By on August 1, 2009

Your Shitty Economy (YSE) Car of the Week is the 2007 Mercedes Benz R-Class. Mercedes attempt at a minivan, er crossover thingy has been a huge failure. The ugly, slow selling R-class—a rif on the equally ill-fated Chrysler Pacifica—is as popular as a pet rock at a dog show. Buyers purchasing fifty thousand dollar family haulers are looking for a little more style than this not quite a wagon (which you can buy from Mercedes anyway). But the cliff face depreciating Mercedes R-class does its job as advertised: it provides three rows of luxurious seating, safety amenities, and decent MPG. The R’s configuration sheet reads like a Silverado’s: V6, V8, AWD, diesel, and for those really late to soccer practice, the 500+ horsepower AMG version is an . . . odd choice. This certified 2007 V6 4Matic model is yours for only $22,888. Or choose from 1100+ others on Autotrader.

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36 Comments on “YSE Car of the Week: 2007 Mercedes R-Class...”


  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    The perfect ride for a Dentist’s middle-aged wife.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Was this a collaboration with Chrysler or a ground up design from M=B? If it was a rebadged Chrysler I would have reservations about it.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    It is not a collaboration with Chrysler… it is based on the ML, GL platform including engines. It is does not have minivan sliding doors, but a huge interior. I know someone who has one. They are not beautiful, but they drive very well. He loves it for his family. And ummm, well even though servicing it would be costly, $22888 is a VERY decent price. Beats looking at a minivan from anyone else in the drive, right?

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Price lowered by another kilobuck. Its a CPO as well, although Mercedes’ program doesn’t look very attractive. But, hey, what could possibly go wrong?

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    I’m waiting for a Maybach to reach five figures.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Wow, I could have had a Kia!

    I still remember when a Mercedes was the gold standard for slow depreciation. Boy how that has changed.

  • avatar
    BDB

    That’d be an interesting alternative to a new Sienna/Odyssey.

    No sliding doors (why some people view this as a positive is beyond me) but more luxury for less money.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    BDB- One of the negatives that my friend noted was that the back doors are VERY VERY long and this can make parking-lot extraction of the kids a problem if the spots are tight.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    The perfect ride for a Dentist’s middle-aged wife.

    Or is it the perfect ride for a middle-aged dentist’s second wife? ;-}

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    The perfect ride for a Dentist’s middle-aged wife.

    Or is it the perfect ride for a middle-aged dentist’s second wife? ;-}

    No, the second wife gets a Boxster.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    The local Benz dealer runs one of these as a customer shuttle. “Just a mini-van” was my initial impression. So-so interior plastics with rattles and buzzes galore. I should think that a test drive would be enough to turn-off most potential customers.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Here in the NY area these sold pretty well. I see several a day. It was sort of a surprise to me when I saw the national sales numbers because I assumed it was a solid base hit for Benz.

    I’ve even seen a handful with taxi/limousine plates.

  • avatar
    holydonut

    This car isn’t just a YSE car, it was just S from the get go.

    Even brand new, I knew people (yes, plural) who found leases on these things (even ones with Sat-Nav) for $2K down, and $129 a month for 36 months… 12,000mi per year. And it was even less if you paid it as a lump sum up front. It didn’t take the YSE – thse deals was inked back in 2006.

    No employee discounts here… just straight up incentives to move the metal.

  • avatar
    IGB

    Test drove this when we bought our Odyssey. Nice enough inside but handled no better than the minivan. Wasn’t worth the space compromise and looking retrospectively at reliability since then, we made the right decision.

  • avatar
    Wizerud

    Very interesting that this car gets brought up as I’ve been researching it recently. What attracted us to it was that it had 6 seats, but wasn’t an SUV or minivan, although it has elements of both. $22k is a bargain…now I just wish the dealers around here had similar ones in stock for that price (Reno, NV).

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    As much as I’m not much into the R Class, the AMG variant hauled ass. A helluva sleeper if there was one.

  • avatar
    commando1

    Absolutely ironic. M-B’s rallying cry used to be that, above all else, was that they held their value better over any of the competition

    I love it when those with more money than brains get it tucked to them.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Wizerud,

    Mazda 5 also has six seats. And, I assume, cheaper running cost compared to Chrysler-Benz R-sifica.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @Bimmer: Mazda5’s 3rd row is kid-size tiny, R350’s less tiny. I got to take the 3 kids in the Mazda5 instead of the Sienna to Costco the other day when the Sienna’s battery needed replacement. The kids have a nasty habit of playing with the reading lights and draining batteries in all our cars.

    As for buying an R-class, I’ll take a minivan any day. Utility > futility.

  • avatar
    stuki

    I do think the basic premise that there was room for a minivan above the Sienna / Odyssey limited / touring editions was sound back when this one was released, but MB’s execution just was not it. To jump into a market as competitive, mature and well researched as that of the minivan as the top player, you really need to cover your bases first, then add stuff. Swing out doors the size of airplane wings just don’t cut it. People looking at a car like this will check out the rear seats. And when you can’t even get in there, in a car parked normally on the dealer lot, wth? Three rows of doors could at least have been kind of cool if sliders were considered too mommy, although it beats me how they would get that to work. My preference in high dollar MB minivan doors would be for gullwings. That way Prada Mom could fiddle with Skippy’s car seat in the rain without getting wet. Priceless.

    MB should also know the limited Sienna is already pretty much a Lexus. It even had functional radar cruise long before MB managed to sort their version out satisfactorily.

    As for now, post peak credit, no way this thing will fly. Supposedly it is selling in some smaller numbers in Europe, where US sized and priced minivans just aren’t so prevalent. Space wise it is a big step up from an E wagon.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    After spending 2 weeks on vacation with 3 kids and sliding doors, sliding doors rock. Helps with getting older folks in and out too.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    No, the second wife gets a Boxster.

