Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+ review | Puts range-anxiety to rest  

The Mercedes EQA 250+, with its strong battery performance and plethora of tech features is a strong contender for the top spot in the entry-level luxury SUV segment 

Updated - July 08, 2024 05:02 pm IST

Published - July 08, 2024 05:01 pm IST

The Mercedes EQA 250+, with its strong battery performance and plethora of tech features.

The Mercedes EQA 250+, with its strong battery performance and plethora of tech features. | Photo Credit: Nabeel Ahmed

As the switch to electric vehicles gathers pace it is but natural for luxury EV-makers to try and capitalise on their rising popularity. Mercedes-Benz is betting big on EVs, with the company planning to go all-electric by the end of the decade. With its slow and steady approach, the company aims to establish a dedicated audience for its EVs.

The German-automaker with its EQA 250+ is looking to capture the hearts of India’s deep-pocketed youth who have an affinity for tech. And though the EAQ is not the first entry-level luxury electric SUV to hit the Indian roads, it comes with some tall claims which are sure to grab the attention of enthusiast.

The EQA 250+ shares a lot of its design elements with the  GLA.

The EQA 250+ shares a lot of its design elements with the  GLA. | Photo Credit: Nabeel Ahmed

The EQA 250+ comes with a 70.5 kWh battery pack, delivering power to the front wheels. For the ones interested in the performance figures, the vehicle’s single-motor setup churns out 188 bhp and 385 Nm of torque.

We took the SUV on a round trip from Jaipur to Kishangarh. The drive spanning 200 kms took us through city streets, national highways, narrow village roads and some broken mud-laden patches providing a wholesome feel of the SUV in Indian conditions during the monsoon. And here is what we found.

Design

The EQA 250+ is based on the GLA, an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) sibling, and shares many of its design elements. However, it is easy to distinguish the two as the EQA gets new headlamps, distinctive grille element at the front and a lightbar that runs the full width of the car’s front end.

At the rear, the vehicle gets a connected tail lamp set up, along with19-inc alloys that come with AMG badging that make it stand out from its ICE siblings.

The EQA 250+ stands out with its backlit dashboard with star pattern, rose-gold AC vents, and a centre armrest in the rear. 

The EQA 250+ stands out with its backlit dashboard with star pattern, rose-gold AC vents, and a centre armrest in the rear.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The interiors of the EQA 250+ will be a familiar place for people who have experienced the GLA. However, the electric SUV stands out with its backlit dashboard with star pattern, rose-gold AC vents, and a centre armrest in the rear.

Driving aids and system performance

In the front seats the vehicle offers a 10.25-inch touch display, which makes use of the company’s MBUX Gen-2 that uses NGT-7 software. The touchscreen is slick and provides a familiar user-experience as other vehicles from the brand.

The “Hey Mercedes” voice command features are now powered by AI which had a marked improvement. However, we hope Mercedes will add recognition for more commands in the future.

The vehicle’s HUD (Head-up-display) comes in handy in low-visibility environments. We made ample use of the HUD during heavy rains that lased the highways during the drive.

The EQA 250+ comes with gesture controls and on-board maps that provide AR-based turn-by-turn navigation.

The EQA 250+ comes with gesture controls and on-board maps that provide AR-based turn-by-turn navigation. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The vehicle’s four-exterior cameras provide good feedback when driving through narrow crowded streets and when driving over uneven stretches. But lane-keep assist, and active-brake assist features are built more in line with European conditions. So, they had to be turned off during the drive.

The vehicle also gets gesture controls that make use of a 3D camera in the overhead panel. Gestures are limited but can be customised according to user preference, and while detection is good, the addition of more gestures would improve the appeal of the feature.

The EQA also gets AR-based navigation, where feeds from the front camera are used to display navigational inputs onto the central display. The feature is a welcome addition; however, it can be unreliable, and we suspect it should be improved as the system is updated with more accurate maps in the future.

Mercedes has done a fine job in ensuring users do not miss the excitement of driving a manual ICE vehicle by adding a feature that rates drivers based on their driving styles. This gamification of the drive is fun to use and can help to limit overenthusiasm during a long drive.

The rear seats, though well cushioned, will not be a comfortable space for taller passengers as they will have a knees-up sitting position due to the battery pack eating-up space under the floor.

Driving and battery performance

Weighing around 2-tonne, the EQA 250+ is a sure-footed SUV that manages to impress with its overall driving dynamics. The vehicle’s suspension is set for comfort than performance, which is a welcome change considering the state of Indian roads. Despite the softer setup, the vehicle manages to hold its own at tight curves with the body roll being well controlled making long drives a breeze.

The EQA 250+’s single motor powering the front wheels churn out 385 Nm of torque, with a claimed 0-100 of 8.6 seconds, a rather respectable figure for an SUV. The vehicle can achieve top speeds of 160 kms/hr which is more than enough for Indian driving conditions.

The EQA 250+ at no point betrays its body weight but manages a variety of road conditions with ease.

The EQA 250+’s single motor powering the front wheels churn out 385 Nm of torque that can charged using the 11 kW AC charger that comes as standard with the vehicle.

The EQA 250+’s single motor powering the front wheels churn out 385 Nm of torque that can charged using the 11 kW AC charger that comes as standard with the vehicle. | Photo Credit: Nabeel Ahmed

As mentioned earlier, the EQA 250+ comes packed with a 70.5 kWh battery which claims to give it a range of 560 kms, the longest in the segment. During our test run, the vehicle managed to cover a little more than 200 kms using around 52% of the battery. The drive included heavy traffic conditions, along pit stops where the vehicle’s AC and headlights were switched on. We used a mix of Eco, Comfort and Sport driving modes.

Overall, the vehicle provides an impressive mix of performance and battery management which is sure to put even the most range-anxious users at ease.

The EQA 250+ comes with an 11 kW AC charger as standard. Mercedes claims the vehicle can achieve a 10-80% charge in up to 35 minutes using a 100 kW DC charger.

Verdict

The Mercedes-Benz EQA 250+ is aimed at the youth who have a combined household income of over a 1 crore. The vehicle competes with offerings from BMW and Volvo, both of which are strong contenders in the entry-level electric SUV market.

Despite the competition, the Mercedes EQA 250+ stands out with its strong battery performance, tech upgrades, luxurious interiors, and the unmistakable German styling. The vehicle is then a must have option on your list if you are looking for a luxury SUV that ditches the traditional ICE powertrain for a battery pack.

The Mercedes EQA 250+ is priced at ₹66 lakhs.

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