Mercedes-EQ EQA 250 Edition 1 Review: It's The Cheapest Mercedes EV, And It's Good
Mercedes-EQ got the EQA out to the market pretty quick, even calling the car an “excellent compromise” in offering the first all-electric compact car from the brand. They have a point, as its only local direct competitor currently is the Lexus UX300e, which we reviewed in October last year.
The Lexus beat it to the market, but the EQA feels like a far more resolved product, with an appreciably longer range (426 km, versus 300 km on the Lexus, both according to WLTP), a larger cabin & boot, and more importantly compatibility with mainstream AC/DC charging options while the UX300e can only be juiced up via a slower AC or a CHAdeMO DC.
Even though the EQA is heavily based on the conventional ICE GLA, it’s differentiated enough on its own to truly stand out. Having a more expensive multi-link rear suspension setup and proper engineering to maximise efficiency mean it isn’t just a cut-and-paste job.
Part of the Mercedes-EQ philosophy is to maximise range via all aspects and not just ever-larger batteries, so they achieved a Cd of 0.28 for the EQA through a completely closed cooling air control system in the upper section, aerodynamically efficient front and rear aprons, a very smooth, almost completely enclosed underbody and specifically adapted front and rear wheel spoilers. The upside is that the EQA gains a very distinct grille-less front end, which is an appropriate canvas on which to paint an eye-catching light strip.
All that slipperiness bodes well not just for efficiency, but also for refinement. For its class of car, it is extremely quiet even for an EV. An intentional isolation of the electric powertrain from the chassis and body serves to make any drive in the EQA an almost noiseless experience. No piped-in or synthesised sound here from the electric motor, too, which to me is a plus point.
On the move, the weight of the 66.5 kWh batteries means the EQA weighs just over a scarcely believable 2 tons, but it is a plus point for comfort and stability, as it rides like a much bigger car with less hops and disturbance. It’s not softly sprung, but the car steamrolls over bumps with its heft.
There isn’t much feel from the steering, which perhaps is fine as you would not really be compelled to drive the EQA like a sports car with its tall stance. It holds its line commendably well though, with the low-set batteries pulling the centre of gravity down lower than what one would expect of an SUV. It’s a tidy handler, but expect to be bowled over more by the serenity and feel-good factor than the drive.
The interior sure helps a lot, with an airy, spacious feeling despite a raised footwell. The panoramic roof is massive and rather stunning, while MBUX is a masterclass in its ease of use. The familiarity of the interior will be a boon to those switching over to EVs for the first time, but it won’t feel futuristic if that’s what you’re looking for.
To top it off, aside from angry-looking rear lights, the EQA is pleasantly styled and in this top-shelf Edition 1 specification, some even mistook the wheels for those in an S-Class. It’s not for everyone, but I do like the rose gold accents.
On paper, the EQA is the cheapest Mercedes EV you can buy, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
Credits: Text by James Wong; Photos by James Wong & Horizon Drivers' Club