From £65,720
Our new luxury EV will get us there in style – so long as we don’t forget to charge it
Jim Holder
26 October 2020

Why we’re running it: The EQC won our EV SUV mega-test 12 months ago, but is it an Audi, Jaguar and Tesla beater in everyday life?

Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Mercedes-Benz EQC: Month 1

Talk to me - 7 October 2020

I had high hopes for Mercedes’ voice recognition. But it’s proving a bit hit and miss so far; sometimes it picks up my commands – even complex postcodes – but at other times it gets confused. It’s early days, and I’m finding a more relaxed chatting voice is more effective than a carefully enunciated one. Let’s hope we learn to get along better in time.

Mileage: 698

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Welcoming the EQC to the fleet - 23 September 2020

Sometimes it takes a little jeopardy to push boundaries. Just the night before, I’d done a radio phone-in about electric cars, suggesting that they’re generally hugely capable and that for many more people than are buying them, they could be the perfect means of transport. And then I went to bed without checking my schedule for the next day.

So it was with no little amount of horror that I then awoke to discover that – after six months of commuting 12 paces from my bed to my chair – I was due in Northampton, 89 miles away, and that I hadn’t charged the rather lovely Mercedes-Benz EQC overnight. Did I grab the keys to my wife’s trusty 10-year-old Honda Civic, or did I live the change I wanted to see?

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Car review
Mercedes-Benz ECQ 2019 review - hero front

Mercedes’ first proper electric car hits a competitive mark dynamically and might exceed rivals for comfort and refinement. Big appeal for the eco-conscious and tech-savvy; maybe a touch less for the interested driver

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I’ll admit that my hand flicked from one set of keys to the other more than once but, after a calming few minutes online researching charger locations, I knew I had to live by my own words. My almost-calamitous organisation meant I had to leave 30 minutes earlier than otherwise but, if all went well, I’d be on time and have enough electrons whizzing around beneath my feet to get home again.

And – surprise, surprise – I drove, I stopped and a 35-minute stop at an Ionity/Polar charging station just off the M1 delivered around 70 miles of charge. Naysayers take note: there were 11 fairly-high-speed chargers at this well-known location, and I was the only one using them; come a short distance off the motorway these days and it feels like you’re never far from a chance for a rapid top-up. And while I waited, I was able to go online and clear my emails, so even having to leave early had upsides, too.

So now experience means my personal comfort zone on how far I’m prepared to go when I’m out and about is greatly expanded – and I can look forward to really enjoying the merits of the EQC, Mercedes’ first effort at an all-in electric vehicle and a pioneer of the firm’s EQ sub-brand.

Sure, it might look familiar to anyone who has ever clapped their eyes on a GLC, bar the coupé-like rear end and some nifty design flourishes, from the XL-sized badge, wheels and light arrangements through to the copper-coloured finishes on the air vents (to look like the internals of circuit boards, naturally), but Mercedes is far from the only one to have gone for a relatively conservative start to this journey.

The EQC is a car that has been eagerly anticipated on our fleet for some time, not just because it carries a large price tag and the promise of premium refinements and some cutting-edge tech, but also because it was declared the winner of an all-electric showdown with the Audi E-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X by our road test team last year. It edged the verdict on account of being much the easiest of the cars to live with, as well as delivering decent, if not class-leading, quantities of those sometimes most diverse of characteristics: driver involvement and comfort and practicality.

No question, this is a car that makes you go ‘wow’. Since it arrived 10 days ago, there has been a line of passing kids peering through the windows (one of the more enjoyable distractions of working from home is earwigging on what future generations think about the cars on my driveway), and that in itself is clear proof of the journey that Mercedes, not so long ago the favoured choice for anyone who considered string gloves the height of fashion, has undergone in recent years. It’s also a trajectory that cars like the EQC must accelerate if this so-called ‘legacy’ car maker is to remain relevant into the future.

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First impressions? To drive, it’s a cut above the average electric car – which means relaxing or fast on demand, with a frisson of dynamic excitement on offer, albeit one that can never hide its 2495kg kerb weight and sits short of what the I-Pace achieves. It’s a joy to be in, from its comfortable, beautifully upholstered seats to its abundance of practical cubbies. The massive, dasbhboard-length infotainment-and-instruments screen and the head-up display give a futuristic air, although I suspect it’s going to take time for the array of screen, dash and steering wheel buttons to all fall to hand intuitively. The voice-controlled ‘Hey Mercedes’ system helps with that but isn’t infallible as far as my southern English mumbling is concerned.

Range will be interesting, too. As it dials into my driving style, an indicated 210 miles is being shown, rather than the official 232. Consider also that it seems to be rating its capabilities around 5% too highly and you end up with a car that records a sub-200-mile figure; that’s potentially 25% short of what I’d consider ideal and less than the Kia e-Niro offers for half the price. It will be interesting to find out if I can learn to use the various driving modes more efficiently and dial my driving style into the car better, too.

Most exciting of all is the fact that the EQC is already pushing the boundaries of what I thought I knew about EVs or was willing to do. Question is, is it going to lead me down a path of fulfilment or trouble?

Second Opinion

I’m most interested to find out how Jim gets on with the EQC’s various driving modes and semi-autonomous driving aids. It’s a complicated thing to get on terms with, as I discovered on the international press launch in Oslo and on a group test. It just shaded its electric rivals in the latter, mostly by being the most multitalented car on the day. But the way the regenerative braking system manages itself around town if you leave it in Auto mode certainly raises some drivability quirks.

Matt Saunders

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Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus specification

Specs: Price New £74,610 Price as tested £77,200 Options

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Driving Assistance Pack £1695, Designo Hyacinth Red metallic paint £895

Test Data: Engine 2x AC synchronous electric motors Power 402bhp Torque 561lb ft Kerb weight 2495kg Top speed 112mph 0-62mph 5.1sec Battery 80kWh Range 232 miles CO2 0g/km Faults None Expenses None

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Comments
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Folsom 27 October 2020

EV environment impact

1. Most vehicles are designed around multiple passangers, but most trips are done solo. Reducing the impact of personal vehicles has to be around alternative transport modes, not around alternative vehicles.

2. The environmental impact of consumables other than fuel, combined with the vehicle manufacture and post useful life destruction, is greater than the impact of fuel alone. Again, its about vehicle volume, not fuel.

3. There are 1 billion vehicles in the world today, and were they all electric we'd have a massive battery recycling and disposal issue.

Going to other posters points, much of the EV thing is virtue signaling coupled with good people doing what they perceive to be correct based on their misunderstanding of the environmental impacts of vehicles.

You've no idea how much better I feel after that rant...

 

Ski Kid 27 October 2020

Simply a fact

If they are lumping half a ton of battery packs around the tyres will not last as long if they had not the mass burden, although just a small part of running a vehicle.

BenzinBob 27 October 2020

overthinking it

He got to where he was going with not much fuss didn't he? Nice car, nice interior, quiet, clean, bloody expensive. I like it. The world around us will adapt.

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