Getting into the R-class is easy. Because it is low slung, you slide into the seats rather than climb into them. Once inside, you’ll find yourself in familiar Merc territory. In fact, if it wasn’t for the steeply raked A-pillar, you could fool yourself into thinking you are in an ML or a GL. Still, we can’t help but think it looks a bit too familiar and unexciting. You sit at a good height and the electric adjust seat is comfortable. People looking for goodies may be disappointed though. Merc’s COMAND system controls only the audio system via a small (by today’s standards) screen. The system is also quite complicated and fiddly to use.
Nonetheless, fit and finish inside are faultless as usual and you can tell this car was built with the American market in mind by the size of the cubbyhole between the front seats and the sheer number of oversize storage spaces.
If there is a compelling reason to buy an R-class, it’s the middle row of seats. They are so good that the R-class makes a strong case for itself as a chauffeur-driven car. Hugely accommodating and with acres of legroom, you could fool yourself into thinking you are in a business class seat. Thigh support isn’t great thanks to the high floor, but the immense legroom allows you to stretch out and negae this. The sheer width also lends to that feeling of space and sitting three abreast is no problem here.
Even the centre seat, which doubles up as a broad armrest when flipped forward, is quite a comfortable place to sit. If there was one complaint, the screens for the Rs 1.4 lakh rear seat entertainment pack’s screens are a tad small. The big surprise comes when you slide the middle row forward (via a rather clever mechanism) and climb into the third row. The two seats in the back are entirely usable with good head- and legroom – full-grown adults can easily use these seats for moderate distances without cramping up. With all rows up, the R-class still has the boot space for a decent-sized suitcase, but fold all rows and there’s almost a football field in there!
The R-class comes with all the equipment you need – electric mirrors, seat adjust, steering adjust, sunroof and a nice audio system – but nothing extra. Even the options list is rather short, with only the rear seat entertainment package on offer.