body remains identical to its 2010 predecessor from the front-doors rearward, the vehicle now looks as if it belongs in the Mercedes-Benz stable. An expressive, upright grille dominates the front fascia while wrapped projector lights give it a healthy dose of personality. Though the rear half of the R-Class still holds its awkward proportions, stylized body strakes and arching-rear glass give the illusion of an athletic shape.
Mercedes-Benz has equipped the 2011 R-Class with a long list of standard equipment, including the company's excellent 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. A power sunroof and dual-zone climate controls also make the list, as do stylish 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, look for Bluetooth hands-free calling, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and an in-dash CD changer connected to an eight-speaker audio system.
Though the standard-equipment list is lengthy, Mercedes-Benz also offers a substantial number of options. Those hungry for a little more style may chose 20-inch wheels while the tech-hungry can select gadgets like a harman/kardon LOGIC7 sound system, dual eight-inch LCD screens for the rear passengers, the keyless starting system and hard-drive-based navigation. In addition, the 2011 R-Class is available with a panoramic sunroof and tri-zone automatic climate controls. Diesel buyers may also opt for rear air suspension.
The R350's gasoline V6 is generally adequate but might be less spirited dealing with a loaded vehicle and a steep uphill climb. If you're not deterred by the thought of owning a diesel, the R350 BlueTEC's turbocharged V6 diesel engine provides great acceleration and superior fuel economy.
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19
3.0-liter V6 Turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3400 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2400
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24
By Bear on Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love the vehicle"
Cons: "Love it, but do not trust the servicing dealer."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Exactly what I require, however, my servicing dealer's maint personnel have not performed some very elemental repairs, in OKC. The vehicle has been in for service for the same thing 4 times. The service has never been correctly performed. It is in for service at this time and am dealing with a different service person. Hopefully will be satisfactory."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Dixiegirl on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ride, amenities, cargo space, interior"
Cons: "Poor quality, expensive to repair, unreliable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This is a great layout for a family car. It rides like a dream, and with all of the seats folded down, there's little that can't be carried in it. If I could keep the build, and replace everything mechanical about it, I would. At only 65K on a babied, well-maintained car, I have had to replace both rear air struts within 6 months of each other (approx $700 each). Also, the manifold is currently being replaced due to a bad flap ($1600 total repair). The tailgate back sensor has never worked properly, nor have the parking sensors (they go off randomly when driving down the road). I am now being told that the thermostat and cam sensors need to be replaced as well. Even with the car paid off, the repairs are no longer worth keeping the vehicle, which is a real shame. I love the R-Class body, and it is amazing in so many other ways. But it is the most unreliable car I have ever owned."
14 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Johnny on Friday, January 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Huge interior. Luxury finish. Fast acceleration !"
Cons: "Low MPG. Dealer service rates are high."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had my 206 R500 for 6 years and it has been a very reliable car. Only issue was rear air shocks. Great fun in sport mode. Lousy MPG, but expected. Dealer service prices are a joke but local shops servicing MBs are very reasonable. Interior room is outstanding. Good build and finish. Because of the loaf shape of the car, estimating your front and rear points is difficult when parking. I spent $250 on an aftermarket park assist system and it was well worth it!"
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Jayme on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cargo space, comfortability and appearance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I had my mercedes R350 for 3 years now and I have enjoyed it thus far. I had to replace the air shocks, but other than that I have not had any problems with the car. When I replaced the air shocks I found the part online, which was cost efficient compared to the dealership. They cost $300 for the pair!"
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Peter on Friday, December 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"One of the best of the MB's that I have owned since 1976. Lots of room and easy to reconfigure. Excellent mileage for a large vehicle. No issues since bought new in 2008."
By Wooderson on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of room, high quality materials"
Cons: "Incredibly boring to drive, if you're into that."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"My wife has loved it since we got it. It is a hulking behemoth that moves down the road fine enough, but I think it's exceptionally boring to drive. An Odyssey or Sienna would drive like a F1 car in comparison (and with more utility and better mileage to boot). The resale on these cars is poor, which makes them an excellent value for used car buyers. Pick up a CDI or Bluetec if you can find one. Please don't try to make this car sporty; whenever I see this car with aftermarket suspension or wheels, I cringe. Our car has a lot of miles, but it's still tight and drives like it did when it was new. The materials are top notch, and still look great. It's difficult to find any aging on this car. I replaced the rear airshocks with Arnotts myself ($235), it took less than two hours for both sides. We've had no other maintenance issues. The Harmon Kardon sound is very good, the massive sunroof is nice, braking, acceleration, and handling are decent for it's size, though it's strange that my father's GL wagon (same year) is bigger and heavier, yet handles 100% better. I think we'll keep this thing for another five years, it wouldn't shock me if we went longer."
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful