Mercedes EQB first drive: this mid-size SUV EV offers a sports car ride

Angled side view of Mercedes EQB parked on a country lane
(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

So far, we've mostly covered Mercedes EVs based on the company's EVA platform, built from the ground up for battery-electric vehicles. It underpins the EQS sedan and SUV, and the EQE sedan and SUV. 

But Mercedes also sells EVs which share their platform with their internal combustion siblings. The EQB battery-electric compact SUV shares the same MFA2 platform as the GLB, and is available in Europe now - it'll arrive in the US and Australia later this year. We recently took it for a spin in Germany, and here are our first impressions. 

Mercedes EQB specs and features

There are three EQB models available: EQB 250 (FWD), EQB 300 4Matic (AWD), and EQB 350 4Matic (AWD). Both AWD models are currently available in the UK (£53,610 and £55,110) and will be coming to the US and Australia sometime in 2022 (pricing TBD). 

In the UK, each model comes in two trims: AMG Line and AMG Line Premium (£3,000 extra). Regardless of model, the EQB packs a 66.5kWh battery and supports 100kW DC fast charging (10-80% in 31 minutes) and 11kW Level 2 AC charging (tri-phase).

In terms of performance, the EQB 250 delivers 188hp (140kW) and 284lb-ft (385Nm) to the front wheels, and reaches 100km/h (62mph) in a leisurely 9.2 seconds. 

The EQB 300 4Matic offers 225hp (168kW) and 288lb-ft (390Nm) of torque for a 0-100km (0-62mph) time of 7.7 seconds, while the EQB 350 4Matic boasts 288hp (215kW) and 384lb-ft (520Nm) of torque for a 0-100km/h (0-62mph) sprint in a respectable 6.0 seconds. 

The WLTP range is 452 km (281 miles) for the FWD variant, and 419km (260 miles) for the AWD models.

The EQB comes well equipped with a power tailgate, LED headlights, a 10.25-inch instrument display, a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, AR (augmented reality) navigation, and dual-zone climate control.

Optional features include a third row of seats, a panoramic sunroof, a Burmester audio system, adaptive dampers, a heads-up display, a 360-degree view, Level 2 driver assistance, and heated / ventilated / massaging seats.

Mercedes EQB tech

Pretty much all of the GLB's technology carries over to the EQB. You get self-parking, a 360-degree view, LTE connectivity, WiFi hotspot support, phone remote control via the "me Connect" app, wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Qi wireless phone charging, and the "Hey Mercedes" voice assistant. 

In addition, the EQB gains OTA (over-the-air) software updates, pre-entry climate control, and smart EV route planning.

Inside the EQB you'll find a pair of 10.25-inch screens mounted side-by-side behind a single glass panel. These consist of an instrument display in front of the driver and a center infotainment touchscreen that supports Mercedes' AR (augmented reality) navigation. 

A color heads-up display is available as an option. The EQB also includes standard ambient lighting with 64 colors and an EQ-specific color scheme.

Like the GLB, the EQB offers a comprehensive set of driver assistance and safety features as standard (blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, etc…), plus an optional Level 2 ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) with adaptive cruise control, auto steering, and auto lane change. 

While we didn't spend enough time with the EQB to test this functionality, we expect it to match what the EQS and EQE deliver.

Mercedes EQB design

Design-wise, the EQB is almost identical to the GLB. Basically, it reminds us of a running shoe. The exterior gets a reworked front end and tweaked rear end to match Mercedes' other EQ vehicles – complete with light bars. As such, the headlights, closed-off grille, and front bumper are more aerodynamic, and the taillights have been revised. 

We like how the EQB inherits the GLB's signature rear door kink – it's a really unique touch.

The EQB's interior is pretty much the same as the GLB's. While the EQB doesn't have a frunk (front trunk), it still provides up to 60.4 cu-ft (1,710 liters) of cargo space with both rows of rear seats folded down. 

Speaking of the rear seats, the optional third row is best suited for children or short people (under 5ft 4in tall), and the second row seats – which are split 40/20/40 – each recline and slide back and forth up to 5.5 inches (14cm).

Inside, things are standard Mercedes. The seats are comfortable and the driving position is high, so visibility is excellent. The EQB's interior isn't as luxurious as what the pricier EQS and EQE have to offer, but it's still a very enjoyable place to spend time. 

Best of all, there are no capacitive buttons anywhere, but you'll find dedicated controls for the most used features, including volume and climate settings.

View from behind EQB looking up a country road

(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

Mercedes EQB driving impressions

We briefly drove a higher-end, red EQB 350 4Matic with 20-inch wheels and the third row of seats. Our loop included a variety of road conditions like city traffic, the Autobahn, and even country roads. 

In general, we prefer driving cars over SUVs and crossovers, and despite being an EV, the EQB shares its platform with the internal combustion GLB. As such, we expected the EQB to drive slightly better than the GLB, but nothing more.

And boy were we wrong! The additional weight of the battery pack, and its position below the passenger cabin brings the ride and handling of the EQB into sporty car territory. Gone is the wafty ride and the top-heavy handling typical of SUVs and crossovers. 

Instead, the EQB feels refined and compliant on rough surfaces, and planted and confident in the twisties. Plus, since the EQB is an EV, you get mountains of silent torque to play with.

View from driver's seat of steering wheel and screens

(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

Like Mercedes' other EQ vehicles, the EQB lets you select four levels of regen using steering wheel paddles – low, medium, high, and automatic. We mostly drove in the Sport and Comfort drive modes, with the regen set to high (the other drive modes are Eco and Individual). 

The EQB blends regen and hydraulic braking, and it's mostly seamless. As with most cars today, the steering doesn't provide much feedback, but it's fine.

The EQB's acceleration didn't leave us wanting. It's not as quick as a Tesla Model Y, but we think the majority of drivers will be more than satisfied. 

Overall, the EQB left us pleasantly surprised – especially for a battery-electric SUV that isn't built on a bespoke EV platform. 

The only wildcard here is the EQB's range. 260 miles WLTP is going to translate to less than 220 miles EPA, and that's not very competitive, especially in the US. We're looking forward to testing this in our review later this year, so stay tuned.

Myriam Joire
Freelance Contributor

Myriam Joire (tnkgrl) was born wearing combat boots and holding a keyboard. Moments later she picked up a soldering iron. On weekends, she rally-raced with her father. She's been stomping, typing, hacking, and driving ever since. After spending years being a code-monkey in the video game industry, she joined Engadget as Senior Mobile Editor and later Pebble as Chief Evangelist. Today she hosts the weekly Mobile Tech Podcast, makes videos on YouTube, writes about tech and cars for TechRadar and other major publications, and advises startups on product/media strategy. She's based in San Francisco.