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Long Term Review

Living with a… Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV (Month 2)

It’s big, packed with tech and impressively luxurious but is that enough to justify the price? We’ve got three months to find out

Erin Baker

Words by: Erin Baker

Published on 12 June 2024 | 0 min read

Large, luxurious and expensive, this is Mercedes’ five-seat, electric family SUV based on (and not to be confused with) the EQE saloon. A show pony for the very latest technology and digital screens, the EQE SUV is also practical, with a long-distance range of over 300 miles on one charge. So, what’s it like to live with?
Skip to: Month 1 – Tech good, visibility not so much Month 2 – Big car, great range

What is it?

  • Model: Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV
  • Version: EQE 500 4MATIC SUV
  • Spec level: AMG Line Premium Plus
  • Options fitted: head-up display, Hyperscreen, heat and noise insulating glass, four-wheel steering, surround lighting with Mercedes animation
  • Price as tested: £121,760

We like

  • Digital displays
  • Rear legroom
  • Long range

We don’t like

  • Driving position
  • Disruptive safety systems
  • The price

Month 1 – Tech good, visibility not so much

Erin says: “If I put the steering wheel in its lowest setting, which is just low enough, it blocks the sensor behind it monitoring my eyes to see if I’m paying attention to the road ahead”


Trips taken

The joy of an electric car with decent range is the journeys it makes possible – see the see the Abarth 500e report for the flipside! It’s only been a month but we’ve used it to drive from Tunbridge Wells to Heathrow and back for a work trip, Kent to London and back and multiple motorway journeys without palpitations about running low on charge. On a daily basis, we’ve been doing the school run (one child is 20 miles away), the train station car park and shopping trips in our local town, where it has been slightly more of a pain than the Abarth because it requires a bigger parking space. To be fair, though, everything requires a bigger space than the Abarth!

We’re loving

I knew this would be a winner but all the digital displays and screens. I’m a sucker for a massive glass dashboard, and the Mercedes has three screens, controlled by its MBUX operating system, which knocks the competition into a cocked hat. The central screen is enormous, so all my iPhone apps are displayed at once, and without the need to physically plug the phone in, which is pretty cool. If you select Mercedes’ own navigation, which is also very good, you get a colossal map covering a huge area and it repeats in the driver display behind the steering wheel as well as in the head-up display, which some people find too much but I love. Merc’s sat-nav also shows you the nearest charging points, how many there are and how many are available in real time, a trick many people think only Tesla can do.

We're not so keen on

The driving position. I’m 5ft 6in and this car does not fit me. The steering wheel is way too high, even on its lowest setting, and the dash rises above it, impacting my view of the road ahead. If I raise the seat to peer over I can’t reach the pedals properly. If I put the steering wheel in its lowest setting, which is just low enough, it blocks the sensor behind it monitoring my eyes to see if I’m paying attention to the road ahead. The car then thinks I’m not concentrating, pings loudly and issues a warning message in a box across the speedo and, if I continue to ignore it, actually does an emergency stop. It’s something of a nightmare. Every time I get in it I have to delve into the safety systems in “settings” on the screen and turn everything off.

Niggles

Sometimes the door handles pop out after I’ve locked the car. Why? Sometimes the car is unlocked but they recede flush into the body work. Why?

Surprise and delight

The advanced sound system is incredible. Like, properly brilliant for both treble and bass and an immersive sound. Back to top

Month 2 – Big car, great range

Erin says: “The trick to an electric car with a long range is trusting it.”


Trips taken

The trick to an electric car with a long range is trusting it. I keep going onto Maps on my phone the night before I drive somewhere to check the mileage and whether I can make it there without charging. It's been fine every time: it's amazing how many drives to other counties and towns are under 200 miles from my house in the South East. It might be a different story where you live, but I'm in a particularly crowded part of the UK, which also has the benefit of meaning the public charging network is pretty good, whilst also meaning most rapid charging points are being used most of the time. The exception to that is a huge bank of ultra-rapid chargers that have just opened up at my local supermarket - happy days for those without home charging. This month I've driven from Tunbridge Wells to Brighton and back for a shopping trip, Leatherhead and back for my son's cricket match and Heathrow and back for a work trip abroad.

We’re loving

Motorway journeys. The EQE SUV is very smooth and comfy on the motorway, with no noise or vibration from the road surface at speed, not even the dodgy bit between junction 9 and 10 of the M25. It never seems to strain against the speed, streaming along at 70mph, and, impressively, the range barely dips at these speeds. A little message will pop up on the dash suggesting ways in which you can claw back 10 or 12 miles, such as turning off the infotainment, switching drive mode to a more sluggish setting, reducing ventilation and so on, but I haven't felt the need to go there yet, other than to experiment. A warning that, should you feel the need to save those 10 miles and switch to eco mode, you'll struggle to drive up hills over 65mph. Fine if you're in a relaxed mood, not great if you're late.

We're not so keen on

This is a wide, cumbersome car: it feels big and heavy with few good sight lines of the bodywork, which makes parking in multi-storeys quite stressful. I don't know if it's just me, but I'm really struggling to reverse park the EQE SUV with the four-wheel steering: you have to re-learn the move based on the much tighter turning circle, otherwise you find yourself nearly slicing off the nose of the car you're parking next to by taking the wrong angle in reverse.

Niggles

The external treadplates. They look quite cool but I keep hitting my ankle on them and my partner, who's waiting for a hip replacement, can't lift his leg over the extra width they create.

Surprise and delight

The games, such as Pairs and Sudoku, which my 11-year-old son discovered (who else?) when he was playing around in the front passenger seat on his own touchscreen on the dash (you click and drag a copy of the main screen onto an icon representing the passenger screen). Pairs has kept him quiet for ages. Next month, I'll attempt to explain Sudoku... Back to top