Mercedes EQC long-term test: the nine-month verdict

View all Mercedes-Benz EQC Reviews

► CAR lives with a Mercedes EQC
► Ed-in-Chief Phil is at the wheel
► How will it fare against his previous car?

Talk about a tough act to follow. Mercedes’ EV crossover arrived as the much-loved Jaguar i-Pace rolled off to BCA. Two pure-electric, all-wheel-drive rivals with specs closer than a photo finish, but different characters: the i-Pace a cleverly-packaged, corner-carving delight, the EQC an exquisitely trimmed, high-tech luxobarge.

The Mercedes is superb at wafting around in utter tranquility. The steering feels light and effortless, but a jink off the dead-ahead triggers a sharply connected response from the front end, and the e-motors can unleash surging acceleration to surf gaps in traffic or amuse my goading kids on country straights (though it runs out of puff above 60mph).

But the EQC has a limiting factor: its soft suspension and corpulent 2.5-tonne mass conspire to create wayward body movements. Speed bumps, braking and sharp steering inputs can trigger more rocking than the Download festival, and the ace-looking 21-inch rims don’t help.

My favourite feature is the driver-controlled brake-energy recuperation. Click the paddles to toggle between five braking modes, from ‘one pedal’ driving where lifting abruptly slows the car and harvests energy, through to momentum-optimising coasting.

On summery long journeys, the EQC could manage 2.9 miles per kilowatt hour – besting the official consumption. Rewind to winter and the EQC set a baseline of 150 miles from a charge and 1.5 miles per kWh. A midsummer fill could yield 100 miles more! Over nine months, the EQC averaged 2.1 miles per kWh, according to the Mercedes Me app.

That’s a brilliant interface, notifying me to remotely lock the car to compensate for Mrs Mc’s absent-mindedness, and enabling me to control remote charging. The MBUX control system also proved a powerful bit of kit. The ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice activation was hit and miss, the navigation baffled by postcodes but adept at road names. The Premium package’s augmented video directions felt more gimmick than gamechanger; to me, the Burmester stereo was the only worthwhile part of that £4645 pack. But the steering-wheel touchpads controlling the versatile digital instrument binnacle, and knockout graphics across the board, trounce most rivals.

In a rites-of-passage moment, I also experienced my first electric car service at slick Mercedes-Benz Watford, carried out in two hours while I waited. The technicians checked the battery and tyres and replaced screenwash and dust filter. It cost £268 – compared with £420 for Merc’s combustion equivalent, the GLC.

The EQC is not a space-efficient car: it’s 100mm longer than the Jag, but more cramped in the rear (emphasising the benefits of a dedicated EV architecture). The 500-litre boot holds plenty. Just ensure the charging cable isn’t in the commodious underfloor cubby before loading; a frunk would eliminate that annoyance.

Ultimately I’d still have the 300kg-lighter Jaguar for dynamic reasons, but the peaceful Merc makes its own compelling case. The proverb says familiarity breeds contempt. But after nine months with the EQC, it’s a case of familiarity breeds content.

By Phil McNamara

Logbook: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 2.1 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 4.0p a mile
Miles this month 869
Total miles 3761

Month 8 living with a Mercedes EQC: the Hancock conundrum

I’m the CAR team’s electric cheerleader, who at times needs professional recalibration with a combustion engine. Maserati’s Levante Trofeo arrives with red engine covers, twin turbos and 572bhp, a Ferrari V8 transforming the big SUV into a magnificent, unruly comet, leaving the perfectly rapid EQC wobbling in its wake.

But the trip computer is taunting me with sub-20mpg, and 362g of CO2 is emitted every kilometre – compared with zero for the EQC.

Has it all gone a bit Matt Hancock, my head turned by an Italian alternative? Perhaps petrol power’s the thing for my weekend sports car, carbon offset by an EQC the rest of the time.

By Phil McNamara

Logbook: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 2.0 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 7.0p per mile
Miles this month 455
Total miles 3016

Month 7 living with a Mercedes EQC: Audi driver tries the Mercedes

eqc etron ltt

The night before meeting up with Phil and his EQC, disaster strikes – I trundle the e-Tron round to the nearest set of Source London chargers only to discover they’re occupied by a Tesla, a plug-in BMW 5-series and a Jaguar i-Pace. There are more on-street plugs not too far away (I end up alongside a Porsche Taycan for the evening) but a 10-minute trip out of the house turns into a half-hour one by the time I’ve walked the mile home.

