First drive: 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 prototype

In the most aggressive setting, D–, the EQA pulls up quite abruptly as the regeneration system harvests kinetic energy and stows it in the battery, while in the most hands-off setting, D+, it coasts without any perceptible braking to take advantage of its momentum. The former proves quite handy in city driving, where you rarely need to press the brakes yourself, except when coming to a complete stop. The latter, on the other hand, is best suited at cruising speeds, allowing the EQA to roll on uninterrupted for extraordinary distances.

Its nippy character and ability to pull up smartly of its own accord make the EQA well suited to urban driving. That said, because it retains the same steering geometry as the GLA, the EV fails to offer quite the same sense of manoeuvrability as some of its rivals, and its turning circle is more than a metre wider than that of the ID 3.

Out of town, Mercedes’ efforts to make the EQA more aerodynamically efficient than the GLA have paid dividends. There is some slight wind buffeting around the door mirrors at motorway speeds, although the overriding sound in this prototype is the distant roar of its 19in winter tyres. As you would expect, refinement is clearly a strong suit.

Yet for most people, it will be the range that proves just as important. Mercedes says the EQA will be capable of more than 249 miles on a single charge, although it isn’t going into any detail just yet. To put this into perspective, early ID 3 models fitted with a 77kWh battery have a range of up to 341 miles. Rumours abound of a long-range EQA capable of more than 300 miles, but it isn’t likely to be part of the launch line-up. The lack of information extends to charging performance. We know the EQA will support both 11kW AC and 100kW DC charging, but there’s no specific information on timings yet.

As for dynamism, with its raised ride height and standard front-wheel drive, expectations of the EQA’s sporting traits should be checked. The suspension uses the same combination of MacPherson struts up front and multi-link arrangement at the rear as the GLA, only adapted to cope with the increased mass brought on by the EQA’s battery. The springs and adaptive dampers have been retuned and the anti-roll bars beefed up. As a result, the EQA grips gamely when pushed hard, hiding its weight well with precise steering, fluid changes of direction and nicely controlled body movements. Overall, it’s reassuringly surefooted but lacks the immediacy of lower-slung rivals.


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