    Paris-Dakar –

    Doesn’t that really depend on what the first wife got at the end?

  • avatar
    paulie

    “as popular as a pet rock at a dog show”

    Oh, God!
    Where do you get this stuff!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Mercedes blew it by refusing to use sliding rear doors.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    To buy a Mercedes, you have to be willing to buy a premium everything. Gas, maintenance, insurance, and most of all repairs.

    The Toyonda minivans aren’t low cost either. In fact they have a lot of idiosyncracies and weaknesses that keep ownership costs a lot higher than they need to be. I would argue that most folks would be far happier with the Taurus X or Flex over the long-term. Sliding doors be damned.

  • avatar
    aamj50

    I always really liked the R-class for some reason. The AMG variant has been on my “post-lottery-winning” to-buy list since it came out.
    Guess it was just me.

  • avatar
    rcduncan76

    I never liked this sorry excuse for a mini-SUV-wagon-thingy. It looks like an S-Class ate an Odyssey and then pooped out a Mazda CX7. Also looks too much like a Pacifica.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Best bet in this class by far is the Buick Enclave.

  • avatar

    I think this model makes more sense in Europe where you can get the A class, the B class (a larger A class), and the R class. They all have a family resemblance, even though the R class sits on different mechanicals.

    Personally, I’d have a fully spec’d Town and Country rather than one of these. We had one just before we left, and it’s the best Chrysler I’ve ever driven. You could land a small plane in the third row. I’m surprised there’s no bunk bed and galley kitchen (with sink) option.

    Andrew

  • avatar
    aamj50

    Is “the best Chrysler I’ve ever driven” an example of damning with faint praise, or what!

  • avatar

    Under normal circumstances, I’d agree with you. I’ve driven care of Enterprise (in order – worst to best):

    Dodge Neon. Awful. Enough said. I’m so glad these are in the scrap heap of my memories now and not available to rent at any price.

    Dodge Nitro. Nearly killed me on every single day I had this low mileage rental from Enterprise @ COS airport. FAIL.

    Avenger. Try hard looks are not made up by buzzy and thirsty base engine. This could be Enterprise’s fault for buying a zillion extra low spec rental specials. Not a good advert for Dodge / Chrysler this one.

    Challenger. Nice cruiser, but terrible blind spots in the name of fashion. If you’re in the back seats, you can see the back side of the plastic trim pieces through the window. Trunk is smaller than expected. Surprisingly good hwy economy when doing 65 mph with cruise on.

    My ex-boss lent me his 2001 Dodge Caravan for a month in return for driving his family to the airport (great deal!). Creaked along reliably for a month, but guzzled a surprising amount of gas for the duties I was putting it through. Interesting approach to panel gaps and interior build quality.

    PT Cruiser. I like the look, but feels very very cheap inside. Neon underpinnings do it no favors. Cavernous interior. I love hatches and wagons.

    2009 T&C. I’d buy one if priced right, and if we’d stayed in the USA it might have even replaced the Rabbit when it came time. We tried to buy one when we got back to Australia in Feb, but the dealer was asking (and still does) for the equivalent of $45k USD. HAHHAAHA! For that sort of money, we could have bought a Mercedes B class or a used R class.

    In the USA at least, parts for the T&C are dirt cheap and ubiquitous. Dealers were nearly everywhere. I can’t see the downside except precipitous depreciation, which could be fixed by waiting for ex-lease vehicles to start showing up.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I’ve seen shedloads of these being used as “black cars” here in New Jersey and New York City.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    I rmember the first time I sat in one I though: “Whole lot of nauggies gave their lives for this interior.” I mean, that was a lot of plastic!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I got to take the 3 kids in the Mazda5 instead of the Sienna to Costco the other day when the Sienna’s battery needed replacement. The kids have a nasty habit of playing with the reading lights and draining batteries in all our cars.

    Doesn’t that just drive you nuts? My son does this constantly, so much so that I’m tempted to lock the interior light switch in “off”.

    It’s made worse by the fact that the van sits idle very often. Each time the battery’s been flattened its’ been after several days.

    Oh, the R-Class? Nice vehicle, but it’s caught between affluent minivan buyers who would forsake the hood ornament in favour of the virtues of a top-trim Sienna/Oddy, and Mercedes intenders whose self-esteem can’t handle the shape and pick the GL instead.

    Other than the R63 (which is awesome, and expensive) I could never figure out who, in North America, they thought would buy this car. Even new they’re available cheap.

  • avatar
    TRL

    I understand I am in a minority, but I really like these things. Awkward styling from some (most) angles, but not frugly IMO. Great looking interior with huge glass roof option. Same carved from granite feel as any MB. For 60% of the price of a Flex (which is completely frugly) this could easily be my next buy. The huge depreciation makes these a real bargain. Looking at all the not-mini van, not-SUV 6 seaters this seems to be top of the picks. Drives like a sedan which is a big plus.

  • avatar
    johnxyz

    ‘a rif on the equally ill-fated Chrysler Pacifica’

    ‘It is not a collaboration with Chrysler… it is based on the ML, GL platform including engines’

    HELP Which is it? Is it 100% Mercedes – no Chrysler parts whatsoever, built in Germany?

    Or it it simply a rebadged Pacifica?

    Are ML’s & GL’s assembled in Alabama? Are all Mercedes engines from Germany?

    Can it be just a coincidence that it looks just like a Pacifica but actually does not have a single iota of Chrysler DNA?

    Is it related to the A & B Class MB’s in Europe?

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