It’s no better the next morning at our service-station rendezvous on the M40. The two Ecotricity chargers are occupied by a pair of Nissan Leafs, and Phil and I gaze longingly at the row of 16 Superchargers, with seven Teslas humming away having their electric fill.

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It’s hardly a representative survey of charging availability in the UK, but if you’re taking the plunge with an EV, that Tesla charging network is still untouchable. And Tesla doubles down on that with battery tech that provides way more range than rivals. As EVs, they’re still leading the way.

But as cars? Maybe not so much. Elon’s machines tend to be hampered by brittle ride quality, brittle interior materials and brittle build quality. Both the e-Tron Sportback and Phil’s EQC feel more premium in comparison.

No, neither has a Tesla-sized central cockpit screen, but that novelty is wearing off, and the Merc’s interior is very welcoming, with twin displays, bronze highlights and lovely contrast stitching. Suddenly the Audi feels rather bland by comparison.

eqc ltt side pan

And like a bit of a blunderbuss. The Merc has a sharper throttle, responds more eagerly to steering inputs, and comes across as an unruly little high-rise hot hatch. This is of course only by way of contrast to the Audi and its sedate nature; the reality is the Mercedes is a 2.5-tonne electric SUV, not a VW T-Roc R rival.

But after a day in each other’s cars through the Chilterns, it’s the Audi I want to head home in. I love the looks, the refinement, and – being half a foot taller than the general populace – I need the space. There’s more legroom in the back thanks to the three-metre wheelbase, bigger front seats, and the centre console doesn’t crowd me out like it does in the Merc.

I just wish it had more range, or rather, it was more efficient. Even when fully charged we never now see 200 miles on the Audi’s on-board computer, a result of it averaging less than two miles per kWh. Phil’s Merc is nearly 25 per cent better and yet that pales in comparison to the Teslas. Sort that, and then everyone would need to charge less.

By Ben Pulman

Read Phil’s thoughts on Ben Pulman’s e-Tron Sportback here

Logbook: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 2.4 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 3.0p per mile
Miles this month 922
Total miles 2561

Month 6 living with a Mercedes EQC: Evija, Elise, Evora… meet EQC

Do your homework
EV road-trip prep is second nature now: fast-charging locations noted, route sent to car via the Mercedes Me app, EQC fully charged overnight. I set off for Lotus with 185 miles of range: cold spring is limiting battery capacity.

eqc a505

White-knuckle van man
The EQC is in Eco mode, making for an obdurate accelerator. A505 has plenty of roundabouts, where I attempt to carry all feasible speed to avoid unnecessary throttle, yet three times dunderheaded lorry drivers kibosh that by pulling out late.

Time for a stop
I’ve decided to top up on the way to Lotus, but an Ovo Energy van is using the charger at the A11’s Shell Fourwentways. A few miles later I top myself up with caffeine on the A14. This BP/’Bucks combo should have a charger, but the only one’s across the carriageway: grrrr.

Rest in peace
The EQC feels just so peaceful on the A11 stretch by the towering Elveden WWI memorial (5m shorter than Nelson’s column). On this impeccable tarmac, the body is constantly gliding up and down, there’s not a peep from the tyres, and just a gentle hiss of wind noise.

eqc charging

The quest for chargers takes me to uncharted places, Thetford in this case. Nun’s Bridge services is a dream: LPG, fossil fuels and two 50kW Instavolt connectors. The EQC consumes 16kWh in 22 minutes for £5.53 – and I’m back up to 183 miles of range: yay!

Lotus is going electric too
On the legendary sweepers linking the A11 to Lotus’s lane, the EQC clings on determinedly but betrays its mighty mass. The Merc has returned its best consumptionyet – 2.6 miles per kWh. I venture inside to hear it’s not just Merc going all-in on electric…

Logbook: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 1.9 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 6p per mile
Miles this month 473
Total miles 1639

Month 5 living with a Mercedes EQC: keep your Normal

My EQC bugbear is having to select my preferred high level of regenerative braking every time I drive – it insists on defaulting to Normal. I typically use my road’s tight left-hander as the trigger to activate one-pedal driving, but driving the other way there’s no aide-memoire – until I reach the mini-roundabout, lift, find I’ve got my braking point wrong and almost T-bone a Fiesta. First-world problems? Sure, but irritating and fixable. The tyre pressure monitoring system also flagged a tyre that was flatter than Norfolk – supposedly – but was actually fine. That kind of thing engenders the same level of faith I give overhead traffic signs on motorways.

