Mercedes-Benz EQV300 Avantgarde Review: First Class on Wheels

Mercedes-Benz EQV300 Avantgarde Review: First Class on Wheels

Ronald Chua
Ronald Chua
08 May 2023
Park it next to an Alphard or a Vellfire and they will look like dwarves...
What we like:
pros
It’s GINORMOUS!
pros
2nd row captain seats
pros
Airmatic suspension
What we dislike:
cons
Lack of Keyless-Go
cons
Sensitive brakes
cons
Fear for low multistorey carparks

Take a look at the Mercedes EQV300 and you may wonder if you this car looks familiar – yes, it does, because it looks like the Mercedes Vito commercial van or minibus that it is based on. Now that we have tackled the white elephant in the room, it should also be noted that this is the unique value proposition of the 100% electric EQV300.

This car is more than a mere van.

The EQV300 is large. Park it next to an Alphard or a Vellfire and they will look like dwarves. The EQV measures 5,140 mm long, 1,928 mm wide and 1,901 mm tall. The only passenger van available for sale that is larger would be the Hyundai Staria.

Naturally, these dimensions make the EQV a perfect people carrier. Open the two electric sliding doors and you will be greeted by its party-piece. Two large captain seats wrapped in high quality napa leather await. This car is designed for passengers rather than the driver. It even comes with original footrests that are usually found on the highest specification long wheelbase S-classes.

Everything is focused on maximising passenger comfort. The captain seats are equipped with cooling, heating and massage functions. Adjustments to the headrest, backrest and leg-rests are electrically controlled with memory function too. One just needs to climb on, lie back and enjoy the music from the premium Burmester sound system. In fact, the only manual adjustment to the seats would be fore and aft movements.

This enables quick and swift motions to enable passengers to enter and exit the third row of seats. The EQV is a true 7-seater which allows both passengers and their luggage to be ferried simultaneously without having to sacrifice comfort or practicality at the expense of the other. Just adjust the second and third row of seats according to how much of an Executive limousine it needs to be for the day.

The height of the EQV has allowed the lithium-ion battery to be efficiently packaged under the floor without any sacrifice to the cabin space. The EQV retains a fully flat floor across the entire cabin. Having the battery pack mounted low also ensures that the car has a low centre of gravity.

On the go, you would be surprised that the EQV actually weighs 3.5 tonnes. The combination of the instantaneous torque from the electric motor and the Airmatic air suspension ensures that the car feels light-footed. The car is rated at 204 hp with 366 Nm with a top speed of 160 km/h. These statistics may not be something to shout about but I never felt that the EQV was slow or lethargic. In fact, it was surprising that such a huge car was so peppy to move off at the lights.

Airmatic provides a cossetting ride for passengers majority of the time but large dips and crests at three-figure speeds may result in the EQV being slightly unsettled due to its weight. Again, remember that the EQV was designed for comfort, not speed.

Upfront, the driver has a commanding view of the road. It is quite an interesting experience to be looking at the roofs of other large SUVs and Hiaces. It comes in handy as visibility is excellent and you can see straight into the distance and of the traffic situation ahead. The cockpit is a usual Mercedes affair with the switches, dials, buttons and stalks coming from the brand’s parts bin. Everything operates with a satisfying click and the EQV feels like it was built with quality materials. However, it is slightly odd that whilst everything in the car is electrically controlled, the EQV does not come with Keyless-Go. You will have to operate the door locks manually and start the car by turning the key on the left of the steering wheel. Odd for an electric car, but I am not complaining as I like the old-school key.

The EQV has a range of 426 km. In a real-world scenario, I managed to achieve close to 280 km with a large caveat that I had left the air-conditioning on for almost 2.5 hours whilst chatting with friends in the car one evening. This is truly guilt free, emission free usage of a car! Again, this is a strong selling point for the EQV where Executives can be chauffeured between meetings and to come into a car that is cool and comfortable without the driver having to worry about fuel costs while idling.

The driver will get used to the size of the EQV very quickly. It may seem daunting driving such a large car but the turning radius and maneuverability is excellent. Just beware of entering low multistorey carparks and ensuring that braking is modulated well on the sensitive brakes for a smooth drive.

At S$482,888, the EQV300 is no small change. It is nearly 50% more expensive than the official Toyota Alphard Hybrid that is brought in by the official dealer and 20% more expensive than the high-spec parallel imported Executive Lounge Alphard. Comparing apples to apples, the capabilities of the EQV and the overall package that it presents makes it worth that additional 20%. Factor in its 100% electric drivetrain and brand image and it should make sense for its target market.

Verdict

The EQV stands tall and shines amongst the common Alphards and Vellfires and promises a comfortable ride for its passengers.

Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club

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