15.1.2021Mercedes Benz EQV first drive
Mercedes Benz is in the early stages of a huge electric vehicle offensive, and following in the tyre prints of the EQC SUV comes the EQV MPV. Based on the V-Class people-carrier, this all-electric model boasts plenty of space, a long range, and ultra-rapid charging capabilities. We spend a bit of time behind the wheel for some early impressions.
Review by Chris Lilly
Electric vehicles have gained something of a reputation as quick cars, despite often having a focus on efficiency. That’s not the case here, as Mercedes Benz has fitted an electric motor that does enough, rather than ‘too much’. The 150 kW (204hp) motor allows for a 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds, which is far from sprightly. Thankfully, due to the instantly available torque from the motor, the EQV feels quicker than that time would suggest, particularly in short bursts. It will cope with motorway speeds easily, and responds well to town driving, so although there's not a lot of oomph for the EQV's weight, drivers won't feel short changed.
This is a vehicle aimed at transporting many people comfortably, and in this regard, the EQV performs very well. In terms of driving, the large Mercedes isn’t up to much; it is after all focused on practicality, and based on the same platform as a van. But then offering an engaging driving experience for those behind the wheel is not what this car is all about. Instead, the EQV gives both the driver and all other passengers a soft, refined ride, as its life is likely to be spent largely shuttling people to and from airports, or as an inner-city premium taxi. It’s quiet, and wafts along with the best of the, The large bulk is hidden pretty well in corners, but the EQV rewards a driving style that plays to its refined strengths.
Largely looking like the V-Class, there are a few tell-tale signs that this is an electric version. There are some small EQV signs on the sides and rear, but that’s about it. It’s what buyers will want however, as the EQV will spend much of its life as a workhorse, either as a family-lugging machine or in service with a mobility fleet. And as large MPVs go, it’s not too shabby to look at. The front end has enough style and Mercedes Benz’s design language to give passers-by the impression this is a premium product, whilst there’s only so much styling you can do on a large box - required for its high levels of practicality. And the EQV is very practical. Seating for seven is possible, and there’s even a decent level of boot space remaining behind the third row of pews. Batteries are placed under the floor, which means there is no impact on interior space, and all occupants have more head, leg, and shoulder room then they will know what to do with.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Complementing the vast swathes of interior space is the comfort levels offered by the rear seats. These are comfortable, plush, and will move individually for flexibility. Even those in the front will not have any complaints about the comfort levels on offer, with a captain’s-style chair almost encouraging long-distance drives - and certainly a welcome sight for those drivers that will spend many hours behind the wheel each day. The controls are largely based on the previous generation of Mercedes’ infotainment system, which is a shame because the current MBUX is excellent. The EQV only lacks by comparison to what Mercedes also offers, and has a nice design and control to everything. The driver gets a small digital screen and two large dials, whilst there is a decently sized widescreen navigation/media etc screen in the centre of the console. It’s easy to use and quick to respond, so there are few complaints here. Materials used are built for longevity, but not at the cost of premium feel, and the Mercedes Benz EQV is certainly one of the nicest and most luxurious ways to transport seven people under electric power by road in one go.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The Mercedes Benz EQV is in a class of one currently, with no other electric premium MPVs available. As such, there’s little to judge the Mer’s driving range against, though the smaller, less well appointed Nissan e-NV200 will cover up to around 120 miles on a charge. At the other end of the spectrum, the Tesla Model X is more expensive, but will seat up to seven and travel up to 348 miles on a charge. Neither are a spacious as the Mercedes however, and the official range of up to 213 miles on a charge is a good figure in general, and middle of the road compared to current rivals. There are rivals set to arrive from Peugeot, Citroen, and Vauxhall which will have similar distances on a charge available, but they haven’t arrived yet. Nevertheless, we haven’t had long enough in the EQV to test it’s quoted range against real-world findings. On our drive, the calculated efficiency rating was 1.9 miles per kWh, but was still climbing at the end of our route. As such, a real-world range of at least 170 miles on a charge - even in inclement weather - looks realistic. It should be noted that longer behind the wheel is required to truly evaluate this, and that I was the only person driving; clearly a fully-loaded EQV will travel shorter distances per charge. The range looks like it holds up well though, and should be plenty for most drivers requiring a very large EV.
As you would expect from an electric vehicle, the EQV has the usual suite of efficiency improving functions. Pre-conditioning and heated front seats help get the cabin cosy before setting off whilst still plugged-in. Brake energy recuperation is fitted too, and can operate under radar-based regen for an efficient way to ‘brake’. Drivers get three years’ free access to Mercedes me Charge subscription service, and a year’s access to Ionity charge points as Mercedes Benz is one of the founding members. Charging can be carried out at up to 11 kW AC and 110 kW DC, with a CCS inlet found on the nearside front bumper. A full charge will take 10 hours on AC points, and 45 minutes on ultra-rapid DC chargers.
There are three trim levels to chose from - Sport (tested), Sport Premium, and Sport Premium Plus. Fitted as standard are 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, comfort suspension, electric tailgate and rear sliding doors, 10.25-inch infotainment screen, driver assistance pack, seven-seats, and climate control. Sport Premium adds a design pack, privacy glass, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, electric front seats with memory function, and table package for rear occupants. Sport Premium Plus includes 18-inch wheels, air suspension, and Burmester audio system.
There are very few electric MPVs on the market. In fact, there’s Nissan’s e-NV200, which is smaller and nowhere near as well appointed inside - and that’s it. At the time of writing, there are rival offerings coming from Peugeot, Citroen, and Vauxhall, but these haven’t arrived yet and will not be as nicely appointed inside. Nevertheless, the EQV is expensive - starting at just over £70,000 - but then the Tesla Model X, the only other premium electric seven seater on the market, with a much longer range but less interior space, starts at almost £90,000. As such, the Mercedes Benz EQV certainly won’t be for everyone, but it will work extremely well for those large families wanting a premium MPV, with improved refinement over a diesel V-Class, the same amount of space, and short charging times.
Model tested: Mercedes Benz EQV Sport
Body-style: Premium MPV
Engine / CO2: 150 kW electric motor / 0 g/km
Trim grades: Sport, Sport Premium, Sport Premium Plus
On-road price: From £70,665.
Warranty: Three years / unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.5 Stars