The 2022 Mercedes EQB Is a Stylish, Smooth-Riding 3-Row EV

Think of this as a regular Mercedes GLB, only electric.

byJerry PerezJul 25, 2022 10:00 AM
The 2022 Mercedes EQB Is a Stylish, Smooth-Riding 3-Row EV
Share

Evolution is constant, that much I already knew back in late 2019 when I drove the then-new Mercedes-Benz GLB. I dubbed it the Baby Yoda of compact crossovers because it had major bubbly vibes. Lo and behold, here I am a little over two years later, talking about the next step in the GLB’s evolution which, naturally, sees the internal combustion engine replaced with an electric drivetrain. Meet the 2022 Mercedes EQB 300 electric crossover.

The gas-powered GLB is charming and very practical, so it’s a good thing it isn’t going anywhere (it actually shares its platform with the EQB). But as I recently explained in my Vision EQXX review; Mercedes’ future is electric. Factor in the dire need to lower tailpipe emissions and the world’s insatiable demand for crossovers, and you can see why electric SUVs like the EQB are a natural next step—and are probably here to stay.

2022 Mercedes EQB 300 4Matic Review Specs

  • Base price: $55,550
  • Powertrain: 70.5-kWh (usable energy) lithium-ion battery | dual electric motors | 1-speed transmission | all-wheel drive
  • Horsepower: 225
  • Torque: 288 lb-ft
  • 0-60: 8 seconds
  • Seating capacity: 5 or 7
  • Cargo volume: TBA 
  • Curb weight: TBA
  • Range: 260 miles (est.)
  • EPA fuel economy: TBA
  • Quick take: The EQB is the electric evolution of the gasoline-powered GLB, and remains a charming and practical crossover that's a joy to drive in or around town.
  • Score: 8/10

The EQB is an all-new vehicle in Mercedes’ growing EQ lineup of electric cars. The EQS sedan is currently the only Mercedes EV for sale in the United States, meaning that when the EQB lands at dealerships later this summer, it’ll be the first and only electric Mercedes crossover available. Eventually, the EQB will gain a sibling once the larger and more expensive EQS SUV arrives on U.S. soil.

Jerry Perez

Two models are offered: EQB 300 and EQB 350. Both are identical in every aspect except horsepower, torque, and price. The 300 boasts 225 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque, while the 350 edges it with 288 hp and 384 torques. Starting price is set at $55,550 for the 300 and $59,100 for the 350.

More important than power and torque to most customers in this segment, however, is the fact that the EQB can be had with optional third-row seats, boosting seating capacity from five to seven passengers. Pricing for this option is not yet confirmed, but will likely be similar to the $850 Mercedes currently charges for the GLB’s third row. The test car I drove did not come equipped with the third-row seating, but having driven the ICE-powered GLB, I can confirm that they can fit a couple of petite adults (think five-foot-four). Mercedes did not elaborate on whether interior cabin space in the EQB is unchanged from the GLB, however.

The EQB wears the same design language found across the EQ lineup: oversized, black-panel grilles, angular headlights, one-piece LED taillights, and perhaps most attractive of all, ‘80s-style multi-spoke wheels. Every design characteristic, big or small, is nicely rounded, smoothed over, and made to look very aero-friendly.

It’s a sleek exterior design that, to be frank, easily wins me over. It’s certainly more cohesive than the EQS’. I found the GLB to be very cute, but almost too cute (hence Baby Yoda). As an electric version, the EQB finds a balance between cute and cool, landing somewhere in the very-charming territory—and that almost certainly won’t hurt sales.

The interior remains the same as in the GLB, with the exception of the software installed on the MBUX infotainment system, which is EQ-specific. The EQB rocks the same surfboard-style infotainment screens, center stack, steering wheel, trackpad, and shifter as its gasoline counterpart. This isn’t a bad thing, of course, given the cabin’s exceptional comfort and spaciousness, and it also means buyers won’t have to relearn an interior layout.

There are also many recycled materials throughout its cabin. The seats, for example, use thread that’s made from recycled plastic bottles. The rest of the seat trim, as well as the dash, doors, and other components are made from synthetic leather.

One would expect a luxury electric crossover like the EQB to drive smooth and ride soft. And that’s exactly what you get here. In the backroads of Immendingen, Germany, near Mercedes’ massive proving grounds, the EQB toured the countryside like a happy pony on a breezy summer day.

Swooping corners, switchbacks, stop signs, and lengthy stints on rural highways presented the EQB with a well-rounded challenge. At each phase, its dynamics provided a pleasant driving experience, with the steering wheel offering a decent amount of feedback (for an electric crossover). The brake pedal proved a bit hard to master, with most braking events feeling jerky. I can imagine this would go away with more seat time.

The suspension is the highlight of the EQB driving experience. It’s relatively firm in the corners, allowing for a natural body roll without feeling too springy or too stiff. On the highway, it’s superbly smooth and handles most imperfections with efficacy. This is largely due to the electric motors being isolated from the chassis, and then the chassis being isolated from the body. It’s like a tennis shoe with a layer of air bubbles plus a gel inner sole. Very comfortable.

Acceleration is brisk with the drivetrain in Comfort mode, as it’s to be expected in an EV. In Sport mode, however, it’s rather abrupt, quickly pressing you against your seat harder than you’d expect. It’s no Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, of course, but I’m skeptical of Mercedes’ claim of eight seconds from zero to 62 mph. It certainly feels quicker than that.

I spent the majority of my hour-long drive in Comfort mode, as Sport turned the accelerator into a bit of an on-off switch for uncomfortable torque jolts. However, I can see Sport mode being handy when passing on the highway or a two-lane road. Regardless, the EQB felt at home cruising down the highway and waltzing through corners. Turning radius was pretty good, too, so frolicking in mall parking lots shouldn’t be an issue.

In terms of competition (here defined by class and price range), the EQB is mostly in a league of its own at this moment, due to its optional seating configuration of five to seven passengers. The off-road-focused Rivian R1S is the only other EV to offer a third row, which, unlike in the Mercedes, comes standard. One could pit the EQB against the Tesla Model Y, but even that’s a bit apples-to-oranges, as the Y doesn’t offer a third row, nor is it a luxury vehicle.

The same applies to its more luxurious competitors like the BMW iX, Audi E-Tron, and Volvo C40 Recharge, all of which hover around the $60,000 mark but fail to match the EQB’s passenger capacity.

The biggest elephant in the room is, of course, the driving range. At 419 kilometers—about 260 miles—the EQB isn’t stealing any headlines. That figure is according to Europe’s WLTP grading cycle, too, and not the EPA. Realistically, the U.S. range could vary by a few miles in either direction. Its DC charging capacity of 100 kW isn’t great either, as it can’t take full advantage of DC fast chargers rated at 350 kW.

Most of the aforementioned luxury crossovers also fail to crack the 300-mile barrier, however, with only the non-luxury Model Y and R1S delivering 330 and 316 miles, respectively. So while the EQB doesn’t lead the pack, it’s certainly not a poor performer in the segment, either. Mercedes promised a long-range variant during the media-preview event but did not say when to expect it.

Jerry Perez

Evolution never happens in big ways or all at once. The changes are small and gradual, and in the case of the 2022 Mercedes EQB, that’s exactly what’s happened. It’s an electric GLB, so if you’re familiar with the ICE version, then this is a car you already know. It just looks better, drives better, and you’ve got the added zippiness and environmental credentials of an EV. And considering how the market is headed in the electric SUV direction, this is a solid first crack from Mercedes. 

Email the author at jerry@thedrive.com