It's oh-so quiet and incredibly comfortable; pick the stronger engine for smoothest performance
Easy to get comfortable; not so easy to see out of the back thanks to the rear headrests
Plenty of safety kit, inluding active head restraints and full-length curtain airbags
Solid Mercedes quality and an improving record for reliability
Seven seats as standard but get a long-wheelbase model to ensure all are comfortable
Alloys, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers as standard; air-suspension is an option
Neither engine struggles with the size of the R-Class but we like the stronger version which is smoother; both come with a seven-speed auto gearbox. The car is built for cruising rather than cornering, so comfort is a priority and it wafts over speed bumps without fuss. Not only are the engines quiet, but very little other noise reaches the cabin so raised voices won't be required.
Plenty of electric adjustment helps the driver get comfortable but those thick rear pillars and rear headrests restrict backward visibility. In the lower-powered short-wheelbase model all five rear seats are tight for legroom, so we'd plump for the long-wheelbase version. Either way, the boot is tiny until you flatten the two back seats, so either seven can travel with briefcases, or five with holiday luggage. The single trim level is well equipped.
We've few worries about reliability, while an alarm and immobiliser are fitted as standard. Plenty of active and passive safety features are reassuring, from stability control to front, side and full-length curtain airbags.
We reckon it's worth paying the premium for the long-wheelbase model. All the engines are in the top band for company car tax while it will be pricey to fuel. Despite the Mercedes badge, resale values for this £40k+ MPV aren't that impressive.