The Mercedes EQ line continues to grow. In 2021, we reviewed the EQA 250 which was one of the first full EV / battery SUVs available from the German powerhouse. Now we have a chance to spend some time behind the wheel of the new EQB.
The bigger brother of the EQA, as we find out what this EQB brings to the table.
What We Like and Dislike About The 2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC
What we like
- Ideal family EV
What we don’t like
- No electric front seats
- Style, rear unfinished
- Interior display position
- Spec packages pricing
What’s In The 2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC Range?
The EQB is available in New Zealand with two variants; the EQB 250 and the EQB 350 4Matic. Both vehicles have the same 66.5 kWh battery – the main difference is obvious in the name, is the EQB 250 is a 2-wheel drive and the EQB 350 4Matic is a 4-wheel drive. The EQB 250 has a single motor and less power, 140kW / 385Nm of power/torque, while the EQB 350 has dual motors that provide 215kW / 520 Nm.
There are a few spec items you also get in the EQB 350 over the 250. So the big question is the price difference, and does it beg the question of why even bother buying the EQB 250 at a retail price of $100,562, while the EQB 350 is $110,561?
2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC Standard Equipment Highlights
- LED High-Performance headlamps with Adaptive Highbeam Assist
- Privacy glass from the B-pillar back
- Windscreen wipers with rain sensor
- Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with Active Speed Limit Assist
- Active Steering Assist
- Active Brake Assist
- Active Lane-keeping Assist
- Active Blind Spot Assist with Exit Warning function
- PRE-SAFE® system
- Parking Assist PARKTRONIC and 360° Camera
- KEYLESS-GO Comfort package
- DYNAMIC SELECT
- Adjustable damping suspension with multi-link rear suspension
- Pedestrian protection
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- TIREFIT with tyre inflation compressor
- MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Infotainment system
- LINGUATRONIC, touchscreen and touchpad
- Digital instrument cluster
- 10.25″ high resolution and centre infotainment screen,
- Mercedes-Me Connect
- Navigation – Live traffic, parked vehicle locator, predictive navigation and on & off street parking, what3words
- DAB+ Digital radio tuner
- Smart Phone integration with Apple CarPlayTM and Google Android
- Wireless charging system for mobile devices
- Driver’s and front passenger seat with 4-way lumbar
- THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control – dual zone with pre-entry climate control
- Advanced Sound System
- Load Compartment package including 12V socket and reversible mat
- Mercedes-EQ Specific Features
- Acoustic ambient protection
- AMG floor mats
- Sports seats with adjustable head restraints
- Multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather with flattened bottom section
- 20” AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels
- 4MATIC All-Wheel Drive
- Automatic Panoramic Electric Sunroof
- AMG-specific front apron with trim parts in chrome plus functional AIR CURTAINS
- AMG-specific black panel radiator grille in a twin-blade design and surround in high-gloss black
- AMG rear apron in a diffuser look with a trim part in chrome
Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment
- AMG Line Sports Package – $4,300
- Vision Package – $3,000
- MBUX Innovation Package – $2,500
Including the optional equipment, our review car’s retail price is $120,361.
For a full list of specs and options available for the 2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC head on over to Mercedes-Benz New Zealand’s website
How Does The 2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC Compare To Its Competition?
The EQB has priced itself right in the thick of the high-end everyday family car. Besides the likes of the EV6 from Kia, the Ioniq 5 from Hyundai, the Polestar 2 and the Telsa Model 3.
From the point of view of a family man and looking at what I tend to need for everyday life, I think the EQB has a bit of an edge over the competition due to its spacious design.
All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme.
|Kia EV6 GT Line (AWD)||77.4||225/605||5.2||484||490||$111,990|
|Mercedes-Benz EQB 350||66.5||215/520||6.2||445||495||$110.561|
|Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited Solar Roof (AWD)||77.6||225/605||5.1||430||537||$109,900|
|Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor (AWD)||78||300/660||4.7||480||405||$104,900|
|Tesla Model 3 Performance (AWD)||75||377/660||3.3||547||561||$103,900|
First Impressions Of The 2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC
The EQB in many ways does everything that the MQA did, but it’s just a bit bigger. Bigger means more space and more practicality, but this can also mean that it’s not so enthralling either. It’s definitely an EV, but not in a bad way. The front of the EQB keeps in line with all of the Mercedes-Benz EQ vision, however, when you look at the rear you are left wondering if two people designed it and never spoke to each other.
