Why the Mercedes-Benz EQB can't keep up

Why the Mercedes-Benz EQB can’t keep up

The EQB is an electric adaptation of the ramping GLB SUV, sharing many body panels but with a closed grille and distinctive LED light strips running the full width of the vehicle, front and rear.

Roof rails and black panels in the lower area reinforce the SUV positioning.

As with the smaller EQA, with which it shares its electrical components, the EQB is a modified version of a petrol vehicle.

Mercedes’ latest EV offers a choice of a single-motor EQB250 priced at around $92,500 or a more powerful dual-motor EQB350 priced at $112,000.

Both models have smart key access, ambient lighting, heated front seats, a power tailgate, dual-zone ventilation and a digital instrument cluster.

Standard trim is Artico faux leather, but there’s a choice of optional trims – from traditional to modern – as well as sporty additions to the AMG line.

The EQB350 adds AMG Line treatment as standard – including a unique bumper and grille – and replaces the 250’s 19-inch wheels with 20-inch multi-spoke wheels. It also picks up additional equipment, including a panoramic sunroof, alloy pedals, red stitching and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Each model uses a 140kW/375Nm electric motor driving the front wheels, while the EQB adds a rear motor, bringing total power to 215kW and 520Nm.

The added weight of the rear engine in the 350 means the optional third row of seats ($2900 on the EQB250) can be dispensed with, limiting capacity to five.

The seven-seat version is more compact than most. When all seven seats are in play, there’s a slim 130-litre luggage compartment behind the third row. It can be expanded to 670 l with the seats folded down.

The middle row seats are noticeably higher, partly due to the batteries lining the floor. This gives little ones an impressive view, but lanky folks may find their heads brushing the roof.

The second row has air vents and a USB port to complement the three up front, while the optional third row of seats has two more.

Up front there is ample headroom thanks to the high roof.

Big door pockets and a clean center console gobble up clutter, and there’s a touchpad to control the central 10.25-inch infotainment screen. Wireless phone charging is handy, although you’ll need to plug in a power outlet for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

The front engine of the EQB250 offers plenty of torque for city traffic and can even hold its own on the motorway. The generous torque pushes the limits of what the front tires can comfortably handle, so there’s an occasional tug on the driver’s hands when accelerating hard out of corners.

The 350’s rear engine provides more assertive acceleration. Sport mode sharpens the throttle, although there’s never the laugh-out-loud acceleration of some dual-motor EVs.

A 66.5kWh battery promises 371km of WLTP range and can be fast-charged with up to 100kW of DC power, which Merc says can top the battery from 10 to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.

A slower charge at home from a regular outlet takes around 40 hours, or just five hours with a wallbox. A 230 V charger is also included in the scope of delivery, as is an adapter for public AC charging.

The suspension is plush and the ride is smooth. Adaptive dampers tighten slightly in Sport mode, with comfort remaining the priority.

The occasional sharp edge trembles through the 20-inch Pirelli rubber on the 350, but for the most part it’s well controlled.

What the EQB lacks in EV flair, it makes up for with refinement and traditional Mercedes-Benz luxury values. But it’s the optional third row of seats that is arguably the biggest tempter on the newest member of the EQ family.

VERDICT

Family flexibility in a comfortable, high-riding SUV body with a healthy dose of traditional three-pointed star luxury.

MERCEDES BENZ EQB250

PRICE Starting at around $92,500 plus on-roads

WARRANTY/SERVICE 5 years/unlimited km (battery warranty 8 years, 160,000 km), $2,650 for 5 years/125,000 km

SAFETY Nine airbags, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, 360-degree camera, driver monitor

ENERGY Single electric motor, 140 kW/375 Nm

ORDERLY 371km

SPARE PART repair set

BOOTS 130-675 liters

#MercedesBenz #EQB

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