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27 Sept 2022

First Drive: The Mercedes EQB arrives as a fully electric seven seater

First Drive: The Mercedes EQB arrives as a fully electric seven seater

What is it?


Mercedes isn’t wasting any time in expanding its EQ-badged range of electric cars. It is quickly developing electric versions of pretty much all of its cars, which brings us to this – the EQB. It’s a battery-powered version of the GLB, the firm’s compact but well-packaged seven-seater.

We were really impressed by the regular GLB’s versatility, so you’d like to think that this has been carried over to the fully electric version. We’ve been behind the wheel to find out.

What’s new?


As mentioned, this is one of the latest electric vehicles to join the Mercedes EQ line-up. As a result, it’s got some of the latest technology the firm has to offer, with a variety of screens and displays contributing to a very futuristic feeling interior. Plus, despite the switch to electric power (which often compromises spaciousness), the EQB remains a fully-fledged seven-seater. Those rearmost chairs are aimed towards use by children, mind you.

Elsewhere, we’ve got a smattering of styling tweaks to help distinguish this from the standard GLB. There is also the option of two powertrains in the EQB 300 and 350, the former of which we’re testing here today.

What’s under the bonnet?


The EQB 300 uses a twin-motor set up to provide all wheel drive, while combined you get 225bhp and 370Nm of torque. This enables a 0-60mph of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 99mph, but thanks to the instantaneous response of the electric motors the EQB feels a little quicker in real life than the figures suggest.

Of course, range is the big talking point with EVs and, with up to 257 miles between charges from its 66.5kWh battery, the EQB does well. Thanks to the ability to charge at speeds of up to 100kW it could manage a 10 to 80 per cent charge in around 32 minutes when connected to a rapid charger.

What’s it like to drive?


The EQB offers a really calming, refined and quiet driving experience. It’s particularly noticeable at a motorway cruise, in fact, where the cabin remains remarkably hushed, interrupted only slightly by a whine coming from the electric motors. The steering is well-weighted – though pretty dead in terms of feel – while the upright driving position gives you a good view of the road ahead.

The range seems pretty on the money, too, though we were testing during a warm summer’s day which tends to favour EVs. Our only complaint was a slightly firm low-speed ride, no doubt highlighted as a result of the EQB’s 2,105kg kerb weight. The ride does settle down once you increase your speed, mind you.

How does it look?


Of course, looks are down to the view of the individual, but we found the design of the EQB to be pretty appealing. The full-width light bar at the front and rear might be a touch Knight Rider, but they do look really cool at night and give the EQB a very futuristic feel. It’s got a couple of elements that differentiate it from the regular GLB, too, such as redesigned front and rear bumpers and intricate, aerodynamically-designed alloy wheel designs.

The fully smoothed-off front grille – made entirely from one piece of black plastic – might look a little odd on brighter colour cars, but on our navy blue test version, it blended in quite well.

What’s it like inside?


As already highlighted, the EQB’s variety of screens does make the interior of the car feel quite ahead of the times. However, the practicality-focused fundamentals that you’d want from an SUV are here. There is loads of legroom for those sitting in the middle row and while the rearmost row could only be described as for ‘occasional’ use, it’s definitely useful to have the option. We only found that the middle seats could’ve done with a little more back support at times.

In terms of boot space, the EQB offers 495 litres with the third row folded flat, rising to 1,710 with the middle row laid down too. It’s a smaller area than the one you’d get in the GLB, mind you, which offers 570 and 1,805 litres respectively.

What’s the spec like?


Priced from £55,145, the EQB is accompanied by plenty of standard equipment. All cars get 18-inch AMG alloy wheels and an AMG body styling package, as well as a reversing camera, heated front seats and automatic climate control.

It also utilises the MBUX infotainment system, which comprises two 10-inch displays positioned together to create a seamless screen. It’s easy to operate, though the touch-sensitive ‘thumbpads’ on the steering wheel can be a little clunky to try and use at times. That said, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, so mirroring your smartphone on the main display is simple. It’s a bit of a shame that when connected to the former it isn’t displayed for the full width of the display, mind you.

Verdict

As a fully-electric seven-seater, the EQB has carved itself a nice little niche. There are few others that offer the kind of versatility that it has on its side, while its decent range means that it’s not restricted to shorter journeys. Good levels of standard equipment go a long way to justify its premium price, too.

Save for the slightly fidgety low-speed ride, it’s a good car to drive, too. Throw in a healthy dose of practicality and you’ve got a very useful and high-quality EV in the EQB.

  • Model: Mercedes-Benz EQB
  • Price as tested: £55,145
  • Engine: Dual electric motors
  • Power: 225bhp
  • Torque: 370Nm
  • 0-60mph: 7.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 99mph
  • Economy: N/A
  • Emissions: N/A
  • Range: 250-257 miles

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