The EQC is Mercedes’ electric SUV, and its first electric car, launched under the electric “EQ” badge. The genesis of the model lies in the C Class, which in turn spawned the C Class estate followed, after a fashion, by the GLC, a small-ish family SUV. And now this, the EQC, which is 10cm longer than the GLC, if you’re into detail, but still based on the former’s chassis.
While rivals for the GLC include cars like the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and XC60, BMW X1 and X3, the relative lack of electric SUVs on the roads right now mean that the rival net for this car is cast a lot wider, and includes the Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model X (which sit on new platforms) and Audi e-tron (which, like the Merc, sits on a modified chassis of an existing ICE model).
Consumers considering this car are those motorists looking for an electric vehicle with a decent range and a premium feel.
If you’re expecting a highly futuristic or unique design inside to signal you as an early-generation adopter, you’ll be disappointed: the interior is (reassuringly, we feel) familiar to Mercedes owners, with the brand’s smart, sober dark plastics and leathers. It’s a serious, grown-up electric SUV with the same centre console and buttons as the GLC, and a long, single glass screen stretching from the middle of the dashboard along behind the steering wheel, showing two lots of infotainment. So you can have sat-nav on the left and two digital dials behind the wheel, or satnav displaying between the dials and Apple CarPlay on the left hand side, plus the great augmented reality navigation. It’s part of the new MBUX technology set-up that’s coming to every new Mercedes and is currently the best on the market, with pin-sharp images and some impressive quirks like your CarPlay music collection swiping in a curved gallery across the screen.
If you get lost in the multiple information menus, you can use the “Hey Mercedes” voice control. Needless to say, there is every conceivable safety option available – parking sensors, blind-spot warning, active brake and steering assist…
We tested the EQC 400 4MATIC. It comes with one year’s subscription to the Ionity rapid charging network, which is one of the more expensive public charging networks. You get a Type 2 charging lead, suitable for callboxes and public charging points. The result is 408 horsepower and 760Nm of torque, with a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds. Given the nature of all that shove from a standstill, it feels faster around town than a similarly powered petrol car, and quieter, of course. There are five driving modes: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport and Individual, and the sat-nav will always send you the route with the shortest charging time.
The EQC is a heavy car, even by electric standards, and while it’s supremely quiet at speed and feels very smooth, you feel that weight as it shifts about on its springs over bumpy ground, and when you brake. The Jaguar, by comparison, is 400kg lighter.
Mercedes’ first mass-volume take on eccentric cars is an impressive one, because the cornerstones of the brand – luxury, comfort, power and technology – are all safeguarded in this EV package. One senses all aspects of the model will improve however, as battery energy density improves and the charging network increases, to complete the ownership proposition. The year’s subscription to Ionity is an important part of the purchase decision for this car, and propels the EQC up the premium electric-SUV wishlist, to join the I-Pace and e-tron at the top.