The seven-seat electric Mercedes-Benz EQV may look like a van, but it feels like a luxury Mercedes car to drive – a car that’s very, very practical.
Mercedes has had diesel van-based ‘people carriers’ on sale for years, for private and commercial buyers, but now you can buy a seven-seat all-electric EQV, and it’s so much better to drive than the diesel equivalent.
Take one look at the Mercedes-Benz EQV and it’s hard to ignore the van underpinnings. But the cabin feels like it has a dashboard straight from a Mercedes car, and the space in the rear, with the second and third row of seats facing each other around a table, feels like a posh office. There’s even still space behind the rearmost seats for luggage. You can slide the seats and/or table forwards and backwards, the rear seats can tilt forward to make more space in the ‘boot’, and you can even take the middle row of seats out and/or turn them to face the opposite direction.
There are rear electrically-operated sliding doors on the left and right, which the driver can open and close using switches on the dashboard. If you want to open the rear door, make sure you don’t park near a wall, as it needs a lot of space to swing up.
Under the floor is a 100 kWh lithium-ion battery with a usable capacity of 90 kWh, and there’s a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor. The EQV is front-wheel drive, although you’d be hard pushed to tell – which is something we hardly ever say about front-wheel drive EVs.
The Mercedes-Benz EQV’s length is 5,370 mm and it has a gross vehicle weight of 3,500 kg.
USB sockets in the rear of the EQV would be a recommendation for improvement.
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The Mercedes-Benz EQV 300 may look like a van but it’s much better to drive than any diesel Mercedes van that we’ve previously driven. The electric powertrain means that the EQV is quiet, refined and responsive, with very good performance.
The ride quality is also very un-van like, being comfortable, although slightly bouncy over some surfaces. The AIRMATIC full air suspension is no doubt responsible for the cosseting ride.
The EQV is front-wheel drive but it doesn’t suffer from the wheelspin and torque steer issues that are common to virtually all front-wheel drive electric cars.
There are drive modes of Sport, Comfort, Eco and Maximum Range, and there are steering wheel-mounted paddles to adjust the level of brake regeneration. Motorway journeys are very effortless.
Forget about any low-rent van dashboards; the cabin looks like it’s straight from a Mercedes car. However the high, upright driving position does give away the van origins.
The infotainment system – again, as you would find in a Mercedes car – generally works well. There are sperate, physical shortcut buttons for telephone, map/navigation, and radio/media, with a home button in the top corner of the screen and on the mouse pad.
There’s a separate row of switches for the climate controls, with a ‘menu’ button in the middle, and you can control the heating for the front and rear of the vehicle independently.
There was no annoying lane departure system intervention during our entire week with the EQV, which was excellent news.
A strange feature was the 6-7 second delay when selecting headlight main beam, which we assume is related to the ‘Highbeam Assist PLUS’.
Overall there were very few annoying things about the EQV; the main thing being that the vehicle won’t move anywhere unless the driver has their seat belt on. We accept that this is a safety feature, but it’s very frustrating if you’re just trying to move the EQV a few inches on a drive.
Mercedes says that the EQV’s official WLTP combined electric driving range is 213 miles. However we experienced 210 miles in real-world driving, with the range read-out predicting up to 231 miles.
The Mercedes-Benz EQV 300 maximum DC rapid charging rate is 110 kW. This allows the battery to be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in 45 minutes. The EQV can also charge at 11 kW (AC).
The EQV was on test during one of the weeks when our ABB home charger wasn’t working, and there was no cable to charge the EQV from a 3-pin socket. This meant having to charge the EQV at public rapid charge points, which provided further evidence that vehicles larger than cars don’t fit in the parking bays at most public charging sites.
Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the Mercedes-Benz EQV from Fastned:
The Mercedes-Benz EQV 300 costs £77,145. Our test car had one option, Obsidian black metallic paint (£675). The total price of our test car was £77,820.
Mercedes may have been slow to join the electric car party, but the brand is now offering some excellent electric products. This applies to the EQV, which is good to drive (much better than an equivalent diesel vehicle), and which has a cabin that feels more like a Mercedes car than a van. But the key point about the EQV is that at the moment it is virtually unique. There are very few seven-seat electric vehicles – and another Mercedes, the EQB, is one of the best. However the EQV offers more practicality than the EQB – you can move the rear seats around, and you can fit items such as bikes in the EQV’s boot. It’s also likely to appeal to both private owners and businesses. At £77,145, the EQV can’t really be described as an affordable EV, and it’s not ideal for squeezing into tight parking spaces, but the Mercedes-Benz EQV gains a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.