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2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

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2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/14/2011


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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2012

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 It 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.

Favorite Features

Diesel Power
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.

Second-Row Seating
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.

Vehicle Details Interior

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.

Notable Standard Equipment

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.

Notable Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.5-liter V6
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

Pricing Notes

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R350 4MATIC has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $52,700, while the R350 BlueTEC diesel has an MSRP of just under $54,000. Fully loaded the R-Class can top $60,000. Be sure to visit kbb.com to see our Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area paying. It's tough to find vehicles that compete directly with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R350 4MATIC as most are either more truck-like or more car-like than the R-Class. In its price range you'll find SUVs such as the Lexus' GX 460. The R-Class' resale value hasn't held up as well as other Mercedes models, but the growing demand for economy, along with the scarcity of diesel-powered autos in the U.S. might help float used R350 prices in the coming years. To help make sure that the new-car deal you're considering is a good one, be sure to check out kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price, to see what others in your area paying for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

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