Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The driver is treated to a highly adaptable driving position thanks to an electrically-adjustable seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach. It's a wide car, so there's plenty of room and the driver never feels crowded. The switch and button layout is excellent - they're well grouped and easy to use. Also, like other recent Mercedes-Benz models, it's clear with classy-looking controls.

A large windscreen means that the forward view is good, though thick windscreen pillars can obstruct the view out of junctions. Rearward visibility can be hampered with seven on board, though this is compensated for with large wing mirrors.

Originally the R-Class was able to seat six in a 2+2+2 layout. Comfort-wise, it's a different story for each of the three rows of seats. The front passenger will appreciate the figure-hugging supportive seat, ample legroom and adequate headroom. Passengers in the second row get decent head and legroom, but will find the seats slightly less supportive than those up front.

Row three has surprisingly good legroom and a proper window view (which can often be restricted on people carriers), but the sloping shape of the roof means that headroom is an issue for taller passengers. The third row seating position is also a little strange - like sitting on the floor - and not comfortable for adults on long journeys. Cars from October 2008 have a different seating configuration and standard wheelbase cars come with five seats - like a standard saloon or hatch.

Long wheelbase models have seven seats with an additional two extra seats behind the three in the middle row. All models come with climate control while the R500L has luxury climate control with a third zone of temperature control for those in the back. Wind and road noise are superbly insulated against.