Mercedes-Benz R-Class

The Essentials

  • Price from £44,775
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 37.2mpg
  • What is it? Expensive, confused and not particularly practical seven-seat estate

Great

  • Shhhh! You can hear a pin drop it's so quiet in the cabin
  • Superb quality both in the materials and the way it's built
  • Smooth and comfortable to drive

Gripes

  • Boot space is limited with all seven seats in place
  • Feels its size when you're trying to park in a tight space
  • Expensive both to buy and to keep on the road
  • Drive

    It's oh-so quiet and incredibly comfortable; pick the stronger engine for smoothest performance

  • Inside

    Easy to get comfortable; not so easy to see out of the back thanks to the rear headrests

  • Safety

    Plenty of safety kit, inluding active head restraints and full-length curtain airbags

  • Reliability

    Solid Mercedes quality and an improving record for reliability

  • Space

    Seven seats as standard but get a long-wheelbase model to ensure all are comfortable

  • Standard and extras

    Alloys, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers as standard; air-suspension is an option

  • What's it like to drive?

    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.

  • What's it like inside?

    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.

  • How reliable is it?

    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.

  • Should I buy one?

    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.