2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC first drive: Luxury first, range second

    Overall driving vary is probably the largest speaking level of any new electrical automotive. Yet it will not be the important thing purpose to purchase a 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC when it arrives within the US subsequent yr. Instead, Mercedes is specializing in what it does greatest: making automobiles that genuinely really feel extra premium than every thing else within the class. Oh, positive, the EQC will nonetheless be lots aggressive by way of its energy and vary. But what units it other than the Jaguars and Teslas of the world is simply how pretty it feels from behind the wheel.
    Stylish, however not a standout Like the Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X with which it’s going to most intently compete, the Mercedes EQC is a curvaceous SUV that straddles the road between compact and midsize proportions. It rides on the identical 113.1-inch wheelbase because the compact GLC-Class crossover, but it surely’s slightly longer general, and does not stand fairly as tall. For higher or worse, the EQC does not instantly stand out as a brand-new or electrified Mercedes-Benz providing. Sure, the fascia is a little more stylized than the corporate’s different fashions, and tasteful blue accents within the headlamp housings are a refined nod to this automotive’s electrified guts. But actually, if you happen to confirmed me an image of the EQC and mentioned, “This is the next-generation GLC,” I might in all probability consider you. The EQC pictured right here wears Mercedes’ AMG Line exterior, which provides a novel grille and a extra closely sculpted decrease fascia. In this guise, it seems even much less like an EV, and to my eyes, this therapy is probably the most interesting. If you are the kind of one that desires an electrical car due to the assertion it makes on the street, the EQC may not be for you. Personally, I am glad Mercedes does not have to depend on bizarre styling or gimmicky doorways to get its electrical message throughout. But I’ll say I am not precisely thrilled that an illuminated model of the corporate’s three-pointed star badge will likely be customary on each US-spec EQC. If you’ve got ever been one in every of Mercedes’ new SUVs, you will really feel proper at residence within the EQC.
    A well-recognized but spectacular cabin Inside, you will see an analogous train in restraint; the EQC’s cabin is sort of too acquainted. The middle console appears to have been ripped proper out of the GLC300, with a big flip-up panel within the center that hides a pair of cup holders. I like the rose-gold accents on the vents — Mercedes designers say they’re imagined to mimic the copper colour of the wires discovered within the battery system — and the stylized bits of brushed steel on the doorways and behind the infotainment display are actually fairly stunning. But for higher or worse, no a part of the EQC’s cabin seems or feels new or revolutionary. On the opposite hand, its inside boasts the identical very good high quality you’d anticipate from an SUV with a three-pointed star on the hood. Every floor feels even higher than it seems, and the quilted leather-based seats are equal components soft and supportive. None of the EQC’s aforementioned opponents provide an inside this plush. Four average-size adults can stretch out in relative consolation, and the cargo maintain is massive sufficient to accommodate all of their carry-on suitcases and backpacks. Final US-spec cargo dimensions are nonetheless TBD, however given the EQC is not too far off the GLC, you may safely use that as some extent of reference. The MBUX infotainment system has close by charging stations constructed into its navigation POIs.
    Standard MBUX tech The EQC’s in-car tech is headlined by Mercedes’ MBUX multimedia system, arrange on a pair of 10.2-inch screens atop the sprint. MBUX is identical right here as it’s in any of the corporate’s newest fashions, with a few EQC-specific options in-built, together with screens that present your power use and vary, in addition to navigation knowledge for close by charging stations. Speaking of navigation, it comes customary on each EQC, as do Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Mercedes helps you to management MBUX in myriad methods. You can contact the middle display, or use the thumbpads on the steering wheel or the touchpad on the middle console. Of course, you too can simply speak to the AI assistant, saying, “Hey, Mercedes” to wake it up. I nonetheless discover the AI slightly too wanting to chime in, asking, “How can I help you?” after I solely point out the phrase “Mercedes” midsentence in dialog. But I do like that I can simply say, “Hey, Mercedes, where’s the closest charging station?” and it will show a listing of choices with out me having to go looking by way of the nav. The EQC400 will speed up to 60 mph in a 4.8 seconds, or about the identical as a Mercedes-AMG GLC43.
    Speaking of charging… The 2020 EQC400 makes use of an 80-kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery, with a 7.7-kilowatt onboard charger. On a Level 2 wall-box charger — the sort you will have put in at residence — the EQC can replenish its battery in about 10 hours. Step as much as 110-kilowatt DC quick charging and Mercedes estimates attaining an 80% cost in simply 40 minutes. Given the EQC’s comparatively standard design, you will not be stunned to study the charging port is situated on the SUV’s passenger aspect, behind the rear door, similar to a standard gasoline tank. The 80-kWh battery supplies ample motivation for the massive EQC, with 402 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque despatched to an asynchronous motor at every axle, giving the SUV all-wheel drive. Off-the-line acceleration is quoted at 4.8 seconds to 60 miles per hour, or about the identical as a Mercedes-AMG GLC43. The prompt torque supply is addictive, and one of the crucial enjoyable features of EV driving. The Mercedes delivers it with none skittishness or wheelspin — only a easy, constant rush of energy. Under gentle energy calls for, the EQC largely runs in front-wheel-drive operation, the bigger rear motor solely kicking in when wanted. A very spectacular factor about this powertrain is how severely silent it’s. Yes, I do know, EVs are quiet to start with, however Mercedes went a step additional when creating the EQC and labored to isolate the electrical motor’s operational noises as a lot as attainable. With the radio switched off and below laborious acceleration you may hear a faint whirr, however that is it. Plenty of insulation retains street and wind noise out of the cabin, too, making for one of many quietest motoring experiences accessible at this time. A pair of electrical motors delivers 402 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque.
