Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+ Review: The Much-Needed EV Hit For Merc?

Published on 8 Jul, 2024, 4:30 AM IST
Updated on 8 Jul, 2024, 8:24 AM IST

Siddharth Vinayak Patankar
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Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

The EQA is the 5th EV from Mercedes-Benz but does it make a compelling argument for itself?

The latest in a line of electric cars from Mercedes-Benz to grace the Indian market. While it may be the 5th EV from the brand, let’s be honest – none of them have really fired so far. And so, the EQA becomes a very big deal in make-or-break terms.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Design

The Mercedes-Benz MFA2 platform, its compact car platform that spawns models like the A-Class, B-Class, GLA, CLA, all of those, and of course, this car too. In a way, that's a good thing that when you look at it at first, you think it is the GLA. I mean, it's got the same shape, size, profile, footprint, styling too, except, of course, the face, where you see the typical EQ brand styling, the headlamp, the DRL, this big, let's call it a grille, big black glossy thing with lots of stars in it, the big, massive Mercedes star, and of course, the green number plate, which is a giveaway too. It does look pretty attractive, looks nice and compact, proportions really work. 19-inch alloy wheels, nice pattern that's two-tone, kind of complements all the black and chrome you see along the side of the car, including the chrome door handles. Comes around to the back with those nice roof rails bringing it into this built-in spoiler, and at the rear is where you see the giant EQA 250+ badging, and that connected taillight, which is again a dead giveaway, it's a typical styling feature for all EQs.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

So in-your-face EQ styling, but not so as an EV. That’s good. The GLA was always a big seller for Mercedes, the EQA has also been worldwide. Let’s see how it picks up in India, where the car is arriving as a direct import from Germany.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Range & Performance

Now, on paper, the driving range looks really ample, and it looks absolutely fine. But, in this kind of hot, humid weather, that's when you start to, of course, have real-world issues with it, because the range does drop pretty dramatically as you use the air-conditioning. I mean, to give you an example, right now I have the car on 83% of the battery, it says the range is 367 kilometres, but if I turn the AC off completely, that range jumps to 406.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Battery Capacity

70.5 kWh

AC Charging 0-100% (11 kW)

7 hours 15 minutes

DC Charging 10-80% (100 kW)

35 minutes

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive

Motor

Asynchronous motor

Max Power

186 bhp

Peak Torque

385 Nm

Transmission

1-Speed Gearbox

Claimed Range

497 – 560 km

The power delivery is also smooth, and you can accelerate fast as you’d expect. The different drive modes are also varied enough, and of course, I don’t have to tell you – sport is most fun but also depletes the battery the quickest. It also gets 3 levels of regen.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Ride & Handling

The EQA comes with run-flat tyres. That's great from a convenience point of view, but it does make the ride quality a little bit hard. Not hard enough for you to find it uncomfortable. In fact, you put it in comfort, as far as the drive modes are concerned, and you do find that it is actually pretty nice. It's comfortable enough. But let's talk about the handling now. Especially when you compare to the GLA, you'll actually find this car a little sportier. The extra weight that sits in the floor pan of the car, and of course, the fact that, you know, this generation of the GLA does give you pretty decent wheelbase, just makes the car's overall handling fairly sporty, and like I said, this one feels better than the GLA.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Tech & Features

