2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Review by Kristin Varela

What's a parent to do when they need to transport more than two or three children (or adults for that matter), but they're not willing to make the leap to a minivan and don't love the trucky feel of a traditional SUV? Well, if you have more than fifty grand to spend, you buy a crossover. Specifically, you buy a 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350. It transports up to six people, drives just as easily as a smaller car and does it all with classy Benz swank.

I enjoyed my week test-driving the R-Class. I loved the quiet ride, standard all-wheel drive, the just-right responsive acceleration and the easy braking so much that I was willing to overlook other irksome qualities that normally would have swayed my opinion.

The R350, which was redesigned for 2011, has great visibility, with a big windshield that framed the amazing mountain vistas as I drove to Taos, N.M. The huge dual panoramic moonroofs kept the R-Class' cabin feeling bright and airy. I also loved having the flexibility to haul a variety of combinations of people and cargo, but the third row could definitely use some rethinking.

You might have guessed that this crossover isn't inexpensive. The base model starts at $50,240, and my test car, which was also a base model, cost $67,455. It takes some deep pockets to afford this car, but it's worth it.

See also:

Left control panel

Coat hooks on the tailgate
WARNING The tailgate may close if too great a load is placed on the coat hooks. You and/or others could be trapped and injured. Only use the coat hooks for light clothing. 1 Coat hooks ...

Opening the hood
WARNING Do not pull the release lever while the vehicle is in motion. Otherwise, the hood could be forced open by passing air flow. This could cause the hood to come loose and injure you and ...