Off the Atlantic, on the Portuguese coast, we had the pleasure of discovering Mercedes’ latest 100% electric generation. From Nazaré to Ericeira via Peniche or must-see Lisbon, our journey on the EQB took us from the coast to the city, from cobblestones to sand and cliffs to the highway. In total? A number of roads and landscapes were varied enough to have a very precise overview of the performance of this SUV. Rest assured, we’ll tell you everything.
What is EQB?
Electrification at Mercedes is not a risky exercise. Apart from a legal EQS, the German manufacturer has contented itself with converting its thermal versions to electric versions at a lower cost. Was the EQA a barely modified version of the GLA? The EQB will be nothing more than a battery-powered and electric-powered version of the GLB. Let’s be frank, this in no way indicates a certain laziness among the engineers of the star brand. Electrifying a vehicle represents an important work in developing or adapting the chassis. However, let’s just say that this process at Mercedes has a sad reputation by removing any element of surprise in the final result.
Regardless of originality. With the EQB, the essential for Mercedes is elsewhere. Indeed, the manufacturer presents the first seven-seater electric SUV to the market before the competition as standard! We tested it on the first 350 4MATIC version available in France.
Design: copy/paste art
We’ll quickly pass the aesthetic part of this SUV with the star, as it covers the characteristics of the thermal GLB with several nuances. Admittedly, it is 5 cm taller, very difficult to distinguish at first glance. Admittedly, it has its own lightweight signature and grille specific to the brand’s electric vehicles, but for the rest it’s a classic GLB. From then on, we could expect some changes in the cabin, but Mercedes again remained true to its principles. Big improvements will come with new platforms, not before.
A familiar environment developed by MBUX
As you can tell, there is no real surprise effect when you ride the EQB. The environment is known, it is the environment of the latest designs from Mercedes, and rather the “little brother” of the EQA. We also invite you to reread our EQA test, where we go back in detail to the strengths and weaknesses of this dashboard, articulated around two 12-inch digital displays.
To find something new, you have to look at the details of the system and especially the energy recovery part. The EQA star brand had inaugurated a four-level recovery system. Via the paddles on the steering wheel, the driver could choose the braking intensity during deceleration and therefore the vehicle’s ability to recharge the battery during these phases. Mercedes opts for a simpler solution that cuts the number of recovery options to three levels in its seven-seat SUV. The user will now be able to choose between freewheel mode, “D”, “D-” mode with high braking intensity, and “D Auto” mode, where the car is running and will likely be the most popular users. Indeed, it works in concert with the vehicle’s navigation to anticipate braking zones and adapt recovery accordingly. The system works surprisingly well on most roads. But it’s too bad MBUX’s default navigation is a bit obscure.
Autonomy: an almost obvious weak spot
The EQB’s energy recovery system is unfortunately the car’s main selling point in terms of range. The SUV shouldn’t be shy about the size of its battery, with 66.5 kWh pretty average, they were pretty decent for the EQA too, but Mercedes’ big baby should also make up for it with a heavier and more imposing template. Unsurprisingly, consumption has increased and is ultimately well beyond the 419km shown on the vehicle’s datasheet. Indeed, reaching 300 km in real conditions seems very difficult to us. Our consumption during our test exceeded 21 kWh / 100 km, and this is only rarely when driving through fast sections of roads. It takes energy to move these 2.1 tons!
This relatively limited autonomy could be compensated for by a fast recharge speed. Not so, the EQB’s DC charger is limited to a sad 100 kW. Admittedly, this power makes it possible to recover between 10% and 80% of the battery in 30 minutes, but you have to be very optimistic to go on a long journey with this SUV.
on the way? Velvet!
Finally, on the path that the EQB agrees everyone. Of course, considering its weight and size, the Mercedes SUV is not a model of dynamism, but even at this point it managed to surprise us thanks to its agile times and very agile behavior on the roads.
But the seven-seat SUV’s strong point lies elsewhere. She lies in her extreme comfort. Mercedes is an absolute master at making vehicles that you’ll be comfortable driving or as a passenger. Despite two-quarters battery-driven two-tonne and lacking controlled suspensions, the EQB glides on the road and filters out the smallest bumps with surprising ease. In fact, like the EQA or EQS before it, it is one of the most comfortable electric cars available today.
The verdict of the test:
Of course, the EQB represents a unique proposition in the electricity market today. The seven-seater and its on-road behavior are undeniable assets that will weigh in on the scales when compared to the seven-seat version of Tesla’s Model Y. This will at least be needed to justify a price starting at 54,700 euros. However, there is a structural paradox in EQB. Its shape and on-road behavior make it a family car perfect for mileage. But its relatively small battery, high consumption and limited charging will undoubtedly limit it to city trips. Mercedes’ electric SUV will definitely be fighting the Model Y at this point. But for that match to happen, Tesla would one day have to decide to offer a seven-seat version of its SUV in France. Meanwhile, there is a boulevard in front of Mercedes.