New Mercedes EQA review

Category: Electric car

The EQA electric SUV has a long range but there are better all-rounders available

Mercedes EQA front right driving
  • Mercedes EQA front right driving
  • George Hill test driving Mercedes EQA
  • Mercedes EQA boot open
  • Mercedes EQA interior driver display
  • Mercedes EQA right driving
  • Mercedes EQA front right driving
  • Mercedes EQA front cornering
  • Mercedes EQA rear right driving
  • Mercedes EQA front right static
  • Mercedes EQA left static
  • Mercedes EQA alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes EQA PHEV charging socket
  • Mercedes EQA rear detail
  • Mercedes EQA interior front seats
  • Mercedes EQA interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQA interior steering wheel
  • Mercedes EQA interior dashboard
  • Mercedes EQA interior infotainment
  • Mercedes EQA interior detail
  • Mercedes EQA front right driving
  • George Hill test driving Mercedes EQA
  • Mercedes EQA boot open
  • Mercedes EQA interior driver display
  • Mercedes EQA right driving
  • Mercedes EQA front right driving
  • Mercedes EQA front cornering
  • Mercedes EQA rear right driving
  • Mercedes EQA front right static
  • Mercedes EQA left static
  • Mercedes EQA alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes EQA PHEV charging socket
  • Mercedes EQA rear detail
  • Mercedes EQA interior front seats
  • Mercedes EQA interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQA interior steering wheel
  • Mercedes EQA interior dashboard
  • Mercedes EQA interior infotainment
  • Mercedes EQA interior detail
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by
George Hill
Published01 March 2024

Introduction

What Car? says...

Electric vehicles are like animals – they must continuously adapt to survive. And for cars like the Mercedes EQA, keeping up with the competition is vital.

Indeed, since the EQA was first released into the wild, a wave of new electric SUVs have arrived on the scene, including the Genesis GV60, Kia EV6 and Smart #1.

So, what does it bring to the table? Well, it’s based on the Mercedes GLA family SUV, which is available in petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid forms.

To create the EQA, Mercedes engineers yanked out the GLA's engine and reworked the car, adding an electric motor and a battery. It’s a similar set-up to the Mercedes EQB seven-seater (in fact, the EQA and EQB share motor and battery options).

So, is the Mercedes EQA – which has been updated for 2024 – good enough to compete with the best electric SUVs? Read on to find out...

Mercedes EQA rear cornering

Overview

The Mercedes EQA’s biggest strength is undoubtedly its long range, but overall a firm ride and lofty pricing let it down. Newer rivals, including the Genesis GV60, Kia EV6 and Smart #1, are much better all-rounders. To make the most of the EQA’s range, we recommend going for the front-wheel-drive 250+ version.

  • Spacious interior
  • Well equipped
  • Long official range
  • Expensive to buy
  • Poor ride
  • Interior quality could be better
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Many new electric cars offer eye-popping acceleration that thrills in a straight line, but the Mercedes EQA 250+ is not one of them.

Its 0-62mph time of 9.1 seconds is enough for most needs, but the Genesis GV60, Kia EV6 and Smart #1 are faster, while the Tesla Model 3 and Volvo EX40 are on another planet altogether. The 250+ won’t be winning many drag races, then, but it builds pace smoothly, and will get up to motorway speeds with little fuss.

If you want a bit more performance, the dual-motor 300 and 350 versions are quicker, with 0-62mph taking 7.7 and 6.0 seconds respectively. We've yet to drive those versions, though.

There’s little joy to be had from hustling the EQA along a twisty back road. Its steering is very light, and that’s fine at low speeds and makes town driving smooth and easy. However, while it’s accurate when you’re pushing on, it’s very numb just off centre and never gives you a great sense of connection with the front wheels.

The EQA handles corners with reasonable composure, but at higher speeds there is noticeable body lean. With that in mind, you’d think the car would have a softer suspension set-up to justify this, but unfortunately it doesn’t.

