The Mercedes R Class is a large MPV that doesn’t get particularly positive reviews. It’s unloved by the experts, mainly because it’s small inside, not good to drive and quite expensive, none of which adds to its appeal…

Mercedes claim that the Mercedes R Class is four cars in one: an SUV, sporting saloon, an estate, and a people carrier, which some feel has led to the slightly-confused air about it.

It’s a quality product though, and the fit and finish are impeccable, even if the driving experience is underwhelming.

The interior of the Mercedes R Class is very well equipped, beautifully finished and most testers remark on the air of quality that it exudes.The driver’s seating position is “imperious” and commanding and there is ample room for all the passengers, no matter how tall.

The long-wheelbase model has much more space inside it and the boot size is quite decent, even with all seven seats in use; with all the seats folded it’s the largest estate car you’re ever likely to see.

The R-Class is “far from easy to drive around town” mainly due to its width and weight militating against its nippiness, something that isn’t helped by a poor turning circle.

Things get much better on the open road, and long-distance motorway cruising finds the Mercedes R Class getting into its stride. If you need to move VIPs in comfort then there are few cars that will do a better job – if they can tolerate the wind noise, which can be intrusive.

The smaller diesel engines struggle when fitted in the Mercedes R Class and the petrol engines are powerful but thirsty. The pick of the bunch seems to be the R350 CDI turbodiesel engine, which combines decent performance with acceptable fuel economy.

Value for money
Well, you do get a lot of equipment, but after that, er, nope, it’s a very expensive car no matter which way you look at it. Depreciation will likely be rapid as well.

Worth noting
The Mercedes R Class used to have a useful 2+2+2 seating layout but that were binned to reduce the price and broaden the appeal.

The Mercedes R Class is outgunned by pretty much all of its rivals; the only people who should buy one are those for whom it is inconceivable that they would ever drive a car that didn’t feature a three-pointed star on the front grille. Everyone else should consider a Volvo XC90, BMW X5 or Ford S-Max.