2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC driving

The all-new Mercedes-Benz EQC made its North American debut at this year’s LA Auto Show. It’s the latest in a line of fully-electric vehicles from a luxury manufacturer, following the Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace, as well as the more-established Tesla.

Like the Audi and Jaguar, the EQC qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, because Mercedes-Benz hasn’t sold anywhere near 200,000 EVs, which is the threshold for the credits to begin phasing out. Tesla, however, will exhaust all of its credits on 12/31/19.

Consumer Reports Cars team will be looking at the new EQC closely, as well as dozens of other models, this week.

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
What it competes with:
Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model Y
What it looks like: The EQC looks very much like the automakers’ GLC luxury compact SUV.
Powertrains: 80-kWh lithium-ion battery; 7.4-kilowatt onboard charger; dual motors; all-wheel drive
Price: $67,900
Onsale date: Early 2020

CR’s Take

It will be interesting if Mercedes-Benz can deliver on a 250-mile (or greater) range, which would give it an advantage over the Audi E-Tron. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC cutaway

Outside

Indeed, the EQC has very clean, simple lines. Its exterior is toned down from the crisp creases seen in the latest Mercedes models. And the face is decidedly different, with a large, black-panel front end—a look that will distinguish the EQ models from their gasoline-powered siblings. The EQC measures 4 inches longer than the GLC SUV and shares the width and wheelbase. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC interior

Inside

The EQC’s interior is a blend of current Mercedes features and some new elements. The biggest departure from the rest of the lineup is the large rectangular “display screen” that stretches across half of the dashboard. It’s actually two 10.25-inch screens, with the one in front of the driver containing the gauge cluster and the other for the infotainment system and vehicle controls in the part above the center controls. The system has many functions that are specific to this new EV, including the ability to plan the most efficient travel route and locate available DC fast charging stations.

Drivers interact with the various components via touchpads on the center console and steering wheel, as well as directly on the touch screen. We’ve found this system extremely frustrating to use in the GLE and GLS SUVs we’ve recently tested. Fortunately, the climate controls are hard buttons and switches located below the screen.

The five-passenger SUV has firm, well-contoured seats that should be comfortable for the long haul.

As is typical Mercedes, the seat adjustment controls are split; the door panel has switches that resemble a seat, while lumbar controls are on the bottom of the cushion. For drivers used to reaching down to the seat cushion to make all adjustments, this takes some getting used to. Loyal Mercedes drivers will feel right at home, though.

Like in the GLC, even tall adults have plenty of head room in the rear seat; leg and knee room is just adequate rather than spacious. The seat is well-padded and supportive.

What Drives It

The EQC 400 4Matic uses a motor at each axle, enabling all-wheel drive. The front powertrain is configured for efficiency, while the rear motor-transmission combination is designed to add sportiness. Output is a prodigious 402 hp and 564 lb.-ft. of torque.

The EQC uses an 80-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack (made up of 384 battery cells) with a 7.4-kilowatt onboard charger that lends itself to relatively quick charging. Mercedes claims DC fast charging in public places can bring the battery to 80 percent charged in 40 minutes when the battery is very low. Charging times on a 240V/32A wall-mounted charger takes 10 hours to go from 10 to 100 percent charge.

The company estimates a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 112 mph. Mercedes estimates the battery range to be over 250 miles.

The EQC has an intelligent assist function that combines travel data from your route, speed limits, and distance from vehicles ahead. The system can train the driver to bolster efficiency by maximizing coasting. For example, when in the economy-focused driving mode, the accelerator pedal will vibrate when the driver can coast, as is the case with Mercedes’ existing plug-in hybrids.

Safety & Driver-Assist Systems

The EQC has a broad roster of advanced safety and driver-assist systems. The EQC includes automatic emergency braking, with cyclist and pedestrian detection and blind spot warning. The system will also look for approaching cars and bikes when the EQC is stopped. It will alert the driver if it detects something approaching. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC rear

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