Having owned 2 previous M-B Suvs (ML and GL), I can say without a doubt that this is the reliable, most comfortable and best performing of the three. The "R" is more roomy than either the ML and, yes, even the GL. It also handles better and is more pleasant on the highway. How the minivan label became attached to this model is confusing. It is not styled or functions like one. The diesel is the only engine to have as it accelerates strongly and is very frugal for a vehicle of this size. The styling was not my favorite at first, but has grown on me. It is hard to find an "R" owner that does not love their car. Resale market pricing for the diesel version is strong. Good job Mercedes!
We ordered this car new and love it. However we feel compelled to get rid of it before the warranty is over. To summarize the ills: the car has spent more than 6 weeks in the shop over 3 years. Fist the battery was changed 3 times due to faulty computer module. This model had to be changed 3 times. The engine oil pan leaked at 30,000 miles and they had to pull the trans to fix that. A wheel bearing failed. Brake rotors had to be change and now the engine is in "limp" mode and we don't know why. Routine maintenance is very expensive ($1,200 at 40,000 miles).
With the 7 seat option now, if you are in the market for a luxury brand to haul a family of 5 + occasional/regular guests, this is the must have. Having done my share of research on 7- Seater SUVs (MDX, Q7, GL etc.), I am not regretting my decision to buy this "Van or SUV" vehicle at all. I waited for 2 months after hearing about the 7 Seat option before picking up my 2008 R320 CDI on August 29th. We get all the 4WD benefits that the SUVs bring and most of the family comforts of a 7 seater Van including, most importantly, a good rear seat which seats adults and not people under 5' alone. Also, the Mercedes brand has its fair share of luxury inputs to this vehicle.
The MB R class with a CDI engine is the perfect all around vehicle forany household. It is very large and very comfortable with outstanding fuel economy for it's size because the diesel engine. Power and torque are amazing. My wife insists on driving this luxury car for her daily 45 mile commute. She pays for the fuel which averages 25 MPG overall and tops out at 27 with mostly highway travel.