NORMALIZING EV’s: 2023 MERCEDES-BENZ EQB300
It would seem lately that the push for EV’s isn’t just about introducing a new model but to push the boundaries of performance and showcase what that brand is capable of. Yes, I get it, with your Ludicrous Mode or Boost buttons, you can get to 60-mph quicker than a heartbeat. But let’s face the reality here, not everyone wants an insanely fast EV, nor should everyone have that sort of power available at their fingertips. Thankfully however, Mercedes-Benz might have introduced an EV that finally normalizes these idiotic fast machines.
Taking the already developed GLB, Mercedes swapped the 2.0-liter turbocharged gas burning engine for an electric one. There are two battery versions available, the EQB 300 that brings in 225-horsepower and 4Matic all-wheel drive and the more powerful EQB 350 that makes good with 288-horsepower. Both powertrains offer three trim options between Premium, Exclusive and the top trimmed Pinnacle. My example arrived in the lowest EQB 300 Premium starting at $54,500.
Visually, there is nearly no drastic change between the EV and gas model apart from giving a refreshing look with a new plastic cover over the grille and energized looking LED headlights and taillights with the new Mercedes EV signature LED full width light bar. The same continues to the interior; should one find themselves stepping out of a GLB and into the EQB, there is no change to its interior counterpart except from one small option, the backlite LED illuminate trim panel on the dash; however, that requires the $3,250 AMG Line with Night Package, which was not fitted to my example. Other changes to the interior aren’t really changes at all, the third row is still an available option, but a more costly one at $1250 versus the gasoline variant which is only $850.
Like the GLB 250 I tested back in 2020, the EQB carries the same overall pleasantness to its interior setting. It features two 10.25-inch glass panel displays that elevates the cabinet into a premium setting that also comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The $325 optional Brown Walnut wood with a matte finish is a nice, warm addition. The seats carried a comfortable setting with both driver and passenger having power adjustable options and the second-row passengers feature a high, domineering seating position with ample legroom. And since my example did not come with the optional third-row seats, there was significant cargo capacity despite this EV model losing 5 cubic feet, but really, who’s measuring.
But getting to the nitty gritty of the EQB, its powerplant. With this example coming in at the entry end of the EQB segment, it featured the 225-horsepower performance from two electric motors, one in the back and one in the front. I could tell you the names of these engines; however, I would need a degree in Mechanical Engineering just to pronounce them. And sadly, I only have an Architectural degree. The gist of it is, this is finally an EV performer that won’t send you to the chiropractor. It takes its gingerly time getting to 60-mph in under 7.0-seconds and when we put our foot down, it is more like an usher of acceleration rather than throwing you into a pit of ravaging honey badgers.
Since the EQB carries over the same chassis components as the standard GLB, it too carries a nicely tuned balance of ride comfort and handling extremities. It comes as no surprise however that the EQB is carrying more weight due to its batteries, but with more weight comes better stability. There is a more settled, sturdiness to its ride that doesn’t feel like a gust of wind may sweep it off its rubber feet.
Like many other EV’s, the EQB too can be charged from a Level 1, 2 or 3 charging station with Level 3 taking somewhere in the range of 30-minutes to get from 10% to 80%. Level 2 takes a little longer as I saw it averaging about 10% an hour. Really impressive however was its Level 1 charging – Level 1 is your general 110v house outlet – it can charge in the vicinity of 3-5% an hour, which may not sound like much, but given 12-hours of charging, it charges faster than many of the EV’s I have come to test.
Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks, it is claimed that the EQB can produce somewhere around 240 miles of range; at full charge, I saw 230-miles of range. It is also rated for 104-MPGe, but with my averaging coming in a 2.2 kWh-per mile, it equivalates to 74-MPGe – which makes since why it was eating through its range like a fat kid that found his parents chocolate stash. Then there is the safety equipment, the EQB comes standard with forward-collision assist, high-beam assist and blind-spot monitoring; however, should you want lane keeping or adaptive cruise control, that’s a separate option. And then there is the price, after few extra’s like the $1500 Panoramic sunroof, $350 Augmented Red Light Camera Video, $600 19-inch wheels and a few miscellaneous items, the EQB 300 came in just over $59,000 – $9,000 more than a similarly equipped GLB 250 and $1,500 more than the spunky GLB35 AMG. Its price point also puts it in close proximity to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq5, and Kia EV6 – while not on the same premium level as the EQB, all are larger in size, offer more electric range and more performance.
For a while now, I have been pondering the question; why are all these newly added EV’s so overzealous with speed and performance? The EQB is finally the EV that normalizes the EV world. Sure, we had “normal” EV’s in the past like the Kia Soul EV or Fiat 500 EV, but let’s be honest, they weren’t exactly very good. The EQB is. And despite some of its drawbacks, it’s a down-to-earth EV that supplements its less-than-common range with quicker-than-usual charging capabilities. And that is something worth living with.
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