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Stuttgart launches an ‘edgy’ but pricey seven-seater into the family EV market

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Anyone with a big family to transport and a will to do that in an electric car has faced quite a stark choice thus far when it comes to zero-emission seven-seaters, but the Mercedes EQB is the latest model to join the segment.

Others include the Tesla Model X with either six or seven seats. Peugeot, Citroën and Vauxhall, meanwhile, each added an extended-wheelbase version of their electrically powered, passenger-market-intended Partner, Berlingo and Combo models in 2021. The first option is a luxury SUV priced from £90,000. The other is a van-derived MPV.

Spec advice? Don’t be tempted to spend more on an EQB 350; a 300 is quick enough. Have it in AMG Line Premium trim with Mercedes’ Driving Assistance package (£1495) and a nice dark metallic paint (£895).

Nothing in the market for electric vehicles stays the same for long at the moment, though, and so now there’s a third seven-seater way, which we’re testing this week. The Mercedes EQB is the all-electric version of the conventionally powered Mercedes GLB, and only the second compact electric model that the German car maker has so far introduced under its growing EQ sub-brand.

Like the Mercedes EQA, it is built on an adapted version of the firm’s existing compact car model architecture and not a dedicated electric-only platform – but that hasn’t prevented Mercedes from squeezing seven seats into a package that’s less than 50mm longer than a five-seat Skoda Enyaq iV.

The EQB becomes only the second SUV in the EQ range but, as we will go on to explore, it’s a car that improvises a little bit with Mercedes’ electric car design language, and to quite likeable effect.

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It launches exclusively in two-motor, four-wheel-drive form, in a choice of power outputs, but with no choice on battery size, although both a cheaper, single-motor front-drive derivative and a separate long-range version will be added to the line-up. With prices currently starting at a relatively pricey-looking £54,000, we elected to test the slightly cheaper EQB 300 4Matic.

The Mercedes-Benz EQB range at a glance


Mercedes EQB 300 AMG Line 4Matic 


Mercedes EQB 350 AMG Line 4Matic



The EQB model line-up is simple, although it is set to grow to include a bigger-batteried, longer-range derivative in time. Both versions of the car are twin-motor, four-wheel-drive offerings and both offer the same-sized drive battery.

UK-market trim levels start at AMG Line and include AMG Line Premium and Launch Edition versions. Mid-spec cars add 19in wheels and a panoramic glass roof, while top-level ones get 20in alloys, adaptive dampers, a head-up display and Mercedes’ full suite of driver assistance technology.


1 Mercedes Benz EQB RT 2022 rear corner

From its chunky, squared-off wheel arches to its short overhangs, upright glasshouse, high-contoured bonnet and bulky shoulder line, the car does look like a Mercedes SUV that, electric or not, still draws from the same gene pool as the Mercedes GLE, the Mercedes GLS and even the Mercedes G-Class. Some of the car’s design details may remain suspiciously novel, and ultimately less appealing on the eye than they might be.

But considering the reception that the Mercedes EQS and EQE have met with, both more aerodynamically daring but also more anonymous-looking designs, the Mercedes EQB can be taken as encouragement that Stuttgart will yet find its way with the look of its first wave of formative EVs.

The wheel line-up goes 18in, 19in, 20in as you progress from AMG Line trim and up through Premium and Launch Edition versions. These are the mid-range 19s, and look much less blocky and heavy than the entry-level 18s.

The car is based on Mercedes’ MFA2 platform, just as the EQA was, and the conventionally powered A-Class, B-Class, CLA, GLA and GLB before it. That gives it a steel monocoque chassis, strut-type suspension at the front and a four-link independent axle at the rear.

It’s one of several twin-motor EVs to mix in electric motors of different kinds. The one at the rear is a permanent magnet synchronous motor that, being the more efficient and torquey of the two, does the lion’s share of the work when it comes to keeping the EQB moving along at a cruise.

The one on the front axle is an asynchronous, or induction, motor of the kind that Tesla formerly favoured: cheaper and simpler of design, given to making plenty of peak power, but less energy efficient.

