4.1 out of 5 4.1
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

An all-electric seven-seater with an acceptable range and practicality to spare

Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV (22 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
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PROS

  • Useful third row of seats
  • Can tow up to 1,800kg
  • Drives just like a GLB

CONS

  • Tesla Model Y has a longer range
  • Single-motor model not yet available
  • Third row cramped

Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV rivals

Written by Tom Wiltshire on

Electric cars with seven seats are few and far between, but the Mercedes-Benz EQB is a new and interesting option. It’s a seven-seat SUV, based on and as a result very similar to the petrol or diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz GLB, but with a battery and electric motor in place of an engine and fuel tank.

We think very highly of the GLB at Parkers – it’s a former winner of our Medium Family Car of the Year award – so its EV sibling is a very interesting car indeed.
Until now, if you wanted an electric seven-seater, you could either have a Tesla Model X, or you could have one of a few electric van-based MPVs, such as the Peugeot e-Traveller or Mercedes-Benz EQV. The EQB neatly straddles the two, being more affordable than a Model X but more desirable than a van.

But does it have the chops to compete with the Tesla Model Y?

What’s it like inside?

Though the EQB we tested was a German-spec car with just five seats, all UK models will have a third row and seven seats as standard. The first thing to note is that this is not a car for carrying seven, adult-sized passengers – if you need to do that, you’ll want something based on a van.

Up front, it’s all but identical to the petrol car, or indeed any other model based on this platform including the A-Class, B-Class and EQA. That means a glitzy dashboard featuring a pair of large screens – one for driving information, and another for infotainment that can be controlled by either a touchscreen or touch pad.

Material quality is generally good, though there are a few creaks if you press various areas of the dash. As for equipment, you get electrically-adjustable seats, ambient lighting, climate control and a raft of safety equipment, though if you want adaptive cruise control you need to opt for a separate driving assistance pack.

Practicality

What the EQB is, like its GLB sibling, is a roomy five-seater with the option to occasionally carry two extra passengers. While tall adults won’t fit in the third row, it should be comfortable for kids and bearable for adults up to about 5’6”. The middle row also slides forward, allowing you to balance everybody’s legroom needs.

The EQB is at least as spacious as a Land Rover Discovery Sport or a Tesla Model Y, though it’s slightly narrower than both. Isofix points are provided in both rear rows, allowing you up to four child seats in the rear of the EQB.

As for boot space, it’s almost nonexistent with all three rows of seats occupied. You get 465 litres in five-seat mode, which isn’t class-leading but is still a practical, usable space. This expands to a square, flat-floored 1,320 litres with all the rear seats folded.

What’s it like to drive?

The EQB is fairly unremarkable to drive, which is actually a positive. Initially, it’ll be available in the UK as a 300 or a 350 model – these both use two electric motors, one on each axle, to provide four-wheel drive. Later on, Mercedes will introduce a single-motor, front-wheel drive variant with a longer range.

We drove the 350, which has 292hp making for a very quick 0-62mph sprint time of just 6.2 seconds. It feels quick, though lacks the immediacy of something like a Tesla. Top speed is 99mph, but it will comfortably accelerate up to motorway speeds and hold them effortlessly.

In the corners, the EQB’s tall body tends to lean a little more than a Tesla Model Y, and its light steering doesn’t inspire you to press on. Where it excels is in comfort and refinement. Even on our test model’s large, 20-inch alloy wheels, it ironed out all but the largest bumps and potholes. Refinement is also excellent, with no noise from the powertrain and well-contained wind and road noise.

Range and charging

Regardless of whether you choose the 300 or the 350, the EQB’s quoted maximum WLTP range is 260 miles. During our short test we weren’t able to confirm if this was accurate, but over around 60 miles we lost an indicated 70 miles of range. That might not sound too impressive but as we conducted our test in freezing cold and driving rain it’s actually rather good.

The EQB’s max range is on a par with most electric SUVs, though it pales in comparison to the Tesla Model Y and its claimed 315-mile figure. The EQB will top up overnight from a home wallbox, and it’s capable of charging at the faster 11kW rate available to those with a three-phase power supply.

Public charging isn’t as fast as some rivals, and the EQB can’t make use of super-fast chargers – but stick it on a 100kW unit and it’ll go from 10-80% in just 32 minutes, which isn’t too bad.

What models and trims are available?

Just two models will come to the UK. Entry-level AMG Line cars come with two 10-inch screens inside, artificial leather upholstery, full LED exterior and interior lighting, heated front seats, a reversing camera, and an electric tailgate plus 18-inch alloy wheels.

AMG Line Premium brings 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, keyless go, an upgraded stereo and wireless charging pad.

The only real optional extra is the Driving Assistance Package, which is well worth specifying. Not only does it include adaptive cruise control, it adds blind spot assist, active lane keeping assist and pedestrian warnings.

What else should I know?

Cash prices for the EQB start at £52,145. That sounds like a lot but it actually undercuts the Tesla Model Y, and isn’t much more expensive than the much more compromised e-vans from several other manufacturers.

The EQB can also tow up to 1,800kg, making it very rare in the EV world.

Read on for the full Parkers verdict and our 10-point ratings.

Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV rivals