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Mercedes-EQ EQA 2023 review: 350

Based on the successful GLA, the EQA EV boasts its own grille, bumpers and tail-light treatment. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)
  • Drivetraindual-motor AWD
  • Battery capacity66.5 (kWh)
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range400km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeType 2 CCS
  • DC charge rate100 (kW)
  • AC charge rate11 (kW)
  • Motor output215/520 (kW/Nm)
  • Efficiency17.9 (kWh/100km)
Complete Guide to Mercedes-Benz EQA

Have you ever wished for an electric version of a high-riding hatchback, something like a Subaru XV, but with batteries and a bit more prestige?

Clearly, many luxury car buyers have, as the conceptually similar EQA 250 has proven since launching in Australia at the tail end of 2020. Mercedes-Benz can’t import enough of them.

Now, there’s a 350 4Matic version, with two electric motors, not one, all-wheel instead of just front-wheel drive, and appreciably stronger performance.

But in the two years since the EQA’s debut, the EV landscape has transformed, with Korea and China leading in innovation, disrupting the long-established order of things.

In other words, can the new 350 4Matic cut it? Read on.

Price and features - Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Does it represent good value for the price? We’re not so sure.

Starting from $96,900, before on-road costs, the EQA 350 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) costs over $15,000 more the established EQA 250 front-drive version.

That’s a lot of dosh, even in the world of expensive EVs, given that’s nearly in Tesla Model 3/Y Performance, new flagship Kia EV6 GT and range-topping Hyundai Ioniq 5 Epiq (with change) territory.

These are bespoke electric vehicles in that they’re designed from the ground up to be electrified, not internal combustion engine (ICE) models modified to take electric motors and batteries, as the EQA is. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the popular GLA small-car/crossover behind the badge.

The same applies to the GLB-based EQB, which at least offers a seven-seat version in the base 250, giving it a unique selling proposition. The 350 4Matic benefits from no such advantage against its fierce volley of foes.

The EQA 350 starts from $96,900, before on-road costs. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The EQA 350 starts from $96,900, before on-road costs. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Additionally, the Mercedes must battle some pretty impressive yet cheaper ICE-based EV AWD rivals, including the Volvo XC40/C40 Recharge Twin fraternal twins, Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor and coming BMW iX1 xDrive30.

As the Stuttgart EV isn’t measurably ahead and is sometimes even behind these in performance, efficiency, range and charging capacity, its pricing seems needlessly steep.

Unfortunately, the 350 4Matic isn’t brimming with extra standard features to compensate, either.

Along with that second motor and AWD, your $15,200 premium over the 250 scores an AMG makeover inside and out, with an AMG Line Sports exterior treatment, 20-inch AMG alloys, AMG interior trim with synthetic leather and suede seat material, a leather AMG steering wheel, aluminium pedal covers and a top-stitched dash.

The 350 wears 20-inch AMG alloy wheels. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The 350 wears 20-inch AMG alloy wheels. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

The 250’s optional 'Vision Package' is also thrown in, bringing a panoramic sunroof and surround-view camera.

You’ll also find dual keyless entry/go, electric and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, ‘Hey, Mercedes’ voice control, a wireless smartphone charger, two 10.25-inch screens (for instrumentation and multimedia touchscreen), Bluetooth connectivity, wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, digital radio, satellite navigation, 10-speaker audio, ambient lighting, a powered tailgate and adaptive dampers.

The EQA features a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The EQA features a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

On the safety front there are LED headlights with high-beam assist, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist and parking sensors all-round.

However, items that can dial up the glamour for potential buyers in EQA adverts, also cost thousands of dollars extra, such as a head-up display, hand gesture activation for several vehicle functions and the 'MBUX' augmented reality for navigation.

There’s a Wallbox from $1710 (before fitment) for personal parking-space charging, bringing a Type 2 AC Charger, 22kW single-phase and three-phase charging. 

A free Chargefox subscription is also part of the deal. But are all these enough?

Design - Is there anything interesting about its design?