Road imperfections – such as potholes and cracks – send loud thuds through the firm suspension set-up at high speeds, especially with the 20in alloy wheels fitted to our test car. For that reason, we recommend going for the entry-level car with the smaller 18in alloy wheels to improve the ride.

Does the EQA claw back some points for refinement? Well, no, not really. The brake pedal feel is especially poor, even by electric car standards.

Mercedes EQA image
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There are a few different modes for its regenerative braking and the strongest setting enables you to drive with only an occasional need to touch the brake pedal, and that’s great in stop-start traffic. Unfortunately, when that setting is engaged, it makes the pedal extremely grabby in its responses, and that’s on top of how generally numb and inconsistent the brake pedal feels in its default mode.

Thankfully, the EQA is much better when it comes to range. The front-wheel drive 250+ version can travel up to 345 miles officially (depending on the trim level). For context, that’s further than the GV60 (321 miles), EV6 (328 miles) and EX40 (332 miles). The dual-motor, four-wheel drive 300 and 350 versions can’t travel quite as far, managing 266 miles officially.

As with all electric cars, the official figure will change in real-world driving conditions, but the EQA should travel far enough on a charge to fit into many people’s daily routines without too much forward planning.

Driving overview 

Strengths Long official range; dual-motor versions are quick

Weaknesses Firm ride; poor refinement; grabby brakes

George Hill test driving Mercedes EQA

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The Mercedes EQA offers a generally excellent driving position, with plenty of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel.

Some might find that the rim of the steering wheel obscures the view of the 10.0in digital driver display, but with such a wide range of adjustment available, there’s a good chance it won’t be a problem for you.

Meanwhile, visibility is good, with manoeuvring made easier by standard front and rear parking sensors, as well as a reversing camera. There are LED headlights with high-beam assist for bright illumination on dark roads.

The EQA’s interior is pleasant to look at. The driver display is paired with a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen, and the two are slickly fused together to give the impression of a single widescreen.

The infotainment system itself is responsive and easy to use, and can be controlled via the touchscreen or through the voice command system. All cars come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay so you can bypass the system.

Unfortunately, as part of a 2024 update, Mercedes has removed the EQA's centrally mounted shortcut buttons and laptop-style trackpad. That's a shame, because it makes the system more distracting to use while driving, especially considering the fact the screen is quite far to reach.

The driver can control the central screen using a touchpad on the left hand side of the steering wheel. However, these are more fiddly and frustrating to use while driving than the physical buttons fitted to earlier versions of the model.

The quality of the interior is decent, but it’s not as good as you’ll find in a BMW iX3 or Genesis GV60 – or even the less expensive Smart #1.

While there are some soft-touch plastics and suede used on the dashboard and doors, the actual build quality isn’t very good. The bank of physical buttons for the climate controls flexes when you use it, and there are some cheap and scratchy plastics used on the lower dashboard and centre console.

Interior overview 

Strengths Smart design; good visibility; responsive touchscreen

Weaknesses Touchscreen is distracting to use while driving; steering wheel controls are fiddly; quality could be better

Mercedes EQA boot open

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Drivers of all sizes will have enough space to get comfortable in the front of the Mercedes EQA, even with the optional panoramic sunroof.

The door pockets are each big enough for a 500ml bottle of water, and there are two suitably deep cupholders in the centre console. A decent glovebox, a handy cubby at the base of the dashboard and some storage under the centre armrest complete the list of stowage spaces.

It’s in the rear where the EQA’s electric nature has more effect on its passengers. Compared with the Mercedes GLA (which it’s based on) the rear floor has been raised to accommodate the batteries. As a result, the rear bench isn’t as far above the floor as you might be used to, and your knees will be higher than they would be in a GLA  – or many other electric rivals, for that matter.

There’s no compromise on legroom, though, so six-footers will still be able to get in the back and stretch out in reasonable comfort. Space is on a par with the Volvo EX40 (previously called the XC40 Recharge).

