By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.4
The 2012 Mercedes R-Class is an unusual vehicle. It's definitely not a minivan nor is it really a crossover (even though that's what Mercedes-Benz calls it). Rather, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class has staked its territory as a no-nonsense rolling monument to practicality. With comfortable seating for six, standard all-wheel drive and the option of a diesel engine, the R-Class puts some of the best-selling SUVs on the road to shame. The R-Class suffers from puzzling nomenclature. The gasoline-fueled version is called the R350 4MATIC, while the diesel-burning variant is the R350 BlueTEC. Both have all-wheel drive.
With its solid construction, luxury touches and practicality, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a pleasant refuge from both SUVs and, especially, crossovers with false off-road pretensions.
If you must parallel park in your neighborhood or don't have a bunch of children to transport about town, you may find the R-Class to be more car than you need.
For 2012 the biggest change to the R-Class is the R350 4MATIC's new V6 engine. This 3.5-liter V6 makes 302 horsepower, 34 more than last year's gasoline-fueled V6. Other new standards include LED daytime running lights and Mercedes' COMAND personalization system for sound system, navigation and more.
Driving Impressions The new V6 in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R350 4MATIC is a welcome addition. While not hair-raising in any way, the extra horsepower does its part to put a spring in...the R-Class' step. Mercedes-Benz's 4MATIC all-wheel-drive setup is great as usual and makes for a great year-round people mover. With copious amounts of low-end torque, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC is quick enough to keep you from lamenting the diesel engine. The 7-speed automatic transmission finds its place admirably, and both R-Class models are smooth and competent through corners. Excellent braking and turning radii make the R-Class even better an everyday driver.
If you wish more good diesel engines were available in the U.S. and you don't try a 2012 R350 BlueTEC you're part of the problem. This great engine proves the viability of the right diesel in the right machine.
We can't tell you what a joy it is to see second-row seats with such comfort and adjustability. Anything that can be done to reduce acrimony and complaint from the back is a good thing in our eyes.
Interior design and amenities in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class are top notch. The cabin is spacious, as are the second- and third-row seats. Rear-seat passengers have seat adjustments, cup holders and an optional dual-screen DVD player. Elegant wood trim along with the well-integrated monitor of the COMAND system goes a long way toward keeping Mom and Dad sane.Exterior
Some may find the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class' angular hatch unappealing, particularly taken in context with the elegant swooping rooflines of other Mercedes models. Then again, when the kids' (and your neighbors' kids') and their hockey gear is loaded up, you may not mind so much.
The biggest change for standard equipment in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is the COMAND system. Both the conventional and diesel models retain 4MATIC all-wheel drive, power sunroof and Bluetooth connectivity as standards. The 19-inch wheels are a nice styling touch, and there are two new exterior paint options available.
Likely the most appealing option for the 2012 Mercedes R-Class is the dual LCD screens for the rear passengers. There is also an optional sound system and keyless starting system. For the consumer who wants to squeeze a bit more style out of the R-Class, 20" wheels are available.
The upgraded V6 in the 2012 R350 4MATIC helps alleviate some issues with power relative to weight load in the previous model. Also a little extra horsepower never hurts. The diesel remains an outstanding option for fuel economy without feeling bereft of all acceleration and engine response.
302 horsepower @ 6,500
258 lb-ft torque @ 2,400-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21
3.0-liter V6 turbocharged diesel
210 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm
400 lb-ft torque @ 1,600-2400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23
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 6 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