The wheels are very nice, a multi-spoke design with a diamond face cut that highlights the central badge.
What’s The Interior Like In The 2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC?
Inside the EQB is typical of many of the Mercedes-Benz SUVs that have come before it. Well appointed with nice materials, good style and a design layout. That is if all the materials worked together, which I didn’t feel was the case in this EQB. Maybe it was the trim spec selection, but the interior felt a bit confused and unsure of what direction it was going in.
The front seats are what we have come to expect from Mercedes; super comfy, easy to adjust to find that just right position. However, I was surprised to find that the driver’s seat was a manually adjusted seat. Very unexpected for a $120k vehicle and the first time I have experienced a Mercedes-Benz review vehicle with a manual driver’s seat.
The rear seats are of a similar design to the front ones but are a bit less sculpted to allow for 3 seating positions across the rear seat. The room is great due to the spacious design of the EQB. I was able to sit in the back and easily have room to move my legs to wherever I needed. The rear seats could also move forward and back for more or less room. The rear seats fold down in a 40/20/40 layout, allowing for larger / longer items to be carried in the boot space.
Overall visibility from the driver’s seat is pretty good, with great visibility around the A-pillar for daily driving and great support from the 360-degree parking cameras for every situation.
The view out of the rear window is as you would expect of a normal Suv.
The steering wheel has the older generation haptic controls, which I preferred to the next generation. This one is not as busy as the two-spoke designs in the EQS and EQE.
The centre screen is a new portrait, large high-resolution screen like the old E and S Class that is built into the dash. It has the standard Mercedes-Benz user interface, with the idea of trying to minimise buttons in the cabin for a cleaner look. From this screen, you can control everything from the aircon, phone, radio, navigation, media and vehicle settings. Regardless of what they were trying to do the interior still felt a bit cluttered, which I think is down to the various styling features throughout the interior.
The was one thing I didn’t like about the central display, which may be due to my height and seating position. Based on where the steering wheel was and my head position, the steering wheel blocked the side of the central display, hiding the home button and selections to the far right of the screen. It took me a few minutes to realise that it wasn’t hard to find them, it’s just that I couldn’t see them as they were blocked from view.
The boot space of the EQB is impressive, 495 litres with the rear seats up. The rear hatch is also very square, which makes the opening very large. Great for getting awkward objects in and out of it. Once the rear seats were down the space opened up to 1,710 litres, which was awesome. There was no sloping roof either, so the inside space felt massive and very practical for moving larger objects.
Under the rear floor of the boot, there is a nice storage compartment that houses all of the charging cables and plug-in wall charger. I like this as many vehicles we see have a bag that floats around the boot, which just takes up space. Better to put it away somewhere so you know it’s always going to be there when required.
What’s The 2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC Like To Drive?
Much like the EQA the EQB is actually, pretty nice. It’s a very easy and user-friendly daily driver, creating a comfortable and enjoyable experience. We’ve often commented on the fact that EV range isn’t everything. Just like driving an ICE vehicle, you can drive it in an inefficient manner, just like you can drive EVs in an inefficient manner. In some cases with a lower range, you can easily adjust your driving to get the most out of it, but the EQB with its 400 km range I simply didn’t worry about it. The EQB is actually pretty nice, much like the EQA to drive.
I would note that the dash seems to be a bit behind some of the other models in terms of looks. The driver’s part of it specifically, as the driver is set using a two-dial view, whereas many of the other Mercerdes-Benz have a range of different views to choose from outside of the two-dial layout. Apart from the layout, the information was clear and easy to understand.
Drive modes are standard Mercedes-Benz; Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. Eco mode still has plenty of go to keep up with traffic and is easily usable although the accelerator pedal does get a lot harder to push down. The car will always default to Comfort mode when you get in, which is great for most requirements. Sport mode when I wanted to get up and go, and it did just that. Personally, I find drive modes a bit pointless in full EVs. You always have plenty of torque, and even in comfort mode, you can always get a move on with a foot flat to the floor. Once I had tested the different modes, I just defaulted to Comfort as it was more than adequate for every day driving requirements.
Motorway travel is quiet, as it should be in an EV. But to be fair, wind noise and road noise are very well subdued. Tyre noise does make an appearance depending on the road surface, but we often find that eco tyres fitted to EVs can be a little noisy, especially on our poor-quality New Zealand roads. The EQB is fitted with Pirelli PZero Elect tyres.
