Mercedes-Benz already announced it will transition entirely to electric vehicles within the next 10 years, although they are careful to add the caveat, “where market conditions allow.”
For an automaker that sells just about everywhere in the world, that’s a sensible statement. The EQB is emblematic of the commitment to electrification as an affordable, attractive crossover SUV for the American market.
The Mercedes-Benz EQB is a compact “tall wagon” luxury crossover similar in size and configuration to the Audi e-tron or the Jaguar i-Pace. It carries an all-electric drivetrain and is offered in America with dual motors and all-wheel drive.
The EQB is by far the least expensive electric vehicle offered by Mercedes-Benz, starting at $54,500 this year, more than $20,000 less than the EQE sedan and a little more than half the price of the EQS SUV.
The EQB is built with the same bodywork as the GLB gas-powered crossover, and both are constructed on Mercedes’ MFA2 SUV platform. From the outside, the EQB is unremarkable, built along the same lines as other SUVs of its class such as the Lexus RX or the Subaru Outback.
You won’t find anything to dislike about the EQB’s looks, but neither is it a “look-back” design inspiring any great emotion. This is an SUV designed to blend in.
The EQB is designed to carry up to seven passengers in up to three rows, but the third row is optional and designed for occasional use, and you wouldn’t want to ask adults to spend a long time back there. The rest of the interior is perfect Mercedes-Benz luxury. It’s a clean design, comfortable, with all the amenities you expect.
The optional seat heaters in the front row will toast your buns and warm your lower back in moments, and the single-pane multi-screen dashboard and infotainment center remains one of Mercedes’ most impressive achievements. As always, I’ll note the touchpad controller on the console is difficult to use, which only makes the voice-interactive MBUX system that much more important and impressive.
The EQB in its American form is available as the 300 or 350, both with dual-motor all-wheel drive that Mercedes still calls 4Matic, even though it has nothing in common with the 4Matic system in gas-powered vehicles. The two motors together produce 225 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque in the EQB 300 and 288 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque in the EQB 350. That translates to 7 seconds to 60 mph in the 300 and 6 seconds in the 350.
The tradeoff is range. You’ll get 243 EPA-estimated miles in the EQB 300, and 227 miles in the 350. DC Fast Charging capability is 100kW in both models, giving you a 10%-to-80% time of 32 minutes. Home AC charging is 9.6 kW at 240V and 16 Amps, for a 10%-to-100% charge time just under 8 hours. Battery capacity is 70.7 kWh in both models.
The EQB is not rated for towing, at least not at this time. But the drivetrain specs are well-matched to the vehicle, and in our week of driving, we found the range to be generous and the regeneration worked well.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have yet evaluated the EQB. However, the vehicle comes with a full set of Mercedes’ advanced driver assistance and safety features.
Advanced tech includes parking assistance, adaptive high beams, blind-spot monitors and a rearview camera with a 360-degree radar proximity indicator. There’s more available on the option list, but our test vehicle was a base trim model, and that’s good for an evaluation. Among the options on the test car was Speed Limit Assist, which uses information from road signs and GPS navigation to limit the EQB to posted speed limits when enabled.
Infotainment technology is an area where Mercedes-Benz is way out ahead. The MBUX, or Mercedes-Benz User eXperience, is one of the most advanced voice control systems available. Just as with your Siri or Alexa device, you can say “Hey Mercedes” and the car will do whatever you ask. So instead of using the touchpad to change the radio station, you can just say, “Hey Mercedes, change the radio station to Radio Margaritaville” if you have enabled the satellite radio.
For example, I found the ambient lighting a bit too bright for night driving. Rather than pull over to explore the menu system for interior controls, I just said, “Hey Mercedes, please dim the ambient lighting.” I say please out of habit; my mother raised me well, so don’t judge. Anyway, the system immediately popped up the ambient lighting control on the touchscreen and I was able to adjust the lighting to my needs. It’s as easy as that.
On the road, the EQB drives very well. As you would expect, it’s quiet, well-controlled, and the available motor power is well-matched to the vehicle. The one part I would criticize is the braking. The pedal actuation takes a bit of getting used to because you don’t get a lot of braking with a light touch in standard driving mode.
But here again, Mercedes technology saves the day with a nice one-pedal driving mode that gives you maximum regeneration. If you’re going to drive an EV, you will quickly want to learn one-pedal driving. It’ll take less than an hour to become a champ at it. You’ll drive along smoothly and rarely touch the brake pedal.
The rest of the driving experience in the EQB is unremarkable. Visibility is excellent and there are no quirks. It’s a Mercedes-Benz, and that’s why you buy a Mercedes.
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 4Matic Specifications
|Dimension||L: 184.4 inches/W: 79.6 inches/H: 65.6 inches/Wheelbase: 111.3 inches|
|Powertrain||Dual electric motors with direct drive AWD|
|Fuel Economy||104 mpg-e city/98 mpg-e highway|
|Performance Specs||225 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $54,500; As tested: $57,975, including $1,050 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Mercedes has given us the EQB with a simple trim walk between $54,500 and $60,350. The EQB 300 starts at the low end with the Premium trim in a well-configured vehicle with navigation and the MBUX package. For another $1,250 you can get Exclusive trim with massaging seats, interior fragrance system, and four-zone climate control.
Bump up to the $58,300 Pinnacle trim and you get a panoramic glass roof, Burmester surround stereo, and a surround-view camera system. The same range of features and trims starts at $58,050 and goes to $60,350. A destination fee of $1,050 will be added to all base prices.
If I was buying an EQB, I’d pick the mid-grade 300 model for $55,750 just to get the massaging front seats, which are great if you’ve never tried them. I might also spring for the Burmester audio system and the 360-degree camera, so the Pinnacle trim would also be in the running.
I would definitely choose the 300 over the 350, however, because the EQB doesn’t really need the extra power, and I like to maximize range even though it’s only 16 miles. Still, with just a $5,000 trim walk on a $55,000-$60,000 vehicle, there’s very little reason not to plus up your purchase.
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 4Matic — Frequently Asked Questions
Does the EQB have a frunk?
The EQB does not have a front trunk, or frunk.
Does the EQB have heat pump?
All versions of the EQB have a heat pump, which helps with driving range in cold weather.
How many free years of “Mercedes me” charging are included with a purchase of the EQB?
Every battery electric Mercedes-EQ model includes unlimited 30-minute complimentary DC fast charging sessions with Electrify America for two years, starting with the initial activation.