We are deep into the month of December here and I find myself in the possession of the all-new Mercedes-Benz EQB. This is not the first time I have driven the compact SUV but it’s an important one because not only do I have to pen an article on what it’s like to live with for a week, but a good friend is also due to change her 10 year old Peugeot 5008 and would like to make the move to electric. Her criteria, or rather wish list sounded simple. ‘I need an electric car that has a bit of height off the ground, seven seats and decent range. Four-wheel drive would be a plus but it’s not essential’. Now with normal combustion power the choices are vast but when we think towards electric vehicles choices become very limited. Mercedes-Benz no doubt spotted this and then added the EQB to the existing lineup, which now includes the EQC, EQV, EQA, EQE and EQS. Practical in all aspects, the EQB comes with adjustable second-row seats and an optional third-row seat arrangement concealed beneath the luggage floor, which can be raised to expand capacity to a 7-seat layout when needed. Up to four child seats can be fitted in the second and third rows with ease and the maximum boot capacity is 1,710-litres.
This is a vehicle that has been designed to deliver electric-powered motoring in a family-size package and it shares its dimensions with the combustion powered GLB. Compact on the outside, roomy on the inside, its robust body measures 4,684mm long, 1,834mm wide, 1,667mm tall with a 2,829mm wheelbase. Walking up to the vehicle there is no mistaking its Mercedes-EQ credentials with the distinctive black panel grille with central star, front ‘EQ’ blue headlamp strips and a continuous fibre-optic strip running along front and rear. The super light-alloy wheels come in a bi or tri-colour design and are available in sizes up to 20-inches but naturally the more mass you rotate, the harder it will be on range. Looking up towards the roofline on the side profile you see studded roof rails giving it a rugged utility vehicle appeal and it looks purposeful and ready for the next adventure away. Ironically it’s a slippery little SUV also with an extremely low Cd value delivering minimal wind resistance for greater efficiency slicing through the wind with ease. Other aerodynamic features include front and rear aprons, flush underbody and a closed cooling air system. Opening the driver’s door you are greeted by eye-catching items including a distinctive centre console, instrument panel and widescreen dashboard with the MBUX user experience system. Having spent plenty of time this year with new Mercedes products we can honestly say it is one of the best to use. The ‘Hey Mercedes’ command system has also now been enhanced with fastest route to destination ‘Navigation and Electric Intelligence helping you to plan your electric journey with suitable charge points.
The range starts with the EQB250 model which has a usable battery capacity of 66.5 kWh, 215 hp of power, combined consumption of 19.2 kWh/100 km and a WLTP calculated range of 419 km. It can be fast-charged from 10% – 80% in just 30 minutes or from 0-100% over a more extended period using an 11kW charge point. Our test vehicle was the EQB 300 4MATIC fitted with two motors giving it all wheel drive. The front axle features an asynchronous motor, while the rear axle gets a permanently engadged synchronous motor. The total power in the EQB 300 is roughly 226 hp with 288 lb-ft of torque. Power is stored in a 70.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which can accept 110 kW fast charging. You don’t get much more range over the EQB250 with 426km but that’s down to the additional weight of the drivetrain.
Safety is always a priority for Mercedes-Benz and by bringing in some of the technology found in other EQ models the EQB based on the GLB is a safe vehicle. Occupant protection includes driver and front passenger airbags, driver’s knee bag, and first and second row window bags. Front side airbags are also standard. Add to this Active Brake Assist, Active Speed limit Assist, Lane Keeping Assist function along with a blind spot warning system, which is now, fitted to all Mercedes cars. All EQB models sold here in Ireland also include ‘Hey Mercedes’ driver assistance feature with all of their navigation and electric intelligence supports. You will be in good hands with the EQB.
Mercedes-Benz have stated that they expect the EQB 250 to be the most sought-after model in Ireland with prices beginning from €68,290. The EQB 300 kicks off from €71,330 and the EQB 350 from €74,305. For us the sweet spot is the vehicle in the middle. The added security of all wheel drive makes the 300 a lovely vehicle to live with. There are various finance and PCP deals currently available through your local Mercedes-Benz garage.
Ironically our weeklong test drive prior to Christmas took place during the cold snap. Temperatures of minus 6 were evident on the dash of the EQB and its here; the security of having all wheel drive came into its own. I took time out to take the aforementioned friend on a long drive around the Dublin Mountains in some challenging conditions and nothing phased the little EQB. Yes we lost a little range maybe 10% due to the freezing conditions but it was still a very easy vehicle to live with. Her initial impressions of the third row of seats was a look of disappointment but when you actually move the middle row of seats forward even a large child will have legroom in the third row. It’s nice also to see creature comforts such as USB ports have made they’re way back to the third row in the EQB. So did this vehicle fit the bill for my friend and will she be making a purchase? Well the answer is yes, because her other options were to buy a slightly pricier Tesla Model Y which she is not a huge fan of, or perhaps wait for the new Volvo EX90 which will no doubt be north of €100k with a little spec! The Mercedes-Benz EQB300 was to be a clear winner in this instance and a deposit has been placed!