Mercedes EQB review
Mercedes' electric seven-seater SUV is usefully practical and offers a refined driving experience, but at over £55,000, it's an expensive family car
- Smooth driving experience
- Seven-seat capacity
- Great infotainment
- Other SUVs offer more range
- Pretty expensive for a family car
- Third row is cramped
|Wallbox charge time
|Rapid charge time
|EQB 300 4MATIC
|10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)
|32mins (10-80%, 100kW)
|EQB 350 4MATIC
|10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)
|32mins (10-80%, 100kW)
If you're in the market for an electric seven-seater, the choice is still pretty limited. There are a handful of MPVs and minibuses, but they're all based on vans and don't offer the longest ranges around, while luxury seven-seat SUVs like the Mercedes EQS SUV, Tesla Model X and forthcoming Volvo EX90 will easily set you back over £100,000. However, falling somewhere between those two options is Mercedes' EQB electric family SUV.
For the moment, the EQB's key rivals include the Audi Q4 e-tron, Nissan Ariya, Tesla Model Y and Skoda Enyaq iV, to name but a few. Later this year though, a seven-seat version of the hugely popular Volkswagen ID. Buzz minibus is due to be launched, as is the all-new, hotly anticipated Kia EV9, both of which will go head-to-head against the EQB.
It's worth noting the EQB is not a bespoke EV like Mercedes' EQS and EQE saloons, or their high-riding SUV sister cars; instead, it's an electric version of the petrol and diesel-powered GLB. But, like other electric Mercedes, the EQB can be distinguished from its combustion-engined counterparts by its blanked-off front grille and full-width tail-light bar.
Two versions are available: the EQB 300 4MATIC and EQB 350 4MATIC, both of which can do more than 250 miles on a charge in the right specification thanks to a 66.5kWh battery. Both versions also feature two electric motor for all-wheel drive. The difference lies in power outputs, with the EQB 300 making 225bhp and the EQB 350 offering 288bhp.
The EQB's roughly 250-mile official range is significantly less than some versions of rivals from Skoda or Tesla can manage, yet it's a respectable figure nonetheless and it's greater than what any seven-seat electric minibus can currently return. For example, neither the Citroen e-Berlingo or Citroen e-SpaceTourer can get close to 200 miles on a full battery, while the VW ID. Buzz in five-seater form can only cover 258 miles at most on a single charge.
Still, it's a shame the less powerful, front-wheel drive versions of the EQB, called the EQB 250 and EQB 250+, aren't sold in the UK as they can cover up to 314 miles on a charge.
Like the GLB it’s derived from, every EQB sold in the UK features seven seats as standard. With the rearmost seats folded away into the floor, there's 465 litres of boot space, and this can be expanded to 1,610 litres if you also fold the second row.
While space is fine in the middle row, it's quite cramped in the third, which is better suited to children than adults. Therefore, as opposed to being a full-on seven-seater, the EQB is better considered as a regular five-seat SUV, with a pair of extra seats for occasional use. Even the rearmost seats get ISOFIX child-seat points, however.
Up front is the same dual-screen setup you’ll find in Mercedes's other electric SUVs – the EQA and EQC – as well as the A-Class hatchback. The two screens are bright and sharp, while Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system is intuitive as ever. Plus, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity to boot, cabin quality overall is very good.
On the road, the EQB is refined and its electric drivetrain works well, allowing for a smooth and relaxing driving experience – although wind noise is quite pronounced when you’re cruising along. This is less of an issue in the more expensive EQC, partly thanks to its sleeker shape, but also because of double-glazed side windows and extra sound deadening.
We've driven both versions of the EQB, and believe the EQB 300 will be enough for most people; it takes a modest eight seconds to go from 0-62mph, while the more potent 350-badged variant will do the same sprint in just over six seconds. Overtaking is no trouble in either version, and instant acceleration is available right up to motorway speeds. The amount of grip the dual-motor setup and all-wheel-drive provide in both is reassuring, with the EQB's handling best described as safe and secure rather than fun or engaging.
Put the regenerative braking system in its strongest setting, and you can bring the car to a complete stop just by lifting off the accelerator, while the coasting mode makes for simple, efficient motorway driving. With a maximum charging speed of 100kW, topping up the EQB’s battery from 10-80% using a fast enough rapid charging point takes a little longer than half an hour. Fully replenishing the battery from flat will take 10 and a half hours if you use a 7.4kW home wallbox.
Both versions of the EQB are available in AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus trim levels, with standard kit on the former including 18-inch alloy wheels, AMG bodystyling, illuminated door sills, power-folding mirrors, a reversing camera and aluminium roof rails. There's also privacy glass, ambient interior lighting, a multifunction leather sports steering wheel, powered seat adjustment and automatic climate control.
Upgrading to AMG Line Premium adds a power-operated panoramic glass sunroof, 19-inch alloys, a 10-speaker audio system, keyless go and wireless smartphone charging. Finally, there's the AMG Line Premium Plus which gets you 20-inch rims, a 360-degree parking camera and head-up display, among other kit. Prices for the EQB start from just over £55,000 for the EQB 300 AMG Line, rising to over £62,000 for the top-of-the-range EQB 350 AMG Line Premium Plus.
Those are pretty steep numbers for a family SUV, premium badge or not, and more than you'll pay for most versions of the EQB's electric family SUV rivals. A less expensive, front-wheel drive version would offer better value-for-money in our opinion, and potentially more range too, which would be nice. However, we have no doubt the EQB will still appeal to many nonetheless thanks to its smooth electric powertrain, well-built cabin and the fact it’s one of the few electric cars in this price range that comes with seven seats.