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
- 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)|
Falling between the EQA and EQC in Mercedes' extensive electric-car line-up, the EQB is an electric family SUV boasting a unique selling point that rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tron, Tesla Model Y and Skoda Enyaq iV don’t offer: the option of seven seats. Like other electric Mercedes, the EQB can be distinguished from its combustion-engined GLB counterpart 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 thanks to a 66.5kWh battery. The difference lies in power outputs, with the 300 making 225bhp and the 350 offering 288bhp. Both are dual-motor, all-wheel-drive cars.
The EQB's 250-mile range figure is less than some versions of rivals from Audi or Tesla can manage. But it's a respectable figure, and greater than what many zero-emissions seven-seaters and minibuses return. For example, neither the Citroen e-Berlingo nor the Citroen e-SpaceTourer can get close to 200 miles on a full battery. But if 250 miles isn't enough for you, a less powerful front-wheel-drive version of the EQB, aimed at providing longer range, is set to join the range in the near future.
Like the GLB it’s derived from, the EQB features seven seats – standard on all models offered in the UK. 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 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.
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, 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 and wireless phone 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 no, so we'll have to wait until the entry-level front-drive version shows up before we can declare the EQB to be truly 'good value'. We'd like to see slightly faster rapid-charging speed, too. But the EQB is sure to appeal to many nonetheless, thanks to its smooth electric powertrain, practical range and the fact it’s one of the few electric SUVs with seven seats.