A high-riding hatchback (its handy 209mm ground clearance is only 4.0mm shy of the GLA equivalent), the smooth and handsome EQA is like an EQC that’s been left in a tumble dryer for too long, shrinking into its smaller proportions.

The EQA is like a high-riding hatchback. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The EQA is like a high-riding hatchback. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Along with the EQA's obvious electric powertrain inclusion, differences compared to the GLA include a blanked-out grille, a redesigned bumper, fresh wheel styles and a full-width LED tail-light treatment. 

All add some character to the rather amorphous donor car.

Practicality - How practical is the space inside?

Like the second-gen (H247) GLA, the EQA sits up high, offering lofty seating. That’s core to this range’s appeal, making getting in and out a less acrobatic feat compared to smaller and lower EVs.

The cabin is very similar to many of the second-generation MFA2 transverse-engine/front-drive-based Benzes like the current A-Class. That means solid looking and feeling doors and dash, upping the sense of quality. Very on-brand stuff.

This is a very modern and inviting interior, with those aforementioned screens set within a large rectangular binnacle. To the centre there are the trio of turbine-style air vents that still bring a spark of joy to the cabin (as well as seriously effective ventilation), along with the row of metallic toggle switches; both provide pleasing, high-quality sensory experiences.

The cabin is very similar to many Benzes like the A-Class. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The cabin is very similar to many Benzes like the A-Class. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

It can lean towards overkill with a trashy night-club ambience if restraint is not exercised with the (configurable) coloured light show dotting the EQA's cabin. 

Not to everybody’s liking, but thankfully you can turn that stuff off, so no complaining necessary here.

You wouldn’t call the EQA particularly spacious with its curvy roof, snug sports seating, high waistline, narrow glass areas and thick pillars, but even 200cm-tall people should find enough legroom up front. There’s a sense of cosiness rather than crampedness.

The 350 4Matic’s sports seats do a great job holding and caressing you in, providing excellent bracing through tight corners. Three’s ample (powered) adjustment, including for lumbar and lower-back areas, as well as enough support for thighs. The cushions themselves are typically firm yet comfy. And the seats look great. 

The EQA isn't particularly spacious, but there's enough room up front. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The EQA isn't particularly spacious, but there's enough room up front. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

The driving position is superb, ahead of a set of vibrant digital instrumentation choices that run the gamut of tastes, with the 'Classic' dial-like look and minimalist settings (reminiscent of Saab in its essentials-only display) included, so as to not scare away traditionalists. There is also a 'Progressive' screen that’s colourful and techy, though the info presented is a lot to take in.

What may not please conservative Benz buyers are the cheap-looking plastics dotted throughout the interior, along with the rattles that are regular companions, especially over less-than-smooth roads. 

This has been a bugbear of all MFA-platform vehicles for more than a decade now, and while better than in some previous models, the EQA at $100K should possess vault-like build quality, not squeaky trim.

And when will that small and flimsy gear selector stalk be binned?

Our test car’s ‘Hey, Mercedes’ voice control system was erratic at best, barely providing any assistance and regularly annoying/entertaining with misunderstood responses and laughably limited functionality. Was our example glitchy? Perhaps.

Storage is good. And, ergonomically, everything’s within reach of the driver, but there’s a lot to take in, with scattered switchgear.

It’s also worth noting that, if you’re new to the MBUX multimedia system, taking the time to learn its many functions and capabilities is advisable, as it’s more logical and simpler than the intimidating first impression suggests. 

The multimedia screen measures in at 10.25-inches. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The multimedia screen measures in at 10.25-inches. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

A deft thumb is required for the steering-wheel spoke-actuated tabs for instrument data, but even technophobes ought to master it all eventually. 

The central part of the screen can be swiped to access the vast array of features, including the excellent audio system and detailed vehicle control settings.

Further back, passengers sit up high, giving a wide view of what’s happening up front, while the backrest is angled at just the right position. 

There’s not much fun to be had sitting on the raised middle bit, and shoulder space is seriously limited with three abreast, but otherwise, even adults should find sufficient legroom and headroom – even with the panoramic sunroof fitted.