The EQA’s rear bench has a 40/20/40 split as standard. That’s more versatile than the 60/40 split offered by the Kia EV6 and the EX40, and enables you to fold the middle seatback down independently to allow long items to poke through from the boot, or to allow luggage to be accessed from either of the rear seats.

Unfortunately, the EQA disappoints when it comes to boot capacity. At 340 litres, it has 100 litres less volume than the GLA, plus it’s smaller than the Audi Q4 e-tron (520 litres), the GV60 (432 litres) and the EV6 (490 litres).

On the plus side, the EQA has no loading lip to get in the way when you're lifting heavy items in and out of the back, and the small amount of underfloor storage available should suffice for a charging cable or two.

However, even though this is effectively a GLA without an engine, don’t imagine that Mercedes has turned that empty engine bay into extra storage space. Unlike in the EV6 and the Tesla Model Y, there is no additional boot at the front.

Practicality overview 

Strengths Lots of interior storage; spacious back seats; low boot lip

Weaknesses Awkward seating position in the back; rivals have bigger boots

Mercedes EQA interior driver display

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Mercedes EQA is quite pricey, and it’s more expensive to buy than the Kia EV6, Smart #1 and Tesla Model Y. You do get plenty of standard kit for your money, though.

The entry-level Sport Executive trim gives you 18in alloy wheels, heated front seats, faux-leather upholstery, ambient interior lighting, a 10.0in infotainment screen, and front and rear parking sensors (with a reversing camera).

It’s not such a big jump in price to AMG Line Executive trim, but the only real benefit is that you get some slightly sportier styling inside and out.

AMG Line Premium adds 20in alloy wheels, wireless phone-charging and a 360-degree parking camera, while AMG Line Premium Plus adds a panoramic glass sunroof, electrically adjustable front seats, a Burmester sound system and a head-up display. Despite these two trims offering some fine luxuries, they do push the price up significantly.

A decent roster of safety equipment is fitted as standard, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), a driver drowsiness monitor, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic. There’s also an optional Driving Assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert.

The EQA has a maximum charging speed of 100kW, a rate that delivers a 10-80% charge for all versions in around 35 minutes with a suitably powerful public charger. The Genesis GV60 and the EV6 can charge even faster, with a maximum rate of 239kW and 238kW respectively, cutting the time to around 20 minutes.

You get an 11kW on-board charger as standard (some rivals provide a 7kW one), with which an 11kW home wallbox will give you a 10-100% charge in seven hours, 15 minutes for the 250+ and six hours, 45 minutes for the 300 and 350.

As with the closely related GLA, the EQB was awarded the full five stars for safety by Euro NCAP following its crash tests in 2019, having scored particularly well in the adult and child occupant protection categories. The GV60 and EV6 were also awarded five stars, but under a newer and stricter test in 2022.

Mercedes finished in 24th place out of 32 manufacturers in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey. BMW, Tesla and Volvo all finished higher up the table, but Audi did less well, finishing in 26th place.

All EQAs get a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty (better than the XC40’s three-year/60,000-mile cover), while the battery is covered separately by an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty.

Costs overview 

Strengths Generous standard equipment; plenty of standard safety features

Weaknesses Expensive; Mercedes’ reliability rating isn’t great

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FAQs

  • At the time of writing, the EQA starts from just under £50,000. You can check the latest prices using our Mercedes EQA deals page.

  • The Mercedes EQA has a smart-looking interior, but build quality could be better in places. It does at least come with plenty of kit as standard.

  • The front-wheel drive EQA 250+ has an official range of up to 345 miles. The dual-motor, four-wheel drive versions – the EQA 300 and 350 – have smaller batteries and official ranges of up to 266 miles.

At a glance
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Target Price from £46,750
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From £30,695
RRP price range £49,750 - £60,310
Number of trims (see all)2
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £99 / £121
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £199 / £241
Available colours