Mercedes EQC Review
A fantastically refined, spacious and luxurious all-electric SUV, but it comes at a high price and might not be striking enough for some
Strengths & weaknesses
- One of the quietest cars on the road
- Exceptionally quick
- Reassuring build quality
- Eye-watering price tag
- Not as rapid as rivals
- Feels heavy through corners
Proof that the electric vehicle market has moved on from small hatchbacks and Silicon Valley start-ups is the fact that mainstream brand Mercedes has set aside a staggering £9.2 billion to accelerate its plug-in vehicle line up over the coming years.
The first fruits of this massive spending spree is the EQC 400: a fully electric upmarket SUV that might feel familiar to existing Mercedes customers, but features a revised platform (based on the GLC petrol and diesel SUV) and a forward-thinking all-electric powertrain, which sees an 80kWh battery pack powering two electric motors - one mounted to the front axle and another at the rear.
Electric vehicles are famed for their substantial amounts of instant power on tap and the EQC is no different, developing a hefty 402hp and 760Nm from the moment you stamp on the throttle. It is grin-inducing stuff and the best way to beat almost anything away from the traffic lights.
But perhaps more importantly, the EQC is as refined and relaxing to drive as anything else in the Mercedes line-up. In fact, refinement is so high here, occupants can almost hear a pin drop when cruising at motorway speeds. If you appreciate some time alone with your thoughts, this is the car to do it in.
Inside, there’s enough room for five adults to sit comfortably, while the interior fixtures and fittings are of very high quality. The air vents, for example, are designed to look like a computer circuit board, while the metallic trim elements feature a cooling fin design inspired by battery packs.
There’s plenty of electric blue accenting inside and Mercedes’ latest 'MBUX' media system sits proudly at the centre of it all. Operated by a touchpad that provides haptic feedback to make it easier to use on the move, it is fast, reactive and constantly online for live app updates. It also includes voice activated controls via its 'Hey Mercedes' software that lets you programme the sat-nav, for instance, using simply plain English voice commands.
Similar to Amazon Alexa or Apple’s Siri, it allows an abundance of functionality to be controlled via voice commands, rather than fiddling with buttons. For example, occupants can simple say 'Hey Mercedes, make it warmer in here' and the car will adjust the climate control accordingly.
It works surprisingly well and adds an additional tech flourish to an already very upmarket-feeling interior. But then customers will demand this, seeing as the entry price for this car is £65,720 in its most ‘basic’ form.
Many electric car customers are chiefly concerned with range and the latest official figures are very competitive here, with the EQC able to return between 232 and 259 miles on a single charge. We’d suggest believing the more conservative end of that spectrum, as even a short blast of heavy-footed driving can see that figure tumble.
There is a quirky Maximum Range mode though, which makes use of the sat-nav system and on-board cameras to read the road ahead and provide assistance to any driver trying to wring the most out of the 80kWh battery pack. It’s a mode many owners will grow tired of quickly though, as the endless interventions don’t seem like a worthwhile trade off for a slight increase in range. The Eco and Comfort modes are this car’s bread and butter, and for the most part, the EQC will run on the front axle’s electric motor only to maximise range without irritating you as you drive.
It is quiet, smooth and very luxurious to drive, but maximum charging capability when those batteries run dry is 110kW, which falls short of the 150kW charging system that is slowly expanding across the UK. Expect a full top-up to take around 40 minutes from the fastest outlets.
|Warranty||3-years / Unlimited miles + 8-years/100,000-mile battery warranty|
|Boot space||500 litres|
- 2019 First Mercedes EQC goes on sale
Understanding Mercedes-Benz EQC names
Powertrain 400 4Matic
The motor and transmission combo consists of two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack. The 4Matic label indicates the EQC can send power to all four wheels.
The EQC comes with four specification options: Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus. Each level adds kit but commands a higher price.
Gearbox Single Speed Auto
Most electric vehicles use a single-gear automatic gearbox and the EQC is no different. Simply punch the accelerator and the car does the rest.
Mercedes-Benz EQC Engines
Unlike other manufacturers, Mercedes only currently offers the EQC with one power output and battery capacity, meaning customers only really have the choice of trim levels to ponder with when visiting the local showroom.
That’s not such a bad thing, because this fairly typical twin-electric motor and 80kWh battery pack has been fettled by Mercedes engineers to offer excellent refinement, a very useable real-world range and the sort of performance figures that many sports cars would be proud to flaunt.
The substantial amount of instant power on tap means the 0-62mph sprint is taken care of in just 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 112mph is achievable. Go easy on the accelerator pedal and you can expect around 225 miles from a single charge, which will take 40 minutes when pluged into a fast charger or an overnight charging session when tethered to a standard 7kW outlet.
That said, the EQC's sheer weight means it is a heavy beast to wrangle in and out of corners, so despite the impressive numbers, it doesn’t exactly offer the most inspiring drive when driven at speed.
The 4Matic moniker means that both axles and all four wheels can receive power at any point. Even though the EQC isn’t billed as an off-road vehicle, it will happily juggle power to the appropriate corners to get it out of a sticky situation, adding peace of mind when driving on slippery surfaces.
Mercedes-Benz EQC Trims
Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, AMG Line Premium Plus
The EQC is an expensive car, meaning even the ‘most basic’ Sport trim level vehicles come very well equipped. Externally, you can expect 19-inch alloy wheels, an LED light band at the rear and equally sharp LED headlights at the front.
All cars receive the excellent 'MBUX' multimedia system with 10.3-inch instrument display and 10.3-inch touchscreen media display, while ambient interior lighting, heated seats and a reversing camera are also included.
Stepping up to AMG Line really improves the EQC’s looks, as the more aggressive bodykit and running boards make it feel like a more purposeful machine on the road. This is aided by supersized 20-inch wheels and a bespoke AMG front grille that is, quite predictably, more sporty-looking.
Inside, customers get lots of AMG badging, leather sports seats and stainless steel sports pedals that make it all feel much racier. AMG Line Premium introduces greater levels of technology, with a neat augmented reality sat-nav display that uses 3D landmarks to make it easier to get to a destination without too much effort.
Expect a full 360-degree parking camera here and top of the range Burmester sound system. But those wanting even more can part with almost £75,000 to get everything mentioned previously and a head-up display in AMG Line Premium Plus cars.
Mercedes-Benz EQC Reliability and warranty
The EQC is still far too fresh from the factory for us to comment on its reliability, but it is built to the same standards as Mercedes’ other premium product and, as a result, features the same three-year/unlimited mileage warranty.
For further peace of mind, the manufacturer also offers an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its battery packs. But most manufacturers that have been producing EVs for some years already have been pleasantly surprised at how resilient even early generation battery technology has proven to be.