The ride and handling are nothing to write home about. The EQB is very much an everyday practical family vehicle. So its core goal should be to have a smooth and comfortable ride, which it does. If the suspension was too firm the ride would become a bit too hard and push into an uncortable level for long trips. I drove the EQB for a whole week covering a lot of kilometres during that time, and I never got out of the car feeling sore or uncomfortable.
With the boxy design of the EQB, visibility for the driver is brilliant. Except for the normal A-pillar issues, I felt very confident and aware of what was around me and the vehicle at all times. The visibility also makes it easy to park, as does the top-down 360-degree parking camera.
Everyone seems to want to hear about the battery economy, as if the numbers can be rubbed in the face of ICE vehicle owners. Of course, it’s more efficient but like I said before, you can still drive an EV in a very inefficient manner, just like an ICE vehicle. During my time in the EQB I averaged 22.4 kWh/100km, which is a bit higher than the 18 kWh/100km that Mercedes advertise. We are definitely at the high end of the inefficiency rating, which is anything over 20 kWh/100km.
The biggest issue with the high energy usage is that it has a big effect on range. Mercedes-Benz claim this is 445km, but the range I saw was mid to high 300km and never went above 400km. The weather also has a big impact on this, which many buyers are not aware of. Depending on where you live the cold weather will reduce your range and usability.
Alistair’s Point of View
I remember when we drove the Mercedes EQA a couple of years ago. At the time, we were all quite taken with it. It drove well, had plenty of tech and at the time, was quite good value compared with the competition (a Hyundai Kona EV was more expensive, at the time).
Arriving in 2023, the EQB has joined the range in New Zealand. It’s essentially a slightly larger, and more expensive brother to the EQA, being a similar petrol-converted platform and sharing similar specs.
However, like anything in the early tech space, the competitive landscape has already changed significantly. Unfortunately for Mercedes, the only real thing that’s changed about the EQA and ergo, the EQB, is its price. Our test EQB costs $120,361.
So, it must be good for that price? Right? Well, yes. And no.
Let’s begin with the positive. The EQB is a Mercedes, meaning you can expect good build quality, good overall refinement, and these days, more tech than you can shake a stick at.
It’s practical too, being a small mid-size crossover with boxy dimensions. It means you can stick tall people in the back, and it’s not a problem.
So yeah, that stuff is all fine and dandy. So, what are the bad bits?
For starters, this interior is just a mishmash of materials. Aluminium textures, piano black, faux carbon fibre plastics and more LED strip lighting than a bar on Auckland’s K-Road. It’s as if they just threw every idea on the whiteboard at this interior, then ended up with an interior that’s not very cohesive.
The tech situation suffers a similar fate. Modern Mercs seem to have every tech trick in the book, but part of having everything means that there can be a lot of clutter. Just look at that blimmin’ steering wheel – and that’s not even Merc’s latest one. The infotainment trackpad is also a basket case, but fortunately, the infotainment is also a touch screen.
The specs on our EQB are also perplexing. The car has the optional Burmeister sound system and ventilated seats, but the front seats aren’t electronically adjustable. Why aren’t electric seats standard, Mercedes-Benz?
But the biggest drawback of the EQB is more of a technical one. The EQB’s claimed range of 445kms and energy consumption averages of 18.8kWh aren’t segment-leading, and considering that our consumption averaged 22.4kWh during our test (and total range dropped into the high 300kms), it’s bettered by many competitors these days.
So, what’s the overall verdict? Well, the EQB is a tricky sell for me. It’s not a bad car by any stretch, but I’d struggle to recommend it either. Sorry, Mercedes-Benz.
2023 Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC – Specifications
|Vehicle Type||Electric SUV|
|Starting Price||$110,561 (excl CCP)|
|Price as Tested||$120,361 (excl CCP)|
|215 kW / 520 Nm|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||2,175|
|Length x Width x Height|
|4684 x 2829 x 1667|
|Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,|
(seats up/seats down)
|495 / 1710|
|Advertised Spec – Combined – 18.8 kWh/100|
Real-World Test – Combined – 22.4 kWh/100
Low Usage: 6-10 / Medium Usage 11-19 / High Usage 19+
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
|Warranty||5-Year Unlimited KM|
High Voltage (HV) Battery for 8 years or 160,000km, whichever occurs first*.
|Safety information||ANCAP Rating – 5 stars – Link|
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – MBNZ4
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