Mercedes EQC long-term test: report 2

The Mercedes EQC is the brand's first mainstream all-electric car. Can it eclipse the rival Audi E-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X? We've got six months to find out...

Mercedes EQC in town

The car Mercedes EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus Run by Jim Holder, Editorial Director

Why it’s here We want to discover if Mercedes' first mainstream EV is a match for the opposition, worthy of a near-£80,000 price tag and fits into everyday life.

Needs to Deliver a wow factor befitting its price, without any limitations resulting from its mode of propulsion that compromise its everyday usability.

Miles covered 1069 Price £74,610 Target Price £74,610 Price as tested £77,200 Official range 232 miles Test range 206 miles

19 October 2020 – When technology doesn't deliver on its promise

What’s worse than technology that doesn’t work? I fear the answer is technology that sometimes or almost works – and the Mercedes EQC is giving me plenty of time to ponder on that.

Take the much-heralded ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice command system, which has been rolled out across all of the brand’s vehicles.

In the past I’ve always found it impressive, but in the EQC it is sometimes spot on and sometimes miles off – no matter how much I try to articulate my commands.

Mercedes EQC wayward sat-nav

Just as frustrating is the fact that, very occasionally, even with the right command inputted into the sat-nav, it doesn’t find where I want to go.

Take the picture above, for instance: the postcode I’ve inputted is correct, but not one of the destinations is correct, or even close to each other in vicinity. Good job I noticed before setting off, but how long before I don’t?

More nerve-jarringly, the multitude of collision systems seem to operate with a lag, so if a car passes close by while, for instance, you are in a parking space, and you go to pull out just after it has passed, off go the lights and buzzers.

The stress this induces when driving around a busy town is palpable, and the potential for causing an incident if it prompts you to ram on the anchors is obvious.

Mercedes EQC Hey Mercedes screen

But the most heart-stopping moment of all came recently when returning from the school run when – just like that – the car performed the start of an automated emergency stop. It was terrifying for me, and I’m very grateful there was nobody behind.

The cause? I suspect a parent and three children on the pavement nearby. No question, they were bobbing about playfully, and had one of them wandered into the road I would have been forever grateful for the system, but at no point had it looked to me like they were about to fall off the pavement into my path.

A litany of minor niggles with potentially bigger consequences, then, but it’s important to stress that they are occasional, not unique to the Mercedes EQC and not ruinous for the overall experience. But I do fear that they show that the development teams creating this technology are not as far advanced as they might like to have you believe.

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