Here we have Mercedes-Benz’s fully electric EQC. No, we haven’t mucked up the category titles: this vehicle really is our ‘Medium SUV’ winner. Not because it’s an electric vehicle, but because it does a heck of a lot of medium SUV-ish things very well.Okay and it’s also an electric vehicle at the same time. Which is pretty cool.Mercedes-Benz’s EQ range of cars (of which this is the first) has been designed to guide the German brand through a very necessary transition towards the electrification of its entire passenger range.
You get the feeling that if anything can’t successfully be migrated over to EV underpinnings within the next decade, then it’ll be consigned to the history books.Hence, we have a host of new EQ models on the way (‘EQ’ stands for “Emotional Quotient”… ‘ER’ stands for “Eye Roll”). While these will all inevitably feature some impressive new technology (such as the EQC’s specially developed twin electric drive units on the front and rear axles which work together, but are also designed to optimise efficiency and dynamic responsiveness separately), Mercedes-Benz appears keen to morph the old into the new without too much ruffling of feathers with its well-established audience.
The manufacturer’s next leap forward needs to be as functional, yet as luxurious as anything it has produced with an internal combustion engine up front. As a result, the EQC works as a luxury all-wheel drive (two motors driving both axles, remember?) medium-scale SUV first, and a clever electric vehicle second.
The dual-motor Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC boasts combined power of 300kW and 760Nm of torque, with a zero to 100km/h time of 5.1 seconds.The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the only model from this new strain of full electric Mercedes-Benz available in New Zealand at present, although expect EQA, EQB, EQS and EQE additions to the EQ passenger car range to start coming down the pipe over the next two or three years.
Mercedes-Benz (a – whisper it – petrol-powered one) has also made a bit of a splash this year. The Mercedes-Benz GLB packs seating for seven into a relatively compact frame and is an interesting – but possibly slightly too niche – offering from the Stuttgart brand.There were also verbal fisticuffs in the Stuff Motoring office over whether the Kia Seltos should be a front runner, if not a title winner.The Seltos offers up an impressive level of convenience specification, safety technology, good looks and decent on-road manners, wrapped up in a refreshing new model for a brand that is doing good things at the moment.
Essential details: Two asynchronous three-phase AC motors and an 80kWh lithium-ion battery with 300kW/760Nm. $142,900.
Safety: The Mercedes-Benz EQC has a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
At a glance: As one would expect from Mercedes-Benz, the EQC offers up electric motoring without compromise. The cabin is as richly detailed as any top-flight Benz, while the ride is comfortable and the performance – if you don’t really care about eking out as much range from the battery pack as possible because you’re going home to charge anyway – is surprising for what feels like a big car.