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-Benz EQA is not one of them. Its 0-62mph time of 8.9sec isn’t slow, but it is unremarkable; the Kia e-Niro and Ford Mustang Mach-E are faster, and the Tesla Model 3 and Volvo XC40 Recharge are on another planet altogether. It won’t be winning many drag races, then, but it builds pace smoothly, and will get up to motorway speeds with little fuss.
There’s little joy to be had from hustling the EQA along a twisty backroad, though. Its steering is very light, and that’s fine at low speeds and makes town driving smooth and easy. However, while it’s relatively 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. Mind you, that’s something the XC40 also suffers from.
Being tall and heavy, the EQA leans a lot in corners, too. Engaging Dynamic mode (if the adjustable suspension box is ticked on the options list) helps to tighten things up a little (and also adds a bit more weight to the steering), but it still doesn’t handle with the sure-footedness of the Volkswagen ID.3.
It’s all the more disappointing, then, that the EQA’s ride doesn’t make up for its lacklustre handling. Even on 18in alloy wheels (the smallest available) and with optional adaptive suspension, the EQA has a firm, unsettled ride at all speeds.
Road imperfections, such as potholes and speed bumps, send great big audible thwacks through the suspension, and it struggles to regain its composure after an impact, too. Nothing rides smoothly and perfectly over road imperfections like these, but plenty of other electric rivals – including the e-Niro and XC40 – do so with much more control and comfort.
Does it claw back some points for refinement? Well no, not really. The brake pedal feel is especially poor, even by electric car standards; 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. However, 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 ‘D’ mode.
Perhaps of more vital importance for electric cars is their range, and in this respect the EQA is decent if not outstanding. According to WLTP tests, it has an official range of up to 263 miles.
As with all electric cars, the official figure will be difficult to realise 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 forethought. Its official range is a match for our favourite version of the ID.3, but it isn’t as far as an e-Niro will go (282 miles). The Model 3 and some versions of the Mustang Mach-E will also travel considerably farther, though.
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