Tech is a theme off late with the new Mercs, so it’s no surprise to see it take centre stage here also.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Now, the car comes with augmented reality in the navigation. It also has a head-up display which also shows you navigation, and there you go. You can see now, I'm approaching a turn, and automatically, the front camera has come on onto the screen, and it starts showing me the AR guidance. It's nice. It's different from the previous compacts. Of course, the bigger cars in the range have all had it, especially the upcoming E-Class, which also has the big-screen version of this, but this is nice. It's very effective, and it really tells you exactly what you need to do.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Now, the EQA's MBUX second generation also has gesture control. There's a camera mounted up here, and by the way, in the dark, the minute you have your hand moving in this direction, lights will come on, so that that camera reads your movement. You can set one gesture with one function that you want to shortcut to for the driver, and you can do one for the passenger in the front as well. For now, I'm just going to show you how it works. You just gradually put your hand out like that, and I have it set on ambient lighting right now just to show you the change, so you can, of course, set different things, a shortcut to the media or the maps or many other functions of the car, even the seat comfort and all the various, even the seat comfort setting.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Now, the other thing I like about it is that when you're in Apple CarPlay, you don't have to have like a tile here with the Mercedes logo just to get back to the car's main menu. There's a home button. Just quickly hit that. You go straight back to the main menu. That's nice because especially when you're driving, you want quick access. You don't want to take your eyes off the road. I like that. Again, MBUX's second generation comes with that function as standard.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Interior

It's a well-appointed cabin, and what I like is that it's not in-your-face about the luxury aspect, but it is when it comes to tech. It's laden with a lot of tech. You've got, firstly, of course, the dual-screen setup that's become so familiar now in all the Mercedes-Benz models, but this one gets the second generation of the MBUX system. That means very similar graphics and layout to what you saw on the EQS, rather than what you saw on the EQB. Now, that also means that you've got the latest system where you don't need to connect your phone through the cable. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, thank God for that. There is a wireless charger down there as well, and if you need it, a little USB-C port. Lots of space for your little knick-knacks. The dynamic spiral or slider has gone into being a button now. You still get the little rotary button for the volume, and then, of course, the camera control. Two cup holders, the usual AC controls down here, rose-gold AC vents, that's where the luxury aspect comes in, and this nice star pattern on the dash, which is kind of like what you see on the front grill of all the EQ models. A Burmester sound system with great sound quality, that is a whole lot that you get in this standard package. Chunky steering wheel, lots of controls here on the steering wheel, the slider and touch buttons.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

As I said – the focus is on tech. And while you may not get the huge 14 or 15-inch screens from the bigger siblings, the twin 10.25-inch setup works very well.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

I kind of like that it has these fabric and leatherette two-tone seats. Still, you do get the big glass roof and the rose gold AC vents, besides ambient lighting and a kickass 12-speaker Burmester sound system.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Rear Seats

A quick word on what the car has at the back, you've got the rear AC vents, you've got these two USB-C charging ports, and let's get on with that legroom conversation. It is based on the GLA, so space is not very much different, except you sit a little knees-up because of that battery in the floor, that could be a bit of a problem for some people, but in a chauffeur-driven experience, like some Indian buyers prefer anyway, I got this seat pushed all the way to the front, and then, things are not bad. Having said that, they could have had a seat bottom that was a little bit angled backwards, it would have given me a better sense of under-thigh support. With this armrest dropped down though, things are pretty comfortable, the back angle is nice, and you've got very cute little cup holders that pop out of this one. This seat is set to my driving position, I'm 5'11", and that's not bad in terms of legroom too, for a small compact car. Now, the sense of space gets enhanced by this split-panel roof, and overall, headroom, shoulder room, it's not bad, you do feel fairly comfortable here at the back.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Safety

Oh, and in case you're wondering, rear AC vents, two USB charging ports, and ISOFIX for the child seats. You also get seven airbags, a bunch of ADAS functions including blind spot warning and collision avoidance, and a crash-safe structure. With a 5-Star rating from Euro-NCAP. Yes, that applies since this is a fully built import from the Rastatt plant in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Price & Verdict

Mercedes-Benz has launched the EQA in a single variant at ₹66 lakh (ex-showroom, India). It will compete with the BMW iX1, MINI Countryman SE, and the Volvo twins as direct rivals, and also the Korean duo and BYD’s flagship. Compare that to the rivals and it looks competitive. While most models are still priced below, they either lack features or the brand value of the three-pointed star.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+

Mercedes-Benz India has made a compelling case by offering a 67% buyback deal for a 4-year tenure. That looks even more attractive with a shorter tenure. That is well on par with the kind of deals BMW offers on the iX1. So, does it seem compelling enough? Tell me what you think in the comments

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