ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE MERCEDES EQA
The EQA is a growing member of the Mercedes EV family and serves as the entry level model, a popular addition to the A class range of cars which have a decided appeal for the younger driver and, lest I should not offend, the young at heart driver.
For the purpose of this test drive, I am referring to trim levels etc in N.I.; different markets will have varying trim levels and options and in the North there are two trim levels, Sport and the higher appointed AMG Line. The newcomer fits in to what is best described as the compact SUV sector and for some years now with petrol and diesel models have become the most hotly contested sector of the market as buyers in huge numbers have left saloons and hatchbacks and in doing so have discovered the practical side which is a key feature of the SUV.
There is much talk about range when it comes to EVs and, of course, the dreaded thought of range anxiety. This should not be of concern with the EQA as Mercedes state a range of just over 424km (260 miles). My experience to date with EVs is that they fall short of the quoted range figures, so I would guess with this Mercedes model a range will fall short of the figure stated by the manufacturer. The EQA has a 66.5 kWh battery and a 100 kW DC on-board charger allowing it to charge from 10 to 80 per cent in around 40 minutes, and from 10 to 100 per cent in five hours and 45 minutes using an 11 kW wall box. Navigation with Electric Intelligence are included as standard on both trim levels, this calculates the route that will get the driver to their destination fastest, taking into account charging times, and therefore taking the stress out of route planning.
Sport models come as standard with cruise control; Mirror package; Parking package with reversing camera; LED high-performance headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist; Seat Comfort package with electropneumatic four-way lumbar support for front seats; heated front seats; multifunction sports steering wheel in leather; THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control; 18 inch alloy wheels; Active Brake Assist; Active Lane Keeping Assist; Blind Spot Assist; MBUX multimedia system with widescreen cockpit (two 10 inch digital displays with touchpad); smartphone integration including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; and ambient lighting with a choice of 64 shades. My test drive was with the AMG Line, which adds AMG Line body styling; chunky twenty inch alloy wheels; sports seats in ARTICO man-made leather and DINAMICA microfibre; door sills illuminated with ‘EQA’ lettering; galvanised shift paddles; aluminium trim; aluminium pedals with rubber studs and ‘AMG’ floor mats. There is an optional Premium package which is available on AMG Line only and for example includes 19 inch AMG five-twin-spoke alloy wheels; electrically-operated panoramic glass sunroof; Keyless-Go Comfort package; augmented reality navigation system; advanced sound system; and wireless charging for compatible smartphones. There is a Premium Plus package which includes the above equipment, but adds twenty inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels; Parking package with 360° camera; electrically adjustable damping suspension with speed-sensitive steering; Burmester Surround Sound System; electrically adjustable front seats with memory function; head-up display; and MBUX Interior Assistant with gesture control and, I must add, Mercedes me connected services are also available.
Behind the wheel, performance is brisk from rest, after all you have 188bhp at the command of your right foot and despite the twenty inch wheels the version I tested displayed good comfort levels. I was able to compare the qualities of the EQA as my personal mode of transport is a diesel powered GLA. Clearly when the new GLA was being conceived by the designers and engineers an EV version was very much part of the plan. Full marks to Mercedes, the styling is smart and they have given the EQA a personally with a front which is not bland, not like some of its competitors. Why some manufacturers style their cars in such a manner just does not register with me; it is as if the vehicle was blindfolded.
Summing up, this is a well proportioned vehicle with an air of quality and for those who may have doubts in owning an EV, this Mercedes just could be the EV to change minds and hearts.