- Handsome, familiar styling
- Strong performance
- Quiet, absorbent ride
- Clear efficiency displays
- Spacious interior
- Is 200 miles enough range?
- Still quite conservative-looking
- Peak charging requires battery preconditioning
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC is all the luxury you’d expect from its pedigree, and performance is strong; but its range could limit appeal.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC is an all-electric crossover that’s the first EV to arrive from the luxury brand’s new EQ sub-brand, which is focused on zero-emissions vehicles. While about the same size and shape as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the EQC offers unique styling and a different interface.
The EQC was originally due to arrive in spring 2020. That’s now been pushed to sometime in 2021, as a 2021 model—nearly three years behind its chief competitors.
Although the 2021 EQC all looks very familiar, you won’t find any exterior sheet metal or trim that carries over from the gasoline GLC. Both vehicles are made alongside each other in Bremen, Germany, and the EQC shares some key pieces that are out of sight. In effect, the EQC looks like a techno-savvy version of the GLC, including an update of the interface inside that brings the gauge cluster and infotainment all to the same plane, on a beveled screen.
Up close on the outside, LED lights reach across the nose and atop a lighted three-pointed star. The headlights frame a black, closed grille that presents a more monochromatic look as the new face of EQ. Alongside, the EQC splits the difference between the GLC crossover and coupe, and the overall length of the EQC is about four inches longer than the GLC while keeping its 113.1-inch wheelbase.
Inside, the EQC gets the latest MBUX infotainment system and merges two 10.3-inch screens for instrumentation and entertainment. The dash and doors get punctuated by louvered accents, and its look is more textured and also more monochromatic.
The Mercedes EQC is first and foremost a luxury vehicle and compared to alternatives like the Jaguar I-Pace or Audi E-Tron, the EQC is the comfort play. With the 1,434-pound battery pack mounted low, a relatively soft suspension tune, rear air springs, and a delightfully precise, direct steering feel, the EQC simultaneously soaks up choppy surfaces while being easy to handle and maneuver.
The Mercedes EQC rides as if it were on a foam mat, and among the current cohort of electric vehicles, the EQC is clearly the quietest. Only at lower speeds do you hear a bit of gear whine; at higher speeds you might hear some motor whine momentarily, but road noise is damped away.
Two electric motors power the EQC and together make 402 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. The front motor is tapped for efficiency, while the rear motor is put to task for a rear-biased feel and during stronger acceleration. Acceleration is strong for a high-riding crossover and the EQC can blast to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Together they also function as a nuanced all-wheel-drive system, although limited ground clearance rules out off-roading.
The EQC offers five drive modes: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport, and Individual. The EQC is most in its element in Comfort, where the powertrain response is heightened and the steering is responsive but the most naturally weighted. Through steering-wheel paddles you can toggle to D+ (gliding), or back from D (slight drag) to two more degrees of regenerative braking.
An 80-kwh lithium-ion battery includes four modules under the main passenger floor and two smaller ones just under and behind the back seat. Although the EQC still hasn’t been rated by the EPA, it’s expected to return more than 200 miles of range. In an early drive in mild temperatures we saw efficiencies to suggest around 200 miles in gentle touring conditions.
With its 7.4-kw onboard charger and a 240-volt Level 2 AC charger typical in many garages, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC will charge to full in about 11.5 hours. On road trips or when you need a little more charge, it will DC fast charge on CCS connectors from 10-80 percent in as little as 40 minutes—if you’re at a station that supports 110 kw and you’ve preconditioned the battery by entering a recognized high-power station as your destination. Then the EQC gently warms the battery to prepare it; otherwise, your charge will move along considerably slower. The EQC also comes with a heat pump, which helps improve efficiency, especially in longer drives in colder weather.
Mercedes includes a navigation system that’s a step above what’s included in other models from the brand. The navigation system includes dynamic rerouting for traffic, and it includes weather, topography, and traffic in determining how you’ll best stop to charge along the way. Natural voice recognition allows you to tap into audio, navigation, or EV-specific functions like what you want the vehicle to charge up to.
Mercedes-Benz said the EQC would cost $68,895 when it was scheduled to arrive for 2020, although it’s unclear if that’s how much it will cost for 2021. The EQC is likely to include all the carmaker’s latest driver-assist features—adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking.
Mercedes planned to offer the EQC 400 4Matic in the U.S. in Progressive, Premium, and Advanced trims, with the top Advanced version getting a full leather interior with ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, though we expect that feature set to change for 2021.