Mercedes has now experimented with both motor types across its early EVs, but cost-sensitivity is the likely motivator for mixing them in this case. The motors combine to make up to 225bhp and 273lb ft in the EQB 300, or the same peak torque and up to 288bhp in the EQB 350.

The drive battery is a package of lithium ion pouch cells arranged in a slightly staggered shape, carried under the cabin floor and double-stacked under the back seat cushions, and running at 420V. With just under 70kWh of installed capacity, 66.5kWh of which is usable, it is smaller than the equivalent drive battery in key rivals (Audi Q4 E-tron, Tesla Model Y, Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 5) and, in our test car, enables an official range of up to 257 miles.

But the battery pack certainly isn’t small enough to give the EQB any advantage over rivals on kerb weight. Our test car weighed 2235kg on the scales. That’s more than 200kg heavier than Mercedes’ homologated unladen weight claim for the car, and over 250kg heavier than the Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD we tested earlier this year.


1 Mercedes Benz EQB RT 2022 dashboard

The Mercedes EQB offering in the UK includes seven seats, across the usual three rows, as standard in all trim levels. Delve into the detail of the product description, however, and you will find an admission that, just as in most smaller MPVs and SUVs, the rearmost chairs are for smaller passengers only.

Mercedes itself puts the height limit for row three at 1.65m (just under 5ft 6in), which seems an accurate appraisal of the available space. Third-row head room, as we measured it, is a broadly class-competitive 840mm (Mercedes GLB 840mm, Skoda Kodiaq 820mm, Volkswagen Touran 880mm).

Mercedes has been banishing most physical switchgear of late, but the ventilation controls in the EQB look good, feel nice and make the temperature easy to adjust.

Access to the third row is reasonable enough for children and younger teenagers, with second-row seats that tilt forwards to admit passengers behind them, and can also slide by up to 140mm so that a little leg room from the middle row can be traded rearwards. Isofix child seat anchorages appear on four out of the five rearmost seats, something that is quite rare even among larger seven-seaters. Meanwhile, in two-seat mode, the car’s five back chairs fold flat, granting an easy loading surface that extends to 1.8m in length up to the front seatbacks (Kodiaq 1.9m).

The view from the driver’s seat is reassuringly good, with a high-rising glasshouse providing good visibility in all directions. Mercedes’ standard-fit seats offer supportive cushions with extendable sections for the longer of leg, and the EQB’s manually adjustable steering column is easy to position to your liking.

Material cabin quality both looks and feels good, with Mercedes’ habitual application of satin-finish chrome, glossy black plastic and colour-selectable ambient lighting all present and correct for those who like a ritzy, glitzy luxury ambience with plenty of shimmer and flash about it.

Oddment storage is generously supplied in the door bins and centre console, with both of the central storage areas usefully covered with lids, should you want to conceal any contents from passers-by. All things considered, this is a practical and flexible interior for larger families, as well as an inviting one. It may not be the most spacious seven-seater for its price, but the combination of outward size, inward space and versatility that it offers is a strong selling point.

Mercedes-Benz EQB infotainment and sat-nav

5 Mercedes benz eqb rt 2022 infotainment 0

The MBUX infotainment system in the EQB is made up of two side-by-side 10.0in displays located behind and alongside the car’s primary controls, which are integrated as if they were one widescreen console. Half of it serves as an instrument console, the other half for navigation, information and entertainment. A head-up display is added on range-topping Launch Edition cars.

The screens are fairly easy to navigate, with Mercedes still offering a tactile input device for the infotainment system by the centre armrest, which you can use to scroll a cursor around while you drive without needing an outstretched hand on the screen itself. Alternatively, the left-hand thumb-pad console on the steering wheel performs the same function, and saves a lot of swiping and jabbing at an increasingly smudgy screen.

The car’s menus are quickly learned, with Mercedes’ shortcut keys helping to find a specific function within two or three inputs. Smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android handsets is standard fit, but the fitted navigation is well worth using and good at finding charging points along a set route.


1 Mercedes Benz EQB RT 2022 performance corner

If the Tesla Model Y we tested can be considered the £50,000 EV of the moment for those who like a keener-performing family car, this Mercedes EQB 300 takes a very different and more sedate route towards wooing its customer.

