Mercedes-Benz EQA First Drive Review: Electrifying Finesse!

The Mercedes-Benz EQA is the most affordable electric vehicle from the stable of Mercedes-Benz in India. We take it for a drive and find out what this EV has to offer.

By Manav Sinha | on July 8, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

When it comes to being aggressive with the number of products and variants that a premium carmaker launches in India, there’s no one that does it like Mercedes-Benz. While they have an array of up-to-date products in their ICE (internal combustion engine) range, their EV range has not been devoid of action either. Currently, they have electric products placed in almost every segment. Starting from the top, we have the EQS sedan which is their electric equivalent of their flagship S-Class series, then there is the EQE SUV which is based on the GLE, and finally, there’s the EQB SUV which is based on the GLB. Now, the German automaker is bringing their most affordable offering in their electric range – the EQA, which as you can guess by now, is based on their most affordable ICE SUV, the GLA.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Review: The First Glance

The first thing you would notice about the EQA is that the design of the car plays things rather safe. There is no stand-out individual element which you could say is a design highlight, however, all these elements come together rather well as a whole package. In terms of road presence, it will immediately remind you of the Mercedes-Benz GLA but given that the panels and the overall design is now ‘smoother’ for better aerodynamics, you instantly know that you are looking at an electric car. Essentially, it takes the silhouette of the GLA and adds elements from other cars in the EQ range (Mercedes’ branding of their EV lineup). This includes the familiar blacked-out ‘grille’ at the front with a lot of three-pointed stars flanked by headlamps with blue inserts that are connected with a light band running between them. The bumper has been updated as well to be more aerodynamic giving the EQA a distinct look when compared to what it is based on.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Design Review

It is from the sides, however, where the EQA has the most resemblance to the GLA, with the differences coming from the chrome-finished windowsills and the aero-friendly 19-inch AMG wheels that our test car was shod with. At the back, you get the connected tail lamps like other EQ models and as a result, the number plate has been shifted down to the bumper.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Performance Review

Mercedes-Benz EQA Review: Stepping In

On the inside, the cabin is almost identical to the one in the GLA with a few bits here and there that have been changed to distinguish the EQA’s interior. These include Rose Gold accents inside the AC vents which look quite nice in person but what’s even more incredible is the three-pointed star pattern on the dashboard in front of the passenger that lights up and can be set as per the 64-colour ambient light that you select for the cabin. Additioally, you also get features like memory function and 4-way adjustable lumbar support for both the front seats and a high definition Head Up Display (HUD) for the driver which is hands down one of the best units not only in the segment but overall in the premium category.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Interior Review

The infotainment system is paired with a fantastic 710 watt 12-speaker Burmester sound system that can even play lossless audio – if you are into that, like me, is a great touch – and is also capable of showing augmented reality navigation on the screen as long as you use their in-built maps system and not Google Maps or Apple Maps, of course. It also supports Gesture control but that, at least in my books, is a more of a gimmick than a feature. The flat-bottom steering wheel is high on functionality but can take a bit to get used to especially since all controls on it are touch-based.

At the back, the experience is not why you would primarily want to buy the EQA. Since the automaker has had to fit the batter underneath the floor, the height of rear seats feel as if it has dipped in relation to your feet, as compared to other ICE cars. As a result, you sit a bit knees-up. Space-wise, there’s nothing to complain however occupants that are taller than 6 feet might find the headroom to be cramped. And yes, in case you are wondering, the car does come with a 360-degree camera and a panoramic sunroof as well, which is split in two in the EQA.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Feature Review

The boot space has also shrunk in size to accommodate the batteries, as compared to the GLA, and now measures 340 liters. While the electrically operated boot lid is a nice touch, keep in mind that this is all the boot space that you would have as there is no ‘frunk’ or a compartment space under the hood at the front like some other ground-up EVs.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Review: The Drive

The EQA comes with an 188bhp motor that sends power to the front wheels and makes 385Nm of torque. As per Mercedes, this makes it capable of going from 0-100km/h in a matter of 8.6 seconds and all the way to a top speed of 160km/h. While on paper, this is nowhere what you would call ‘fast’ in the segment it competes in – that cake is gobbled up by Volvo XC40 Recharge – in our first drive around the city of Jaipur and the neighbouring highways, it felt more than enough. Being an EV, you get that instant delivery of torque the moment you press the accelerator which makes quick overtakes easy, both in the city and the highway. I particularly liked the good quality feedback from the steering which is a rare find in the EV space.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Ride and Handling Review

Interestingly, the EQA also comes with paddle shifters – which is interesting as the car does not come with a gearbox since it is an EV – and it’s meant to change between recuperation modes. What this essentially does is that it mimics the engine braking you would get in an ICE car at its minimum setting – yes, it is 3-stage adjustable – and can let you do single pedal-driving at its highest setting. What I liked was that there is an ‘intelligent’ mode as well which selects the recuperation for you by itself. The car also has several driving modes which alter the performance of the car. During my drive, I found the recuperation left at minimum and the drivetrain in ‘Comfort’ setting to be the most natural-feeling combination.

Being an EV that has been adapted from an ICE car, the weight of the vehicle can be felt through undulations and corners if you were to take them spiritedly. This becomes evident in the way that there’s a bit of vertical movement from the ride setup through our poorly paved roads. However, it is not uncomfortable by any stretch. The EQA coped with all conditions decently well.

Also Read: Mercedes-Benz EQE Review

We also have to talk about perhaps the biggest concern of modern-day EV buyers – range. As per Mercedes-Benz, the EQA can drive up to 560 kilometres on a full charge as per the WLTP test cycle. While we will test the actual driving range in our full review, it would be fair to say that the EQA has enough in the bank that you don’t end up having range anxiety during your daily commutes while at the same time, give you enough confidence to go for your mid-distance highway getaways during the weekend. As for charging, the 70.5kWh battery is claimed to be able to charge from 10-80% in 35 minutes from a 100kW DC fast charger. If you were to use an 11kW AC charger then a ‘tank up’ from 0-100% would take 7 hours and 15 minutes. In short, an overnight plug in will sort out most of your requirement with the EQA.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Review

On the safety front, you get 7 airbags in the car including a knee airbag for the driver, blind-spot monitoring, runflat tyres which can do up to 80km at a maximum of 80km/h and Active Brake Assist as well.

Mercedes-Benz EQA Review: The Verdict

As I mentioned at the start of this review, the EQA almost perfects the formula for how one should adapt an ICE car to an EV version by delivering highly on almost all fronts. The EQA comes across as a jack-of-all-trades EV which is honestly a lot more compelling situation than having a master-of-one type of EV. Given the shape and size of the car, along with the battery size, range and driving performance, the EQA seems set to be a highly lucrative offering in the entry-level premium EV segment in India. The fact that it comes with a Mercedes-Benz badge only adds to the value.

  • Mercedes-Benz EQA

Motor: Single, ASM

Battery: 70.5kWh

Transmission: Single-Speed / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 188bhp

Torque: 385Nm

Price: TBA

X-Factor: An all-round option that makes for a safe bet if you want a premium EV.

•  High on tech

•  Fit and finish

• Limited Boot space

•  Unassuming Looks

Tags: Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz EQA EQA

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