Mercedes EQA 250 Sport review.
For – handsome, high quality, good performance, impressive regenerative braking
Against – small trunk, standard highway range penalty
£43,495 (before subsidy)
Competition – Ford Mustang Mach-e, VW ID.4, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Tesla Y, Kia-eNiro
The Mercedes EQA 250 Sport is handsome to behold and has a fantastic interior, boasts very effective regenerative braking, but naturally suffers from range depreciation while motorway fast-lane cruising.
The battery capacity turned out to be an average of 231 miles after 6 charges, compared with the claimed maximum 263 miles, while the motorway cruising penalty is an estimated 29.75%, giving a motorway cruising range of just over 170 miles. That’s quite enough for most buyers, but not for the trip to the Spanish villa. But the data was much better than I expected, given the weight of the EQA and its bulk, which didn’t suggest it would cut through the air like a Tesla Model 3.
The EQA doesn’t have the mind-blowing performance of a Tesla, but normal drivers will find it more than adequate. The driving experience was first-class, with precision steering and very cosseting suspension. I’ve read contrary reports on this but my experience, which doesn’t include any close to the limit nonsense, was very positive. The EQA reeks of quality from the first touch of a door-handle. The doors swing open and feel impressively solid, and close with a satisfying clunk. The white leather interior oozed class. The cockpit was relatively easy to operate, although I never did manage to get the sat-nav to work. I’ve tested hundreds of vehicles and engaged all the sat-nav systems, but not this one. Luckily all the longer trips I attempted were familiar ones. If required, I’m sure a quick visit to the handbook would find the answer. But intuitive? No. The dashboard design was impaired by three garish wheels to direct the air conditioning, set in the centre, which lowered the tone a bit.
Impressive regenerative braking
The regenerative braking was super impressive. You engage this by pulling a paddle behind the wheel once, then twice if you want the full, driving-without-brakes effect. I always used the maximum, and on this car it felt as though it was doing a job even at close to high-speed cruising speeds. On my rolling country hills route using bits of the mythical A272, one section of 38 miles only used 25 miles of available range. Another 21-mile section used up only 15. A separate 93-mile run, which included about 30 miles of motorway cruising, used up the same number of available miles. Given the motorway section shaved range by just under 30%, that’s very impressive.
There are two trim lines for the all-electric EQA, Sport and AMG. The entry-level EQA 250 Sport is priced from £43,495 excluding the subsidy. The AMG line starts at £44,995. The EQA joins the EQB, EQC, EQS luxury sedan, and the EQV premium MPV in the Mercedes battery electric vehicle (BEV) line-up and. Amongst the high-tech equipment, Navigation with Electric Intelligence – included as standard on both trim levels – calculates the route that will get the driver to their destination fastest, including charging times, and taking the stress out of route planning. I’m sure if I bought one, I’d quickly find out how to make all this work.
EQA 250 Sport comes with cruise control as standard, and lots of nifty high-tech stuff including a parking package with reversing camera, LED High-performance headlights with Adaptive High-beam Assist, and a Seat Comfort package with “electropneumatic four-way lumbar support” for front seats. The AMG Line has much stuff with AMG written on it. The optional Premium package – available on AMG Line only – can be added for an additional £3,000 and includes 19-inch wheels, electrically-operated sunroof and advanced sound system. Above that sits the all-wheel-drive EQA 300 4MATIC and EQA 350 4MATIC variants, delivering 222 hp and 284 hp.
The Premium Plus package includes 20-inch wheels, parking system with 360° camera, electrically adjustable damping suspension with speed-sensitive steering, Burmester Surround Sound System, electrically adjustable front seats with memory function, and head-up display for £6,000 more.
What to buy?
This compact SUV from Mercedes was a very attractive package, priced competitively with the likes of the Tesla Model 3, shortly to be joined by the Y SUV, the Ford Mach-e, the VW ID.4 and the Volvo XC40. It was one of those cars which seemed to fit my tastes right from the start, and if I bought one, I’d invest in a day’s seminar to figure out how to use all the high-tech equipment. Well, maybe half a day. The Tesla’s fantastic performance is really a waste of time for the likely buyers, while the more sedate EQA felt plenty lively enough. On the highway it was a dream to drive and felt supremely safe and serene. But it did fail the golf bag test – golf bag sideways in the trunk, no need to fold down rear seats – like in my Suzuki Vitara compact SUV. A terrific contender, I’d say.
|Mercedes EQA 250 Sport|
|(*estimated at steady 75 mph)|
|Electric motor:||asynchronous, Power - 190 hp, Torque – 375 Nm|
|Battery:||lithium-ion 66.5 kWh|
|Claimed range:||263 miles (WLTP)|
|WintonsWorld test range:||231 miles (average of 6 charge-ups)
Less 80% charge max for battery protection – 185 miles
|Highway cruising range:||170 miles|
|Highway cruising penalty*:||29.75% (average of 4 highway runs)|
|Charging:||home outlet 30 hours, 11 kWh wall box 5-3/4 hours, DC up to 80% ½ hour|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph 8.7 seconds|
|Top Speed:||99 mph|
|CO2:||0 at tailpipe|
|Competition:||Ford Mustang Mach-e, VW ID.4, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Tesla Y, Kia-eNiro|
|Rating:||**** out of 5|
|Price:||£43,495 before subsidy|
|For:||handsome, high quality, beautiful interior, lively performance, great regenerative braking|
|Against:||small trunk, standard highway range penalty|