From £53,6107

Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

If the Tesla Model Y we tested can be considered the £50,000 EV of the moment for those who like a keener-performing family car, this Mercedes EQB 300 takes a very different and more sedate route towards wooing its customer.

In a rapidly developing family EV market, there’s plenty of room for both philosophies (more powerful versions of the EQB already exist for those who want a quicker car, with others expected). While most testers agreed that the EQB 300 had all the accelerative haste that a seven-seat family car really needs, however, most also agreed that it was the Mercedes’ more laid-back, dialled-down and comfort-oriented appeal that they would sooner live with on a daily basis than the Tesla’s stiffer, noisier and more urgent temperament.

I’d love to know how many of the 213 motorway miles of range that our touring test recorded might be possible with a 1200kg caravan on the back and a bike rack on the roof. Something’s better than nothing, but don’t expect to see many EV caravanners on the roads just yet.

Launching neatly but with useful urgency from rest on a dry day at the track, the EQB 300 4Matic needed a little under eight seconds to hit 60mph from rest, making it slower than most twin-motor EVs, but not slow in outright terms. The car split single-motor versions of the Kia EV6 and Polestar 2 we have tested of late, and also proved quicker than a single-motor Skoda Enyaq iV.

On the road, as well as feeling ever keen to respond to demands for power, it had a surfeit of power when getting up to urban speeds and beyond, and felt assured getting onto motorways and overtaking around the national speed limit. Less exciting than effortless, it had everyday performance requirements covered with just a little change.

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Plenty of configurability in the operating modes makes the EQB easy and seamless to drive for those who want simplicity in operation, or alternatively gives you greater manual control of off-throttle ‘sailing’ and battery regeneration should you want it. Select drive using the column-mounted gear selector stalk and the car defaults to an automatic regenerating regime that manages energy regen for you, blending it up when there’s traffic or a turn ahead, and then either down or off entirely when the road is clear.

It works fairly well in all but the busiest traffic, when lane changing can flummox its planning somewhat. But, unlike rival brands, Mercedes also includes manually selectable regen presets via the car’s wheel-mounted shift paddles, so you can simply choose a consistent ‘engine braking’ setting you find intuitive and stick with it if you so choose, or blend it up as and when you need to slow down.