In a rapidly developing family EV market, there’s plenty of room for both philosophies (more powerful versions of the EQB already exist for those who want a quicker car, with others expected). While most testers agreed that the EQB 300 had all the accelerative haste that a seven-seat family car really needs, however, most also agreed that it was the Mercedes’ more laid-back, dialled-down and comfort-oriented appeal that they would sooner live with on a daily basis than the Tesla’s stiffer, noisier and more urgent temperament.

I’d love to know how many of the 213 motorway miles of range that our touring test recorded might be possible with a 1200kg caravan on the back and a bike rack on the roof. Something’s better than nothing, but don’t expect to see many EV caravanners on the roads just yet.

Launching neatly but with useful urgency from rest on a dry day at the track, the EQB 300 4Matic needed a little under eight seconds to hit 60mph from rest, making it slower than most twin-motor EVs, but not slow in outright terms. The car split single-motor versions of the Kia EV6 and Polestar 2 we have tested of late, and also proved quicker than a single-motor Skoda Enyaq iV.

On the road, as well as feeling ever keen to respond to demands for power, it had a surfeit of power when getting up to urban speeds and beyond, and felt assured getting onto motorways and overtaking around the national speed limit. Less exciting than effortless, it had everyday performance requirements covered with just a little change.

Plenty of configurability in the operating modes makes the EQB easy and seamless to drive for those who want simplicity in operation, or alternatively gives you greater manual control of off-throttle ‘sailing’ and battery regeneration should you want it. Select drive using the column-mounted gear selector stalk and the car defaults to an automatic regenerating regime that manages energy regen for you, blending it up when there’s traffic or a turn ahead, and then either down or off entirely when the road is clear.

It works fairly well in all but the busiest traffic, when lane changing can flummox its planning somewhat. But, unlike rival brands, Mercedes also includes manually selectable regen presets via the car’s wheel-mounted shift paddles, so you can simply choose a consistent ‘engine braking’ setting you find intuitive and stick with it if you so choose, or blend it up as and when you need to slow down.


1 Mercedes Benz EQB RT 2022 front corner

​The Mercedes EQB is a medium-sized seven-seat SUV that rides and handles like a bigger one. Its suspension rates are medium-soft; there’s an understated but appreciable lope about its longer-distance ride; and its controls are medium-paced and medium-weighted, giving the whole car a relaxing air of substance and imperturbability at a cruise.

It’s fairly manoeuvrable too, and while it isn’t especially agile or responsive to steering inputs, good linearity in its steering and consistency in its handling make it easy to place on the road. It navigates most car parks easily enough and fits in most parking spaces without giving you cause to worry about its bulk, and thanks not least to its short overhangs.

The EQB 300 has a laid-back demeanour that is better suited to open-road cruising and hassle-free day-to-day driving than its more highly strung Model Y family EV rival.

But it also has sufficient body control and handling precision to stay true to a chosen line through a faster corner, and while it rolls a bit and moves around on its springs at speed, it doesn’t ultimately do so at the cost of passenger comfort, grip level or all-round stability.

Drive the car to the limit of grip and you’ll find that, while body roll continues to build with lateral load, it doesn’t ever get out of hand, and handling balance survives right until the point that the always-on stability control begins to progressively take power away from the driven wheels. Although the car uses economy tyres, its outright grip level is robust enough.

There is no clear sense that most of the available motor torque is pushing the car onwards from the rear rather than pulling it out of bends from the front axle, and little if any enthusiasm for the conjuring from the car’s handling. But the EQB generally goes where you’re pointing it, with an urgency that’s broadly in tune with the rate at which you’re working the steering wheel. It’s viceless, predictable and pleasant.

Mercedes-Benz EQB Comfort and isolation

A little extra ride height is clearly no bad thing as far as the EQB’s touring refinement is concerned. Despite offering that large, square passenger compartment for noise to reverberate around in, upright pillars to attract wind resistance and biggish door mirrors for the breeze to whistle around, the car turned out to be commendably quiet.

The EQB was a decibel quieter at a 50mph cruise than several similar-priced EVs we have measured recently (Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor, Skoda Enyaq iV 80, Kia EV6 RWD); two decibels quieter than the Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD we tested in 2021; and fully three quieter than a Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD. At the wheel and at higher speeds, you’re equally aware of both road roar and wind noise, but neither disproportionately.