Rear passengers sit up high. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) Rear passengers sit up high. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Deep door pockets, face-level air outlets, reading lights and a folding armrest are to be found back there, though the latter includes a flimsy slide-out cupholder set that’s not worthy of the brand. 

Because there’s a battery pack in the rear half of the EQA, cargo capacity shrinks from the donor GLA's 435 litres to just 340L, while dropping the 40/20/40 backrests extends that into the cabin for a 1320L load space. Note there’s no spare wheel, just a tyre inflation kit.

People don’t buy these small crossover Mercedes models for space or practicality – that’s why the GLB/EQB exist – but the EQA isn’t too bad for the urban demographic which wants/needs a compact, high-riding EV with impressive ground clearance.

  • Boot space is rated at 340 litres. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) Boot space is rated at 340 litres. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)
  • With the rear seats folded flat, cargo capacity grows to 1320L. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) With the rear seats folded flat, cargo capacity grows to 1320L. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Drivetrain - What are the key stats for the drivetrain?

The EQA 350 4Matic features an asynchronous motor and a single-speed reduction gear transmission under the bonnet, delivering 140kW of power and 385Nm of torque to the front wheels, and supported by a second, permanently excited synchronous motor located on the back axle.

'Dual E-motor' total outputs are 215kW between 7130-9506rpm up front and 5746-7661rpm for the rear motor, for a 520Nm torque total, from zero rpm. 

Drive is infinitely variable on both axles, for AWD capability. Tipping the scales at 2091kg (kerb), the 350 4Matic’s power-to-weight ratio is an impressive 103kW per tonne.

The EQA 350 produces 215kW/520Nm. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The EQA 350 produces 215kW/520Nm. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Result? Some six seconds is required to race from 0-100km/h, on the way to a 160km/h top speed.

The EQA employs a 66.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack fitted between the axles, with a maximum 11kW AC and 100kW DC charging capability.

Suspension is via MacPherson-style struts up front while a multi-link arrangement is out back. Steering is by electrically assisted rack-and-pinion.

Energy consumption - How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge/refuel?

Using WLTP figures, the EQA 350 4Matic’s official consumption figure is 17.9kWh/100km. Maximum range is rated at 400km.

At pick-up, our EQA was displaying a 395km maximum range availability. After 273km of a mix of city, urban and freeway driving, our car showed 47km of range left, which means we could expect up to 320km in real-world driving scenarios. 

That did include some performance testing, which tends to suck out the kilowatts, by the way.

Our trip computer showed the vehicle had consumed 20.8kWh/100km on average.

Mercedes says a 100kW DC charger will take an EQA from 10-80 per cent charged in 30 minutes. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) Mercedes says a 100kW DC charger will take an EQA from 10-80 per cent charged in 30 minutes. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Like the EQB, the EQA offers varying levels of energy recuperation to help recharge the battery pack. In ‘D Auto’ it figures out the level of resistance automatically, but drivers can also choose to do this manually via ‘D+’ that provides coasting, ‘D’ that brings mild regeneration off-throttle, and ‘D—’ that activates maximising regen for close to single-pedal driving. These are paddle activated.

Cables for home charging with three-prong outlets are included – an eight-metre long one plus a five-metre public charging cable.

Mercedes says a 100kW DC charger will take an EQA from 10-80 per cent charged in 30 minutes, while an 11kW AC public outlet needs seven hours, and at home using a regular 3.0kW 10-amp socket requires at least 34 hours.

Mercedes also offers a Wallbox with up to 22kW charging capability for your home or office from $1710, not including installation. That drops the charging time to under eight hours, which is ideal for overnight-home or all-day work charging scenarios.

Safety - What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

On the ANCAP website, a EuroNCAP-tested EQA scored a five-star crash-test safety result. This was conducted in 2019.

Included is Mercedes’ 'Driver Assistance Package' that features, among other safety items, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with an exit warning that alerts the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles if the door begins to open into their path, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control, as well as evasive steering and a ‘Parking Package’ featuring front and rear parking sensors and a surround-view camera.

