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Mercedes EQC review: shows just how good premium electric cars can be

Mercedes EQC
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Mercedes EQC is a premium, all-electric mid-size SUV, offering up comfort, space and a wide array of technology to keep you engaged, connected and entertained.

It sits above the more compact, crossover Mercedes EQA and seven-seater EQB - the latter of which will be hitting roads soon - while the ultra-luxury Mercedes EQS arrives later in 2021 and will provide a prestigious sedan EV experience.

The EQC price starts at £65,720 (around $92,000 / AU$120,000), however the model we drove - the catchily named *deep breath* EQC 400 4MATIC AMG Line Premium Plus - came in at £76,990 (around $108,000 / AU$141,000).

Currently the EQC isn't available in a number of regions, including North America, but we expect Mercedes to expand its electric car line-up to more countries in the future.

Mercedes EQC design

We drove

Mercedes EQC

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Mercedes EQC 400 AMG Line
Power
: 408hp
Battery: 80kWh
Top Speed: 112 mph
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
Range: up to 245 miles
Price: £76,990

The Mercedes EQC is a beautiful looking electric vehicle. It's well proportioned, with a sleek and sophisticated design. 

The large, 21-inch, multi-spoke wheels on the EQC we drove (an optional extra) add to a powerful, yet premium physique, while the slightly sloping roofline at the rear gives it a sporty flair.

Move into the cabin, and the premium aesthetic continues with calming mood lighting, carbon fibre paneling, bronze accents on the air vents and door trim, and an encompassing design which makes you feel like you’re a little more cocooned in the car.

Electronically adjustable front seats are comfortable and offer a heating function which is useful during colder months. The seats are supremely easy to adjust too, with their controls high up on either door panel, rather than hidden down the side of the seat like you find in many vehicles.

There's good head room in the front, and generally good legroom too, but we did find the driver-side footwell to be a little cramped. The footrest for our left leg felt too slender and the overall space afforded for your feet was a touch on the small side for our liking.

We also noticed the manual-slide sunroof cover - no automatic electric movement here - felt a little cheap and flimsy. It's a minor point, but if you’re someone who likes to open and close the cover frequently, you may be disappointed with its tactility. 

The sloping roof line at the rear looks great from the outside, but what it means when inside the Mercedes EQC is the rear window is quite shallow, reducing visibility.

However, the EQC comes equipped with an excellent rear view camera, offering high quality video. It also has a nice party trick, as it's hidden behind the Mercedes logo on the back of the car, with the badge popping out when the camera is needed, and then returning to its flush position when not in use.

This has allowed Mercedes to design a sleeker rear to the EQC, which again plays nicely into the overall premium styling of the car.

Rear seat passengers will find a decent amount of leg and head room, although it doesn't stretch to being plentiful. A couple of adults can happily sit in the back for long journeys. 

There is a middle seat, with a fold-down armrest when not being sat on, but its convex back means it's not comfortable to sit against for anything longer than short trips into town.

The rear door storage areas are a reasonable size, plus there are magazine pockets on the back of the front seats, providing passengers with a couple of places to stow items.

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Mercedes EQC

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Mercedes EQC

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Mercedes EQC

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Mercedes EQC

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Mercedes EQC

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Mercedes EQC drive, range and charging

Hit the start/stop button on the dash and glance to the center control for the drive shift and you may be a little confused… because there isn't one. Instead, drive select can be found on a stalk protruding from the steering column.

It's a setup we've seen in a handful of other vehicles - such as the Rolls-Royce Ghost - but it's far from the norm. Thankfully, it's easy to use and doesn't take long to get accustomed to.

Once you're familiar, you may well find it easier and quicker to switch between drive and reserve as a hand doesn't need to leave the wheel to make the change.

When you've worked out how to get the EQC moving, you can start to investigate the various drive modes - there are four in total. Comfort is the default setting, and the one you'll likely stick to day to day, providing just enough response to keep things feeling frisky on an overtake, without overdoing power consumption or hardening the ride.

Switch to Sport, and the Mercedes EQC stiffens up to deliver the touted 5.1 seconds 0-62mph acceleration time. That's pretty swift for a mid-size SUV, with the dual-motor drive system producing 408hp, but a top speed of 112mph reminds you this is  a family vehicle rather than a sports car.

Mercedes EQC

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you want to conserve a little more battery power on your journeys, Eco mode will throttle acceleration and increase regenerative braking, helping you get a few more miles out of the 80kWh battery.

For those who really want to eke out as many miles as possible from a single charge you can switch to Maximum Range mode. This limits your max speed to 60 mph and ups the throttling on acceleration, keeping things at a much more leisurely pace. 

