Charlie Atkinson reviews his very own Mercedes EQA! Find out why he chose it, what he likes most about it and what annoys him in this long-term review!
In my role as editor of EV Powered, I have reviewed a number of electric vehicles and shared my honest thoughts on them, before either recommending them or telling people to steer clear. Now, however, it is time to review my very own car: The Mercedes EQA.
I have been living with this car for more than six months and, in that time, I have found out everything there is to know about the car, including what I like about it, what I don’t like, what some of the annoying features are and what’s surprised me about it.
How it looks
You don’t have to look to closely to spot the similarities to the Mercedes GLA, because the EQA is quite simply the electric alternative to the ‘baby’ Mercedes. However, you might notice that this electric SUV has got a bit more size and presence to it than the original, and that is because of the battery.
The floor-mounted battery means the EQA stands slightly taller than the GLA, and it is slightly wider, too. It also has a few design tweaks, such as the full-length light bar at the rear, and the fake grille at the front, but other than that, it is pretty much identical to the GLA.
Obviously, as I chose this car, I am going to be a fan of this cars design, but I do acknowledge the comments about this car being a bit boring and conventional looking. There are, of course, better looking alternatives out there, namely the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Hyundai Ioniq 5, but I like my cars to be quite understated, and that’s exactly what the EQA is.
My Mercedes EQA is a company car and I did have a few options to choose, and it was a toss-up between this and the Tesla Model 3.
Anybody who has seen my review of the Tesla Model 3 on our YouTube channel will know that it is one of the electric vehicles that I have rated most highly, but the decision boiled down to size.
Although the Tesla Model 3 does offer plenty of space in the back and a boot capacity of 425L, which is far more than 340L you get in the EQA, the Tesla’s shallow saloon-style boot made this an impractical choice for my needs
At EV Powered, we go all over the country filming electric cars and I have often lots of awkwardly shaped camera equipment shoved into the boot of my car, and so a traditional, hatchback style boot was needed in order to cram all this gear into. When I’m not filming, I also have a dog crate in the boot of my car, which is far too tall for the Tesla’s boot.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it may seem silly to have chosen the EQA over the Model 3 just because of the shape of the boot, especially when the Model 3 offers a better range and performance package, but I also prefer the higher driving position you get with an SUV over the lower stance in the likes of a Tesla, so that also played a part in my decision.
This is not me saying the EQA is better than the Tesla; as I mentioned earlier, the Model 3 remains one of my favourite electric vehicles. Instead, the EQA was a better fit to my needs and my day-to-day life, but I do still have some complaints…
What’s it like on the inside?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag once you get inside the EQA, unfortunately.
Immediately you a greeted by a premium interior, with lots of plush materials and an ambience that can be personalized, with 64 colours of interior lighting to choose from. For a car that costs upwards of £55,000, there is an expected level of quality inside the EQA.
There is an acceptable level of space up front, but you may feel quite squashed in the back, with a transmission tunnel that takes up some of your legroom and, despite this being taller than the GLA, headroom is a bit of squeeze, too.
You have two digital screens which dominate the dash, with the middle one your central hub of operations. Here, you can control most of the cars functions, although thankfully, you do still have manual switches for your heating and air conditioning, so you don’t have to fiddle around with a touchscreen if you want your temperature down by a couple of degrees.
The EQA does support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but, for some reason, Mercedes still insists you use a USB-C cable to connect your phone which is really frustrating, especially considering that your mobile won’t fit in its designated spot when you plug the cable in. A small point, but one to really bug you.
There are a few other annoying touches with this car, most notably on the steering wheel and the strokeable controls, which allow you to navigate the infotainment screen and you drivers display. Whilst I do use these to swipe through the different menus and screens, rather than the touch sensitive pad located between the seats, these are quite fiddly and oversensitive. On almost every journey, I have a fight with these buttons whilst simply trying to change the menu on my infotainment screen or select a new screen on the drivers display. Really frustrating and something that could have been avoided with the use of physical buttons on the steering wheel instead.
On the road
Although the Tesla Model 3 beats this hands down for pace, the EQA does pack a bit of a punch for a chunky SUV. It’s not lightning quick – in fact, it’s anything but with a 0-60mph time of only 7.7 seconds – but for a car of this size, it feels really agile and nimble. It might look like a car that was built for just sitting on the motorway and cruising along, but with 225 horsepower, you can still have quite a lot of fun with this. When it comes to the performance of this car, I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised.
In terms of range, this particular model of the EQA is the 300 spec, which offers an official range of 264 miles. On average, I often get a real-world range of 210 miles which is more than enough. Other electric SUV models will offer greater ranges, such as the Kia eNiro for example, but it is still a decent range and *touches wood* I haven’t run out of power just yet!
Another aspect of this car that I do like is the regenerative braking. Personally, I like my regen-braking to be quite severe so that you can rely on one pedal driving, and the EQA is certainly up there with some of the most comfortable settings for regenerative braking in an electric car. There is a big drop off in the severity of the different settings, which are adjusted by flappy paddles behind the steering wheel, but once you find your feet with each setting, you can pretty much forget about the brake pedal, which is just perfect for me.
Despite offering a decent range and a surprising amount of performance, the Mercedes EQA is just ‘OK’ out on the road. It was never going to compete with the likes of the Tesla Model 3, and that’s not why I chose it, but in comparison to some of its main competitors, like the aforementioned Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Audi Q4 e-tron, the Mercedes EQA does feel a step behind. It is solid and gets you from A to B in relative comfort, but there are other, similarly priced models out there that do give you more of an experience when behind the wheel.
For a car that I’ve described as just ‘OK’, does the Mercedes EQA really deserve a price tag of more than £50,000? In my opinion, probably not, and I suspect that the badge on the front has a part to play when it comes to the price, especially when considering the Kia eNiro is just as good and is almost £20,000 cheaper.
I do like the EQA, however. Having lived with it for over six months, I have become accustomed to all its quirks, I am familiar with how it drives, and it still caters for all of the reasons why I chose it. The dog has plenty of space in the back, I can get lots of equipment in it, and it takes me all over the country whilst keeping me nice and comfortable. The range is OK and the performance still puts a smile on my face every now and then.
This review will be slightly harsh on this car, simply because I get to drive the latest electric cars on the market almost every week, and the EQA exists in a burgeoning electric SUV segment. With every new car, the EQA does fall further down the order when compared to these other models, with its flaws accentuated and its shortcomings highlighted. It is like noticing all the rust on your bike when the cool kid from school turns up to the playground with the new one he just got for his birthday.
The Mercedes EQA is my bike, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is Ben Jackson’s brand new Apollo. On its own, the EQA is not too bad at all, but it can’t quite compete with its growing list of competition.