2023 Mercedes EQB 350
The Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV is the most cost-effective way to get into an electric vehicle from the Stuttgart-based automaker. However, the price tag of our test model, which is $87,700, proves that it is not necessarily cheap. Let's find out the pros and cons you get at that price for the smallest product from the EQ lineup currently available in North America. All EQBs are manufactured at the Kecskemet plant in Hungary.
You might find the Mercedes EQB 350 has a familiar look. It shares its platform with the gas-powered GLB (if you want a quick refresher, here's the link to our review (March 20th, 2020)). The design of the front grille is consistent with the rest of the Mercedes lineup, with its blocked-off black panel and huge emblem. The running lights and white light bar complement the front area nicely, but it would be even better if the manufacturer's logo were illuminated like other car companies. It looks most impressive from the side. Boxy shapes like the Mercedes EQB are uncommon in electric vehicles since that reduces range due to the less aerodynamic shape, but the tradeoff is a good one since this is quite good-looking. This gives the impression of a larger SUV than what it is in reality and improves the interior for rear occupants; we will dig into that a little later. The black cladding adds a rugged look to the ensemble; the 19-inch wheels also contribute to this style by blending sporty and luxurious elements. In the back, the LED bar also stretches from one side to the other. The Mercedes logo that flips to reveal the backup camera is also neat.
Inside the cabin, it is closer to the GLB model than the other electric models in the family. The interior layout has been tried and tested in many other gas-powered models of the German automaker. Its landscape-placed 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster and infotainment system remain sleek and intuitive. The gauge cluster can be adjusted in numerous ways, allowing you to prioritize the information that matters most to you. This enhances your experience and makes it more enjoyable. The MBUX system is excellent on the other screen, and you can still use Apple Carplay and Android Auto. We'll dig later into the infotainment screen and its functions. The climate controls are under the central air vents, and the settings appear on the main screen when you adjust them. Moving on to the seats, they are sportier with the leather-suede combination. We didn't find them as comfortable as one might expect from a non-AMG model, which was disappointing. As for the room, this is a spacious five-seater. If you add the optional third row, you will sacrifice some trunk space in exchange for snug additional seats. The second row is large enough for adults to sit in, and car seat installation is easy thanks to the ISOFIX ports and rear anchors.
The Mercedes EQB is available in a single configuration in the Canadian market. Our test version was the EQB 350 4MATIC, a dual motor that delivers 288 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque combined. The battery capacity is 70.5kWh, thus having an official range of 354 km (220 mi); we achieved 389 km (242 mi) on a single charge with the A/C turned on. When we turned the climate controls off, the vehicle even displayed a reading of 398 km. As for charging speeds, the car can accept charges up to 100kW on a DC fast charger, which needs to be improved for a vehicle this size. During our test at a charging station, we were able to charge from 7% to 75% in approximately 40 minutes. This resulted in a range increase of about 300 km. As for a level two charger, you can charge in 6.25 hrs, according to the manufacturer; we observed on our 7.2kW charger about 9 hours when the battery was under 10%.
The Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 feels like a gasoline-powered car on the road. Since the vehicle is moderately powerful compared to its size and weight, over two tons (2,175 kg), the acceleration isn't blazingly fast like so many other EVs. The acceleration time is slower than its AMG counterpart, the AMG GLB 35, by nearly a second (6,2 sec vs 5,3 sec). It doesn't feel slow as you have the instant torque to fly off a stop light or pass on the highway. You can drive the EQB with the one-pedal regen mode. Still, we particularly appreciated the Auto settings that, thanks to a set of cameras and radars, can adjust in real-time if the situation requires more or less regenerative braking, thus allowing for a smoother ride. We found it was most efficient while driving on the highway when there were sudden changes in traffic. This is because it doesn't require as much braking compared to adaptive cruise control. That brings us to braking, which is adequate; the spongy feeling is still present but isn't as pronounced as expected. Steering is direct, and the vehicle handles well. In hard corners, it stays balanced, a good thing considering its weight. The suspension is firm; it does an excellent job of keeping the car on its track even when it's bumpy. The ride feels firm yet still comfortable. Mercedes has found a good balance with the fine-tuning.
Overall, the Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC SUV is a good vehicle. It doesn't boast all the luxuries of the other EQ models, but it's also cheaper than the EQEs and EQS'. Although it is a bit pricier than the top competitor in its segment, you can expect a superior driving experience thanks to better soundproofing and handling. All in all, it's a good start, but the best might be yet to come in the EQB, and selling the base version EQB 250+ alongside the full-equipped version might bring in more sales since we're talking entry-level.
Mercedes has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Mercedes Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred to above.