Mercedes EQA 250+ Test Drive Review
Mercedes EQA 250+ Test Drive Review

Mercedes EQA 250+ Test Drive Review

08/07/2024
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The EQA has emerged as Mercedes’ best-selling electric vehicle globally, and now the German manufacturer aims to fortify its EV portfolio in India by introducing this model to our market. Despite the global stagnation in EV demand, Mercedes remains undeterred in expanding its electric footprint, with more BEVs on the horizon (including the EQG). The EQA, an electric counterpart to the GLA, shares a familial resemblance with its combustion-engine sibling, yet Mercedes has implemented distinct modifications to set the two apart. The exterior is accentuated by a signature EV grille, resplendent and adorned with three-pointed stars. The vehicle features connected headlamps and tail lamps, while lightweight AMG-spec 19-inch alloy wheels are aerodynamically designed to enhance range efficiency.

Upon entering the cabin, one is greeted by air vents and seat fabric imbued with a rose gold theme. Emphasising sustainability, the fabric is crafted from recycled PET bottles. While the interior layout closely mirrors that of the GLA, the EQA boasts additional features unique to the electric model. Backlit ambient lighting along the passenger side dashboard and illuminated door sills enhance the cabin’s ambience. The doors project the Mercedes logo onto the ground when opened. Beyond the GLA, the EQA offers gesture control for the infotainment system. The MBUX system, also found in the GLA, now includes augmented reality navigation and AI technology to learn driver behaviour and improve predictive responses.

The HUD provides clear, comprehensive data displays, easily readable day or night, and also judges your driving style by rating you based on driving style. Additionally, the EQA is equipped with a 12-speaker, 740-watt Burmeister audio system featuring Dolby Atmos (not available in the GLA) and a rear armrest, another feature absent in the GLA. However, ventilated seats are not available, which would be a welcome addition considering the tropical climate. The front seats are comfortable, offering ample headroom, legroom, and knee room, with high-quality materials, fit, and finish evident throughout. Safety features include seven airbags, including a knee airbag for extra protection in the event of a crash. Both front seats offer memory function and 4-way lumbar support.

Regrettably, the same cannot be said for the rear bench. Although headroom is sufficient for tall passengers, the floor-mounted batteries compromise rear space. The rear seat base is flat, but the floor is raised to accommodate the batteries, resulting in unsupported knees and poor under-thigh support compared to competitors. The rear seat feels cramped, and the width is insufficient for three passengers, making it a tight fit. The boot space measures 340 litres, which is modest by segment standards and a full 85 litres less than the GLA. The absence of a frunk means the recess under the floor holds the charging cables, reducing depth and making it impractical for long trips. Standard features include Active Parking Assist, dual-zone climate control, Live traffic view, wireless charging, blind spot monitoring, ADAS, seat kinetics, a 360-degree camera, and Adaptive High Beam Assist.

The EQA 250+ is powered by a single electric motor in a front-wheel-drive layout, paired with a 70.5 kWh battery delivering 190 PS of power and 385 Nm of twisting force. Mercedes has opted for HSS batteries which are not only more compact but also safer, in case of a severe collision. Instantaneous torque provides ample power on demand. Mercedes claims a certified range of 560 km on a single charge, though real-world conditions suggest approximately 450 km, which is impressive for the segment. With careful driving, this can extend to nearly 490 km per charge. Three energy recuperation modes, accessible via paddle shifters, help optimize range. In Maximum mode, one can drive primarily with a single pedal.

Numerous energy-specific display options provide insights into energy usage, aiding efficient optimization. Charging is paramount for EVs. Using an 11 kW home charger, a full charge from 0% takes 7 hours and 15 minutes. A 100 kW DC fast charger, however, charges the EQA from 10-80% in just 35 minutes. The limited availability of such DC fast chargers poses a challenge; typically, one might find 60 kW chargers, which will still charge the car to 80% in about 60-70 minutes, convenient if located near your home or office. Average power consumption is around 15.4 kWh per 100 km, with Mercedes claiming a 30-minute charge can provide 400 km of range. The EQA accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 8.6 seconds, with a top speed of 160 km/h. Mercedes is offering four drive modes (Individual, Sport, Comfort & Eco) and ultimately range will dependent on the driving mode and your driving style.

The cabin is exceptionally quiet, with minimal noise intrusion. An Acoustic Presence reminder alerts pedestrians and cyclists at speeds up to 30 km/h, with sound adapting to driving speed and conditions. Above 20 km/h, tire noise becomes more pronounced, and the acoustic system fades. Mercedes addresses battery waste concerns by recycling 96% of the battery material. The EQA comes with an 8-year warranty on the battery or up to 160,000 km, ensuring peace of mind. Weighing over 2 tons, primarily due to the battery, the EQA’s low centre of gravity enhances high-speed stability. However, the steering offers minimal feedback, making it less engaging to drive. A stiffer suspension setup handles the weight well but results in a slightly wobbly low-speed ride. Uneven surfaces cause significant lateral movement, particularly for rear passengers. Nevertheless, high-speed comfort is commendable, and even at low speeds, suspension noise is minimal due to good NVH levels. The tyres provide a strong grip, and the brakes are responsive and reliable. Although prices are yet to be announced as this review goes live, it is anticipated that Mercedes will price the EQA competitively to replicate its global success in India. Targeting young customers who are unlikely to use the rear seat frequently, this being is a notable flaw in the EQA’s otherwise impressive offering. Mercedes is offering seven colour options, including a striking Matte Grey. Competing with the BMW iX1, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and KIA EV6 in India, a competitive pricing strategy could see the EQA doing good numbers.

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