There are also nine airbags, made up of front, pelvis side and window bags for driver and front passenger, and side and curtain airbags for rear occupants. There’s also a knee airbag for the driver.

The AEB with forward collision warning works between 7.0km/h and 200km/h, and offers pedestrian and cyclist protection day or night. The 'Active Lane Assist' tech operates between 60km/h and 200km/h.

The EQA makes a sound for pedestrians and other warns other road users that’s audible at speeds below 20km/h, plus a reversing tone.

Along with a trio of child-seat tether anchorages, the EQA’s rear seat base is fitted with two ISOFIX attachments.

Ownership - What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Mercedes-Benz offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

The battery pack warranty is also industry-standard, valid for the usual eight years/160,000km. Service intervals are every year or 25,000km.

The EQA is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The EQA is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

There is no capped-price servicing, however buyers can purchase up-front when new to save money. 

The EQA 'Service Plan' starts at $1600 for the first three years/75,000km (whichever occurs first), $2200 for four years and $2650 for five years.

Driving - What's it like to drive?

Probably the most impressive thing about the EQA 350 4Matic is how effortless, easy, and fun it is to drive, whether around town or out on the open road.

Slot the flimsy drive selector to D and this wastes no time moving off the line, streaking past 100km/h even more swiftly than the 6.0s official time suggests. 

The Mercedes powers along with strong acceleration available at all times. With such instant torque on tap, this is a treat weaving through traffic, zipping into rapidly closing gaps like a little go-cart.

At slower speeds, even in slippery conditions, the 350 4Matic feels glued to the road, possessing tons of grip wearing Pirelli P Zero 235/45R20 rubber, to help it carve through without breaking a sweat, pulled along by endless torrents of torque. Just a slight flex of your right foot has this car bounding ahead in no time.

Armed with nicely weighted and responsive steering and a planted yet agile chassis, all the makings are present for a premium electric hot hatch experience. 

However, there’s just a bit too much weight, which seems to manifest itself in somewhat top-heavy handling at higher speeds or through fairly tight corners. 

In such conditions, the Benz feels a bit nervous and a tad skittish, and not quite as composed as we’d hoped.

Disappointingly, while there’s regenerative braking using the steering paddles, it doesn’t quite bring the car to a full stop, but instead slows it down with enough force to wipe off most but not all of the speed. You can’t rely on full stop/go single-pedal braking, then.

Finally, there’s the suspension’s ability to cope with our patchy road surfaces. Over big bumps, ride comfort is fine, but smaller-frequency ones are all-too-often felt. 

There’s an underlying firmness to the chassis tune that’s in keeping with the EQA’s German heritage, but we expected more suppleness and isolation in a high-riding SUV equipped with adaptive dampers.

Plus, there’s more tyre/road noise than we’d like.

So, as a sprightly urban runabout, the EQA is ideal, with forceful acceleration and a slick powertrain. Backed up by the security of AWD, the 350 4Matic is great in inclement weather, too, with exceptional roadholding dynamics. But it isn’t quite as agile nor sophisticated and refined as we’d like a $100K Mercedes EV to be.

  • Drivetraindual-motor AWD
  • Battery capacity66.5 (kWh)
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range400km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeType 2 CCS
  • DC charge rate100 (kW)
  • AC charge rate11 (kW)
  • Motor output215/520 (kW/Nm)
  • Efficiency17.9 (kWh/100km)
Complete Guide to Mercedes-Benz EQA

On one hand, the EQA 350 4Matic has the styling, interior presentation, forceful performance and handling prowess to make you forgive its very expensive price tag, especially when so many rival EVs are also so talented.

But there’s too much that’s ordinary about this Mercedes to justify its huge ask, including a lack of that final polish in the way it drives and rides.

Despite being a recent release, the EQA is already feeling beyond its age. For the money, the 350 4Matic feels out of its depth.

$96,470 - $110,880

Based on third party pricing data

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

3.7/5
Price Guide

$96,470 - $110,880

Based on third party pricing data

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.