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    Mercedes-Benz EQA 2022 review: 250 EV test

    The EQA steps Benz into the sub-$100K electric car space, but will it find its place? (Image: Tom White).

    Mercedes is a brand on a rapid electrification mission.

    Like its German rivals Audi and BMW, this is more than just a push for what’s next in the auto industry, but a necessary move to stay alive as regulations close in on combustion power in its home market of Europe.

    While Benz first launched into the EV space with its pricey mid-size EQC SUV, this new offering, the GLA-based EQA 250 small SUV, is its foray into a more affordable sub-$100K electric realm.

    The move is obvious, both Benz offerings have the right ingredients to give them the best possible chance at sales; they’re SUVs in the most popular segments, and they offer long enough ranges for most Australian commuters.

    Does the EQA have what it takes to steal market share from its popular Tesla rival, though?

    I took the only available variant, the EQA 250, for a week shortly after its launch to find out.

    Price and features - Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

    Like most electric cars, the cost-of-entry for the EQA is a bit higher than its combustion counterpart. But in the premium space in which Mercedes plays, the delta between equivalent spec levels of the EQA and GLA (on which it's based) is much less than for, say, Hyundai’s Kona Electric.

    The EQA 250, which is the only variant thus far available in Australia, wears a before on-roads price-tag (MSRP) of $76,800.

     The EQA 250 wears a before on-roads price-tag (MSRP) of $76,800 (image: Tom White). The EQA 250 wears a before on-roads price-tag (MSRP) of $76,800 (image: Tom White).

    Pricey for a small SUV, even a premium one, but the fact it comes in at just $6900 more than the spec-equivalent GLA 250 is impressive.

    Especially when you consider Hyundai’s similarly sized Kona Electric (at $66,000) commands a $28,000 price premium over its combustion equivalent. Ouch.

    The EQA’s main primo rival for now is the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric ($76,800), and there’s always the threat of the sleek Tesla Model 3 Long Range ($73,400).

    The latter will soon be joined by its SUV equivalent, the Model Y, which should still be priced within consideration distance when it arrives some time in 2022.

    With every electric car, you’ll need to consider range in the value equation, and this electrified small SUV is pretty good here with a WLTP-certified 426km on offer.

    It rides on glitzy 19-inch alloy wheels (image: Tom White). It rides on glitzy 19-inch alloy wheels (image: Tom White).

    While the Model 3 Long Range offers significantly more for less money, I’d consider the Merc to have plenty of distance between charges for most city-slickers.

    There’s more good news when it comes to charging, which ups the convenience factor for the Mercedes, but we’ll talk about that in the energy consumption part of this review.

    Standard equipment includes pretty much everything you can think of, fulfilling the German brand’s flashy interior promise.

    There are glitzy 19-inch alloy wheels, full LED light systems all around, the brand’s signature dual 10.25-inch ‘MBUX’ digital dash and multimedia array with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, built-in sat nav and DAB+ digital radio.

    Also included is a 10-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging bay, power adjustable front seats with heating function, ‘Artico’ synthetic leather interior trim, dual-zone climate control, and an LED ambient interior lighting package.

    It gets the brand’s signature dual 10.25-inch ‘MBUX’ digital dash and multimedia array with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (image: Tom White). It gets the brand’s signature dual 10.25-inch ‘MBUX’ digital dash and multimedia array with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (image: Tom White).

    Our car also came packed with the ‘AMG-Line Sports Package’ ($2269) including improved seats and interior trims, as well as 20-inch alloy wheels, the ‘Vision Package’ ($2269) which includes a panoramic sunroof with surround parking cameras, black interior woodgrain trim ($231), and ‘Urban Guard Vehicle Protection Plus’ ($846) including enhanced anti-theft alarm and monitoring systems, for a grand total of $83,193 when you factor in $816 of luxury car tax (should this really apply to electric cars?).

