By on March 29, 2010

Mercedes has released official images of its hinted-at R-Class facelift, which brings the unloved crossover’s looks closer to the brand’s better-selling SUVs. But will it improve the model’s moribund sales? Probably not. Status-seeking family-haulers in the US will keep buying GLs, and sniggering softly when they drive past folks in their Pacifica-like Rs. Sometimes it’s a good day to die, and sometimes it’s a good day to get a facelift. For the Mercedes R-Class, today is the former kind of day.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

26 Comments on “2011 Mercedes R Class: You Can Facelift Ugly (Sort Of)...”

  • avatar

    Not even if I had the money…the appeal of this vehicle escapes me.

    • 0 avatar

      i have owned the R500 and now the R320 blutec and i have loved them both . great car for interstate touring , spacious third row seating , great power , and with the blutec diesel good mileage (28 mpg) .the wheelbase allows for a smooth ride and it is stable like a typical big mercedes . i don’t sense this is a big restyling , but i still like it and want another….

  • avatar

    I was talking to an acquaintance recently who has one of these and he said he was really happy with it. Like most SUV owners (he previously had one) he realized he just wanted the room, and the R class offers more interior space than the SUV yet is far more car-like in its driving dynamics. Most people wheeling SUV’s would be far happier in a mini-van, except they don’t have the macho looks of the little trucks.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    Interestingly, the R-Class sells in comparable numbers to the Toyota Prius in Germany.
    I’m not sure the restyling is helping it… but the 265hp R350CDI could. Maybe.

  • avatar

    I never though this was ugly, I just never saw the point.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      It’s less pointless than the GL, because the R doesn’t have faux off road styling. Of course, sometimes pointless sells.

    • 0 avatar

      We don’t sell too many of these on our used car lot (wrong demographic for our sales strategy), but we DO sell a boatload of Pacificas, in all trim levels. So some people must like this formula… And I can see why, even if it’s not my favorite vehicle.

  • avatar

    Unless they modified the huge rear doors then this thing will remain a flop. The rear doors swing out so far it is nearly impossible to access the rear seat in a crowded parking lot.

  • avatar

    The dash design reminds of Chevy and GMC half-ton pickups: the navigation screen is so low that one must take their eyes all the way off of the road to look at it. The trucks are useless as well with a quad-cab available with a bed that is too short to be useful.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand why some think it has no point. I think it has the same point as a minivan (which is what it is but seems to be too embarrassed to admit). It’s a people/stuff mover. Then again, given minivan sales, I guess that is not much of a point.

    It has two fatal flaws: no sliding doors (as ktm 525 points out, they are HUGE) and weak reported reliability. As a minivan, both of these are dealbreakers.

  • avatar

    You know if the R had sliders then it would be an interesting people mover…Too vanny?

  • avatar

    They first copied headlights from Lexus GS and then now from Mazda CX. Did MB move their design studio to China?

  • avatar

    I’ve never liked the long wheelbase R Class. I see them daily out of necessity and this facelift is a big improvement to the front end. (I’ve seen it in person) It’s a very nice car to drive but big and thirsty isn’t my cup of tea. Of course cars of this class are out of my price range anyway. That goes for trucks and SUV(ish)vehicles in general. I’d rather have a minivan for people moving personally. However, I do have to say the short wheelbase R Class sold in overseas markets is far more appealing. The U.S. market version is 7 passenger to the overseas version 5 passenger. The U.S. version really is more of a type of minivan. It is more capable than a minivan in my opinion. I believe the short WB is some 235mm shorter and that is about how much shorter the rear doors are. It even sits low to the ground like a minivan. Maybe lower. Try rolling some floor jacks under one and you will see what I mean.

  • avatar

    Depreciation has got to pack a wallop. You can probably land a smoking deal on these as used cars.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I kinda dig these, except they’re about 500-1000lbs too heavy.. They do make me wonder what an S-class wagon would look like..

    • 0 avatar

      An S-Class isn’t this roomy (effective passenger space for four is about on par with the B-Class) and not much lighter.

      One of the benefits to a tall roof and a low floor is that you can build a much more comfortable vehicle. In this sense, the R is a good car. The problem is that it tries to not be a minivan just hard enough to drive minivan-accepters to the Sienna XLE or Oddy Touring, but looks just enough like a minivan to see fashionistas skip it for the ML and GL-Class.

  • avatar

    An R320 CDI would be an interesting buy used, but the reliability of the R-Class has been terrible.

    And as a former rental car Pacifica driver, I actually liked the Pac for what it was – a people mover. Unfortunately, the Pac has even worse reliability thatn the R.

  • avatar

    The old R-Class was an interesting idea… the space of an SUV with the profile of a car… well… almost… but it was hobbled by horrible styling. An unforgiveable sin from a manufacturer that makes both attractive cars and attractive vans.

    This one is actually… nice… I just wonder if that’s enough to lift it from niche to mainstream.

  • avatar

    This is truly a ‘least original’ design. Toyota headlights and front grill design with a Mercedes emblem glued on with double sided 3M adhesive strips. Toyota or Nissan could have built this body. I don’t grasp Mercedes’ design philosophy. It apparently is to use derivative sheet metal designs of generic cars, and to keep making the Mercedes emblem on the front larger and LARGER and 2xLARGER to convince buyers that it’s a benz, not a Japanese model.

  • avatar
    320 CDI

    Love the R320. As does everyone I know that owns one, most have come out of SUVs and Minivans. Large rear doors can be a problem but rarely have for us and we are in SoCal. I get near 30 MPG and it is my daily driver. It has the coldest ACs I have ever had even in the far back at 110 outside. We have had no issues with it at all and the 7 speed auto with the manual shift paddles are great. Handles good, top notch ergonomics, great MPG and room to spare. I think the lack of the rattle prone thin sliders help with just how quite the interior of this car is, even with the diesel at full throttle. The looks from the outside have grown on me more and more each day. If you drive one you will understand. The handling, performance and ride of the R320 is so far superior to any minivan it is laughable to even compare them. The day any (other) minivan does everything as well as an R320 does with the same or better MPG I will buy it, but I have yet to find one that is even close.

  • avatar

    Their entire lineup has gone ugly. I browsed their collection last month and was just put off by all of the models. Nice quality material inside but ugly as hell. Wife and children seconded and thirded my opinion and we got the hell outta there. You know its pretty bad when the salesperson is trying hard to distract you with interior features only. BMW appears to be headed in the same direction. For crying out loud, the 2010 AcuraTSX and 2012 Volkswagon CC are better examples of good design versus these once proud brands!

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • Fred: This has been discussed for a few years now. If I owned a dealership and I could sell it, I might just take...
  • Luke42: I once set down with a piece of paper to invent a carbon sequestration system. I stopped when I realized I...
  • Luke42: This EV is advertised as having a 500+ mile range: ck/design#battery Of...
  • golden2husky: …I still have that 11/70’s blinkenlight front panel with the 2001 looking switches. It got what...
  • Steve Biro: “I am totally convinced there will be no customers who really want to stay with a petrol engine,” he...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber