Mercedes EQB review
Mercedes' electric seven-seater SUV is usefully practical and offers a refined driving experience, but at over £50,000, it's an expensive family car
- Smooth driving experience
- Seven-seat capacity
- Great infotainment
- Longer-range version still to come
- Pretty expensive for a family car
- Third row is cramped
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|EQB 300 4MATIC||257 miles||10hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||35mins (10-80%, 100kW)|
|EQB 350 4MATIC||250 miles||10hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||35mins (10-80%, 100kW)|
Mercedes has several electric models already in the pipeline, from a high-performance version of its EQS limousine that produces 751bhp to another zero-emissions panel van. The EQB is the latest addition to the brand’s EQ range, and it offers something its SUV rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tron, Tesla Model Y and Skoda Enyaq iV don’t: seven seats.
Much like the EQA and EQC it’s positioned between, the EQB can be distinguished from its combustion-engined counterpart by way of a blanked-off front grille (for improved aerodynamics) and a full-width tail-light bar.
Two versions are available from launch: the EQB 300 4MATIC and the EQB 350 4MATIC, both capable of 260 miles on a charge, thanks to their 66.5kWh battery. The difference between the two lies in their power outputs, with the 300 model making 225bhp from its dual-motor setup, while the 350 offers 288bhp from the same all-wheel-drive powertrain.
Both can also cover around 250 miles on a charge according to Mercedes, which is less than some versions of rivals from Audi or Tesla. But it's a respectable figure, and further than many of the zero-emissions seven-seaters or minibuses on the market can manage. For example, neither the Citroen e-Berlingo nor the Citroen e-SpaceTourer can reach close to 200 miles on a full battery. If you’re not concerned about acceleration at all and would simply rather spend less time topping up the EQB’s battery, a front-wheel-drive version aimed at providing longer range will arrive next year.
Like the GLB it’s derived from, the EQB features seven seats, which will come as standard on all models sold in the UK. With the rearmost seats folded away into the floor, it has 465 litres of boot space, which can be expanded up to 1,610 litres if you also fold down the second row of seats. While space is fine in the middle row, it is quite cramped in the third row, so they’re better suited for children rather than adults. But interestingly, even the rearmost seats get ISOFIX points.
Therefore, as opposed to being a full-on seven-seater, the EQB is better used as a regular five-seat SUV, with the pair of extra seats for only occasional use. Up front is the same dual-screen setup you’ll find in 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, and worked well during our time with the car. Plus, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to boot.
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 drove both versions of the EQB, and believe the EQB 300 will be enough for most people; it takes a modest eight seconds to sprint from 0-62mph, while the more potent 350-badged variant will do the same task 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 close to 11 hours if you use a 7.4kW home wallbox.
Both versions of the EQB are available in AMG Line and AMG Line Premium trim, with standard kit on the AMG Line cars 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, an upgraded 10-speaker audio system and wireless phone charging. Prices for the EQB in the UK start from just over £52,000, rising to close to £57,000 for the top-of-the-range model.
Ultimately, while we’d like a less expensive entry-level model to be available from launch and slightly faster rapid charging speeds, the EQB is sure to appeal to many, and rightfully so, thanks to its smooth electric powertrain, practical range and the fact it’s one of the few models in the electric SUV class available with seven seats.