2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Enhanced fuel economy from turbodiesel engine
  • space for six adults
  • comfortable and quiet ride.
  • Long rear doors are a hassle in parking lots
  • lack of torque and fuel economy from gasoline V6
  • fussy COMAND interface
  • pricey for what is essentially a glorified minivan.
Other years
Mercedes-Benz R-Class for Sale
List Price Estimate
$9,615 - $13,462

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Edmunds' Expert Review

While something of an outlier among people haulers, the opulent 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class remains a competent and versatile luxury family vehicle.

Vehicle overview

You didn't think the 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class was going to be a flash in the pan, did you? Trust us; there were plenty of automotive critics who did. After years of disappointing sales of this high-end people mover, many thought the R-Class would die a quick death. But for 2011 the Mercedes-Benz R-Class gets a new lease on life thanks to updated styling that should hold greater appeal to traditional Benz buyers.

This time around, the designers did a much better job of making the R-Class look like a real Mercedes instead of some oddly proportioned passenger van. Almost everything up front has been restyled to look more like the sedans and SUVs in Mercedes' lineup. Other updates include new sideview mirrors, new wheels, LED running lights, a revised rear bumper/lower fascia (with integrated exhaust outlets) and LED taillights.

Apart from new saddle-style second- and third-row headrests, new wood accents and a revised instrument display, there are no big upgrades to the interior. Thankfully, not much is needed, as the luxurious and spacious cabin has been one of the more worthwhile features of the R-Class, with plenty of room for both second- and third-row passengers to stretch out. Under the hood it's the status quo as well, with the relatively fuel-efficient turbodiesel engine found in the R350 Bluetec model being the main draw.

Given these appreciated but relatively minor changes, our advice regarding the 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class remains consistent. Thanks to its roomy, comfortable and plush interior, the R-Class is a fine choice for family transport, particularly if you're after something with luxury-brand cachet. Yet there are other worthwhile and less expensive choices. The 2011 Ford Flex and related 2011 Lincoln MKT might not be as prestigious, but both offer a powerful turbocharged V6-engine option (and the Flex has more third-row seat room). One should also consider the 2011 Honda Odyssey or 2011 Toyota Sienna, both of which have been redesigned this year and can be customized with plenty of luxury features.

2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class models

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a large crossover wagon that seats six people standard with a seven-passenger stand-alone option. There are two available models that correspond to engine choice -- R350 4Matic and R350 Bluetec -- but both offer virtually identical equipment.

Standard items include 19-inch wheels, tinted rear glass, automatic wipers, automatic headlights, foglamps, a sunroof, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power driver seat (includes lumbar adjustment), MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, Bluetooth, the COMAND electronics interface and an eight-speaker stereo with auxiliary audio jack and six-CD/DVD changer.

The Premium 1 package adds a power liftgate, power-folding exterior mirrors, auto-dimming driver and interior mirrors, a rearview camera, a power steering column, driver memory functions, a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates, HD radio, satellite radio, an iPod interface and digital music storage. The Premium 2 package gets you everything from Premium 1 plus keyless ignition/entry and a Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system. The Lighting package provides active bi-xenon headlamps (with washers) and LED daytime running lights.

Stand-alone options include parking sensors, blind-spot assist, a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, a second-row bench seat, a heated steering wheel, three-zone climate control and a rear entertainment system. Leather upholstery is not available on the R-Class. The R350 4Matic can be equipped with a Sport Appearance package that includes 20-inch AMG wheels, dark-tinted taillamps and blue-tinted front glass.

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2011 Highlights

For 2011, the Mercedes-Benz R-Class receives updated styling and minor interior enhancements.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 4Matic features a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic is standard and 4Matic indicates it has all-wheel drive. Mercedes estimates a 0-60 time of 8.0 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined -- a bit less than comparable crossovers.

The 2011 R350 Bluetec features a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that utilizes Mercedes-Benz's Bluetec clean-diesel technology. It produces 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. The seven-speed auto and 4Matic all-wheel drive are standard as well. Mercedes estimates a 0-60 time of 8.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is a much better 18/24/20 mpg.

Safety

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, active front head restraints, front- and second-row side airbags and side curtain airbags for all three rows. Mercedes' "mbrace" emergency telematics system is also standard.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the R-Class achieved the highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset and side crash protection.

Driving

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is big and feels it, but its ride quality is comfortable and its high-speed stability is exemplary. Throw in appropriately subdued noise levels and you've got all the ingredients of a world-class long-distance cruiser. However, maneuvering on tight streets and parking can be a chore because of its size, so the optional parking sensors and rearview camera are certainly recommended. As for engine choice, we'd go with the Bluetec since its diesel engine is stronger at low speeds around town and returns much better fuel economy.

