New Mercedes EQB review

Category: Electric car

The EQB – a rare example of an electric seven-seat SUV – is well priced and practical

Mercedes EQB front right driving
  • Mercedes EQB front right driving
  • George Hill test driving Mercedes EQB
  • Mercedes EQB boot open
  • Mercedes EQB interior driver display
  • Mercedes EQB right driving
  • Mercedes EQB front cornering
  • Mercedes EQB front cornering
  • Mercedes EQB rear right driving
  • Mercedes EQB rear cornering
  • Mercedes EQB front right static
  • Mercedes EQB right static
  • Mercedes EQB rear left static
  • Mercedes EQB front detail
  • Mercedes EQB alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes EQB interior front seats
  • Mercedes EQB interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQB interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQB interior steering wheel
  • Mercedes EQB interior dashboard
  • Mercedes EQB interior infotainment
  • Mercedes EQB interior detail
  • Mercedes EQB front right driving
  • George Hill test driving Mercedes EQB
  • Mercedes EQB boot open
  • Mercedes EQB interior driver display
  • Mercedes EQB right driving
  • Mercedes EQB front cornering
  • Mercedes EQB front cornering
  • Mercedes EQB rear right driving
  • Mercedes EQB rear cornering
  • Mercedes EQB front right static
  • Mercedes EQB right static
  • Mercedes EQB rear left static
  • Mercedes EQB front detail
  • Mercedes EQB alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes EQB interior front seats
  • Mercedes EQB interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQB interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQB interior steering wheel
  • Mercedes EQB interior dashboard
  • Mercedes EQB interior infotainment
  • Mercedes EQB interior detail
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by
Doug Revolta
Published29 February 2024

Introduction

What Car? says...

Do you think your family is too big for an electric car? Well, the Mercedes EQB is here to prove you wrong – it's an electric SUV with seven seats.

You're absolutely right, on the other hand, if you think the EQB looks rather familiar. Behind the smoother nose and reworked rear end, this two-box tribute to straight-edge styling shares loads of its parts with the Mercedes GLB

Mercedes took the GLB, threw out its petrol and diesel engines, and fitted one or two electric motors (depending on the version) and a battery to power them.

As an electric SUV, the EQB falls into the same category as some excellent rivals, including the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y. However, those cars are only available with five seats.

If you do want seven seats, your other options are the Kia EV9 and the very pricey Mercedes EQS SUV – although there are more seven-seater electric cars coming, including the Volvo EX90 and a long-wheelbase version of the VW ID Buzz.

So, how does the Mercedes EQB rank against its main rivals? Read on to find out...

"The EQB is spacious and well-priced, but the Kia EV9, as well as plenty of five-seat rivals, have longer ranges." – Claire Evans, Consumer Editor

Mercedes EQB rear cornering

Overview

The Mercedes EQB is a practical seven-seat electric car that's competitively priced against its main electric SUV rivals. It's not the most comfortable choice out there though, and interior quality could be better. We recommend going for the front-wheel-drive 250+ version because of its long official range.

  • Electric tech doesn’t hamper seven-seat capability
  • Good level of refinement
  • Flexible seating
  • Firm ride
  • Interior quality could be better
  • Slightly disconcerting brake-pedal feel
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Performance & drive

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

The Mercedes EQB is available with three "engine" options, and so far we’ve tried the front-wheel-drive version, called the EQB 250+.

It's our favourite model, because it provides reasonable performance (0-62mph takes 8.9 seconds) and the longest official range – up to 321 miles, depending on the trim. That range isn't too far short of the Kia EV9 Air (349 miles) and Tesla Model Y Long Range (331 miles).

The dual-motor, four-wheel-drive versions – called the EQB 300 and 350 – have shorter official ranges of up to 255 miles.

Performance for the 250+ is nippy enough to get up to motorway speeds, and makes going for a gap in traffic easier than in the conventionally powered GLB.

If you choose Comfort or Sport driving mode, power is delivered instantly, while Eco slows the accelerator response to save energy. For even more punch, the dual-motor 300 and 350 are much quicker, with 0-62mph taking 8.0 seconds and 6.2 seconds respectively.

What's the EQB's handling like? Well, it compares well with rivals'. Body control is decent, especially when you consider the size of the car. Plus, the steering is precise during low-speed manoeuvres, with a pleasing build-up in weight at faster speeds to give you the confidence to place the car accurately in corners.

Mercedes EQB image
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We do have a caveat regarding the ride, though. We’ve only driven the AMG Line Executive model, and it has 19in alloy wheels as standard. The suspension set-up is already quite firm, so the small sidewall of those tyres mean you tend to feel every lump and bump in the road.