By Phil McNamara

Logbook: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 1.6 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 7.0p a mile
Miles this month 137
Total miles 1166

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Month 4 living with a Mercedes EQC: in good company

eqc ltt coty

Today, Silverstone! Not for a trackday, despite my destination being the splendid Porsche Experience Centre. In the car park, I find my quarry in the form of seven interlopers: Citroën’s C4, the Fiat 500e, new Land Rover Defender and Toyota Yaris. The other cars – the Cupra Formentor, Skoda Octavia and VW ID.3 – explain how we’ve blagged access to the Covid-secured PEC: these three VW Group stablemates are hoping to achieve what their Taycan cousin narrowly missed out on last year, to win Europe’s Car of the Year award.

As one of the six UK jurors, I spend the day barrelling along the brutal B-roads that spin out from Silverstone like a spider’s web, cross-checking the contenders against each other, and subconsciously with the EQC.

There are three electric cars on the 2021 shortlist, if you include the zero-emissions version of the C4. It returns a useful three miles per kWh on my 17-mile test route, a couple of tenths better than the ID.3. On the M1 up here, the Merc had its first proper outing in Eco mode, which makes the throttle as resistant to pressure as Alexei Navalny, through it doesn’t artificially hobble acceleration as does Max Range mode. On the 58-mile motorway cruise, the EQC consumed 2.2kWh: better than usual, but shy of the 2.4 its Jaguar i-Pace predecessor achieved.

The Defender is naturally the closest to the EQC in size, weight and price, but also surprisingly in temperament: both stupendously hushed at a cruise, both with a relaxed gait that surfs the blacktop with Kelly Slater’s panache.

But if you want a mini-Merc on a budget, the e-C4’s your car. Similar diligent noise suppression, cushy seats and comfy ride, and a bit tighter body control in corners and under braking. Not that it did the Citroën much good in the Car of the Year standings: it came plumb last, while Toyota’s Yaris won. That said, the Merc didn’t even get on the shortlist last year.

By Phil McNamara

Logbook: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 1.6 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 4.0p per mile
Miles this month 338
Total miles 1029

Month 3 living with a Mercedes EQC: on our CASE

eqc app

Cars are becoming connected, autonomous, shared and electrified. Mercedes wraps this up in the acronym CASE, and embodies it in the EQC. It’s pure electric, and with a £1695 pack at the leading edge of autonomy, steering and positioning itself on a motorway. And connectivity? There’s a smartphone app, Mercedes Me. It’s easy to get started but then demands your photo ID and facial scan, and links to your in-car profile, which second-guesses your music, nav and call preferences. What I’m most enjoying is how easy it now is to pre-warm the car on icy days.

By Phil McNamara

Logbook: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 1.5 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 7.0p per mile
Miles this month 161
Total miles 691

Month 2 living with a Mercedes EQC: stats be damned!

eqc ltt chase

Who’d have thought it – I miss my 130-mile commute. Well, bits of it: those miles decompressing before getting home to the kids, the current-affairs radio briefings, and really getting under the skin of my long-term test car.

For obvious reasons the EQC is grossly underemployed and a bit of an enigma. It typically glides four miles a day to and from my youngest’s nursery, consuming a disproportionate six per cent of the battery’s charge without topping 30mph. Its incredible rolling refinement, light but responsive steering and pillowy suspension are deeply apparent. As is the merely average rear space – my two-year-old spends most of the journeys demanding I slide my seat forward (note to self: switch the baby seat to behind my wife).

Today, breaking out of this routine, after a top-up charge to full giving 153 miles of range, I go for a proper drive. Less than a mile from the nursery, a dual carriageway drops the chequered flag for the first time in ages. It’s a thrill to stomp the pedal through the firewall, and feel the surge of rapid acceleration lift the prow as the EQC launches forward. There’s a motor on each axle, and the ‘EQ’ displays show the rear wheels provide a great deal of thrust when you kick down. It’s no Tesla, but it’s plenty fast enough.

One of the EQC’s more immersive features is its adjustable regenerative braking force. The left paddle ramps up the deceleration – the first tug emulates engine braking, a second tug and you’re in fierce one-pedal mode. To calm things down with a roundabout looming, a quick double tap and the EQC is slowing like you’ve deployed a parachute. It throws the weight forward, helping the front axle grip to carve through its turn.

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The back road to South Mimms has a testing 60mph stretch whose topography is twinned with the moon, and the EQC doesn’t surf it with the aplomb I expect. The soft springs let the body float a little too far and the rebound damping is a touch abrupt. Managing 2.5 tonnes is a tall order, but the impeccable urban ride is not quite so composed on brutal B-roads.