    Quiet, cozy cruising Electric powertrain apart, the EQC strikes down the street like another Mercedes SUV. The chassis tuning errs on the aspect of consolation over sharp dealing with — even with the automotive set to its Sport drive mode — however the EQC will not disintegrate must you toss it right into a bend. The low middle of gravity helps the crossover really feel planted and steady, and the comparatively gentle steering provides sufficient suggestions by way of the wheel to maintain you conscious of what is occurring at street stage. Even on its largest 21-inch wheel-and-tire setup, the EQC provides a extra compliant trip than a Jaguar I-Pace or Tesla Model X. Given the EQC’s mission in life, it drives precisely the way in which it ought to. A few neat methods enable you eke out each mile, the primary of which is basically fairly easy (and efficient). Put the EQC in its Eco drive mode, and the throttle’s resistance will increase considerably, with an precise cease level about midway by way of the journey. This means you will not be overaccelerating, which drains the battery extra quickly. Should you want extra pace than this mode provides, kicking down on the throttle more durable will mean you can break by way of the cease level. Then you’ve gotten the regenerative braking modes, of which there are a number of. In the automotive’s customary “D” operation, it idles ahead and drives like a standard, gas-powered automotive. D- and D– modes are activated by way of the steering wheel-mounted paddles, and dial in additional regen as desired. D- seems like the perfect setup for true one-pedal driving, whereas D– is tuned a bit too aggressively for easy operation (although I think about you’d get used to it if you happen to owned an EQC). The non-obligatory AMG Line exterior provides the EQC a bit extra visible attraction.
    Finally, you may choose D Auto, which makes use of the automotive’s forward-facing sensors to gradual the automotive utilizing regenerative braking as you strategy a lead automotive. Think of it as being like midway adaptive cruise management: Say you are going 70 miles per hour on the freeway and raise your foot off the throttle as you strategy a automotive going 65 mph. In this D Auto setting, the EQC will routinely decelerate utilizing regeneration with out you having to the touch the brake pedal. It is not going to, nonetheless, speed up again as much as your cruising pace ought to that slower automotive transfer out of the way in which. If you need honest-to-goodness adaptive cruise management, it — in addition to lane-keeping help and blind-spot monitoring — is on the market as a part of the EQC’s Driver Assistance Package. So, what in regards to the vary? The EQC will not arrive within the US till early 2020, so its official EPA vary estimate continues to be many moons away. Under Europe’s NEDC take a look at cycle, Mercedes says the EQC can go anyplace between 277 and 293 miles on a full cost, relying on car spec. But bear in mind, the NEDC rankings are notoriously optimistic, and there isn’t any strong method for changing this quantity into a sensible US expectation. The EQC’s inside is as quiet as it’s snug.
    My greatest take a look at the SUV’s real-world vary got here final yr, after I rode right-seat in an EQC prototype from Mercedes’ analysis and improvement middle in Sunnyvale, California, to the coastal area of Big Sur and again. Loaded with 4 adults, the EQC traveled 228 miles with out recharging, the battery indicating a 7% cost on the finish of the day. Bastian Schult, the engineer who led that take a look at, was positively driving with a watch towards max vary, however he wasn’t precisely a slowpoke, both. Mercedes officers will not speculate on the EQC’s US-spec vary, just because there are such a lot of variables to think about. But do not be shocked if the ultimate EPA quantity finally ends up being someplace between 200 and 220 miles. That’ll put the EQC behind the Jaguar I-Pace (234 miles) and Tesla Model X 75D (238 miles) — to not point out the longer-range 100D and new, 325-mile long-range Tesla fashions — and nearer in keeping with the Audi E-Tron (204 miles). The fact is, for individuals who’ve taken the plunge into EV life, the distinction between 204, 228, 234 and 238 miles is definitely kind of negligible. These of us aren’t draining their batteries the entire time; having the ability to cost at residence or on the workplace is a given. Because of this, Mercedes executives aren’t precisely sweating what the precise EPA quantity will likely be. The US EPA vary estimate will possible be someplace between 200 and 220 miles.
    A deal with luxurious Besides, the Mercedes-Benz EQC greater than makes up for any vary shortcomings with its wonderful lodging and fantastic on-road manners. You’ll possible pay a bit extra for the privilege than for an Audi E-Tron ($74,800) or Jaguar I-Pace ($69,500). But that is anticipated for each different Mercedes mannequin, too. Official pricing will not be accessible till the EQC launches subsequent yr, however I am anticipating it to fall nearer to the Tesla Model X’s $83,000 MSRP — not together with accessible incentives, natch. The Tesla may nonetheless greatest the Mercedes by way of all-out vary, however with the Mercedes’ higher on-road manners and much more premium cabin, these not offered on the church of Tesla may discover Mercedes’ newcomer EQC a strong selection.
    Editors’ be aware: Travel prices associated to this function had been lined by the producer. This is frequent within the auto business, as it’s miles extra economical to ship journalists to automobiles than to ship automobiles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday car loans from producers so as to present scored editorial opinions, all scored car opinions are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial group are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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