Review: Mercedes EQC v. Mercedes GLC

09th January 2020
Bob Murray

What sort of SUV should you buy – petrol powered or electrically driven? For some, it’s the key car-buying question of the times.

Mercedes is one company that offers a choice of petrol or battery power, making its popular C-Class based SUV available in both forms. The offerings are the same size, look pretty much the same, offer largely the same accommodation and features, yet are completely different beasts to drive – and to pay for. GRR brought them together for a showdown…


In the petrol corner is the latest GLC 300 coupe with its turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine boosted by a 48-volt starter-generator, which earns it the EQ Boost badge. The powertrain sends 258hp to all four-wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission and in well-equipped AMG Line Premium form as shown here it costs just over £52,000.

Up against it is the first of Mercedes’ EQ breed of all-electric machines, the EQC. It is built on a version of the same underpinnings as the GLC on the same production line, is clothed with a body that’s almost as coupe-esque, and is powered by motors on both front and back axles. It’s equally all-wheel-drive as the GLC then but with just a single-speed, direct-drive transmission. With all its torque one gear is all you need.

In fact it has double the torque of the petrol GLC, as well as 150 more horses under the bonnet. Underpowered the electric newcomer is not, but it needs the extra because it weighs close to 700kg (about the weight of eight people) more than its petrol counterpart. The EQC’s lithium-ion batteries account for the vast majority of this lardiness.

The EQC is a heavyweight in the price stakes, too. Prices start at £65,000 but the car you see here in AMG Line Premium Plus form costs over £73,000, even after the government has knocked £3,500 off with its electric car grant. In truth it’s about what the EQC’s premium electric rivals, such as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron, cost, but it’s still leaves the petrol car with a £20k advantage, though it would of course be easy to lose that by up-speccing your GLC with an AMG badge. Alas down-speccing the EQC to a more affordable entry point is not likely any time soon.


Price aside, the word on everyone’s lips where electric cars are concerned is range. According to the new WLTP test standard, the EQC should be able to travel between 232 and 259 miles on a single charge. Features to help make that real include a ‘max range’ drive mode and EQ-optimised navigation that works out a route that balances fastest driving time against shortest charging time.

You can also help range by clicking one of two power regeneration settings via paddles on the steering column. Either setting makes a noticeable difference to how the EQC drives, slowing the car – and charging the batteries – the moment you take your foot off the loud pedal. Level two power regeneration offers virtually one-pedal motoring; with forward planning, you rarely need to touch the brakes, but it certainly won’t be intuitive for everyone.

The EQC’s batteries can be charged from 10-80 per cent capacity at a fast (110kW) public charging station in 40 minutes, or in 11 hours plugged in to a domestic electric supply.


The GLC, like any petrol car, takes just a few minutes to fill of course, and it will be enough to keep it going for another 100 miles or so after the EQC has gone flat. With a 57-litre tank and official average fuel consumption of 29.4mpg its range is 368 miles. But hoof it and the range will drop – just as it will in the EQC. As always, range depends to a large extent on how you drive, and that applies to both petrol and electric.

Both are quickish cars but there’s no question which is the faster accelerating of the pair – that’s the EQC by quite a margin, knocking off the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.1 seconds. All that instant torque makes for addictive performance with effortless overtaking at any two-figure speed. Don’t expect to storm the autobahn though; like some other electric cars top speed is limited to 112mph. The petrol GLC will do almost 150mph.

Speed alone doesn’t guarantee driver appeal and while the EQC is a Mercedes through and through with exemplary ride composure and secure handling, it never captures the more sporting nature of the GLC. The electric car is a tad ponderous for that.


What the EQC delivers in spades though is refinement. It is exceptionally quiet and smooth. With nothing challenging to learn about driving it and a typically impressive cabin with stunning widescreen dash display, few cars are as soothing as this. It is a great car for de-stressing.

The EQC is practical, too: roomy enough for four, or five at a push, with a high-floored but deep boot which can be extended by folding the back seats down, just like a regular SUV. It will tow, though its maximum towing weight is a long way short of the GLC’s 2.4 tonne maximum.

Hop into the GLC after the EQC and it feels just as Mercedes, but fire it up and the unmistakable thought is that you are stepping into the past as all that climate-changing oil goes up in smoke and all manner of pistons, valves, cams and gears come to life. In this new mildly hybridised EQ Boost form it’s all as refined, efficient and clean as petrol engines get, but it’s still in a different world from the clean, silent and seamless thrust of the one Mercedes here without an exhaust pipe.


For some, the EQC’s all-round refinement allied to the absence of (tailpipe) emissions will be enough; for others who place a higher value on a rewarding drive the GLC will be the clear choice. It may be dirtier but it’s more engaging, feels lighter on its feet and is more agjle when you push it hard. It’s the driver’s choice.

Can the cost of running the cars give a technical knock-out to the EQC? For some the electric Merc will be a financial no-brainer. No CO2 emissions mean no road tax, a much reduced company car tax bill, potential parking and congestion charge concessions and a cost to “fill up” a fraction that of a tankful of unleaded. Costs do vary, but 19.8p worth of unleaded is needed to take the GLC a mile, while the EQC requires just 4.3p worth of electricity.

Is it enough to make battery power the winner here? We are in the driver’s camp and will go for the latest GLC and save some money, if not the planet. The GLC with EQ Boost is a fine all round package. But we suspect the real dilemma will come in the future, when both these cars offer the same performance for the same price. Making a decision then would be much harder.

Mercedes GLC 300 petrol v. Mercedes EQC 400 electric


Paying for them 

Price as tested



Road tax



Cost to fill up

£73 @ £1.28/litre

£11.20 (@14p/kWh

Fuel cost per mile




Driving them


2.0-litre four-cylinder

2 x electric motors








Nine-speed auto, four-wheel-drive

Single speed auto, four-wheel-drive

Top speed




6.3 seconds

5.1 seconds


57 litres



368 miles

259 miles


Living with them













Kerb weight



Boot size

500/1,400 litres


Max braked towing

2.4 tonnes

1.8 tonnes





Images courtesy of Barry Hayden.                            


  • Mercedes

  • EQC

  • GLC

  • Review

  • Electric

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