Mercedes launched its EQ electric sub-brand with the EQC, a medium-sized SUV. Now we have the that car’s smaller sibling, the EQA, which is based on the petrol-powered GLA. It’s smooth, comfortable and prestigious but – word to the wise – unlike most electric cars Mercedes EQ models seemingly lack the facility to programme your charging times, so unless you have a timer function on your domestic wallbox you will not be able to take advantage of overnight off-peak energy tariffs. Given this is a major cost saving benefit for EV drivers it seems a glaring oversight.
“Only Mercedes and MG don’t offer a charging timer on their cars, and it means the total cost of ownership increases significantly”
We’ve had to dock a huge amount of kudos from the Mercedes EQA in running costs because, as we mentioned in the introduction, there is no chargingtimer on the EQA. So, unless your wallbox at home has its own timer (ours doesn’t), you won’t be able to take advantage of your own off-peak tariff, unless you stay up until midnight every night to plug it in to charge. This is plainly ridiculous - only Mercedes and MG don’t offer a charging timer on their cars, and it means the total cost of ownership increases significantly, wiping out a major attraction of running an electric car. To put some numbers against that most off-peak electricity tariffs at home cost 20-26p per kWh in the day, a figure that can fall as low as 4-6p per kWh midnight-5am. Charge your car at night, and it will cost you roughly a fifth of what it costs in the day. Multiply that by seven nights a week, and you can see the difference in price.
That rather major issue aside, other running costs - road tax/VED, Benefit in Kind for company car users, servicing, congestions charge - all remain very low.
Expert rating: 2/5
Reliability of a Mercedes-Benz EQA
“The three-year warranty comes with an unlimited mileage while most competitors cap it at 60,000 miles”
Mercedes doesn’t do well as a brand in most reliability tables, finishing in the bottom half, and issues can be expensive to fix. On the other hand, it doesn’t fare much worse than Audi, BMW and Jaguar. Plus, the three-year warranty comes with an unlimited mileage while most competitors cap it at 60,000 miles. The battery is covered by an eight-year warranty.
Expert rating: 3/5
Safety for a Mercedes-Benz EQA
“There’s also emergency braking if the car senses a collision is imminent but Mercedes cars can be a bit eager here”
Everything you’d expect from a premium car brand is included, so you get a reversing camera, the usual active lane assist (steering intervention to nudge you back into your lane if you drift wide) and blind-spot assist, which shows a warning light and audible signal if you’re about to change lanes when another vehicle is in your blind spot. There’s also emergency braking if the car senses a collision is imminent but Mercedes vehicles can be a bit eager here, resulting in some unexpected emergency stops. We’re not fans. Pay extra for the Driver Assistance package and you get adaptive cruise control which will suit those making regular long trips.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Mercedes-Benz EQA
“The circular ventilation dials light up at night, and the whole interior is bathed in LED lighting in cool colours”
The EQA is an extremely comfortable car, full of soft leather, wide seats, acres of foot space, head space aplenty, efficient ventilation and surfaces that are pleasing to touch. The circular ventilation dials light up at night, and the whole interior is bathed in LED lighting in cool colours - choose from a palette of 64 hues. It feels reassuringly expensive and luxurious, although it might prove too much for those who prefer a calm, restrained interior.
Expert rating: 5/5
Features of the Mercedes-Benz EQA
“If you plug your phone in for music, the songs or albums will display in a curved gallery that you can swipe along with a finger”
Mercedes’ big strength right now over rivals is its tech. The screen behind the steering wheel maintains sporty blue and red coloured digital dials and a configurable display that you can shift around to show different information. On the dashboard is another big glossy screen with beautifully crafted graphics - if you plug your phone in for music, the songs or albums will display in a curved gallery that you can swipe along with a finger. The main menu is clean and elegant. You get smartphone mirroring, a good sat-nav system, DAB radio and various comfort settings. We don’t like the mousepad that you can use instead of the touchscreen - it’s far too sensitive.
Expert rating: 5/5
Power for a Mercedes-Benz EQA
“After the initial buzz of the standing-start electric acceleration, the energy wears off rapidly, leaving you making very average progress”
There’s only one EQA power option, as indicated by the 250 in the badging. After the initial buzz of the standing-start electric acceleration, the energy wears off rapidly, leaving you making very average progress. Put your foot down to go uphill in the fast lane and you’ll find there’s not much there. The car has a maximum range of 263 miles - we were getting just under 200 miles from a full charge. If you tap the left-hand gear shift paddle on the steering wheel twice, the car will go into maximum regenerative braking mode, conserving as much power as it can from braking. The EQA does include an 11kW charger, so if your home wallbox operates at that rate instead of the more standard 7kW, you’ll get your charging time down to under six hours or 30 minutes to 80 per cent at a public rapid charger. As ever, it’s a trade off with electric cars - it’s not much fun to drive but you retain more battery power with a lighter throttle pedal anyway.