EV puts a spark in new electric EQB wagon, er, crossover …
Automakers are doing buyers no favors with their insistence on introducing nonsensical alphabet soup when “naming” their vehicles.
German automakers are among the leaders in blending alphanumerics and the latest electric-powered wagon, er crossover, is a prime example, the Mercedes-Benz EQB300. Rolls right off the tongue, no?
To understand this is an electric vehicle one must know that Mercedes is now labeling its EVs as EQs, got it? So this is an electric B series, as in the GLB, which is the gas-powered wagon of the same design. Danke Herr Mercedes.
Know too that for 2023 Mercedes offers three EQBs, the 250, the 300, and 350. At least those ascending numbers are easy to figure in that each signifies more standard features and power that the one below it. The upper two also feature AWD, known to Mercedes as 4Matic, as standard. The base EQB250 is front-drive with just 188 horsepower from its single electric motor.
The 300 and 350 each pack dual electrics to power the front and rear wheels.
The 300 boasts 225 horsepower, while the 350 delivers 288 horses and, according to Mercedes, they will do 0 to 60 mph in 7 and 6 seconds, respectively.
I can attest that the EQB300 is a hoot that’ll scoot. Power delivered via the single-speed transmission is silky smooth and instantaneous. There was even a bit of chirp to the 18-inch tires, and secure traction once we got a little slop on the roads thanks to that AWD. But I can’t emphasize enough the fun of tromping the accelerator and being pushed back into the well-shaped black suede and leather seats, neatly trimmed in red stitching.
The car feels light too, despite its 4,718 pounds, but some of that is due to the low center of gravity it possesses with its heavy battery load cradled in the chassis. Handling is quick and precise. I liken the feel to that of a MINI.
Ride too is well-controlled and comfy as the Benz rides on a 111.3-inch wheelbase and uses McPherson struts and a wishbone arrangement for the front suspension and multi-link in back. Eyeballing the EQB’s petite countenance I expected a harsher ride, but this was pleasant if not plush.
Watch Mark’s video: 2022 Mercedes EQB Suv review by Mark Savage – YouTube
On the practical front there’s a 243-mile range if fully charged and I got 60 miles of range in an overnight charge on my ancient 110/120-volt garage outlet. Bravo! For plug-in hybrids it’s usually just 25-30 miles on such a charge. The Benz is a winner on fast charging and reportedly will do a 10% to 80% charge in 31 minutes on a fast charging system, when you can find one.
To my mind this one is practical for city and moderate travel, say to Madison and back.
For the record the higher powered EQB350 offers just 227 miles of full charge range. Electric range, as with gas engines’ mpg, is reduced substantially the more power their powerplants deliver.
The EQB300 is rated at 104 MPGe in city driving and 98 on the highway, again, you’re expending more power at higher speeds.
But this short wagon is smartly arranged and will haul four people in comfort or two and a load of cargo. In fact, even with the rear seat in place it’ll carry 22 cubic feet of goods, which is more than most mid-size sedans. Power up the hatch and drop those rear seats and that grows to 62 cu.ft., plus loading is easy as this vehicle isn’t a high rider, sort of like a MINI Countryman. Mercedes offers an optional third row, but no, please don’t.
As boxy and utilitarian as the exterior is, EQB’s interior is unexpectedly snazzy. There are those previously mentioned sharp seats, and they are well contoured and heated ($500 extra). But the dash is downright flashy with three round brushed metal air vents mid-dash and two more, one on each end of the dash for great looks, and air flow.
The dash and doors feature a diamond-patterned metallic trim and the door pulls and releases are a brushed metal. A fine red lighted piping frames the console, door panels and dash trim too. Sharp, and it complements the red stitching on the seats, dash and steering wheel, which wisely features a flat bottom, just $360 extra.
Overhead are dual sunroofs ($1,500 option), the front being larger than the rear. Seat power controls are located on the door panels too, so easy to reach and adjust.
The digital instrument panel blends into the info screen mid-dash, both just a smidge over 10 inches. And that touchscreen is easy to use and understand, although there’s still a touchpad on the console if you prefer that method. I don’t. It’s redundant.
I do though like that the climate controls are all toggles under the touchscreen, so are easy to adjust on the fly, as are the heated seat buttons mounted by the power seat control panels on the doors. Smart!
In case the default Comfort drive setting is not sufficient for the driver, three other modes are offered, Eco, Snow and Sport. In Sport the EQB nearly takes flight as the acceleration is so frenetic. I liked it, and that too is a toggle, which is simple to use even when wearing gloves. Hey, it’s Wisconsin!
Naturally the safety systems are standard and prolific, including active brake assist, park assist, high-beam assist, driver attention assist (not touchy at all), blind-spot assist, stability control, and a rearview camera.
What’s missing? No wireless charger, heated steering wheel or cooled seats, and I’d lose that touchpad on the console.
Price is a bit steep too considering the vehicle size and middling looks. The base EQB250 starts at $53,400, the 300 at $57,545, and the 350 model at $61,200. Again those are all 2023 prices with delivery. The test EQB was a 2022, so slightly less, listing at $55,550 with delivery.
Add in the options and it hit $61,650, and that included $800 in unspecified credits. Maybe Mercedes felt bad it was adding $250 for the charging cable and $750 for the gray paint. I mean how else does one charge the vehicle without a cable? And sorry, gray paint is extra?.
The big add-on was the AMG night package that includes an AMG diamond black grille, and high-gloss black elements on the grille, window trim, and outside mirrors. Cost is a strong $2,890. Never mind!
But if smooth power, sporty handling and comfy ride are high on the shopping list for your first EV, you’ll do well to consider an EQB.
FAST STATS: 2022 Mercedes Benz EQB 300 4Matic
Hits: Super quick, excellent handling, controlled ride and AWD. Dual sunroofs, heated seats, cool dash and seat styling, climate control toggles, seat controls on door, quick overnight charging on 110/120 line, easy touchscreen and 4 drive modes.
Misses: Price, overall range, no wireless charger, no cooled seats or heated wheel. Touchpad on console is unnecessary backup system.
Made in: Hungary
Motors: Dual electric, 225 hp/288 torque
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Range: 243 miles
Weight: 4,718 lbs.
Wheelbase: 111.3 in.
Length: 184.4 in.
Cargo: 22-62.0 cu.ft.
Base Price: $55,550 (includes delivery)
Mountain gray metallic paint, $750
Charging cable, $250
AMG sport steering wheel, $360
Augmented video, $350
Panoramic roof, $1,500
Speed limit assist, $300
Heated front seats, $500
AMG night pkg. (AMG body styling, AMG diamond black grille, high-gloss black elements on grille, window trim and exterior mirrors), $2,890
Test vehicle: $61,650
Sources: Mercedes-Benz, www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage