2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Change year or car

Change year or car

$48,000

starting MSRP

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Ride comfort
  • Interior space and versatility
  • Steering and handling
  • Performance, especially with V-8
  • Automatic-transmission operation
  • Quiet engine, except when pushed hard

The bad:

  • Headrests impede visibility
  • Some windshield reflection
  • Slight road/driveline noise at times

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New for 2006
  • V-6 or V-8 power
  • Seven-speed automatic
  • Standard AWD
  • Side-impact and side-curtain airbags
  • Six-passenger seating

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

The closest thing to a minivan Mercedes-Benz is ever likely to build, the new R-Class is a six-passenger cross between a sport utility vehicle and a station wagon. From the side, it looks more minivan-ish than R-Class owners might like to admit. Inside, though, it’s all Mercedes.

The R-Class is the second product to come from Mercedes’ plant in Alabama, which was built to produce the M-Class SUV. Which it still does, and while the R-Class uses a few bits and pieces from the M-Class, it’s an entirely different vehicle.

In purpose, the R-Class is similar to the Chrysler Pacifica, in that both offer three rows of seats, two seats per row. You might think that since DaimlerChrysler owns Mercedes and Chrysler, the R-Class and the Pacifica might share some components. You would be wrong. The R-Class is a larger, heavier, more solid vehicle that is considerably more expensive: With the standard 3.5-liter, 268-horsepower V-6 engine, the Mercedes R350 starts at $48,775. The Pacifica, with its 3.5-liter, 250-horsepower V-6, starts at $25,895. The Chrysler is 198.9 inches long, and the R-Class is 203 inches long.

Even so, seating in the third row of the R-Class is moderately tight and not particularly comfortable — best-suited for kids. The first two rows, though, have comfy captain’s chairs with plenty of room.

The test Mercedes was an R500, with a 5.0-liter, 302-horsepower V-8, and a seven-speed automatic transmission. With the vehicle’s eager, perceptive transmission, though, either engine is fine. I would be tempted to save the $7,500 difference between the two models, and with the V-6, you’ll pick up a little fuel mileage. The R350 is EPA-rated at 16 miles per gallon city, 21 mpg highway, while the R500 is rated at 13/18.

You get more than just a bigger engine with the R500 — a telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, a six-disc CD changer and a couple of other features, but all stuff I can live without.

Even with the R350, the list of standard features is a long one: All-wheel drive, side and side-curtain air bags, leather-trimmed upholstery, fog lights, alloy wheels and stability control.

The test R500 had plenty of options, though, including rear climate control, four-wheel air suspension, heated rear seats, a navigation system, rear parking sensors, Sirius satellite radio, an upgraded sound system and a “panoramic roof package,” consisting of two huge power sunroofs. All this, plus shipping, raised the $55,500 base price to $66,450. Even so, there are other options offered, such as a rear DVD player, an AMG sport package and a power liftgate.

Weighing in just shy of 5,000 pounds, the R500 is much lighter on its feet than you would think. That’s due in part to excellent brakes and big P255/55R-18 tires, but it also feels as though the vast majority of that weight is carried very low in the vehicle. Even on tight turns, the R500 never feels tipsy like some SUVs. Or minivans. Or whatever this thing is.

Highway cruising is exceptionally comfortable, with a smooth ride but still a semi-sporty feel for the road. The R500 is an excellent way to rack up the miles with minimal effort. Around town, it feels smaller than it is.

Inside, the R500 is a bit austere-looking, though all the requisite bells and whistles are in place. Workmanship seems as good as the Mercedes models from Germany, something that has not always been the case with the Alabama-built Benzes.

There are certainly cheaper ways to carry six people, but initial sales of the R-Class suggest that quite a few customers prefer their minivan — or SUV, or station wagon, or whatever it is — to carry a three-pointed star in the grille.

Sentinel Automotive Editor Steven Cole Smithcan be reached at scsmith@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5699.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.1
  • Value for the money 4.0
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 3.8

Most recent consumer reviews

4.4

One of the vehicles I owned with no problems!

This car is very practical for my family! For example 3 rows or seating, and fuel efficiency is good to about this car! NO problems in the winter time starts right up and ready to tackle the snow with AWD

4.3

Just love the way it looks on the outside.

The seating takes up to 7 or 6 comforably. Love the sky roof. That it can be like a cargo van with all the seats flatened. It is tighter in space than a regular van but it looks classy!

5.0

Great car

Awesome very awesome very very awesome car I love it my kids love my wife love it everybody love it...

See all 29 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Mercedes-Benz
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years old or less/less than 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year/unlimited miles
Powertrain
1 year/unlimited miles
Dealer certification required
164-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2005

Volvo XC90

$34,840

starting MSRP

2004

Volvo V40

$25,700

starting MSRP

2006

Volvo V50

$26,205

starting MSRP

See all 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class articles