    I’d argue much of the options list is unnecessary, although I will admit the panoramic sunroof was a fitting addition, particularly as it was packaged with the handy surround parking suite.

    Design - Is there anything interesting about its design?

    Do you like the look of Mercedes-Benz cars? If the answer is yes, you’ll love the EQA. If your answer is no… well, if you couldn’t already tell, the EQA doesn’t stray far from a well refined formula.

    It is impressive how little is different about this electric model from its GLA combustion counterpart. Benz has blocked out its signature grille for a sleek piano gloss finish, and the LED light clusters are a little softer in shape and more integrated to this SUV’s curvy face.

    Do you like the look of Mercedes-Benz cars? If the answer is yes, you’ll love the EQA (image: Tom White). Do you like the look of Mercedes-Benz cars? If the answer is yes, you’ll love the EQA (image: Tom White).

    The side profile is near identical to the GLA, while the rear has been tweaked to include a contemporary bar across the tailgate to link the two LED light clusters.

    If you’re looking for a car which advertises the fact it’s electric, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for something which won’t raise eyebrows as some rivals do, look no further.

    On the inside is the standard Mercedes small car fare, with a loud array of screens, an almost rainbow colour scheme thanks to the LED lighting, and plenty of chrome.

    Our EQA stuck with a blacked-out theme for its panelwork, with dark woodgrain, piano dash fittings, and black leather extending from the seats and into the suede-look doors.

    It’s divisive, and certainly less traditional than BMW, but less futuristic than Audi. It’s also busy, with a plethora of buttons, toggles, vents, and textures making for a flashy smorgasbord for the eyes.

    Benz has blocked out its signature grille for a sleek piano gloss finish (image: Tom White). Benz has blocked out its signature grille for a sleek piano gloss finish (image: Tom White).

    The quality of the materials is generally excellent, though, with soft-touch surfaces throughout, and Benz’ signature quality Artico trim suiting the seats well.

    As flashy as they are, the screens are also highly customisable, and I like the fact there are multiple ways to interface with the multimedia suite, with the wheel, centre-mounted touch pad, or as a touchscreen.

    The same consideration goes for the LED ambient lighting. It can also be selected in an array of dazzling colours, but also made as sedate as you like.

    It won’t be for everyone, but then there will also be some who prefer the appeal of the Benz over others.

    Practicality - How practical is the space inside?

    The EQA 250 plays in a competitive small SUV space, although the practicality on offer in this class varies greatly.

    To start with, on our EQA the driving position is easy to slide into, and adjustability is fantastic with a large range of motion for the wheel and seat.

    Visibility is also superb, with a huge windscreen and front glasshouse making for a confidence inspiring environment. It’s also easy to peer over this car’s stout nose, making parking easy.

    In the EQA the driving position is easy to slide into, and adjustability is fantastic (image: Tom White). In the EQA the driving position is easy to slide into, and adjustability is fantastic (image: Tom White).

    While I find the feel of Benz’s Artico seat trim well above average for a synthetic leather, the seat bases leave a lot to be desired in terms of comfort.

    This isn’t an issue unique to the EQA, it extends across all of the brand’s small car offerings below the C-Class sedan, and it leaves me with the feeling (from the driver’s seat) I’m sitting on the car rather than in it.

    The bases don’t have much give, and don’t feel super supportive, even with the optional AMG-Line seats.

    That said, the door cards, centre armrest, and even the dash-top are made of lovely, soft-touch materials, just in case you needed a reminder this is a luxury offering.

    Cabin storage comes in the form of a decently sized centre console box, pockets with bottle holders in the doors, dual bottle holders in the front, and a small bay with a phone charger in front.

    Rear passengers are treated to decent room for a car in this segment, and the back doors open nice and wide for easy access.

    The seats are the same deal as the front – nice material but could be more supportive.

    Like other EVs in this class the floor position is raised, leaving you feeling as though you’re floating a bit, but there’s still enough room for adults on the outboard seats. I had healthy knee, head, and arm room at 182cm (6'0") tall behind my own driving position.