For a more comfortable journey, we’d recommend going for the entry-level AMG Line Sport Executive version with its 18in wheels. The ride is better overall than in the Model Y, but it's no match for the Audi Q4 e-tron or Kia EV9.

Refinement is an EQB strong suit. There’s just a hint of motor whine when accelerating, but that dies away at a constant cruise. Road and suspension noise are low too. There is a little bit of wind noise around the pillars – blame the rather steep front windscreen and general lack of background engine noise for that.

Like all electric vehicles, the EQB has regenerative braking to harvest energy while slowing down to replenish the battery. As with the EV9, you can vary the strength of the "regen" with paddles behind the wheel. Your choices range from the most aggressive Maximum mode, which feels like you’ve dropped an anchor, to Normal, which gives you gentler deceleration.

There's also an Auto regen setting. As in the Q4 e-tron, the EQB uses satellite mapping and its onboard radar to spot the vehicle in front, and automatically increases or decreases the slowing regen effect if a corner or junction is coming, or if the vehicle ahead slows down. It feels odd at first, but should save energy.

The downside is that the EQB’s brake pedal isn’t the most confidence-inspiring. It’s better than in some Mercedes plug-in hybrids – notably the S580e Mercedes S-Class – but the pedals in the Q4 e-tron and EV9 feel more consistent.

"The EQB 350 can’t match the performance of a Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E, but I found it to be more than potent enough to entertain. It can also tow a braked trailer weighing up to 1800kg." – Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Driving overview 

Strengths Decent performance; tidy handling; good refinement; long range

Weaknesses Firm ride; inconsistent brakes

George Hill test driving Mercedes EQB

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

When it comes to getting comfortable, the Mercedes EQB gets off to a good start, giving you sport seats in the front with four-way electric lumbar support. You get plenty of reach and height adjustment for the steering wheel too. What you don't get, though, is quite such a commanding view of the road as in the Kia EV9.

All EQBs come with two 10in screens, one of which is a digital instrument cluster taking the place of conventional dials. The screen can be arranged in a number of different styles and displays, and there are a couple of electric car specific ones related to efficiency and so on. The rest of the dashboard layout works well, with a simple row of buttons for the climate control.

The second screen is the infotainment display in the centre of the dashboard. It has crisp graphics and responsive software, and features built-in sat-nav, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. Upgrading to AMG Line Premium trim adds wireless phone-charging.

The central screen can be operated as a touchscreen, or you can rely on the natural speech voice control by calling out "Hey Mercedes!". The voice method does a fair job of understanding your commands in most situations, just like the Google-based system in the Volvo EX40 (previously known as the XC40 Recharge).

Neither will work 100% of the time if you have a car full of people talking, so it’s a shame that Mercedes has removed the touchpad controller and shortcut buttons you used to get between EQB's front seats. As a result, the touchscreen is quite distracting to use when you're driving.

To help minimise that, there are two touchpads on the steering wheel spokes that you can use to control both the driver’s display and central screen. Unfortunately, those, too, are fiddly and frustrating to use while driving, with the buttons often requiring double presses to make an input.

Every EQB gets multicoloured ambient interior lighting, and combined with the twin digital displays, the interior has a clean and modern look. The most prominent areas, such as the tops of the doors and dashboard, are upholstered in soft plastic.

Some of the materials used lower down are considerably less appealing than those in your eye line. Overall, the interior quality is roughly on a par with the EX40 but not as good as in the EV9.

"Standard-fit heated front seats and dual-zone climate control made it easy for me to get comfy behind the wheel." – Dan Jones, Reviewer

Interior overview 

Strengths Smart design; plenty of tech

Weaknesses Distracting infotainment system; fiddly steering-wheel buttons; interior quality could be better

Mercedes EQB boot open

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The boxy shape of the Mercedes EQB means there's lots of front space, and even the optional sunroof doesn’t do much to dent head room. Leg room is plentiful, even for tall drivers and front-seat passengers. 

You also get plenty of space to store odds and ends. There's a button ahead of the centre armrest, and when you push it, it reveals a deep cubby. You'll find another lidded cubby in front of the infotainment touchpad and a dedicated area for your smartphone. Even the door pockets are big.

Six-footers will find they have plenty of leg room in the EQB’s second row of seats, and they can be slid back to maximise that. However, three adults will find themselves rubbing shoulders sitting side by side.

Head room in the very back of the car might be an issue for taller folk because Mercedes has mounted its second-row seats much higher than those in front. The upside of the tiered approach is that children get a better view forwards and out the side windows, which might make them less prone to car sickness. 

