Mercedes EQC electric motor, drive & performance
The Mercedes EQC has a different character to any of its rivals, but it majors on comfort more than fun
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With 402bhp and 765Nm of torque on tap, it’s no surprise that the EQC delivers gut-squirming mid-range bursts of speed. Even so, while it's fast enough – and then some – by any standard, it doesn’t feel as punchy as a Jaguar I-Pace, let alone a Tesla Model X. We’d like slightly more cohesive brake feel, too.
Comfort and refinement are clearly the priorities for the EQC; smooth, slick ride comfort and unexceptional if reassuringly neutral handling are what really set it apart from its more enthusiastic-feeling rivals. There’s no optional suspension to add, either – this is the quietest and cushiest car in its class as standard.
Mercedes EQC 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
The EQC has a claimed 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds, and while it always feels incongruously rapid for such a heavy car, it never quite seems as quick as that sprint time suggests – rivals like the Model X and I-Pace certainly feel faster still.
For all that, nobody in their right mind would consider the EQC slow. It barrels up the road with enough brash mid-range urgency to make it a seriously rapid point-to-point car, while the linear, easy-to-modulate throttle response and power delivery also make it perfect for easing through a torturous city commute.
Getting to grips with the brake regeneration is trickier initially. The EQC is set up to offer no brake regeneration in default Comfort mode when you turn it on, but you can use steering-wheel paddles to turn the function up or down.
Holding the right-hand paddle down for a couple of seconds activates the automatic regeneration mode, which automatically adjusts the braking forces to maximise the energy harvested and also maintain the distance from the car in front. This is likely to be most drivers' favourite mode, since it brakes smoothly even when you press the pedal hard, and is an easy system to trust.
Maximum braked towing capacity for the EQC is 1,800kg. Big diesel 4x4 alternatives like the Land Rover Discovery are better for towing, not only due to a higher towing limit, but also because the EQC’s driving range will be heavily reduced if you're pulling caravan.
The Mercedes EQC has a dual-motor setup: one on each axle to deliver four-wheel drive. It’s an active setup that sends all power to the more efficient front motor in normal driving conditions, but if you ask for a surge of acceleration or encounter a trickier surfaces, the rear motor will kick in to give the best possible traction and stability.
Don’t go thinking the EQC is an off-roader, though. While its raised SUV stance and four-wheel-drive capability help with getting across a muddy yard or rutted track, this is very much an on-road SUV, so don’t expect it to cope well with anything more rugged.
It’s no sports SUV, either. This is a heavy car, and it feels it, so while you can select Sport mode and enjoy precise, secure-feeling progress when driving with intent down a decent road, it never feels as playful or exciting (beyond the vaguely shocking acceleration) as an I-Pace.
Comfort and refinement are the real strong points of the EQC. Even by the remarkably high standards set by its peers, the Mercedes has the best ride comfort and refinement in the class, with very little wind and tyre noise, and almost no whine from the electric motor.
There’s no optional suspension, either; you get the excellent ride comfort as standard. It does a great job of easing you over scruffy road surfaces, and even sharp-edged potholes are soaked up with little more than a distant thump.
In This Review
- 1VerdictA great all-round premium electric SUV, the Mercedes EQC is slightly overshadowed by others in its class
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Mercedes EQC is competitive with its key rivals in terms of range, although a Tesla Model X will go further
- 3Running costsThe Mercedes EQC is competitively priced, both in terms of on-the-road pricing and finance offers
- 4Electric motor, drive & performance - currently readingThe Mercedes EQC has a different character to any of its rivals, but it majors on comfort more than fun
- 5Interior & comfortThe Mercedes EQC has a striking interior focused on an impressive infotainment system, plus generous standard equipment
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe Mercedes EQC is a good family car, but isn't as roomy as the larger Audi e-tron or Tesla Model X
- 7Reliability & safetyThe Mercedes EQC did very well in independent Euro NCAP crash-testing, scoring the maximum five-star result