What Car? says...
The Mercedes EQV is a fully electric version of the Mercedes V-Class, and it seems destined to become the go-to choice for zero emissions VIP transportation around airports and Grand Prix circuits.
If you’re not familiar with the V-Class, it’s a van-based MPV that goes big on space and even bigger on luxury. Well, big on luxury as far as the van-based MPV world is concerned.
To create the EQV, Mercedes engineers have yanked the engine out of the V-Class and replaced it with a 90kWh battery and electric motor, producing 201bhp and 270lb ft of torque. That leaves you with an absolutely cavernous people carrier that will transport seven adults – and their luggage – for up to a claimed 213 miles on pure electric power alone.
It also puts this car in the pretty exclusive club: electric vehicles (EVs) that will carry a driver and six passengers are few and far between, and the main one to consider is the Tesla Model X. The EQV is available with just one power choice and in three trim levels, but while the list price is high by most standards, it does still undercut the Model X by a few thousand pounds.
It’s not just the Tesla that the EQV has to worry about, though. If you don’t need seven seats, there’s a whole host of impressive five-seat EVs available for similar money or less, including the Audi E-tron, BMW iX3 and Jaguar I-Pace.
So do the EQV’s talents stretch far enough to make it absolutely the first choice if you’re looking for a large electric MPV? Read on to find out. We’ll tell you exactly how it measures up to the competition, and also which trims you should go for if you do want to buy one.
If you do decide to buy a Mercedes EQV – or any other vehicle that meets your needs – you could save yourself thousands of pounds without the hassle of haggling by using the free What Car? New Car Buying service service. There are also some good leasing deals available through What Car? Leasing.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The sole power option for the Mercedes EQV (Badged EQV300) is a 201bhp electric motor. This drives the front wheels and delivers a 0-62mph sprint of 12.1sec, making this one of the slowest EVs around (the least powerful Tesla Model X takes just 3.8sec).
Given that the EQV lends itself to situations where zero-emissions is more relevant than speed, that's unlikely to cause a problem. Besides, the EQV doesn’t feel sluggish on the open road, partly thanks to the electric motor’s immediate response to your accelerator inputs. It picks up speed very quickly away from traffic lights and, while it tails off somewhat once you get going, is capable of stretching its legs to a top speed of 98mph.
The ride is not particularly cosseting, and models with the standard suspension feel a bit jittery and unsettled, bouncing along on undulating roads, much like the fossil fuel-powered V-Class. That’s likely to calm down when there are passengers or luggage on board, though. Top trim Sport Premium Plus models get air suspension, which we have not yet tested.
The EQV’s handling is not very inspiring. It’s fine for ferrying passengers around airports, but if you’re a private buyer looking to let your hair down on a country road after the school run, many other EVs are more enjoyable to drive. The slow-witted steering and a hefty amount of body lean through corners won’t encourage you to push on and find its limits.
Refinement isn’t particularly impressive, either. Wind and road noise are not too bad but over broken surfaces you'll hear a lot of sound from the suspension, which is particularly noticeable because of the lack of engine noise.
The brake pedal is extremely firm but it is at least consistently weighted, so it doesn’t take too long to get used to how much pressure is required to stop smoothly. The EQV is capable of regenerative braking, and the effect of this is that, when you lift off the accelerator, the car slows down. You can use the paddles on the steering wheel to increase or decrease the effect.
The EQV has a large battery but because it’s a big, heavy car, the claimed electric range of up to 213 miles is towards the lower end of the electric car market. Cheaper EVs such as the BMW iX3 and Jaguar I-Pace, have ranges of more than 280 miles, while the more expensive Model X can travel up to 340 miles.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The driver’s seat in the Mercedes EQV is set quite high and offers an excellent view of the road ahead. Large side windows and door mirrors mean you can easily see what’s coming up alongside but the view behind isn’t quite so clear. The third row of seats hinders your vision through the rear screen. Fortunately, all models come with parking sensors (front and rear) plus a reversing camera (and a 360deg camera on the top two trims).
The driver gets a folding armrest and the seat feels comfortable, although it does not provide much side support when cornering. You can make plenty of adjustments to the seat and the steering wheel so it shouldn’t take long to find a comfy driving position.
