Mercedes EQA (2022) Review

Ian Lamming is on a charge with the new Mercedes EQA

ANOTHER day, another electric, another supermarket carpark, this time in a Mercedes.

The charging process of driving an EV has finallybecome routine and just as we have all adapted to COVID and war in Europe, sowe have come to terms with plugging in.

Whack the lead in the three pin at home and overnightthis will add 60-80 miles, enough to get to school (school is a long way awayfor me, if you remember). Then thoughts switch to my favoured public chargers –there’s an utterly useless 7kW charger in town and there’s an unreliable 50kWcharger in the next.

So I opt to go for the full-bore charger in theneighbouring town but work in the car until I know it is actually full – and Idon’t return to an error code and no mileage added like the last time. To befair it takes less than an hour to hit 100 per cent and as I’m always bodilyattached to my laptop and mobile phone, it’s no problem, really.

Tomorrow’s journey is even longer and will requireplanning using the Zap-Map to find a rapid charger somewhere near where the boyis playing rugby 7s. In fact, on second thoughts, I’ll take my ownpetrol/hybrid.

I’m no longer scared of the whole EV set up and amactually using the technology introduced to support the onset on EV motoring,such as Zap-Map. Using all this tech makes me feel younger somehow.

EQA is the smallest of Mercedes fleet of fullelectrics, kind of GLA size. So it’s a small SUV with a 66.5kW motor thatoffers around 217 miles on a full charge, just about enough for my longcommute.

The range readout is about 30 miles off. So the schoolrun is 62 miles but it uses over 90 to get there thanks to stretches ofmotorway that also include steep inclines, not to mention head winds. Thatsaid, I’m not tempted to turn off the heating to eke out the extra miles like Ido with some EVs so at least we are nice and warm inside.

It is worth running EQA in ‘E-mode’ but you have toremember to switch over every time as it defaults back into ‘comfort’ whichuses more juice. You can feel the power drop off when you switch between thetwo, more so when you go from sports mode, but the performance is stillimpressive so it is no hardship and well worth it to protect your range.

EVs do stress me to bits and back and it is to thecredit of the EQA that this level of anxiety is lower than while driving otherelectrics. That’s because it is a blood-pressure reducing Mercedes.

Trying to analyse why isn’t easy but it must havesomething to do with the high quality cabin ambiance, the intuitive way thelong touchscreen tech works, leaving some of the key functions to good oldfashioned buttons and the easy going nature of a car that is just plain greatto drive.

The electric motor is supremely smooth and rapid andis more rewarding still for being able to avoid the £7-per-gallon petrol pumps.EVs offer stunning amounts of torque for acceleration and hill climbing, thereis simply nothing like them. The EQA feels sharp and nimble. It’s not a hugebody so it is brilliant in tight corners, around town, particularly when youare look for a parking spot.

On the open road it feels sporty with firm ride and impressivedynamics. You can be a bit rough and ready with the throttle and brakes becausethis technique actually chargers your battery better and proves to be a lot offun. Ride is always comfortable and keeps everyone inside free from fatigue.

EVs are exceptional to drive and the only fly in theointment is the battle you experience at public chargers, which worsens by theday as more people take delivery of an electric. EQA is no exception being abrilliant car to drive with a maximum range which is just about there. But theonly way to take the stress out of the whole experienceis to have your own power source at home – and a petrol-powered car forthe longer journeys.