Mercedes-Benz EQA adds a compact, entry level electric SUV to the range
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its answer to the Tesla's Model Y. The EQA is a compact, "entry level" electric crossover based on the popular A class, and the base model launches with a 300-mile (486 km) NEDC range and 140 kW (188 horsepower) of two-wheel electric drive.
The A Class has been somewhat of a winner for Benz, and the choice to take this weenie around-town SUV electric can't have been difficult. The EQA follows in the footsteps of the larger, more powerful and considerably more expensive EQC, offering an entry-level point into the world of electric Mercedes SUVs.
The EQA 250 will be the first to roll out, with rear wheel drive and a practically-sized 66.5 kWh battery pack that can quick-charge from 0-80 percent in 30 minutes if you plug it into a 100-kW DC fast charger. It'll be followed by "a whole family" of EQAs that'll include AWD models, power outputs over 200 kW (270 hp), and ranges of "more than 500 km (310 miles)" on the tougher WLTP driving cycle, which requires higher sustained speeds than the NEDC cycle and drains electrics quicker as a result.
Efficiency is the focus here according to Mercedes, and the EQA achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28 thanks to an almost completely smooth underbody, the closed-off black grille section, and some other slippery aerodynamic touches around the wheels, roof and corners.
Even the bargain-basement Model Y will embarrass this thing in a stop light drag – the Tesla hits 60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.3 seconds while the Benz takes more than 8.5. Likewise, the Tesla's limited top speed is 135 mph (217 km/h), while the EQA can only manage 100 mph (160 km/h). So if a Musk rat pulls up next to you and starts waggling his eyebrows and turning his baseball cap around backwards, you'd best adopt an air of European sophistication, turn up some Chopin on the stereo and pretend you're above such childish shenanigans. Either that or point to a piece of floppy trim on the Model Y and satisfy yourself that you've eschewed the bleeding edge of autonomy in the name of German quality, or something.
The exterior design is reasonably conservative for an electric, and looks neat and tidy and functional with some hints of restrained youthful exuberance about it commensurate with its young-professional price tag. The interior is a notable step down in fanciness from the wider EQC, but still looks nice with its double-wide dash/infotainment screen and LED accents, and it runs a version of the "Hey Mercedes" MBUX AI system that's upgraded to stick charging stops into your navigation itinerary where it deems necessary.
Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, a reversing camera and Adaptive High Beam are standard, but depending on the market, you'll need to fork out more for auto parking, adaptive cruise, speed limit and traffic sign assist, tailback assistance, evasive steering assist, a head-up display and other bits and pieces of driver assistance.
Starting at €47,540 (US$57,620) before incentives in Germany, it goes on sale in February. Mercedes hasn't decided yet if it'll come to the USA, but if it does, it might be a tough sell next to the $41,990 Tesla Model Y (also before incentives), which would give you enough change from 58 grand to option up to a full Autopilot system and nearly nab the long-range AWD powertrain.
Then again, it wouldn't have a three-pointed star on the front, and Mercedes-Benz has more than proven its mettle over the years in terms of quality and customer experience. Tesla will get there, but the Model Y does seem like a bit more of a gamble at this stage. Check out a launch video featuring three excruciatingly peppy social media influencers, one of whom rocks up on a skateboard, below.