    Rear passengers are treated to decent room for a car in this segment (image: Tom White). Rear passengers are treated to decent room for a car in this segment (image: Tom White).

    There are dual adjustable air vents for rear passengers, a single USB-C outlet, a small storage bay, nets on the backs of the front seats, and a drop-down armrest with a further two pop-out bottle holders.

    Sadly, thanks to its electric underpinnings, the EQA has a significantly smaller boot than its petrol-powered GLA sibling, at just 340L – hatchback sized.

    It fit our largest (124L) CarsGuide travel case, alongside a duffle and some charging cables, leaving not much space to spare. There is a tyre repair kit under the floor, but that’s about it.

    The EQA has a significantly smaller boot than its petrol-powered GLA sibling, at just 340L (image: Tom White). The EQA has a significantly smaller boot than its petrol-powered GLA sibling, at just 340L (image: Tom White).

    Sorry EV hopefuls, no 'frunk' this time around, the EQA having drive components under the bonnet.

    Powertrain - What are the key stats for the powertrain?

    Speaking of drive components, the only EQA spec available in Australia has a single motor producing 140kW/375Nm driving the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear automatic transmission.

    Those figures are good, allowing this heavy small SUV to still sprint to 100km/h in 8.9 seconds.

    The only EQA spec available in Australia has a single motor producing 140kW/375Nm (image: Tom White). The only EQA spec available in Australia has a single motor producing 140kW/375Nm (image: Tom White).

    The higher-performance all-wheel drive EQA 350 variant is due later, with a significant performance bump, which the EQA will need to take the fight to Tesla’s incoming Model Y.

    Energy consumption - How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge/refuel? 7/10

    Our EQA 250 is capable of travelling 426km (WLTP) on a single charge courtesy of a relatively large 66.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

    This is plenty of range to avoid ‘range anxiety’ for most city dwellers, and certainly enough to include most common intercity journeys.

    Claimed energy consumption is a less-good story, with the bar set at 17.7kWh/100km. And after a week behind the wheel I managed a rather disappointing 22.9kWh/100km.

    That’s double the number I’ve achieved in the Hyundai Kona Electric, and significantly higher than the 16-ish kWh/100km I’m seeing in my Nissan Leaf e+ long termer.

    After a week behind the wheel I managed a rather disappointing 22.9kWh/100km (image: Tom White). After a week behind the wheel I managed a rather disappointing 22.9kWh/100km (image: Tom White).

    I would have liked to at least meet the claim given I spent most of my week in 'Comfort' mode with the regenerative braking system maxed out.

    The EQA has a single Type 2 CCS European-standard charging port located at the rear on the driver’s side.

    On DC it's capable of accepting up to 100kW allowing a 10 – 80 per cent charge in as little as 30 minutes, and impressively on AC can accept up to 11kW, meaning you can charge at slower AC locations in a convenient 4.1 hours. Not many EVs in this size-bracket can claim the same.

    The EQA has a single Type 2 CCS European-standard charging port located at the rear on the driver’s side (image: Tom White). The EQA has a single Type 2 CCS European-standard charging port located at the rear on the driver’s side (image: Tom White).

    Plugging in to an average ~2.4kW wall socket will see a full charge time in the realm of 27 hours.

    Mercedes bundles in a three-year subscription to ChargeFox locations, which is currently the largest non-Tesla network in Australia.

    Safety - What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 8/10

    The EQA leaves nothing on the options list when it comes to advanced safety, with standard items including freeway-speed auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and ‘Safe Exit Assist.’

    The standard reversing camera can be swapped out for a 360-degree coverage option (as fitted to our car) although front and rear parking sensors are standard. The only notable item missing is reverse auto braking.

    The EQA 250 also gets seven airbags (the standard six front and side plus a driver’s knee) and the expected electronic stability, traction, and brake cotrols.