Despite the humble commercial vehicle beginnings of the V-Class, the EQV’s dashboard is more like that of a limo than a bread van. Standard leather seat trim and lashings of chrome dotted around, along with faux leather across the dashboard, make it look and feel pleasingly smart inside. There are a few wobbly bits on the centre console so it won’t challenge the Audi E-tron for class-leading build quality, but it’s still good compared to most large electric cars.
The infotainment is top notch. Every EQV gets a 10.25in touchscreen system running Mercedes’ MBUX software. It’s one of the best set-ups out there. It has all the features you’d want (although entry-level Sport trim misses out on Apple CarPlay/Android Auto) and is very easy to use. You can control it through the touchscreen or using a trackpad down on the centre console, which is safer when you’re driving than something that is purely a touchscreen, like the system in the Tesla Model X.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The Mercedes EQV’s large doors make it easy to get into the front seats. The rear seats are even easier to access thanks to the electric sliding doors, which are controlled with buttons as standard and are a real plus point in situations where there’s not much room either side.
While the V-Class is available in three different lengths, the EQV is only available in one – but it’s the longest. The battery is under the floor so there’s no compromise on interior space compared to the fossil fuel-powered model.
The floor is completely flat so it’s easy for passengers to move around inside and the interior is very roomy. The second and third rows of seats are on rails that run from front to rear, allowing you to position them to maximise leg room for either of the two rows or enlarge the boot space.
There are two individual seats in the second row which you can turn around to face the three seats in the third row. On all but entry-level Sport trim there is a storage box between the middle row seats which contains cup holders and two tables that fold out. Unlike the V-Class, the EQV doesn’t have the option of a six or eight-seat layout and you cannot upgrade to reclining and massaging rear seats.
Even with seven seats, the boot area is still massive, but the rear-most seats don’t fold down to increase its size. The only option is to remove the third row altogether (and it’s a cumbersome thing to lug about and store). The only other electric car with seven seats is the more expensive Tesla Model X.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The Mercedes EQV is a vast car – and commands a vast amount of money to buy. As we’ve mentioned, the price does undercut the Tesla Model X by quite some way, but is more expensive than other large EVs including the Audi E-tron, BMW iX3 and Jaguar I-Pace. However, the EQV – like all electric cars – is hugely tempting as a company car because it attracts the lowest benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rate.
Sport models come reasonably well equipped with 17in alloys, adaptive cruise control and the 10.25in touchscreen infotainment system, but we’d consider stepping up to Sport Premium to get the smartphone mirroring, 360deg camera, rear table tray and electric front seat adjustment. It also adds some exterior styling tweaks. The jump from there to Sport Premium Plus is too steep to recommend, particularly as it’s only really the adaptive suspension and upgraded stereo system that you get for your extra money.
The EQV can charge relatively quickly. It has an 11kW on-board charger (some rivals only have a 7kW charger) which means it can get a 10-100% charge from an 11kW home wallbox in 10 hours. The maximum charging speed of the EQV is 110kW, so from a fast charger of the kind you’d find at a motorway service station you can get a 10-80% charge in 45 minutes. However, while this is all well and good compared to electric cars such as the E-tron and I-Pace, the Model X has a huge advantage here. That’s because it has access to Tesla’s brilliantly maintained and widely available Supercharger network and can charge at even faster speeds.
Mercedes doesn’t have the most consistent reliability record, as was highlighted in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. The German manufacturer finished near the bottom of the table in 26th place out of 31 manufacturers, above 29th-placed Tesla but below Jaguar, Audi and BMW. At least Mercedes provides a decent three-year, unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty, which should offer some reassurance. Plus, the battery is covered by an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty.
Also positive is that the EQV offers good crash protection. The V-Class it’s based on scored the full five stars in Euro NCAP safety tests in 2014 – although more stringent testing has been introduced since then. All models come with driver fatigue monitoring and automatic emergency braking (AEB), as well as seatbelt pre-tensioning, blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assistance.
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|RRP price range||£87,995 - £96,070|
|Number of trims (see all)||1|
|Number of engines (see all)||1|
|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)||£176 / £192|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£352 / £384|