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 Rick on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My first MBZ was purchased new in 1975. Since then, I've owned 11 different models. This R350 Blue-tec is the finest one to date. It's quick, roomy, and well-built with great attention to detail. I get 21mpg all-around, which is pretty good considering the size and weight. I couldn't be happier. Since they have decided not to make these anymore, it's my intention to keep this great car through the forseeable future."
By Ted on Sunday, December 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great highway car, good car for tall people."
Cons: "Not the cheapest to maintain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The versatility of this vehicle is great. 4 very tall adults can travel in comfort and not cramped. The mileage is 30 with the diesel and the acceleration is the same as the gasoline engine. The ride is that of an "S" class and cargo that it can hold is great. Best vehicle ever made."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Mark c on Sunday, November 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's ready for whatever your life style is"
Cons: "Repair cost, v6 is a little under powerd"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I've owned my R350 for 3 years now, and it has been a eye opening experience. I have never cared for or been a fan of German luxury but I can see where mercedes was going with this car ...it works for me......it fits my life style. It's a luxury car when you go out, it's a truck when you have to haul stuff from Home Depot , it's a snow mobile in the worst snow storm. It's a great vehicle to own but! ......you will have to be a little mechanically inclined. The first time the check engine light came on , the cost of the total repairs came out to $11,000. So I soon became a owner of a hand held obd scanner to read out the "check engine light" codes and look up how to fix it it myself and saved a lot of money doing it myself. Now the R350 is a lot easier to own. Unless your financially set to pay a mercedes Benz specialist every time that dreaded "check engine light comes on.....you better get familiar with the car. Ok, but overall I looked at plenty of cars and trucks and I still think that the R350 is the best car for me. Style ,function, and drivability nothing can beat it."
12 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By ATP on Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 128,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Like the hill assist and thats it."
Cons: "Spending too much money keeping this car running."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned the car for over 6 years and drove over 128,000 miles and I don't feel comfortable driving long distances. A faulty Engine Gas Exhaust Temp Sensor will kill the motor and your stranded on the side of the freeway until it cools down. There is some stray electrical issues and I am always replacing light bulbs. Bought it brand new, the sun roof window shade broke the first week (2 days to fix, thank God it was still under warranty). 40,000 EGT Sensor failed ($260 for Diagnostic, $220 part and $199 labor). 60,000 steering rack developed a serious leak ($4600). Replaced front headlights because of hazing plastic ($650). Transmission issues started 100,000 miles ($740). Whats next? I am completely disappointed and will never buy another Mercedes again."
9 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Jack on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great for long road trips."
Cons: "Spare tire is an inflatable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Since the R-class styling was not very popular, I felt I got a lot of car for my money, especially since I very much like the practical, aerodynamic style. I had one $800 repair in 3 years. The interior is sedate, comfortable, and very quiet. The car handles well, and gets up to 30 mpg cruising at 75."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Shockster on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"This is my first Mercedes, and I love it, but was amazed at how much work was required. When I bought it at 60,000.00 miles it immediately needed shocks, suspension air bags, and new rack and pinion. Also the mechanical opener for the hatch had to be replaced. The seats are a pain to adjust for the cargo space."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful