Mercedes EQA electric motor, drive & performance
The Mercedes EQA is a quiet and predictable car to drive, but it’s not much fun; rivals are more engaging
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You’d think with only 187bhp – less than half what the larger and more expensive EQC has – that the EQA might feel a bit lethargic. And yet it really doesn’t. It feels much lighter on its toes than its bigger brother and arguably more fun as a result. Accelerating from 0-62mph takes 8.9 seconds, but in reality the instant torque means it appears faster. It’s certainly no slouch.
Refinement is a strong point. There’s no double glazing like you’ll find in the EQC, so you’re more at the mercy of wind and road noise on the motorway – and yet it’s still a relaxing car to drive. At slower speeds it’ll make even the quietest petrol engines seem noisy.
The regenerative braking system is very effective, too. Operated via the paddles on the steering wheel, there are several settings to choose from. In its strongest mode you can largely drive the EQA by merely modulating the accelerator; when you do need the brake pedal, it has a more natural feel than the EQC’s.
Overall then, it feels like Mercedes has played it safe, without any detriment to the overall package. We reckon most buyers coming from petrol SUVs will find it a pretty pleasing car to drive.
Mercedes EQA 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
Some people expect all electric cars to come with supercar-rivalling performance and enough power to beat a Porsche 911 off the line. However, it seems manufacturers are beginning to trade some of that prodigious pace for better efficiency and greater electric range.
That’s not to say the EQA is slow. With 187bhp, it has more power than your average petrol-powered family SUV, and that electric motor offers all the usual response away from the line. The 0-62mph sprint takes 8.9 seconds, which in the world of electric cars doesn’t sound that fast, but in reality it’s plenty quick enough for a car of this type.
As mentioned, there’s plenty of zip from a standstill and even at faster speeds you’ll feel a tangible surge of power when you put your foot down. The fact this Mercedes tops out at just 99mph is neither here nor there; you’ll find the EQC is more than capable of keeping up with traffic on the motorway.
It’s hard to offer a conclusive verdict on how the Mercedes EQA handles in normal driving, as our test model was fitted with the smallest 18-inch wheels and a set of winter tyres. That said, it’s clear even from our early drive that the EQA goes about its business in a safe and predictable fashion, behaving much like a conventional petrol or diesel model the majority of the time.
As discussed above, power is plentiful but not excessive. This sensible setup continues as you raise your speed, with light but direct steering, and a comfortable ride. To think of this car as a slightly taller, electric version of the Mercedes A-Class hatchback would give you a good idea of what it feels like through the corners; there is a little more body roll, but as an SUV, nothing you wouldn’t expect.
Aside from the wheels and winter rubber, our car was comparable with the top-spec AMG Line Premium Plus, which meant it came fitted with Mercedes' adaptive suspension. However, in reality, the different modes did little to change the car’s personality. Even in the sportier settings the car displayed the level of compliance you’d expect of a family SUV. The trade-off is precious little difference through the corners.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Mercedes EQA is the maker’s second EQ-branded electric car; based on the GLA, it’s a small SUV with a 263-mile range and 100kW rapid charging
- 2Range, battery & chargingWith a strong real-world range, the Mercedes matches its rivals in this regard, but a Volvo XC40 P8 will charge faster
- 3Running costsAside from its lofty insurance-group rating, the Mercedes EQA should be a very cheap car to run
- 4Electric motor, drive & performance - currently readingThe Mercedes EQA is a quiet and predictable car to drive, but it’s not much fun; rivals are more engaging
- 5Interior & comfortEven the entry-level Mercedes EQA Sport comes well equipped, with a solid, high-quality interior and lots of kit
- 6Practicality & boot spaceCabin space is strong, but the Mercedes EQA's boot is on the small side – both compared to the petrol GLA and fully electric rivals
- 7Reliability & safetyAs it's so new, there are no independent reliability or safety ratings for the EQA, but Mercedes has a good reputation in these areas, so expect a strong showing