Whether it’s a shortened payload or drastic changes to how you feel on the road, some later gas-electrified cars can feel like mean compromises. But not the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB. Despite running on a standard front-wheel drive platform, this compact SUV looks like it was designed to be an electric car from the start.
In the photos, the face of the Mercedes electric EQ looks a little awkward on the body of the EQB, but that’s likely because we’re so used to seeing standard GLB-class SUVs outside. In person, the seamless headlight assembly and grille look just right at home, and fit right in with the look of the compact SUV. The taillights are different, too, and they look cooler than what the standard GLB gets. Throw in rose gold lab polish into the mix, and yes. Chef’s kiss.
Inside, things are a little closer to the norm. The exterior color of my tester creeps inside, adding rose-gold elements to the vents, seats, and even the power switch. Other than that, it looks a lot like the regular GLB, with a tall screen that holds two 12-inch screens, some visually interesting decorations in front of the passenger, a decent cubby under the climate controls and optional seating for seven. The back row stays out of usability for big adults, and the lower half of the cabin has some surprisingly thin plastic, but the EQB’s boxy shape lets in plenty of light and makes the cabin feel airy.
The United States will receive two different types of GLB when you reach our shores. The EQB300 uses a pair of electric motors to generate 225 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque, while the EQB350 bumps that up to 288 and 384, respectively. They both have all-wheel drive as standard, and both have an estimated WLTP range of 260 miles, although the EPA has yet to chime in with its number, which is certainly a bit lower. A 66.5 kWh battery is under the seats, and its 400-volt architecture can accept up to 100 kWh of juice, enough to take the battery from 10% to 80% in about half an hour. An 11 kW AC plug will take at least 6 hours on the same charge, but if it’s parked in the garage overnight, that’s fine.
As I drove my way out of downtown Stuttgart in this rose gold EQB300, I was immediately impressed by how natural the driving feels. Not all electrical parts seem to feed into cabin space or manipulate driving dynamics. The 228 horsepower is enough to climb into the hills out of town, and that 288 lb-ft will get the EQB through traffic gaps without a problem. It doesn’t have silly loudspeaker noise makers like the EQE or EQS so it’s pretty much a silent affair, with wind and road noise pretty much away. The multi-mode suspension is nice and supple in its standard setup, but you can add some stiffness in the Sport if you’re feeling fun.
The EQB also lacks the intelligent regenerative braking of larger EQs, which can stop the vehicle in traffic while increasing energy recovery. But there are still four different brake recovery modes, including an automatic that takes map data into account and can suggest when the driver should relieve pressure on the throttle to boost efficiency. Real one-pedal driving would be a great addition.
When it comes to safety systems, automatic emergency braking and active lane-keep assist are the only criteria. Everything else is tucked into the Driving Assistance Package, which adds adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring and evasive steering assist.
And the rest of the technology in the Mercedes EQB isn’t too inferior. The 12.3-inch screen on the dashboard powers the automaker’s MBUX infotainment system, which includes the standard navigation system. Information technologies also combine with all EVs in many ways. Using the Mercedes Me app, owners can preconfigure the cabin with wall power to avoid a range penalty. Step-by-step directions can be modified with requirements like there is a certain amount of freight at your destination, and the navigation will ensure that you get to the shipper in time to make it happen.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB is every bit as little urban touring fun as the gas-powered GLB-Class. Designed to prioritize cabin size and payload in a space that’s easy to maneuver and park in narrow streets. It has good technology and a solid amount of electric range for what can fit under the passenger compartment. It is a soft and cute piece.
Editor’s note: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. Roadshow Team’s judgments and opinions are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.