Life with a Mercedes-Benz EQC: Month 6
Did Benz hit the ground running with the first of its EQ family? Here’s our verdict - 19 May 2021
The Mercedes-Benz EQC’s Autocar journey started with an extremely complimentary review; moved on to a group test win against the obvious rivals from Audi, Jaguar and Tesla; and then – six months and a host of updates from the opposition later – retained its crown when put under the microscope again, this time on video, by our expert road test team.
In the midst of this winning streak, along came KV20 YCE, on paper an electric GLC carrying a near-£75,000 price tag but in reality so much more. I remember its arrival well, because the sun was shining and lockdown was easing. My teenage son had some friends over for a game of cricket, and even this hard-to- impress audience stood and nodded approvingly,drawninbythestoryof electrification and left gawping by the giant wheels, oversized Mercedes badge and shimmering paint work.
What those comparison tests revealed was that the EQC was the best all-rounder in its class, delivering a balance of comfort, capability and – crucially – range that the opposition could pick off in isolation but not in totality. Expressed in negative terms, the Audi is marginally plusher, the Jaguar better to drive and the Tesla boosted immeasurably by its range and access to a charging infrastructure you can rely on. All three, however, have weaknesses that undermine their overall packages. The Mercedes has none.
What this longer-term test (supposedly daily, although Tier 4 and National Lockdown 2 put paid to some of that ambition) layered on top of those winning verdicts was a very real sense of just how special the EQC is.
While you can perhaps assume that a family-sized SUV engineered by an established premium brand will have a decent baseline of capability, what you may not get a sense of immediately through snapshot reviews is the almost intangible sense of feeling good that comes with this car. You might argue that at this price it should deliver something extra. I can assure you that this isn’t always the case.
It took a few weeks for it to sink in, but the realisation clicked when I walked out the door to do the school run, a five-mile-each-way run on sometimes busy roads, one afternoon. As I hurried towards the Mercedes, late again, it dawned on me: I was relishing the opportunity to climb into its luxurious embrace, to glide, gently and silently along, and to just unwind a bit. On those terms, think of the EQC less as an expensive family SUV and more as a cut-price luxury car. It’s that special.
Now, you might argue that circumstances played a part in my emotions; we’ve all been through the mental mill these past months. But it was notable that the warm, fuzzy feeling never diminished and is still going strong as I wave a teary farewell. The combination of the best of electric travel, packaged in an alluring bodystyle and filled with clever tech and luxurious f lourishes, was good for my soul.