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    Mercedes EQA 250+ First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Vikrant Singh

    2,291 Views
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Right Rear Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Left Rear Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Left Side View
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Left Side View
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Left Side View
    Mercedes-Benz EQA Left Front Three Quarter

    Why would I buy it

    • Feels like a proper Mercedes inside
    • High claimed range
    • It is quick!

    Why would I avoid it

    • Doesn't look special
    • Rear seat is not comfortable
    • Ride quality isn't luxurious

    What is it?

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    This is the electric version of Mercedes' entry-level SUV, the GLA. It is front-wheel driven, better specced than the ICE version, and Mercedes is offering an assured buy-back at 67 per cent of its original value in four years. The Mercedes EQA also comes with a claimed range of 560km for this 250+ version.

    The EQA goes up against the BMW iX1. The latter is all-wheel-drive, quicker and more powerful, and offers a bit more interior room. The BMW, however, has a shorter range.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    As far as styling goes, given the EQA is based on the GLA and not on a dedicated electric platform, the similarity in design and proportions between the two SUVs is clear. The EQA does, however, sport a completely new front grill, a new set of 19-inch alloy wheels, and a connected taillamp design. The bumpers — front and back — are different as well.

    Overall, the EQA doesn't make for an imposing SUV. It also doesn't look as special as an EV should. After all, one does buy an EV to make a statement, no matter how subtle.

    Is the cabin of the EQA any good?

    8 / 10

    Dashboard

    The cabin of the EQA is right on the mark. The design is similar to the GLA. So, it inherits the good fit and finish, the rich quality of plastic, the inviting play of different finishes, and the overall ambience of a small, but luxurious car. Additionally, the illuminated stars on the dashboard, the rose gold finish for the aircon vents, and the double-spoke steering wheel design give the EQA a higher sense of occasion than the GLA.

    The EQA also leaves the latter trailing in terms of features. The former gets a newer iteration of the MBUX system with augmented reality (AR) as part of navigation. It's not as high-tech as it sounds, but it is convenient. The AR feature uses the front camera feed and overlays direction arrows on it to tell you where you need to go. The EQA gets memory seats too, and a Burmester sound system.

    Rear Seats

    Now, when it comes to seating and space, the EQA is a mixed bag. The front seats offer sumptuous and supportive seating for the driver and the front passenger.There's decent elbow room too, to prevent the two occupants from getting in each other’s hair.

    But, the rear is quite disappointing. Space-wise, it's good for two, and one can fit an underfed adult in the middle if it comes to it. But the seating comfort is missing. The seat bottom is nearly on the floor, which means there's no thigh support to speak of. It reminds me of sitting in the last row of a three-row SUV wherein the third row was an after-thought. One doesn't expect this lack of support and comfort in a luxury car.

    Is the Mercedes EQA good to drive?

    8 / 10

    Engine Shot

    The specs on paper might not seem tremendous. The power for the motor is rated at 188bhp, while the torque output is pegged at 385Nm. Plus, its claimed 0-100kmph time of 8.6 seconds might not draw more than an appreciative nod.

    Now, don't get us wrong, for an ICE, these figures would be noteworthy. But for an EV, especially when its competition in the form of the iX1 and the Volvo XC40 Recharge are delivering higher power and torque ratings and significantly quicker acceleration times and higher top speeds, the EQA numbers seem more run of the mill.

    Barring the range, of course, because on that front, the Mercedes crushes its competition.

    Left Side View

    The good news is, we didn't find the EQA's performance lacking in any way on the road. It is properly alert and quick and raring to go in the Sport mode with its accelerator pedal response feeling (pardon the pun) electric! It torque steers, wheelspins, and catches up with traffic ahead a lot sooner than one expects with just an energetic prod to the pedal.

    It is less excitable in the Comfort mode, but still never felt slow or lethargic. That changed when we switched to the Eco mode. Now, we had a car that refused to react to throttle inputs with any semblance of interest till the pedal was halfway in. Point to note: Eco mode might give you more range, but it robs this car of its character.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    Besides performance, the calibration of the throttle, its on-off transition, and the linearity of the power delivery also make the EQA an easy car to drive. Even if it's your first electric, you won't need to relearn anything. It will feel completely natural, especially in its lightest or weakest regeneration mode.

    Driving at stronger regen levels will require some thought and practice. But, because the transitions are so well-judged, it won't take time to get used to. What we couldn't get used to though, was the EQA's ride quality. Over well-paved roads, undulations, and mild road bumps, the SUV rides with a sense of pliancy and composure. But, show it any stepped bump or a slightly serious pothole, and the EQA's suspension feels harsh and unsettled. One can both hear and feel the suspension struggling to deal with the impact.

    Left Side View

    This is partly due to the low profile run-flat tyres on 19-inch rims, and partly down to the suspension setup that needs to deal with the added heft of an EV. Also note, the EQA is a CBU and not one that's been heavily reworked for India. This might have a part to play here as well. Braking and steering responses, meanwhile, are progressive and predictable. There's a hint of mushiness to the brake feel initially, but nothing that takes away from the sense of surety the EQA otherwise conveys, even at three-digit speeds.

    Should you buy the Mercedes EQA?

    7 / 10

    I

    Tail Light/Tail Lamp

    f you are looking to add another luxury car in the household, which will primarily be used in the city, and would not be transporting more than two people more often than not, then yes, the Mercedes EQA makes sense. It also makes sense for a double-income household wherein the spouse that covers more distance daily to work and back can opt for the EQA, while the other goes for a conventional ICE-powered option to cover all bases.

    As is clear, these boxes can be checked, and scenarios addressed, by any luxury EV. And there lies the problem for the EQA. Yes, it packs in the highest range in its class, but if you don’t need a near 500km range, there's no other compelling reason to buy it.

    Photography : Kapil Angane

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