Electrification feels like a perfect fit for some brands, and Mercedes has to be pretty high on that list. Brisk performance, technologically advanced, whisper quiet, it makes perfect sense. So what happens when you take a GLB and give it the ‘EQ’ treatment?
Having had a couple of stabs at the B Class, the badge has now been reinvented as a 7 Seat SUV which when coupled with an electric drivetrain, is very rare thing indeed. Despite the ability to swallow 7 seats, it measures a sensible 4.69 metres nose to tail so it isn’t intimidatingly big. This does mean that the third row of seats is restricted to people under 1.65 metres (5 ft 4 inches) tall but if that works for you, keep reading.
Mercedes has played it safe with the styling (it is virtually identical to the GLB) which also means that the traditional ICE proportions are retained with a big bonnet. This means that the EQB doesn’t pull off the TARDIS trick of bespoke EV’s but it does feel reassuringly conventional, which we suspect potential buyers will appreciate.
Whilst the exterior might disappoint some, the interior is a triumph with the dashboard being our favourite of any contemporary Mercedes blending style with usability to great effect. The key to this is the adoption of two well sized display screens supported by, wait for it, physical buttons! We have long advocated the benefits of retaining buttons for key functions such as ventilation and drive mode control and the EQB demonstrates how this can be done whilst also delivering a clean, uncluttered and premium look.
Given that the EQB has one foot in the ICE camp and one in the EV camp, it will come as little surprise that the key EV stats are good but not exemplary. Official range is 253 miles (good given the standard 4 wheel drive), it will charge at up to 100 kW, performance is sensible, and the boot can swallow up to 465 litres (5 seats) or 1,620 litres (2 seats). There is no storage under the bonnet, but the boot is a very practical shape, however there is no dedicated storage for the charging cable.
With all 7 seats in place the ability to move the second row fore and aft by up to 140 mm is handy although space remains tight in the third row. The same is true for boot space, as the third row forms the majority of the boot floor when folded, there are no prizes for guessing that boot space is minimal when they are in use. At least when stowed they sit flush with the boot floor making a practical load area.
So far, the EQB is exactly what you were expecting, compromised packaging (thanks GLB), a great interior, and sensible stats. However there is one very welcome surprise. Ditching the ICE has transformed the driving experience. Whereas a GLB will lull you to sleep, the EQB feels more alert, better balanced, has more precise steering and as a result is a chunk more enjoyable to drive. This new found fun side is accompanied by good body control and compliant suspension making for a well judged packaged.
If you are looking for a practical electric SUV with a decent range, a top class interior, and a driving experience that blends an enjoyable drive with the ability to cover ground serenely, then the EQB could be right up your street.
Estimated real world range: 170 – 253 miles
Official range: 253 miles
Official electricity consumption: 184 Wh/km
Battery pack: 70 kWh (gross) 66.5 kWh (net) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty (>70% SoC)
Recharge time: 7 kW charge approx 9 hours 15 mins; 11 kW charge approx 5 hours 45 minutes; Rapid CCS 50 kW approx 1 hour (10 – 80%); Ultra Rapid CCS 100 kW 32 minutes (10 – 80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.