The EQB’s trump card is that it has two more seats that fold up from the boot floor – something the Audi Q4 e-tron and Tesla Model Y don't offer. The gap you have to squeeze through to get to them is a little narrow, plus head room and knee room is extremely tight once you’re in – even with the second-row seats slid forwards. For that reason, the Kia EV9 is better for carrying third-row passengers.

Opening the tailgate reveals a pretty square cargo area with no lip at the entrance, making it easy to load and unload bulky objects. If you need to carry longer items, the second row seats split and fold in a useful 40/20/40 configuration, which is similar to the BMW iX3 and Tesla Model Y.

With five seats in use, there's 495 litres of boot space up to the tonneau cover – enough for a couple of buggies or large suitcases. A Q4 e-tron offers slightly more capacity, but the EQB boot is much bigger than that of the Volvo EX40.

The flip side is that the EX40 has space under its bonnet to store the charging cables, whereas the EQB doesn’t. That's much more of an issue when all seven seats are in play, because what little room is left is taken up by the hefty charging cable bags, and there’s no underfloor storage for them.

"The small third-row seats (which have Isofix child seat mountings as standard) are best suited to children or small adults, but access is no worse than in the Land Rover Discovery Sport." – Stuart Milne, Digital Editor

Practicality overview 

Strengths Flexible seating; useful third row of seats; big boot

Weaknesses Cramped third row seats; tiny boot with third row seats in place

Mercedes EQB interior driver display

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Considering the fact that it's an electric seven-seat SUV, the Mercedes EQB is reasonably priced. It’s cheaper than the larger Kia EV9 by quite some margin, although it's more expensive than five-seat electric SUVs, including the Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y.

The EQB is predicted to hold its value well, equaling or bettering rivals. That should help make for attractive leasing deals and PCP finance rates because future values form an important part of the calculation.

Like all electric cars, the EQB is cheap to run as a company car because every version will sit in a very low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax band. Private buyers will do well to seek out the best prices on our new Mercedes deals pages.

Standard equipment with the entry-level Sport Executive trim is generous, with 18in alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors with a back-up camera, an electric tailgate, a 10in infotainment touchscreen, heated front seats and dual-zone climate control.

There isn’t much point opting for the pricier AMG Line Executive unless you want sportier styling details and 19in wheels.

AMG Line Premium adds adaptive suspension, wireless phone-charging and 20in alloy wheels. AMG Line Premium Plus adds a panoramic glass sunroof, electrically adjustable front seats, a Burmester sound system and a head-up display. We wouldn’t recommend going for either of those trims, because they push up the price significantly.

All EQBs come with automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring traffic-sign recognition and lane-keeping assistance. The optional Driving Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and cross-traffic alert.

As with the closely related Mercedes GLB, the EQB was given the full five stars for safety by Euro NCAP after crash-testing in 2019. It scored higher marks for child and pedestrian protection than the Volvo XC40 (which in electric form is now called the EX40). The Audi Q4 e-tron also scored five stars, but was tested under a newer and tougher regime, making a proper comparison impossible.

In terms of reliability, Mercedes finished in a rather poor joint 24th out of 32 brands included in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey – behind BMW (12th), Volvo (ninth) and Kia (eighth).

Charging up the EQB takes around 34 hours from a domestic three-pin plug, so you’re better off installing a dedicated home EV charger if you can, to cut that down to 11 hours. Rapid charging from a 150kWh charger can top up the battery from 10-80% in 30 minutes, but a far more common 50kWh charger will take just over an hour. The EQB's maximum charging rate is 112kW.

Every Mercedes has a standard three-year warranty with unlimited mileage. The EQB also gets an eight-year/100,000-mile policy for the battery pack.

"If you want adaptive cruise control, you’ll need to splash out on the Driving Assistance Package. This also gives you lane-keeping assistance and blindspot assistance, helping to take the strain out of long journeys." – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Costs overview 

Strengths Well priced; generous standard kit; strong predicted resale values

Weaknesses Mercedes has poor reliability rating; upper trims are expensive

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FAQs

  • The front-wheel drive 250+ version has the longest range of any EQB, and can officially travel 321 miles between charges. It's worth noting that if you go for bigger alloy wheels, the range will drop slightly.

  • The EQB is slightly smaller than the Mercedes EQC. The EQB is offered as a seven-seater as standard, whereas the EQC is a five-seater.

  • Yes – and that's quite rare for an electric SUV. You're only other options right now are the Kia EV9 and versions of the much more expensive Mercedes EQS SUV.

At a glance
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Target Price from £49,300
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RRP price range £52,800 - £62,810
Number of trims (see all)4
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) £105 / £126
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £211 / £251
Available colours