- Sharp acceleration and cruises on motorways
- Eye-catching good looks and packed with tech
- Practical family SUV
- It’s an expensive choice as are all the premium EVs
- Alternatives are more dynamic to drive
- Some rivals have better range
Mercedes entered into the premium EV-powered SUV sector with the arrival of its EQC model. It is based on the same platform as the GLC and is available in four main spec levels called Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus. At launch back in 2019, there were also two limited run versions called Edition 1 and Edition 1886.
The EQC is a pure battery powered luxury SUV that aims to challenge the likes of the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace.
It’s a heavy car, but boasts excellent handling plus an EV driving range of up to 255 miles between charges under WLTP testing.
On The Road
We tested the EQC 400 AMG Line 4MATIC Premium Plus model that was fully loaded and drove as dynamically as it looked.
Powering the unit, which weighs in at 2.5 tonnes, is an 80kWh lithium-ion battery along with compact electric drivetrains on each axle to deliver a combined output of 408hp and 760Nm of torque.
The EQC can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in just 5.1 seconds and tops out at 111mph.
With no need to wait for the revs to build, the acceleration is instant and the vehicle is eerily silent out the blocks. It’s a car that quickly reaches motorway speed limits and cruises effortlessly there. And with such an impressive driving range between charges, there is no fear of range anxiety creeping in.
There are paddles on the steering wheel, but they are not for changing gears as the EQC has a single speed automatic transmission system. Instead, they can be used to alter the levels of regenerative braking with five settings available.
In addition, the driver can flick through drive settings called Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport and Individual to alter the reactions of the vehicle.
And when Mother Nature has an unexpected mood swing, the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will keep you motoring in more testing driving conditions. It is also ideal if towing on slippery surfaces with an unbraked limit of 1.8 tonnes.
The EQC measures almost 4.8 metres in length and is more than 2.0 metres wide, and when you factor in the 2.5-tonnes kerb weight, it is quite a hefty beast.
However, it feels agile through the country lanes and B roads where the road holding is nice and confident. If bends are attacked too eagerly, there is some body sway, but it’s not that noticeable unless the car is driven aggressively.
It’s also worth mentioning the high comfort levels within the EQC even when driving on poorer road surfaces. This is mainly due to the Comfort suspension which includes self-levelling rear air suspension.
The cruise control system is very simple to activate and that makes life much easier in average speed check areas that seem to drag on for miles on end on motorways these days.
And its during these long spells with the car keeping your speed down that you realise just how refined the EQC is. Barely a sound creeps into the car and there is no irritating whine from the motors. It is one of the most impressive when it comes to cabin hush.
Finally, in busier town centres, with its light steering feel along with agile handling, weaving through the busier crowds is a doddle.
And the Parking Package with Active Parking Assist and a 360-degree camera will make you look an expert when squeezing the EQC into a narrow space.
The five-door EQC looks appealing when viewed from any approach thanks to its smooth lines and athletic stance.
Despite being based on the design of the GLC, the EQC has its own personality and features a fresh front end with a new grille (black on AMG Line versions) that seems to smile at you as you approach. The rear lights are new, as is the tapered roofline and the vehicle has lots of blue accents as an indication that it is electrically-powered, along with some bespoke EQC badging.
In addition, stunning 21-inch multi-spoke alloys, along with multi-beam LED headlights really help make the car stand out.
The interior of the EQC is truly exquisite with fine leather upholstery, a soft-touch leather-look dashboard, copper coloured air vents, plus ambient lighting with 64 colours. The sunroof allows light to flood into the cabin and the occupants are well protected from outside noise thanks to the efficient insulation, including noise cancelling acoustic glass.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Finding the ideal driving position inside the EQC is a simple process thanks to the fully powered seats and electrically adjustable steering wheel, complete with memory settings. The switches to control the seat settings are positioned on the doors for convenience and there are heated seats to fend off the winter chill.
