Roadtest: Mercedes EQA

06 Aug 2021 | 12.23 pm

Roadtest: Mercedes EQA

Upper crust BEV at a cool €56,000

06 Aug 2021 | 12.23 pm

The EQA is the entry-level model from the new Mercedes range of all-electric vehicles. Mark Gallivan has been putting this BEV through its paces

Mercedes-Benz has entered the full-electric sub-compact crossover SUV segment with the EQA, a premium battery electric vehicle (BEV). The promise of a Mercedes BEV with a decent range of around 380km opens possibilities for buyers looking for quality electric vehicle ownership at relatively mainstream BEV prices.

The EQA is the second and smaller model within the EQ range that includes the EQC and the forthcoming EQS, billed as a luxury BEV limo. Three EQA models are available — the 250, 300 and 350 — and each model has Progressive, Electric Art and AMG specification options. Brake horsepower rises from the entry 190hp to 292hp, the 300 and 350 models have 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and prices start from €56,120, rising to €68,526 for the priciest model.

The entry-level EQA 250 Progressive tested has brisk performance in the Sport setting. The claimed 0-100km/h of 8.9 seconds sounds sluggish, but the instant propulsion ensures fast acceleration from standstill. The only limitation can be the front wheel steering when the tyres are overburdened by the instant torque.

The EQA is based on the Mercedes GLA platform that’s available with petrol, diesel or plug-in-hybrid engines. The EQA is a lot heavier than its sister, weighing in at 2,040 kilos due to the half tonne of battery in the floor. The weight factor blunts the EQA’s dynamics and discourages hard driving. The suspension is firm and road bumps are felt through the rear axle, due in part to the two tonnes of weight being transmitted through the dampers.

Mercedes-Benz says this issue is addressed in the EQA 300 and 350 models, which have an electric powertrain at the rear axle with a newly developed ‘permanently excited’ synchronous motor.

According to the Stuttgart engineers, in these 4MATIC versions the power demand between the front and rear axles is controlled 100 times per second, depending on the driving situation. The idea is to optimise power consumption by using the rear electric motor as often as possible, while the asynchronous motor at the front axle generates only minimal drag losses in partial-load operation.

The main grille is blanked-off sheet plastic, as no airflow is needed to cool an engine, and the front and rear lights incorporate a light bar across the front and rear of the car that look dramatic at night. Inside, the EQA 250 Progressive includes a myriad of safety and comfort features, such as the MBUX multimedia system, auto climate control, reversing camera, parking sensors, four-way lumbar support, blind spot active brake assist, lane keeping assist, adaptive headlights, and acoustic ambient protection.

Boot space is 340 litres with the rear seats upright, which expands to 1,320 litres with the rear seats folded down. Cabin storage is good with bins in each door, and the centre console provides decent carrying space. Not to be overlooked, Mercedes is offering an eight-year or 160,000km warranty on the battery.

The new Mercedes EQA fills the brief of providing comfortable, premium BEV motoring. The vehicle offers near silent cruising, rapid acceleration and a techy cabin that looks more expensive than many rivals. In addition, the range between charges is very attractive. The downsides are loss of interior space compared with the GLA, and the weight drag on the rear axle.

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Mercedes EQA 250 Progressive

Price: From €56,120 (€57,546 as tested)

Power: Electric motor, 140 kW, 190hp

Range: 423km WLTP

Performance: 0-100km in 8.9 seconds, top speed 160km

Road Tax: €120

Verdict: Merc’s EQA is a premium segué into all-electric small SUV ownership

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