This EQC’s 80kWh battery is of slightly lower capacity than the one you’ll find in either of its two biggest rivals, the Jaguar I-PACE and the Audi e-tron quattro 55, but it doesn’t affect the eagerness of this car’s drive dynamics in comparison to these key competitors, thanks to a slightly greater torque output. Because this Mercedes is lighter than the Audi, the EQC can also slightly improve upon that Ingolstadt model’s total potential driving range, managing a potential 259 mile WLTP-rated figure that’s 10 miles higher. On the move, all electric vehicles are of course very quiet, but this one is particularly silent, Mercedes having taken great trouble to reduce the levels of road and tyre roar that always become more evident at the wheel of any EV.
There’s plenty to get to grips with if you’re to make the most of the EQC driving experience. There are five driving modes (‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’, ‘Eco’, ‘Individual’ and ‘Maximum range’); and five different battery regeneration programs (the latter selectable via paddles behind the steering wheel). There’s also an ‘auto’ regeneration mode that uses the car’s speed limit detection, navigation systems and radar cruise control to blend the regenerative braking of the electric motors up and down automatically. Switch to ‘Sport’ and it’s certainly quick, thanks to a 408hp total output and 765Nm of torque. As a result, 62mph from rest occupies just 5.1s, but the top speed is limited to 111mph.
Size-wise, the EQC sits between the Mercedes brand’s mid-sized GLC and large GLE SUV models. It shares most with the GLC, though is 100mm longer but, like its main European rivals, can only take two rows of seats. Though the outward styling may be somewhat generic, the car is more recognisable as a Benz when you take a seat within. The brand’s usual twin widescreen dashboard displays feature again here. In addition, there are a few fresh design details, some extra ambient lighting features, some eco-orientated trimming materials, plus of course you get a range of EV-specific displays.
There’s a significantly higher-set driving position than you get in, say, a Jaguar I-PACE, which helps with all-round visibility. And there’s the neat MBUX Mercedes infotainment system with its clever “Hey Mercedes” voice-controlled functionality, though it’s very far from being infallible. In the rear, it’s reasonably spacious, though headroom isn’t helped by the raised floor (necessary to accommodate the large battery pack beneath) and what is a relatively low roofline for a family-shaped SUV. There’s a 500-litre boot out back, which is reasonably large by class standards, but some way off the 660-litre trunk size of an Audi e-tron. It’s easy to fold the 40:20:40-split rear bench.
It’s fortunate for Mercedes that its premium brand rivals have been equally tardy about joining the EV revolution. Can they provide a better large electrically powered luxury SUV than this one? After trying an EQC, you might decide not. It might not be as boldly innovative as, say, a Jaguar I-PACE or a Tesla Model X, but in some ways, it’s a more appealing package. After all, you get a nicer cabin than the Jag offers and better build quality than is found in the Tesla. And both of the other two key contenders in this segment (the BMW iX3 and the Audi e-tron) offer a shorter potential operating range.
So the EQC looks like a very complete package. It doesn’t have the handling prowess of an I-PACE or the streetside wow factor of a Model X but you might think this Merc to be an arguably more complete product than both these two rivals. Just as perhaps you expected it to be.