Interior

The R-Class' cabin certainly warrants its Mercedes badge, with high-quality construction and materials. However, the cabin controls are dominated by Benz's previous-generation COMAND electronics interface, which features a less convenient four-way directional button pad (like a video game controller) rather than the new multipurpose knob found in the newer GLK-Class and others.

There are other downsides. The sliding doors of a minivan may not be cool, but the R-Class' elongated conventional rear doors can be cumbersome in parking lots. And while the six-person configuration offers plenty of room for all, the optional seven-passenger bench encroaches upon third-row knee room and its middle position is too narrow for adult frames. With the second- and third-row seats folded forward, the R-Class can hold only 85 cubic feet of cargo -- less than a minivan for sure, but on par with most other luxury crossovers.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING
Baker,05/11/2017
R350 4MATIC 4dr Wagon AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
This crossover by Mercedes is amazing. Steering is tight and responsible. Quality of everything is exquisite. Design was way ahead of its time. Now most cross overs look like it, so nobody thinks it looks weird. Everyone thinks this is a 2017 model even though they stopped making it in 2012. The design is timeless. Most comfortable car I've ever owned. Suspension/ ride is smooth as glass. Panoramic roof is beautiful. All wheel drive gets you through anything and gives precision control. This is a large but intimate and luxurious car. I love every minute I am driving it. I feel privileged to own it. Very reliable. Stereo is excellent with blue tooth. Warning sensors and back up camera help prevent any collision. Blue paint is gorgeous. I would never trade this car for anything. People ask me, "where did you get THIS? A blue r350 2011 or 2012 is very rare to find. Any owner of the car is lucky. It's a unique find. Everything a Mercedes should be. Most Mercedes are too small, but this is big and roomy, but not a huge SUV. At current blue book, this car is a steal. 2018 update. My wife and I have taken several cross country trips in that past year. No problems with the R350 and the ride is beautiful. So spacious. Cars and SUVs keep getting smaller, bit this crossover has large and cg comfortable interior space. If you can find one and thinking about buying one, dont hesitate. Love this Mercedes. They still sell it in China new starting at about $86000. You can get ac2011 or 2012 r350 for $15000. Get it. Affordable luxury. Will never go out of style.
LOVE this car!
Ted M.,04/18/2017
R350 4MATIC 4dr Wagon AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
Have owned my CPO 2011 R350 for 3 years now and absolutely love it. My R has all options, excluding the rear HVAC controls - including HID lights, LED DRLs, panoramic roof, AMG appearance package, 7 seat config. I've had ZERO problems with my R - reliability is fantastic. I only have two complaints about it: 1) the weight of the vehicle makes it go through brakes quickly (I do have a lot of stop and go traffic, though); 2) the weight combined with the AWD chews up tires. I get only 20-25k out of a set of tires.
Better than Anticipated!
Patrick Lem,08/23/2018
R350 BlueTEC 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
First of all, many of the things you have heard about this car is true! It's lack of appeal was confusing to most. Not a car, and not a SUV/minivan. But,...you have to realize it can't perform like a sophisticated sedan because it isn't a sedan in weight and size. But it handles better than any 7 passenger SUV or minivan because it's not as bulky without the higher center of gravity. With the Blutec (turbo diesel) feature, I was able to transport 7 adults, for several hours, on freeway and hilly terrain. I was never at a loss for power, it handled the road better than my past minivans and suburban (and was more fun to drive!), no one exited the car with "confinement cramps", and I got 29 mpg! My best highway mileage was 40 mpg with four passengers traveling 75-85+ mph! Hope they begin reselling them in the U.S.
A totally misunderstood car
rowner,02/23/2011
R350 BlueTEC 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
I just purchased my second "R" diesel, a 2011, black and almond. Many magazine reviews for this car since its introduction categorizes it as some version of a minivan. Believe me, it is not a minivan by any measure of comparison. It is an SUV, pure and simple! Having owned a MB-GL diesel, a gas ML, and a 2008 R diesel, I can say it is the best of the three models. It has more usable room, weighs less, handles better, accelerates faster, uses less fuel, is more passenger friendly and more comfortable than its MB stablemates. Plus it is $10,000 cheaper than the comparable GL. My 08 R had 50,000 miles on it, all w/o a single mechanical issue or problem.

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Overview

The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is offered in the following submodels: R-Class Wagon, R-Class Diesel. Available styles include R350 4MATIC 4dr Wagon AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A), and R350 BlueTEC 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A). The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class comes with a unlimited yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class?

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Which used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Mercedes-Benz R-Class lease specials