Mercedes goes

electric with SUVs

Mercedes EQC, front
Mercedes EQC, front
Mercedes EQC, side
Mercedes EQC, rear
Mercedes EQC, rear
Mercedes EQC, rear
Mercedes EQC, interior
Mercedes EQC, interior
Mercedes EQC, detail
Mercedes EQC, wheel
Mercedes EQC, boot

BUILT on the same platform as the stylish GLC luxury SUV, Mercedes-Benz has launched a pure battery model called the EQC.

With the hope of challenging the likes of the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-PACE, the EQC offers five-seat practicality, four-wheel drive and a choice of well-equipped trim levels.

But one figure that scoops the headlines is the EV range of up to 259 miles between charges and that figure certainly dispels any range anxiety fears.

Buyers can choose from four main trim levels called Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus. In addition, there are two limited run versions called Edition 1 and Edition 1886.

We chose the EQC AMG Line Premium Plus model priced at £74,530, excluding the Government plug-in grant. But as is the way with most premium car makers, the vehicle's final price-tag crept up to £77,120 thanks to a number of optional extras.

The EQC looks muscular and athletic from any approach and although it resembles the GLC in many ways, it still has its own distinctive styling. There is a new grille and the tapered roofline is also EQC-specific plus there are new rear lights. The car also features lots of blue accents as an indication that it is an EV, along with some bespoke EQC badging and stunning alloy wheels.

The interior is very classy with the 10.25-inch MBUX multi-media touchscreen that flows beautifully into the instrument cluster behind a glass panel. MBUX is Mercedes' innovative multi-media system with the ‘Hey Mercedes' virtual assistant that is voice activated and can help with a number of requests, including finding a particular radio station, accessing the phone book, adjusting the temperature and lots more. It is brought into action by simply saying the magic words: "Hey Mercedes".

Techno treats are plentiful too and include a Burmester surround sound system with 13 speakers, wireless phone charging, full smartphone integration, sat nav and a head-up display.

Comfort levels are exceptionally high with fine leather upholstery and powered seats that can also be heated. There are lots of soft-touch surfaces and the copper-coloured air vents look really smart.

The EQC has an 80kWh lithium-ion battery and there is a compact electric drivetrain on each axle with a combined output of 408hp and 765Nm of torque. When it comes to performance, the EQC can power its way from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds and onto a top speed of 111mph.

With its all-electric power, the acceleration is instant although pulling away in silence still seems quite eerie. The driver can switch through five driving programmes called Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport and Individual that alter the manner in which the EQC reacts.

While Comfort mode is ideal for most day-to-day driving, it's worth experimenting with the Sport setting which really sharpens up the responses.

The road holding is good and body sway is kept to a minimum so long as sharp bends are treated with a degree of respect. There is a constant stream of power on tap and the EQC can easily overtake slower-moving vehicles thanks to sharp bursts of pace.

It's also nicely at ease on motorways where it cruises effortlessly at 70mph, but keep a watchful eye on the speedo as it can easily creep up without any strain. There is also lots of EV data to digest with information about charge levels, range and power distribution etc.

The automatic transmission has just one single speed but there are steering wheel mounted paddles that are used to help regenerate the battery charge with five settings to choose from.

Just like the GLC, the EQC has the practicality bases covered. The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can accommodate 500 litres of luggage - a limit that increases to 1,060 litres with the 60:40 split folding rear seats dropped flat at the press of a button.

And as one would expect, the EQC is packed with safety systems and driver aids to help protect occupants and pedestrians as well as prevent accidents happening in the first place.

All in all, the EQC is a beautifully designed EV that offers SUV practicality, excellent driving dynamics, a wealth of on-board technology and is even good for the planet.

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