9.4.2021Mercedes Benz EQC review
As the first model from Mercedes Benz’s EQ electric sub-brand, there’s a lot riding on the EQC as it sets the tone for a fleet of EVs due in the future. The all-electric SUV boasts a stylish exterior, spacious interior, and good range, but what’s it like as an overall package? NGC tests the Mercedes Benz EQC 400 4Matic to find out.
Review by Chris Lilly
MERCEDES BENZ EQC: PERFORMANCE
Performance is taken care of by a pair of electric motors, one on each axle. Combined power output? That’s 300 kW (408 hp), as well as 760 Nm of torque, which is good for a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds. It’s a big car, but it will shift. The EQC rarely feels as fast as the times suggest, but it still feels mighty fast in a straight line, and the car’s refinement helps cosset you a little from the sheer pace of things when you mash the right pedal down.
As with many EVs, it’s easily accessible performance, and the EQC is a doddle to drive quickly or at more normal speeds. The Mercedes is comfortable cruising on the motorway, being sent down A-roads, or threaded through city traffic - all the while, the electric motors are more than up to the job. Competing against the likes of Audi’s e-tron and Jaguar’s I-Pace, there are no points lost here for the three-pointed star in the premium EV SUV performance stakes.
Unsurprisingly, the Mercedes Benz EQC meets expectations when it comes to ride. It’s one of the most comfortable cars to drive this side of the £100,000 mark, and it feels completely ‘Mercedes-like’ to drive. The levels of refinement are only aided by the near silent running of the electric motors, but the overall suspension set-up allows the EQC to cosset occupants in any situation.
Like the performance, it’s well suited to motorway work, and there is enough agility thanks to sharp steering to pilot around tight car parks and the like. Personally, I prefer the more dynamic set-up found in the I-Pace, but I would be very tempted by the EQC and would put it above the e-tron in my considerations - a different driving experience, but a very good one.
With plenty of space for four adults, and a good sized boot, the EQC is one of the more practical models in the class. It’s a car that could easily deal with every day life and tasks as a family workhorse for holidays and the like.
Head, leg, and shoulder space are good throughout, though the EQC doesn’t feel hugely spacious. It’s a cosy interior rather than a minimalist one such as those found in Teslas, but it’s in keeping with the focus on comfort by Mercedes Benz.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The interior is a real point of strength for Mercedes’ latest range of cars, and the EQC doesn’t let the side down. The model tested featured the dual-screen MBUX system which looks great and works well. It’s also intuitive to use, and the steering mounted controls are simple to remember - right thumb controls right screen, left thumb… you get it. The ‘Hey Mercedes’ natural voice command system is also one of the best in the market.
Material quality feels excellent, as does build quality, and the EQC feels every inch a Mercedes Benz in this regard. There’s little to give the game away that the model is electric, which could be a positive or negative depending on personal preference. Controls, kit, design et al will all be familiar to current Mercedes Benz drivers.
MERCEDES BENZ EQC: RANGE & RUNNING COSTS
What’ll it do? A key question for any EV, particularly those pitched as replacements for petrol or diesel machines, rather than ideal ‘second’ cars. Mercedes performs well here in official terms, if not outstandingly. The quoted range is as good as 259 miles on a charge, depending on specification, which is par for the course in this class. That drops to 232 miles depending on specification.
In real-world driving, the Mercedes Benz EQC performs very well. It manages to achieve a range close to its official figure, without much effort. My calculated range on a charge averaged 235 miles on a charge, over a mixture of roads. It’s a reliable figure in all but the coldest conditions and for the fastest of drivers.
Mercedes has a number of features to help make the EQC more efficient. Chief amongst these is the brake energy recuperation system, which has five levels of regen available to the driver, from coasting to hard braking. It’s controlled using the paddles behind the wheel, and is a great system, one of the best on the market. It also includes radar-based regen for an automatic setting, which can help, particularly on long trips.
Driving modes include a Max Range setting if you’re getting really twitchy about range, and the navigation can offer tips to lift off or brake to minimise excess throttle use. Charging the 80 kWh battery is carried out via a CCS inlet, capable of taking up to 110 kW DC or 7.4 kW AC on Type 2 points. Again, its about par, with the Jaguar able to charge at 100 kW DC/ 7 kW AC, and Audi’s e-tron range capable of up to 150 kW DC and 22 kW AC.
There are four core trim levels - Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, and AMG Line Premium Plus. Entry level models all get 19-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, LED headlights, front and rear LED band, twin 10.25-inch digital screens for driver instruments and infotainment system, navigation, DAB radio, parking package with reversing camera, heated front seats, multi-function steering wheel, and leather trim.
AMG Line Premium Plus tested adds 21-inch alloys, AMG styling package inside and out, sports seats, sports steering wheel, Burmester surround sound audio system, electric sliding sunroof, augmented reality navigation, wireless phone charging, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.
MERCEDES BENZ EQC: MODEL SUMMARY
The Mercedes Benz EQC is a very good electric SUV. It features a highly usable range and backs that up with ultra-rapid charging capabilities. The interior is very good and it’s a practical one, plus the EQC is an exceptionally comfortable car to drive - and an easy one. It’s expensive, but again sits alongside its EV SUV rivals in this regard, and it could easily replace an existing petrol/diesel/PHEV SUV for many drivers. The choice for those wanting a focus on comfort, rather than performance.
Model tested: Mercedes Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus
Body-style: Large SUV
Engine / CO2: Twin electric motors / 0 g/km
Trim grades: Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, and AMG Line Premium Plus
On-road price: Range from £65,720. Price as tested: £74,610
Warranty: Three Years / Unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars