Release date: Available now (U.K.), Summer 2022 (U.S.)
Price: From £55,310 / $55,750; £56,040 (approx $65,000) as tested
Power: Dual motor AWD
Horsepower: 225 bhp
Battery range: 253 miles (WLTP), estimated 230 (EPA)
Charging speed: Up to 100 kW
Top speed: 99 mph
0-60: 7.7 seconds
Smarts: Voice/gesture control, Keyless entry, 64-colour ambient lighting, MBUX multimedia system
The Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 SUV we’ve been driving recently is tailor-made for anyone with a large, or growing family who wants an EV. It’s based around the GLB, but instead of the regular combustion engine there are twin electric motors powered by a 66.5 kWh battery pack.
However, the seven seat capacity and reasonable pricing makes it a great alternative to models like the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3 or Volvo XC 40 Recharge. It’s a little more wallet-friendly than a Tesla Model Y too. If you need space and desire value, but still hanker after something with a premium quality badge, the Mercedes-Benz EQB is a good bet.
Mercedes-Benz EQB review: Design and style
While the EQB is big and hard to miss, it does have rather straightforward styling, just like the GLB. That’s not really a complaint as such, as the workmanlike bodylines offer up lots of practicality. That's just what someone with a family wants. There are four big doors, which open nice and wide, making getting family members in and out again a breeze.
There’s an automatic tailgate too, which offers up access to a sizable 12 cubic meter trunk — and that’s before you’ve started fooling around with all those seats that are inside. Pull those seats down and you're looking at 46.6 cubic feet. It's a lot of space, though it's still dwarfed by other electric SUVs like the Model Y and Jaguar I-Pace. Those two offer a total of 76.2 and 51.3 cubic feet, respectively.
Being an SUV means the EQB feels big and bulky with a nice high ride. At 65.6in high, 184.6in long and 79.5in wide the car offers up a domineering presence in any parking lot.
Our car, finished in Denim blue metallic paint with an Artico/Dinamica interior, looked cool enough, especially with the chrome accents on the front and rear bumpers. The wraparound tail lights looked good too, as did the 19-inch AMG five twin-spoke alloy wheels instead of the standard 18’s on the Line Trim edition.
Mercedes-Benz EQB review: Interior magic
While the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz EQB is relatively sober, things do liven up a little on the inside. Most of the interest comes from the dashboard area, which is dominated by two 10-inch displays.
These are complimented by a touchpad down on the center console, which allows for navigation around the infotainment system using your fingers.
Mercedes-Benz even claims the third row of seats in the EQB 300 can be used by people up to 5 ft 4 inches tall, which is pretty impressive. However, once you’ve got them up and ready to go, the reality is they're probably going to be favored for seating smaller occupants.
Children, in other words, and those extra seats are ideally suited for that task as kids seem to love being tucked away in their own space at the back. Quite how well you can get a vomit bag passed back through the car if an incident occurs remains to be seen.
In the case of the premium-focussed model we’ve been driving, the seat coverings are a little at odds with the family-focused nature of the EQB. A suede-like finish is comfy and looks a treat, but it's less certain how well they’ll clean up over time. There’s a lot to be said for vinyl seats, or even leather, if you’re looking for wipe-over durability.
Back at the front, there are sport-style seats offering four-way electric support. That's accompanied by a neat slide out panel on the front of the driver’s seat too, which can be used to fine-tune your comfort level. Meanwhile, a panoramic sunroof does much to improve the interior ambience.
It’s also possible to adjust the reach and height of the steering column, which might prove useful to plenty of people. We found that in everyday driving the steering wheel actually obscured some of the view of the central screen. So you may want to exploit that adjustment feature to get a better view.
The general look of the interior is a cool one, with the circular vents really capturing your attention. The effect is even more impressive when you make use of the multi-coloured ambient lighting, which has a bunch of different settings to choose from. Some things, like the almost industrial-esque silver door handles look a bit brutal, but overall the interior of the EQB is a success.
Mercedes-Benz EQB review: Performance
With a kerb weight of around 4,600 pounds the EQB 300 is a big and bulky thing to drive and, like most SUVs, offers up its own challenges out on the road.
However, the suspension is perhaps firmer than you might be expecting and we found it sporty and lots of fun to drive. You can pick and choose your drive mode, with Comfort or Sport being the options to go for if you want a spirited driving experience.
Sport really does amp up the performance, but at the expense of battery power. As with many electric cars, long runs might dictate you use the Eco setting, although this really hampers the edginess of the EQB's drive. In the real world you’ll probably want to keep the 200-or-so mile range number in your head to make sure you don't get caught out in the middle of nowhere.
Find a rapid charger and you can be from 10% to 80% in around 32 minutes though, which isn't so bad — though it is slower than some other electric SUVs can offer. The Kia EV6, for instance, can do a similar recharge cycle in just 18 minutes with a 350kW charger.
You select drive from a shifter on the right-hand side of the column, which can catch you out if you’re used to having the same option in the centre console. Instead that is home to a chunk of rubbery plastic that seemingly does nothing more than serve as a hand rest.
We liked the way it was possible to alter the regeneration level of the braking system. It's a growing trend, which we're all for, and means the driver can utilize paddle shifters on the steering column to increase or decrease the impact.
That said, normal driving does require some care, since the brakes can come across as quite spongy — just as they do in many EVs. We found the ideal compromise was to set the car up to have its highest level of regeneration, which puts some goodness back into the battery and feels more reassuring when you drive.
The high up ride is pleasing enough and there’s a reasonable view out the back, but you’ll need to make use of the big mirrors and rear-facing camera when reversing. All of the controls fall easily to hand and we liked that climate control buttons under the screen that can be accessed easily without being distracted. Voice control of the system is also reasonably impressive if you fancy going down that route.
Mercedes-Benz EQB review: Verdict
Whether you want a basic all-electric workhorse, or a souped-up machine with plenty of optional extras, then the Mercedes EQB should be able to keep you happy. Not only does it have obvious practical appeal, with its internal space and plentiful supply of seats, there are plenty of ways you can improve your ride.
Whether that's practical additions like privacy glass or exterior cameras, or the more frivolous technology. The MBUX multimedia system is one great example. It may not offer much in the way of useful features, that ten-speaker setup with 225 watts of power is phenomenal.
You may find that room for carrying all the other stuff a family generates on the road might be compromised a little with all of the seats in use, especially as there are cables for charging stored in the trunk too. But, the EQB 300 is still an impressive thing, especially if you don't want to go in the direction of a van or people carrier.