In December we got a first drive in Mercedes-EQ’s luxury compact SUV, the EQB350 and were charmed by its smooth and quiet operation, its near-AMG levels of performance, and its savvy occasional three-row seating package. Now we’ve had a crack at that vehicle’s less powerful, more affordable kid brother, the EQB300. So, does losing the 50 badge prestige points diminish the EQB’s charm factor?
Why It’s Important
With the EQB, Mercedes is offering buyers a practical two-box electric family-hauling alternative to the Volkswagen ID4, Audi Q4 E-Tron, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and to some extent, the mighty Tesla Model Y. Like the Tesla, it trumps the former three by offering an optional third row of seats. Neither third-row seat is commodious, but the EQB’s at least puts steel overhead, instead of the Y’s sloping hatchback glass, and in 300 trim it should be about $16,000 cheaper.
Using the same 66.5-kWh battery pack and essentially the same motors, the 300 model produces 225 hp and 288 lb-ft—about 75 percent of the 350’s output at roughly the same weight. The price in Europe drops 5 percent. That might make the burlier 350 look like a bargain, but the 300’s acceleration feels more than adequate for the duty cycle vehicles like this are built for, so think twice about splurging.
Pros: What We Like
The interior feels every bit worthy of a Mercedes-Benz, from the round, illuminated air vents to the twin-screen dash and augmented-reality navigation system (complete with intelligent EV routing that considers temperature, hill grades, charger locations, etc. ). The EQB 300 is as hushed inside as its 350 stablemate—there’s been no skimping on road, tire, and wind-noise abatement measures. And the same controlled, plush ride (our test vehicle had the optional adaptive dampers) delivers a more comfortable drive than many competitors in this space. We also appreciate the three fixed braking-energy recuperation programs (accessible via shift paddles) and the “auto” mode, which tailors regen levels to suit the current situation—such as when traffic ahead is slowing, there’s a sharp turn coming up, or to maintain a downhill speed.
Cons: What We Don’t Like
Like Volvo’s XC40 Recharge, the EQB is adapted from an internal-combustion vehicle architecture. To Mercedes-Benz’s credit, the transition was accomplished without raising the floor or losing the option of a third-row seat, but this conversion process results in a less efficient package overall. In this case, the primary downside is range. Had the EQB been designed from scratch as an EV, it could easily have accommodated more batteries for a more competitive range figure (invariably closing the pricing gap with Tesla somewhat) or perhaps seen its weight streamlined to juice more range from the batteries it has.
The Bottom Line
With three rows of seating, the Mercedes-Benz EQB300 seems perfectly suited to the tasks of daily commuting and carpooling for families that have another road-trip-mobile in the garage.
Looks good! More details?
|2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB300 Specifications|
|BASE PRICE||$47,500 (est)|
|LAYOUT||Front- and rear-motor, AWD, 5-7-pass, 4-door SUV|
|MOTORS||225-hp/288-lb-ft (comb) AC induction (front), permanent-magnet (rear) electric|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,800 lb (est)|
|L x W x H||184.4 x 72.2 x 65.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.0 sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||230 miles (est)|
|ON SALE||Fall 2022|