It's a handy mode if you're popping to the shops, but also if the battery level is getting to a worryingly low level and you want to ensure you make it to a charging station.

Mercedes says the AMG Line version of the EQC offers a range of up to 245 miles on a single charge, which puts it in the middle of the EV pack, but you're only going to get close to that if you stick religiously to the Eco and Maximum Range modes.

With a mix of driving on city streets, country roads and motorways, and testing out all modes, we were able to comfortably get 180 miles from the EQC. Drive more conservatively on higher speed roads, and stay away from Sport mode entirely, and you will be able to get over 200 miles from the EQC before requiring a charger.

There's a single charging port over the rear, right wheel arch, and on our home 22kW charger we were able to replenish the battery by 40% in under an hour.

Mercedes EQC

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Mercedes EQC specs and tech

The Mercedes EQC comes equipped with two 10.25-inch displays. The central media display is touch-enabled, allowing you to prod and poke the various options of the MBUX operating system.

There's also a touchpad (like you'd find on a laptop) and shortcut buttons in the central divide between the front seats, giving you an alternative way to operate the infotainment system if touch screens aren't your style.

This touchpad makes simple navigation easier, and safer, when driving as it requires less attention than looking at where to tap on a screen - however the touch input makes entering things such as addresses quicker and more accurate.

Mercedes' built-in sat nav is excellent, with the map and directions mirrored in the digital instrument cluster display. The zoom level on the maps also adapts seamlessly to your speed. 

At high speeds it gives you a zoomed out view, allowing you to see more of your route ahead, but as you slow down the map gradually zooms in. 

It means that by the time you approach a junction the map is fully zoomed in, providing clear instructions of what lane you need to be in, or the turning you need to take.

Mercedes EQC

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There's Bluetooth support for your smartphone, allowing you to make and receive calls and stream music through the EQC's sound system. 

On-wheel controls allow you to easily adjust the volume, skip tracks and pick up calls, while the 'Hey Mercedes' voice assistant works reasonably well for speaking basic instructions such as asking to navigate to a particular destination. 

Audio sounds fantastic, with the Burmester multi-speaker setup in the Mercedes EQC delivering high quality sound and deep, powerful bass throughout the cabin.  

The EQC also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to plug your smartphone into the car via the USB-C port and access core apps on the main touchscreen. 

This puts apps such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, Spotify and WhatsApp onto the car's display, allowing you to use services you may be more familiar with.

The second 10.25-inch screen isn't touch enabled, and it's located behind the steering wheel to form a digital instrument cluster. You can easily change the information which is displayed here using on-wheel controls, cycling through a variety of useful options including mapping, audio playback and driving stats.

Mercedes EQC

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Look out of the windshield to the road ahead, and you'll notice the EQC 400 AMG Line also comes with a HUD (heads-up display), which projects key driving information such as your current speed, the speed limit, cruise control settings and navigation directions into your eye line. This means you don't have to take your eyes off the road to find out important information.

The Mercedes EQC is equipped with a range of driving aids too, from basics such as automatic lights and wipers, to lane keep assist, cruise control and pilot assist, with the latter taking over most of the driving control on motorways.

Another nice feature included on the EQC - and something we've seen on other Mercedes towards the top of the firm's range - is traffic light assistant. 

Cameras on the front of the EQC can detect when a traffic signal may be out of view for the driver, and the car can then display a view from one of its cameras on the main display, allowing you to see the light. It's a simple idea, but one that works very well.

For charging your phone, the aforementioned USB-C port at the base of the center console is also joined by a wireless charging mat (if your device supports wire-free top-ups), plus open up the arm rest between the front seats to reveal two more USB-C ports and a handy storage area.

Meanwhile in the rear, there are another two USB-C ports and a single 12v port for passengers in the back to access, ensuring everyone has the ability to keep their devices topped up.

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Mercedes EQC

(Image credit: TechRadar)
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Mercedes EQC

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Mercedes EQC

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Mercedes EQC

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Verdict

The Mercedes EQC is an accomplished, elegant, premium all-electric SUV that can transport you silently and in comfort. 

Its range is good enough for most journeys without being too much of a hindrance, and there's a wealth of tech on board which not only works well, but is also useful and enhances the driving experience.

There is a price to pay for all this though, and if you're after something more affordable you may want to consider the Ford Mustang Mach-E, or the cheaper Kia eNiro and Hyundai Kona Electric.

None offer the same level of opulence and style however, and the Mercedes EQC shows just how good premium electric cars can be.

  • John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the world of fully electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars – and the tech inside them – that are available today. From the super-fast to the tech-packed, he'll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.
John McCann

Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs of some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.