With the elevated driving position, the all-round visibility is excellent and the EQC boasts one of the most elegant infotainment systems in the business.
There is a 10.25 MBUX multi-media touchscreen that flows beautifully into the 10.25-inch instrument cluster behind the wheel where all manner of relevant data regarding range, charge status and energy flow are shown.
MBUX is the company’s innovative multi-media set-up and the test car was packed with creature comforts, including a head-up display, full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a navigation system, a Burmester surround sound system with 13 speakers, plus a wireless phone charging pad.
There is also the ‘Hey Mercedes’ virtual assistant that is voice activated and can help with a number of requests, including adjusting the temperature, searching for a radio station, accessing the phone contacts and lots more besides. This system is brought to life by simply uttering the magic words - Hey Mercedes.
All controls, dials and readouts are perfectly positioned in this driver-focused cockpit.
Space & Practicality
The Mercedes EQC offers plenty of space for a family of five to enjoy breaks in the countryside with room for a trio of rear passengers (if they don’t mind rubbing shoulders) and lots of room for luggage too.
The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can swallow 500 litres of kit. Drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that capacity rises to a respectable 1,460 litres. For convenience, there are nets and hooks to prevent items rolling around.
In addition, there are lots of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the car. These include a deep central cubby box, front cup holders and trays, deep door pockets with space for a drinks bottle and a lockable glovebox. Back seat passengers have their own door pockets, nets in the seat backs and a fold-down armrest with pop-out cup holders plus a covered tray.
The rear doors open nice and wide offering easy access to child seats and the elevated seating will be ideal for anyone with mobility issues.
When it comes to the practicalities of running the EQC, it can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in 40 minutes using a fast charger or from 10 to 100 per cent in 11 hours via a home wallbox.
The Mercedes EQC is a crossover SUV with premium styling, premium fixtures and fittings and, not surprisingly, a premium price-tag.
Prices start at £65,720 for the entry-level EQC 400 4MATIC Sport but our EQC 400 AMG Line 4MATIC Premium Plus version was priced at £74,610. There were a few optional extras such as an enhanced safety pack and specialist paint, and that saw the final cost creep up to £77,200.
As the car is battery-powered it emits no CO2 during driving, so it qualifies to be exempt from any Vehicle Excise Duty or road tax. It can also be driven free of charge through any Congestion Charge or low emission zones.
And the EQC is a real cash-saver for company car buyers too with excellent Benefit in Kind tax savings available.
The insurance group rating for the car we tested is 50.
Quality & Reliability
Over the decades Mercedes has secured an enviable reputation for developing cars that are both reliable and survive the test of time and the EQC should prove just as rewarding.
Before the car was launched, 200 prototypes and pre-production models were tested over several million miles across four continents to check their ability in severe weather and demanding driving conditions. With that in mind, the final road cars shouldn’t cause any concerns to owners.
Our test car featured high-end leather upholstery that not only looked upmarket but also felt well put together. In fact, the entire cabin, with its elegant instrumentation and switchgear, had a real sense of quality about it.
Accessing the many on-board systems is via the touchpad, controller or voice command, so there’s no messy smudges on that beautiful touchscreen.
The EQC comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, plus three years of roadside assistance. The battery warranty covers eight-years or 100,000 miles.
Safety & Security
The Mercedes EQC was awarded the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and is loaded with safety features and driver assistance aids.
As well as the more standard features, our test car also featured an optional Driving Assistance package costing £1,695 and this added Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Blind Spot Assist with Exit warning, Active Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Pedestrian warning function near pedestrian crossings and Pre-Safe Plus.
The vehicle also features Mercedes 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system to keep you on the move in more severe weather or challenging driving conditions.
The range-topping AMG Line Premium Pack brings some added appeal to the eye-catching Mercedes EQC. With lots of AMG-themed design cues, it certainly looks the business and will stand tall against main rivals.