rich assholes are going on a road trip! Well, actually we just got to our destination, and I’m sitting in the hotel, having spent no money on the car (besides gas) the whole trip! My wife and I were both somewhat nervous that “insert $5000 to continue” would pop up on the nav screen at some point on the trip. Most likely somewhere in rural Nebraska, where the last time a Mercedes driver broke down was 1963 but that was old Bud, and he passed away in ‘93.
In any case, we drove from Colorado to Chicago and lived to give the review. So here it is.
- The third row. First off, this picture was taken, by me, from the third row. As in, it can fit a 5'8" almost-but-not-quite 200lbs. man somewhat comfortably for several hours. My wife fell asleep in this very same seat (she’s 5'7" and no I won’t tell you her weight) when it was her turn to watch the tiniest monkey
- Infotainment. This is the girls watching a movie on the DVD nav system. The car came with matching factory headphones, along with the factory screens. At least, I think they’re factory. They actually don’t match very well, but the installation is very well done if not, and it would make all of the integration with the nav system all that much more impressive. The girls watched six movies the first day, and one the second.
The ride. Quiet and smooth. As mentioned above, my wife fell asleep in the third row seat, which is by far the least comfortable row, and which she doesn’t often do on road trips. But what makes it all the more impressive is that we were cruising at 85 mph at the time. The car was both extremely quiet and very smooth. Easily the most comfortable car we’ve ever owned (maybe ever driven) on the highway. Considering we’ve owned econoboxes and a Grand Am, this isn’t a particularly high bar to get over, but I suspect it is a bar that’s going to remain unmatched for a while.
The room. Every seat has enough room for an adult to sit comfortably, with the exception of the back row, if you are over six feet tall. But even then I suspect it would be bearable. The first and second rows are, however, cavernous. You could comfortably seat four six foot plus adults, easily. In fact, I did take a couple of my buddies for a joyride, and they’re 6'3" and 6'4" respectively.
The handling. Ok, it’s not at all like driving the Matrix, which feels light and nimble. It is a big heavy bus and feels like a big heavy bus. But we had a few pucker moments where traffic stopped abruptly, and the car felt absolutely planted, and the anti-lock brakes didn’t even need to engage.
The acceleration. Actually, this could be in both columns. IIRC, the V6 puts out 268 hp, which is a fair number and right in line with other minivans from this generation. The AWD is actually the real hero here, because it means that the power gets applied in dicey “turn left out of a gas station into traffic on a rainy day” without hesitation, meaning you don’t have to worry about the fronts just spinning (looking at you Matrix) or the back end fishtailing (the only thing I’ve ever
Trunk space. This is almost a joke. Our RAV4 and Toyota Matrix both had bigger trunks than this thing. To be fair, if you fold down one or both back seats, that changes, but since we kind of need those seats, this is definitely an inconvenience.
Fuel Consumption. Holy cow, this thing drinks gas like there’s no tomorrow. We managed 22 mpg on the highway. In fairness, our RAV4 wouldn’t do much better after we loaded it down and tossed the extra junk on the roof. Also, barring spending some serious coin, there really isn’t much on the market (even now) with AWD room for 6-7 adults that does a lot better (though the next-gen CUVs are getting there).
The turn signal stalk is below the cruise control stalk. I have accidentally put the car in cruise while not signalling my turn countless times. This is annoying.
Similarly, the gear selector is on the steering column. While this isn’t a bad place for it per se, it does mean that Mercedes had to combine the wiper functions and turn signal functions into one stalk, which makes it all the less user friendly.
As would be expected of an eight year old car, the nav system is dated. While you can connect to bluetooth, you can’t stream via bluetooth, which is weird in 2018.
So far the car has been performing admirably, with the only suggestion of an issue being the rear hatch getting confused about whether it wants to open or not. It’s incredibly comfy, and my wife feels like a rockstar driving it as opposed to a soccer mom, which is a bonus. We’re due to take another road trip for the 4th, so there may be an update coming.