2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB300 First Drive: Classy Carpooler

We took a first look at Mercedes-luxury Benz’s compact SUV, the EQB350, in December and were impressed by its smooth and quiet operation, near-AMG levels of performance, and clever occasional three-row seating option. Now we’ve taken a look at the EQB300, the vehicle’s less powerful and more economical younger sibling. So, does the EQB’s appeal factor suffer as a result of losing the 50 badge prestige points?

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB300 First Drive: Classy Carpooler

Mercedes-Benz has introduced the EQB, a practical two-box electric family hauler that competes with the Volkswagen ID4, Audi Q4 E-Tron, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and, to a lesser extent, the Tesla Model Y. It, like the Tesla, outperforms the first three by including the third row of seats as an option. Both third-row seats are cramped, but the EQB’s has steel overhead instead of the Y’s slanted hatchback glass, and it should be around $16,000 cheaper in 300 forms.

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The 300 model delivers 225 hp and 288 lb-ft, or about 75% of the 350’s output at roughly the same weight, thanks to the same 66.5-kWh battery pack and essentially the same motors. In Europe, the price decreases by 5%. That may make the more powerful 350 appear more affordable, but the 300’s acceleration is more than adequate for the duty cycle vehicles like this are designed for, so think again before upgrading.

From the circular, illuminated air vents to the twin-screen dash and augmented-reality navigation system, the inside feels like a Mercedes-Benz (complete with intelligent EV routing that considers temperature, hill grades, charger locations, etc. ). The EQB 300 is equally quiet inside as its 350 stablemates, with no compromises made in terms of road, tyre, or wind noise abatement. And, like many competitors in this segment, the same controlled, soft ride (our test vehicle had the optional adaptive dampers) provides a more comfortable ride. The three fixed braking-energy-recovery programs (accessed through shift paddles) and the “auto” mode, which tailors regen levels to the current situation—for example, when traffic ahead is slowing, a sharp curve is approaching, or to maintain a downhill speed—are additional highlights.

The EQB, like the XC40 Recharge from Volvo, is based on an internal-combustion vehicle architecture. To Mercedes-credit, Benz’s transfer was completed without increasing the floor or eliminating the option of a third-row seat, but the whole package is less efficient as a result of the conversion procedure. The primary disadvantage in this scenario is the range. If the EQB had been built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, it could have easily accepted more batteries for a more competitive range number (invariably reducing the pricing gap with Tesla) or had its weight streamlined to squeeze more range out of the batteries it already had.

The Mercedes-Benz EQB300, with three rows of seating, appears to be ideal for daily commuting and carpooling for families who have another road-trip vehicle in the garage.

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