Mercedes EQA 250+ review

Baby Benz gets electrified

₹ 66,00,000


If the success of the Korean TVs such as the Hyundai Ionia 5 and the Kia EV9 is anything to go by, there clearly is a demand for guilt-free motoring around the Rs. 60lac mark. And while the aforementioned cars are great, if you want to arrive at a glamorous event, nothing announces it better than a three-pointed star. Cognisant of that fact, Mercedes has electrified their entry level GLA SUV and dubbed it the EQA, albeit with an added dose of tech, luxury and oh…sustainability.

Mercedes EQA 250+ review: Tech

If you thought the regular GLA was a bit humdrum, the electric EQA definitely feels like a shot of Soju on ice. Open the door and the Mercedes tristar is projected onto the road to welcome you and even an illuminated sill plates to complete the experience. It extends to the little tristar motif on the dashboard trim as well which glow in the one of the 64 ambient colours you may choose to dress up the cabin in. Fancy.

While the basic layout of the cabin remains identical to the GLA, the lean towards sustainability extends to the rose gold accented seats which are made from recycled PET bottles. Nicely bolstered and comfortable, they complement the sports steering and the rose-gold tinted turbine AC vents beautifully. The dual 10.25in screens are retained and with the latest gen NTG 7 operating system, they offer all sorts of customizable graphics and even welcome sounds that you can purchase via the MercedesMe app.

Mercedes has really pulled out all stops when it comes to tricking out this 250+ variant. As it’s the only one on offer for the moment, you’ll only be getting the fully loaded EQA. The lengthy list of headlining features include a Head-up display, Augmented Reality navigation, Burmester sound system with Dolby Atmos support and ADAS features with segment first knee airbag for the driver. Scratch that brochure and you’ll also find things like Gesture Control, 360-degree camera with park assist and electrically adjustable seats with energizing kinetics.

Expectedly, the most impressive of the lot is the 12-speaker Burmester audio with 710 watts of power and the option to unlock Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio if you use Apple Music via the MBUX system. It’s a bit of a workaround but once set-up, you are legit greeted with a Dolby Atmos logo on the infotainment screen.

On the contrary, if you want to continue using the convenience of wireless Apple CarPlay and just mirror your phone, you forego the ability to stream your music in Dolby Atmos. Now, although the EQA does Atmos without any height speakers, the system is beautifully calibrated to sound expansive. You can customise the sound profile to your preference and Pure or Surround modes alter the soundstage from being focused to more distant but both staying accurate to the tonal balance of the music.

Mercedes has also added a gamification mode to the EQA in a bid to encourage drivers to earn five stars in their drive rating and this being an EV, more stars means a more conservative approach to the throttle pedal. The 70.5kWh battery pack is good for a claimed range between 497-560kms so In our six-hour and 250km drive, range anxiety was an issue. Driving as hard as we legally could was high on the list though, so gamification earned us zero stars.

Google Maps have been with us for almost a decade now and frankly, we were as excited with the prospect of navigation graphics overlayed on an actual camera feed as the next big step in reaching our destination. But as we learned rather quickly, it’s a great piece of technology that is best left in “off” for Indian conditions. In our crowded and congested streets where a flyover is inches away from an underpass and the EQA is  millimeters away from vehicles on every side, the AR maps just couldn’t serve directions with sufficient time or room to spare. That being said, it holds a lot of potential on less trafficated roads and looks fantastic too.

The all-colour HUD is adjustable for height and brightness and with different modes from minimum info to even navigation and speed and road signs. It’s a superb implementation of a feature that we normally prefer to keep switched off due to the extreme levels of concentration required on our city roads. You’d actually want to use it more on the EQA.

The half-baked Gesture control and seat kinetics are things you could live without and we would’ve picked seat ventilation any day, which is conspicuously missing from the otherwise well-specced EQA.

Switch to the backseat and another sore point introduces itself. The legroom is adequate but the rear bench induces a knees up seating position and coupled with an underwhelming under-thigh support, could be less than luxurious over longer journeys.

Mercedes EQA 250+ review: Drive

Positioned as a driver’s EV, the EQA 250+ stays in the same performance ballpark is its ICE-engined sibling. 185hp/385Nm are strong numbers for a compact SUV the size of the EQA but since the weight of the battery pack does serve as a slight deterrent, don’t expect to be pinned back to your seat like in an E-performance equipped AMG. But once you’re off the mark, the EQA’s remarkable sophistication becomes apparent. Utterly fuss-free, the driving experience is almost zen like and even though you have regen paddles on the steering column for Mild, Normal or Strong recuperation, none of them are aggressive enough for single-pedal driving. Which is a good thing if you want to cruise smoothly without any irritating head nods. Plant your foot down and it does lift its skirt and run, Mercedes claiming a 0-100km/hr time of 8.6 seconds, which is both respectable and believable.

In our 230km round trip from Jaipur to Kishangarh, the EQA was handed back to the Mercedes team with 35% battery charge to spare and on the poker straight sections of the highway, no battery conservation tactics were deployed, to put it mildly. So you can extrapolate the full range of the EQA under normal driving circumstances. It comes within spitting distance of the brand’s own claim and that means we may finally have a compact EV without the pitfalls of a small battery pack!

Although available only in a front-wheel drive configuration, the EQA handles tidily around corners, with the steering feeling nicely weighted and responsive to the slightly movements. The ride is on the stiffer side and might be hard to pass off as being “luxurious”, but in this CBU guise, it feels like a solidly put together luxury car that feels like it’s built to last.

Mercedes EQA 250+ review: Conclusion

Mercedes is keen on building a positive mindset towards EVs before wanting to sell you one and it’s got multiple mechanisms in the form of extended warranties and buy back facilities  to mitigate any second thoughts about shifting loyalties from fossil fuels. It may seem like the logical thing to assume that the onus is now on the government to grow the charging infrastructure and that won’t be an improper assumption to make too. But it’s also up to the brands to develop apps that accurately map out the charging stations along a given route and help with any assistance. The new MercedesMe app aims to do just that and ensures that everything about the EQA feels decidedly Gen Alpha. A sneak peek into the future, for a reasonable ransom.

Stuff Says

A fun little compact luxury E-SUV that retains most of the Mercedes-Benz traits.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Kitted out with a great infotainment system and safety net

  1. Burmester audio sounds fabulous like always

  1. Range is truly remarkable

  1. Ventilated seats get a miss

  1. Back seat comfort over long distances

  1. No frunk

Battery capacity: 70.5 kWh
Power: 185hp/385Nm
Acceleration: 0-100km/hr in 8.6secs
Top speed: 160 kmph
Drive: 4 x 2 (FWD)
AC charging: 0-100% in 7hr15min
DC charging: 10-80% in 35mins