The car maintains a level body at town speeds, is absorbent over speed bumps and begins to heave and jounce just a bit above the national speed limit and on uneven stretches of dual carriageway, but its low centre of mass prevents it from pitching or tossing its occupants much.

The driver’s seat offers enough lateral support to locate your backside at the rates at which you are likely to drive, and is adjustable and comfortable in most respects.

Mercedes’ top level of active safety aids are optional on the EQB, and our test car did without them. The standard-fit lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking systems it did have were mostly unintrusive, but you will want to deactivate the former when off the motorway, which is easy to achieve.

Mercedes-Benz EQB off-road notes

The EQB might look a little like a shrunken G-Class in a space suit, but its rugged look isn’t to be taken too seriously. The car’s overhangs look short, but a high ride height would have been costly as regards aerodynamic efficiency. And so the car doesn’t have a single clearance angle above 20deg, and its 154mm of ground clearance is a figure that a Honda CR-V could easily beat.

The car’s economy tyres, which don’t actually do badly for outright grip on dry Tarmac, perform quite poorly on wet grass and mud, although the electric motors and traction control make good use of what traction they find.

The car’s towing capacity on a braked trailer is 1800kg, though: enough for a medium-sized caravan, and significantly better than almost all of its electric SUV rivals can manage (some of which haven’t been rated for towing so far at all).


1 Mercedes Benz EQB RT 2022 lead track

Where introductory prices on the Mercedes EQB are concerned, we are not quite seeing the full picture as things stand, with an entry-level, single-motor model still to come. That is set to bring the car’s entry point down close to £50,000 in the UK, but even at that level, and allowing for the broadly competitive residual values forecasted for the car, this will remain a fairly expensive family EV.

Seven-seat rivals for it are currently thin on the ground, but even so, you will need to place a tidy premium on the added passenger-carrying capability of that third row to justify this car when a Tesla Model Y, Skoda Enyaq iV or Audi Q4 E-tron offers almost as much usable space for five, plus plenty of luggage space.

Jobs for the facelift? First, add some energy density to that battery, and the 20% real-world range needed to stay competitive with rivals. Then, keep refining and improving the auto regen system.

For the moment, of course, Mercedes will surf a wave of interest from fleet drivers reaping their benefit-in-kind bonanza, and first-time adopters of electric cars who might expect to pay a high price, but it might need to offer better value to keep the car competitive.

And it might also need to boost the electric range. At an indicated 3.2mpkWh at a UK motorway-typical 70mph cruise, our EQB 300 test car would cover 213 miles between charges – not terrible, but a notable amount poorer than what is becoming a broadly achievable touring test standard of 250 miles on a full charge, applicable to family EVs available at and just under £50,000.

Usable battery capacity is the culprit here rather than energy efficiency: the EQB’s is between 10% and 20% short of the class standard, and peak rapid charging at 100kW isn’t particularly impressive either in a class where 150kW charging and above can be had for less outlay. From a premium option priced like this, you would expect better.


1 Mercedes Benz EQB RT 2022 static

As a luxury-oriented SUV with four-wheel drive as standard, room for seven occupants, family-appropriate cabin space and carrying versatility, plus the ability to tow a little more than a trailer tent (over fairly short distances, at least), the Mercedes EQB might be precisely the kind of car that the market needs right now. It’s sensible and functional rather than cultish or frivolous; it’s easy-going and ready to meet your needs, rather than necessarily revolutionise your motoring experience. It’s a useful, desirable and broadly functional EV, but it’s not one we can recommend unconditionally.

Mercedes is charging a notable premium for this car relative to other electric SUVs, and yet isn’t offering a car with an entirely segment-competitive electric range, nor one capable of particularly fast public charging. Those are likely to be key stumbling blocks for some potential EQB buyers.

There will be others, however, for whom only the EQB will do; Mercedes’ seven-seater positioning has seen to that. They will be getting a refined, versatile and rounded family car. But for those who expect to use the third row only infrequently, we would rank it behind a few five-seaters of comparable price and below.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

Mercedes-Benz EQB First drives