The chassis generates a formidable amount of grip and confidence, though in Comfort the steering feels a touch insouciant. Without adaptive damping and with the need to show some respect to battery drain, Sport mode seems a red herring. But with Individual mode I can programme the heftier, more reassuring steering, while keeping Comfort drivetrain and ESP settings. Now that could be the way forward.

My trip racks up 40 miles. At the end of it, the EQC still has 106 miles left to offer. I’ve been disappointed with the 150 miles or so winter range – but that’s offset today by consumption being largely equivalent to every mile travelled. A reassuring end to a liberating drive.

By Phil McNamara

Logbook: Mercedes EQC 400 AMG Line Premium Plus

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 2.3 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 6.0p per mile
Miles this month 160
Total miles 284

Month 1 living with a Mercedes EQC: hello and welcome

EQC LTT front tracking

Basking in purple neon light, cuddled by supportive leather seats, revelling in the opulence of near-silence, the EQC is a sublime place in which to travel. This is the first of Mercedes’ new-generation pure-electric cars, which goes grille-to-grille with the Audi e-Tron (like Ben Pulman’s Sportback) and my last long-term test car, Jaguar’s i-Pace.

Technically, the Mercedes and i-Pace are both four-wheel-drive zero-emission crossovers, with £65,000 starting prices, circa 400bhp and 0-62mph in around 5.0sec. But they feel quite different: the Jag was defined by its dynamic brilliance while the EQC majors on effortless luxury and dazzling details. Merc offers only one powertrain: twin motors, one per axle, a single-speed transmission and an 80kWh battery pack in the floorpan. That gives 232 miles of range on the WLTP test cycle, though the dashboard relayed 195 miles after my first full charge.

What’s an electric car really like to live with?

The EQC line-up starts with the Sport model on 19-inch alloys, and plenty of my favourite features: keyless go, crystal-clear reversing camera and blindspot monitoring.

However, it’s wise to spec the £2k upgrade to AMG Line trim to purge the Sport grille, with its chrome nose ring and pinstripe combo. In comes a black panel which better mirrors the bodywork’s smooth, understated sculpture. A cleaner palette on which to watch the headlamp illumination show, a dance of LEDs that makes me thankful for the long winter nights. Almost. Leather sports seats, those eye-catching running boards and 20-inch rims also figure.

EQC LTT interior

Slap down another £4645 for the Premium package to get a sunroof, Burmester sound system, MBUX augmented navigation – a camera relays the windscreen view onto the central touchscreen, but annotated with directional arrows – and an in-built therapist and masseuse: the Energizing Comfort system of calming light, aroma and seat manipulation.

Mercedes Energising Comfort: does it work?

This car, however, sports the flagship Premium Plus trim (a further £2250), adding head-up display and the Parking package, which builds a 360º image using three additional cameras, or automates the whole neck-craning, hand-shuffling affair. You also get MBUX Max, with an interior assistant. This uses an overhead camera to work out whether it’s the driver or passenger who’s going for the touchscreen or reaching across to the glovebox and tries to predict what’s needed in terms of the lighting and touchscreen menu.

Premium Plus also brings memory seats with a first-world problem: you have to keep your finger on the button during the repositioning, which tops 10 seconds given the foot-high difference between me and my wife. Add it all up, along with £685 for brilliant blue metallic paint, and you get a £75,295 sticker price.

A month in, I’m still cooing over the interior like a giddy dad with his firstborn. The mix of materials – brown vent centres, silver strakes, patterned panels – feels like the work of Salvador Dali. And those screens – spectacle by IMAX, graphics by PlayStation 5, functionality by Apple – are sumptuous.

First impressions are that the 127mm-narrower EQC is easier to thread through my city than the Jag, the steering’s lightness belies its immediacy, and that civility is most welcome.

Roll on six calming months.

By Phil McNamara

Logbook: Mercedes EQC 400 AMG Line Premium Plus

Price £65,720 (£75,295 as tested)
Performance 80kWh battery, twin e-motors, 402bhp, 5.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph
Efficiency 2.6-2.8 miles per kWh (official), 2.3 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 6p per mile
Miles this month 160
Total miles 284

About Tim Pollard

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A tech enthusiast and content writer, has a knack for simplifying complex technical information. He enjoys researching and writing about the latest gadgets and technology trends. He has a degree in computer science and is experienced in creating content for tech blogs and websites.

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