Speaking personally, it would be hard for me to estimate just how many articles I’ve read since early December which haven’t mentioned the futuristic vibe of the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. Simply put, technology stood at the forefront of everything as if to remind us that it was done with its courtship of the automotive industry, and had brought its overnight bag. From safety to driver-assistive features, EV offerings to advances in autonomy, it felt like we’d finally cleared some sort of ‘line in the sand’, separating yesterday from tomorrow. But while some reveals felt timely, and others still felt just out of reach, it was (in our opinion) that the wealth of EV offerings were best aligned with our expectations. And if the future is electric, we’re on board, but only because automakers like Mercedes are showing us that going electric doesn’t have to mean being banished to the likes of a Prius.
Sure, it was Tesla that made believers of us, showing us that an EV can be visually-appealing while merging a sense of fun with an upscale design. But with BMW and Audi making it clear that EV is a priority, we’re getting a wider slate of performance and luxury options to choose from.
With even economical domestic automakers wiping their slate clean to transform their lineup in order to mirror changing sensibilities, we expect a similar strategy from most everyone. Whereas once, sedans ruled against the growing number of crossovers, those roles have all but officially been changed. The crossover is king. And while none of us should feign surprise, it’s less “me too” and more “this is where we need to be”, with each and every automaker refining their lineups to honor the king.
Enter the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 which, despite its five-door design it is every inch a Mercedes and indicative of the luxury and refinement one would expect. It is also a capable performer with dynamic drive mode selector, inspired with innovative in-cabin technologies while remaining as eco-friendly as you’d expect of a modern EV. So, with that said, let’s dive deeper on this upcoming zero emissions game-changer.
Mercedes-Benz has been transparent with their intention to create a vehicle “instantly recognizable as a Mercedes and as a GLC-size model”, and they have been overwhelmingly successful. Truth be told, most of the EQC 400’s visual impact comes from the first impression that it makes. One might chalk it up to the power of the Mercedes-Benz badging (and we’d be hard-pressed to disagree) but the rounded-shield styling of the grille with connective headlamps creates a distinctive and appealing look.
Once you step to its side and start to explore the EQC’s body styling it becomes slightly more predictable and conventional, albeit not in an unappealing way. But with subtle contouring, distinctive lines and lamp designs, and a low-sloped roofline it still manages to maintain its own identity.
And in terms of overall sizing, the EQC 400 falls in between Mercedes-Benz’ compact GLC and midsize GLE. While larger than the Jaguar I-Pace or BMW i3, it still ranks smaller than the Tesla Model X. With a more modest footprint, and a low/wide stance, it conveys a sense of unpredictable athleticism almost begging you to underestimate it.
Each set of wheels on 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 is powered by one of two electric motors, establishing its all-wheel credibility. Combined, those motors allow the EQC to challenge countless turbo and supercharged competitors, channeling 402 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque.
Final range numbers for the 2020 EQC have yet to be finalized, but the 80 kWh battery that powers the dual motors is estimated to have a 279-mile range, on a full charge. As one would expect, there are three charging methods to choose from (Level 1) from a standard wall outlet (Level 2) from a 220-volt wall box, installed in your home and (Level 3) from a charging station, delivering an 80% charge within three-quarters of an hour. Needless to say, it’s clearly more than just another pretty face.
Dynamic Drive Selector
Playing upon the strengths of their conventionally-powered lineup, Mercedes delivers the ECQ with its Dynamic Select controller. This empowers the driver to modify steering, throttle response and suspension fitness by selecting which drive mode best suits their needs. Options include Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport and Individual. So whether you’re looking to secure an athletic, performance-minded drive or wring every ounce of EV power in order to enhance your range, the EQC has you covered.
Now that we’ve all grown used to the likes of Siri and Alexa, one might argue that many have grown spoiled. Well, meet ‘Mercedes’, part of the MBUX infotainment system featured into the EQC 400, responsive to both requests and commands preceded by the phrase, “Hey Mercedes”. As with other contemporary Mercedes offerings, the EQC 400 blends contemporary styling with a hint of futurism thanks to its tech-centric design. At the heart of that design is an immense and oblong, rectangular digital screen which stretches across the instrument panel. Not entirely unlike the screen found in the 2019 CLS-Class, it’s a great indication of how Mercedes-Benz is taking anything but a “me too” approach, seemingly unafraid to make bold design choices.
If the exterior design is pleasing, if not somewhat consistent with current trends the interior redeems the “looking forward” intention that Mercedes has laid out. As mentioned above, the wide digital screen (akin visually to a small touchscreen soundbar) sits at the center of the ECQ 400, emitting an electric- blue mood lighting through the cabin. The various controls of the EQC reflect a tasteful blend of manual and touch, merging form and function in an admittedly appealing manner.
The soothing effect is mirrored in the comfort offered by the EQC’s welcoming cabin, offering the driver a strong driving position along with passenger-centric comfort. Simply put, it’s everything you could ask for in a modest-sized crossover.
As one would expect, the ECQ will be equipped with a suite of driver-assistive features including (but not limited to) adaptive braking and lane keep features. Considering the fact that such features have only been integrated in vehicles for the last few years, we’ve already begun to grow desensitized to their value. That said, there’s no going backward now and whether you’re shopping luxury or economy brands, one expects to find a strong safety suite included in the newest model year offerings. Suffice it to say that Mercedes-Benz manages to tick each of the boxes one might anticipate.
Come mid-2019, the EQC 400 will begin to make its global debut, but will be going head-to-head with a growing number of intelligent and progressive EV crossover offerings. In fact, it’s safe to predict that EV crossovers will inevitably be the fastest-growing segment in the decade to come. That said, Mercedes-Benz has been successful in creating a competitive luxury offering that feels both on-brand and unique.
What do you think of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400?