The Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021 has been a long-time coming. Despite Mercedes penchant for technical innovation, it has been relatively slow to adopt electric vehicles. Its EQC, the first series production EV from the German marque, arrived in Europe a long time (in car years, at least) after Tesla, Jaguar and even Kia/Hyundai launched family-friendly EVs that offer impressive and usable everyday range.
But Mercedes, being one of the oldest car brands out there, was likely waiting until its EV recipe was perfected, and the time was right to unleash an onslaught of battery-powered vehicles under its new EQ branding. The EQC is, if you hadn’t guessed it already, an electric SUV that slots into its existing C-Class vehicles in terms of size and design.
Release date: TBA (U.S.) ; On sale now (U.K.)
Price: From $68,895
Power: 2 motor, AWD
Battery range: 255 miles
0 to 60 mph: 4.9 seconds
Smarts: MBUX voice assistant, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Level 2 autonomy
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It is loosely based on the GLC, but boasts an 80kWh battery pack and asynchronous electric motors mounted to each axle. All that delivers a combined 408hp and 760Nm (560 ft lbs) of torque to all four wheels when needed.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021: Release date and pricing
Unfortunately, Mercedes-Benz has been continually delaying the EQC’s US release date, and right now there’s no set release window. So it’s looking more likely that the upcoming Mercedes EQS sedan will be the first electric Mercedes on American shores when it arrives this summer.
Originally, the EQC was slated to start at $68,895, with prices rising to $77,615 for the highest specced Advanced models. In the UK, where the EQC is currently on sale, prices start at £65,720 for the entry level Sport models and rise to £74,610 for AMG Line Premium Plus versions.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021: Design
It could be argued that Mercedes’ designers erred on the side of caution with the EQC, as it is far less striking than many rival SUVs currently on sale. Whether you like them or loathe them, the more expensive Tesla Model X packed Falcon Wing doors, while Jaguar’s innovative I-Pace managed to blend a sporty stance with futuristic SUV credentials.
The EQC is far more traditional in its approach ,but can be recognised (on the outside at least) by a smooth radiator grille at the front, which assists with improved aerodynamics, and an LED wraparound light bar at the rear. Although this is something that is now seen on many modern cars.
It’s a little more striking on the inside, where designers drew inspiration from circuit boards and other pieces of tech. These flourishes have been integrated into the dash, air vents and speaker slots. There’s also neat customisable ambient lighting and an impressive twin widescreen infotainment system. That takes up half of the cabin and takes care of navigation, audio and many of the car’s other functions.
All trim levels receive these fancy twin displays, but part with more cash and you’ll get augmented reality navigation, a head-up display, a premium Burmester sound system, wireless smartphone charging and even Mercedes’ MBUX Interior Assistant. MBUX acts a bit like Siri or Alexa, in so much as it reads out messages and deals in natural speech recognition inputs.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021: Key stats
In the UK at least, the EQC only comes with one battery and that’s the aforementioned 80kWh unit. Performance and technical stats remain the same throughout the range, so it’s only the equipment levels that differ and will have customers parting with more money.
That said, the Mercedes-Benz EQC is capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds and can go on to a top speed of 112mph. It has a kerb weight of 2,495kg (5,500 lbs), which makes its swift acceleration even more impressive.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021: Range and charging
Thanks to various clever energy recuperation modes and settings with a high reliance on autonomous driving to eke the most out of the battery packs, the Mercedes-Benz EQC boasts an official WLTP electric range of between 241 and 255 miles, depending on the level of specification and size of wheel etc.
The EQC is also capable of rapid public charging at 110kW from 10-80 percent in 40 mins, while a fairly standard 400V wall box can deliver a full charge in around 11 hours. If you aren’t lucky enough to have one installed at home, it will take a staggering 41 hours to achieve a full charge via a standard European 230V AC outlet.
Mercedes has been able to extend the battery’s range thanks to various clever energy recuperation modes and settings with a high reliance on autonomous driving. That will squeeze the most juice out of the batteries, meaning the Mercedes-Benz EQC boasts an official WLTP electric range of between 241 and 255 miles. Your final range is all dependent on the level of specification and size of your wheel.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021: Driving modes
Perhaps the EQC’s biggest party trick is its ability to cleverly get the most out of the 80kWh battery pack with a bespoke Maximum Range mode. That syncs up with the vehicle’s radar cruise control, navigation system and speed limit detection tech to determine the optimal amount of regenerative braking for the driving situation.
This mode also goes one step further by offering haptic feedback through the accelerator pedal. This has been designed to assist the driver with gentle inputs, thereby preserving battery life for the remainder of the journey. Intelligent navigation will also plan routes based on remaining battery charge, and suggest places to top up along the way.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021: Refinement and build quality
Electric cars by their very nature are quiet and relaxing machines to drive. That’s down to the lack of internal combustion engine and moving mechanical parts, which means the general ambience is typically more leisurely than, say, a lumpy diesel unit.
But a number of rivals have struggled with overall refinement, as a lack of engine noise also means things like wind and tyre roar can leak into the cabin. On top of that the smallest of squeaks and rattles become increasingly annoying over longer journeys.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC majors on refinement and when left in Comfort mode, promises one of the most relaxing and silent driving experiences around. Even more established rivals like Tesla, can’t match the general ride quality and ambience offered by the big Merc.
Meanwhile cheaper rivals from Nissan, Hyundai and Kia simply don’t use enough sound deadening materials to get anywhere close. It might not be the most dynamic car to drive, but it’s certainly the most peaceful.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 2021: Outlook
Mercedes may be a little late to the electric-powered party with the EQC, but it looks like that extra time has been put to good use. There may be cheaper electric cars out there, but none of them will be able to compare to the look and feel of a genuine Merc.
American buyers may have to wait a little longer to pick up an electric Merc for themselves, but if the car performs as advertised then it’ll be worth it. Especially if you value your comfort out on the open road.
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