Pros Spacious, prestige of the Star, well built
Cons GPS, too many options
Summary Got my wife the Saks edition of the R350 for Christmas, since we have a newborn son. Wife didn't want a minivan for the lack of prestige, and didn't like climbing into a SUV. R-class fits her needs perfectly, 3-row of roomy seating with the built and prestige of M-B. The ride is very smooth, especially with airmatic. Built quality is excellent, and the panoramic roof is amazing! Her interior is the charcoal alcantera, and she was afraid it's too dark. Well, when the roof is open, there's so much light all around, making the interior feel even more spacious, and contrasting with the dark interior nicely.
A few minor negatives: M-B's GPS is a total waste of money, takes too long to input anything, and map is 2 dimensional very primitive. She has a tom-tom 300, and it's light years ahead of the M-B's. For the money ($65k), her car doesn't come with a power tailgate ($600 option), hard to believe. Honda Odyssey Touring offers this at about 1/2 of the price.
If M-B can make more items standard (comfort pkg, trim pkg, parktronic, power tailgate), and still keep the starting price just under $50k, then it will have a sure-fire winner on its hands.
We are extremely happy with the R-class, despite some minor gripes. If you are looking at minivans, but don't find them prestigeous, then this is the vehicle for you.
Pros Space, fun to drive, luxurious, field of view, passenger comfort
Cons While it is not perfect, I would not consider 'cons' to be the right word
Summary Cons? I may have some items that I want changed... but a 'con', in my opinion would be a reason to NOT buy the car.
ie, I wish the front seats gave you the choice to move back another inch or so, if I wanted/needed to.
I wish there was Bluetooth - instead of having to pay the gross amount I will need to pay if I added it once MB comes out with their kit.
I wish there were more standard options...
I wish it had the cool dashboard display of the E Class
I wish the profile could look a little more agressive/sexy/whatever... but right now it makes me cringe whenever I look at it.
Having started with the negatives, let me tell you this car is absolutely SATISFYING!
The ride height is a pleasure. The composure is reassuring. The brakes are great. The R350 is fine... just enough... yes, there are occasional long hills that make you floor it to get up quicker, but so what!? The 500 cost so much more that you would be paying 7000 more to take an occassional hill faster.
Passengers love it. They will fall asleep on you very quickly if the ride is long.
I did not get the DVD, but may opt for the single dvd option.... have to figure something out....
I am sure there will be plenty of aftermarket custom designs for this car. Will be fun to see.
Kids/young people love this car as well. Of course, they head straight for the very back seat.
My thoughts are scattered here.. but the bottom line is, this is a fun car to drive that you won't regret. The only decision is the options... and of course the V6 or V8. Save the money and get the V6.
Pros Interior is built to last for the entire life of the car.
All wheel drive is an expensive option on the minivans, 4 matic (a superior system) is standard here.
5000 pounds moves from 0-60mph in 8 seconds.
Makes you look forward to driving.
Cons Less interior volume than a minivan.
Scheduled maintenance is more expensive than domestic vehicles.
The light colored dash top produces some reflection in the windshield under certain lighting conditions.
Rear visibility could be better.
Summary This vehicle is just a pleasure to drive or ride in. It is good looking, comfortable and sure footed. I would be surprised if you could not get comfortable in the seats with the scope of steering wheel and seat adjust-ability. HVAC is quiet and well engineered. The Bi-Xenon headlamps are a must have (in any car really) as they provide incredibly good night visibility. A roof rack is a dealer installable option and there are both oem and aftermarket hitches available. Tow capacity is around 3700 pounds. The back seats fold down to make a flat sizable cargo area, and the power liftgate is a very nice optiion, great when approaching with arms full.
of shoping bags. I lke the pano roof, but I could have easily done without this $2500 option. The GPS works very well. The data entry interface is a little clunky, but once you are programmed, routing, warning for turns and exits and general guidance is excellent. I have owned at least 6 different stand alone GPS units, and I can now say that having the GPS integrated into the car is very nice. The radio volume goes down for voice instructions, and even without the GPS signal in tunnels and amongst tall buildings, the car knows where it is because of the tie in to the drive train. There are enough features to keep any techno freak happy for years, but they are so well executed, if you don't know or don't care about them, you will still be able to operate the car comfortably and safely. The first time it drizzled out, my wife called me in excitement about the way the windshield wipers automatically came on then stopped when the windshield was dry. We have owned BMW and Audi vehicles, but I must say that though I thought I would never diverge from Audi, this is probably the most well executed vehicle I have ever owned. Truly under rated and a bit of a sleeper in the Mercedes line up. And oh, if it matters, you will be driving a bit of a rarity, according to wiki, only 45,000 of these vehicles had been sold in the US through Decmeber 2008.
In summary, after owning 4 Chrysler branded Grand Voyagers and Grand Caravans, we just got tired of the A/C failing in every car after about 4 years and all the brake changes and and falling apart/wearing out interior and body rust. If you love having the convenience of a minivan, you can afford to give up about 50 cubic feet of cargo space and you want an actual quality vehicle, look at the R-Class. You will regret not making the change over earlier. (Oh- and we are getting over 23mpg at 75mph on the freeway)
Pros 7 speed gearbox
Cons Navigation system sucks
Summary Plan to buy one for my wife too..The gear ratio makes accelerating from 50 to 70 a breeze and faster than any car I have owned before. Before you buy ANY high end car...You must try the car. Ideal for tall people, perhaps not for small folks..
Pros Roomy for Passengers, Comfortable & Fun to drive
Cons Lack of storage with third row in use.
Summary We bought this vehicle a few months ago in Alaska while I was staioned up there and had a great time traveling between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The AWD and traction control was SUPBERB! It handled the ice and snow like a champ. Our family of myself my wife and three sons found the vehicle to be very comfortable with plenty of leg room. However, if you are going for more than a weekend trip with a few duffel bags you might opt for the detachable roof rack and cargo box. I bought the rack and had a Thule box that mounted perfectly to the rack.Gas Milage was fair with an average around 18 MPG. Would like to see Mercedes spend a little more in marketing this great vehicle.