    The EQA range recently received a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating to the 2019 standards, scoring highly across all categories.

    Ownership - What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 8/10

    Mercedes now offers a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty across its range, which brings it in line with mainstream offerings, and generally ahead of its luxury rivals.

    This also includes five years of roadside assist. In the case of the EQA, its high-voltage battery system is covered for the industry-standard eight years and 160,000km.

    Mercedes now offers a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty across its range (image: Tom White). Mercedes now offers a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty across its range (image: Tom White).

    The EQA only needs to visit the shop once every 12 months or 25,000km, whichever occurs first, and a five-year service plan comes in at $2200 or $440 a year.

    Great value for a product in the premium space. And so it should be, as electric vehicles theoretically have significantly less serviceable items than their combustion counterparts.

    Driving - What's it like to drive? 7/10

    The most notable part of the EQA drive experience is how seamlessly Benz has swapped over to a totally new drive system.

    While all the components from behind the helm look and feel the same as every other Mercedes small car, the digital features suit an electric car very nicely.

    Unlike some EV versions of popular combustion cars, there are no big switchgear changes or digital overhauls to modernise things. It’s as though a tiny unseen software tweak is all that’s needed.

    Indeed, this ease of use extends to the feel of the car itself, with effortless and silent acceleration characterising the EQA from behind the wheel.

    The EQA proves Mercedes will have no trouble pivoting its combustion range to electric if it so desires (image: Tom White). The EQA proves Mercedes will have no trouble pivoting its combustion range to electric if it so desires (image: Tom White).

    I was surprised to find while the initial take-off has this light feeling, as you work your way up the speed dial, it feels as though the power slips away, stopping this small SUV from feeling anywhere near as sledgehammer fast as its Tesla rivals.

    The incoming, all-wheel drive EQA 350 will solve this problem, no doubt, but for now our 250 feels breezy rather than truly rapid, despite its healthy power figures.

    The steering generally feels responsive and quick, as does the sporty ride, but this car is not flawless.

    As previously mentioned, it feels as though you’re sitting on it rather than in it, leaving some feeling to be desired in the corners, especially with this car’s relative heft leaning in.

    The suspension is weighted to the sportier side, helping control the weight of this battery electric compact.

    But, despite a multi-link set-up rather than a cheaper torsion bar, it’s still a tad harsh over the rear on some surfaces.

    I was also slightly alarmed to find Nissan had done a better job of sound deadening in the cheaper Leaf than Benz has in this EV.

    The regenerative braking profile is excellent, however, with smooth well-defined modes and the occasionally fiddly software suite offers you great feedback on how your habits and settings are affecting available range.

    The steering generally feels responsive and quick (image: Tom White). The steering generally feels responsive and quick (image: Tom White).

    Unlike Hyundai EVs or the Nissan Leaf, it won’t quite operate as a ‘single-pedal’ vehicle in most driving scenarios but will bring the vehicle close to a halt regardless.

    I also would have liked a bit more noise to be generated for the purposes of alerting pedestrians and providing feedback on acceleration, but I have no doubt this can be added in time.

    Overall, then, the EQA proves Mercedes will have no trouble pivoting its combustion range to electric if it so desires, with many of our complaints either easily ironed out, or common to the rest of the brand’s small car range.

    Time will tell how well it stands up to incoming premium electric rivals from Audi and BMW.

    Insurance Quote

    Mercedes takes another effortless step into the realm of electrification, successfully following up the EQC with this smaller and more affordable model.

    While it doesn’t have the wow factor of something like a Tesla Model 3, some will prefer this small SUV’s familiarity and form-factor, backed by appropriate range, easy drivability, and good charging specs.

    Still, the EQA’s biggest challenges are yet to be set by rivals, so watch this space.

    $76,800

    Based on new car retail price

    Score

    3.7/5
    Price Guide

    $76,800

    Based on new car retail price

    This price is subject to change closer to release data
    Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.