Long-term tests

Mercedes EQC 400: long-term test review

First report: the Mercedes EQC – the first member of the premium brand’s new all-electric EQ range - joins our fleet

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Verdict

Even after less than 2,000 miles, it’s clear our Mercedes is one of the quietest and most refined cars on sale – and not one lacking in luxury, either. We do have some questions over the EQC’s price and value for money, however, especially when the option packs are so expensive; we’ll spend the next six months working out whether this £75k electric SUV can justify its place in what is an increasingly competitive part of the market.

  • Mileage: 1,752
  • Economy: 2.2 miles/kWh

Regular readers will have seen my final report on my MINI Electric only a few weeks ago, but as the saying goes: out with the old, in with the new.

Since the MINI left us, I’ve welcomed the pricier, plusher, and more practical Mercedes EQC to our fleet. It’s still electric – a feature that goes with the territory for me as editor of Auto Express’ sister site DrivingElectric.com – but that’s where the similarities end.

As well as being all those things above, it’ll also do twice as many miles as the MINI on a charge. I’m getting around 180 miles at the moment – some way off Merc’s 252-mile claimed range, although I expect the weather is to blame. It’ll also charge more than twice as quickly as the MINI; the EQC’s 110kW capability trumps the hatch’s 50kW limit.

This 2.5-tonne SUV is the first electric Mercedes under the firm’s new EQ sub-brand. The C in its name aligns it with the petrol and diesel-powered GLC; the EQV passenger van is now on sale in the UK, and a GLA-based EQA has also been revealed. EQE and EQS models, among others, will arrive later.

Mercedes is all-in on electrification, then. But unlike Jaguar and some other makers, the German firm has shunned a bespoke EV platform in favour of adapted architecture from its combustion-engined cars.

In theory, while this method has benefits when it comes to cost and economies of scale, there are compromises to be made in terms of weight, space and practicality. We’ll discuss the pros and cons in greater detail in a future report.

But onto the specs – and the reason I’m clutching so much fruit in the image above. The EQC comes in either Sport or AMG Line trim, with the latter available with Merc’s familiar Premium and Premium Plus packs. Our EQC is the most expensive you can buy, with a list of equipment that wouldn’t look out of place on cars costing twice the price.

All AMG Line cars get LED lights, 20-inch wheels and leather seats, plus acoustic glass and an automatic tailgate. Keyless go, pre-entry climate control (a godsend in the winter months) and Merc’s MBUX infotainment system, with sat-nav and a reversing camera, are also included.

But herein lies the issue. The EQC isn’t a cheap car to start with; prices begin at £65,720, which is £23,470 more than an entry-level GLC 220 d. And yet to get essential pieces of kit you need to add pre-packaged equipment bundles – as if Tesco forced you to buy a pack of six Royal Gala apples when all you wanted was a single Granny Smith.

To get smartphone integration (wireless charging plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), for example, you’ll need to step up to AMG Line Premium – for an eye-watering £4,645. Doing so also brings the 21-inch wheels and sunroof on our car, plus augmented reality for the sat-nav – a feature that overlays arrows onto images projected from the front-facing camera, direct to the car’s central infotainment display.

Premium Plus brings everything listed above, plus the Parking Package with 360-degree cameras, a head-up display, and 12-way electrically adjustable seats for an additional £2,250 on top of the Premium pack price. The only other options fitted to our car are the Driving Assistance Package (£1,695) and the Designo Hyacinth Red metallic paint (£895).

The reason Mercedes and many other firms are beginning to operate this way is largely due to recent legislation. With the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) dictating what fuel economy or range a car is capable of, makers like Mercedes must test every combination of options before publishing its numbers. Packaging wireless phone charging with a sunroof reduces the admin – and associated cost – of testing time and time again.

My job, then, is to pick apart our EQC’s spec sheet and help you decide which option packs are worth the money and which you should ignore. It’s certainly going to be an interesting six months.

Model:Mercedes EQC 400 AMG Line 4MATIC Premium Plus
On fleet since:December 2020
Price new:£74,610
Engine:2x e-motor/80kWh battery, 402bhp
CO2/tax:0g/km/£0
Options:Driving Assistance package (£1,695), Designo Hyacinth Red metallic paint (£895)
Insurance*:Group: 50 Quote: £1,126
Mileage:1,752
Economy:2.2 miles/kWh
Any problems?None so far

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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