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Mercedes-Benz EQV test drive

Merc’s EV plans are wide-sweeping and the EQV is one of the ways they’re being put into action. Is this electric MPV any good?

Mercedes-Benz is on an EV offensive and, over the next few years, plans to bring a vast swathe of electric models to market. Affecting each area of the firm’s line-up, these plans are a sign of the times as manufacturers move towards electric and away from conventional powertrains.

Here, we’ve got the EQV, and it’s one of Merc’s very latest EVs. Using the excellent V-Class as a base, the EQV aims to electrify the MPV sector. It’s an area of motoring which is certainly ripe for electrification, but the question is, does the Mercedes-Benz EQV make a case for itself? We’ve been behind the wheel to find out.

What’s new about the Mercedes-Benz EQV?

On the face of it, not a lot. Look at the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz EQV and you’d be easily fooled into thinking that this is any old V-Class. Scream about its EV underpinnings it certainly does not, and even the charging port is located in a nondescript area of the front section.

But there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye. Of course, it’s got a full setup of batteries and an electric motor, but whereas cars often struggle to package in their electric powertrain easily, the V-Class’ dimensions lend it perfectly to electrification.

How does it look?

As mentioned, the EQV certainly treads on the understated side of things. There are some Mercedes EQ-specific badges here and there and the logo on the front is almost dustbin lid-large, but it’s certainly not a vehicle which goes around yelling to the rooftops about its existence. And that’s no bad thing at all, in our view.

Given that often the target market for buyers of MPVs like these are those who want to whisk others around without drawing too much attention to themselves, then it’s likely that this styling direction will go down a treat.

What’s the spec like?

There’s no way around it, at more than £70,000 the EQV isn’t a cheap proposition. Of course, the bulk of that cost is associated with the cutting-edge powertrain, but there’s more than enough standard equipment on offer to justify that price even further.

It benefits from Merc’s latest MBUX system which is accessed via a rotary controller and large screen which combine to create a user-friendly setup. We’d only gripe at the satellite navigation system, which features graphics which are a touch behind the trend.

It also uses the brand’s ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control system which allows you to control various functions of the car without having to interact with any part of the infotainment system.

What’s the Mercedes-Benz EQV like inside?

It is, of course, the cabin where things are most important. The Mercedes-Benz EQV seats seven in total, with each person sitting in a pleasant amount of space. Both leg and headroom are excellent, while the general fit-and-finish of the vast, sprawling cabin feels really top-notch.

The middle captains-style chairs are a definite highlight too, though even those sitting up front won’t be complaining about how uncomfortable their seating arrangements are.

Plus, as a result of the batteries being located under the cabin floor, there’s no intrusion into overall space. It means that, when it comes to practicality at least, there’s little to separate the EQV from its combustion engine-powered stablemates.

What’s under the bonnet?

Powering the EQV is a 150kW electric motor which is linked to a large 90kWh battery. Mercedes says that the combination results in up to 213 miles of range from a single charge, which means that there’s more than enough juice for the types of roles that MPVs like the V-Class are used in, such as cross-city taxi rides or shuttles to the airport.

Performance is brisk enough for a vehicle of this type with 0-60mph taking a dash under 12 seconds. When it comes to replenishing those batteries when they’re empty, Mercedes says that a 10-100% charge will take around 10 hours when using a home wallbox.

However, the EQV is rated to charge at speeds of up to 110kW, which could see 0-80% charge times fall as low as 45 minutes.

What’s the Mercedes-Benz EQV like to drive?

It makes perfect sense to take a van-based vehicle like the V-Class and make it electric. After all, it’s not exactly pitched at the performance end of the motoring spectrum, veering more towards overall comfort and refinement. Fortunately, it covers both of these bases admirably.

Thanks to 204hp of power and 366Nm of torque, there’s plenty of shove to get the EQV up to speed in good time and, though you do feel the vehicle’s additional heft in the bends and at slower speeds, it manages this extra bulk well. It’s also quiet and stable, which should ensure that all those in the cabin will remain relaxed.

Of course, throw in an additional 458kg over the regular diesel-powered V-Class and there are going to be some changes to the way a MPV handles, but given this the EQV does remarkably well. It’s only a slight difficulty in dealing with larger potholes that flags it up as riding differently to the standard V-Class.

Verdict

Given that the EQV sits at the forefront of Merc’s EV plans, you can’t fault how well-rounded it is as an overall proposition. With its excellent range and rapid-charging capability, this is an MPV which is bound to prove attractive to all manner of people who are already considering a new multi-purpose people carrier. Add into the fact that the EQV will be exempt from congestion charges, this could be the ideal taxi solution too.

But it’s the way that the electric powertrain has been integrated into an existing – and already good – setup which really impresses here. As an electric MPV option, the Mercedes-Benz EQV is hard to beat.

Similar vehicles

Citroën e-SpaceTourer | Ford Tourneo Custom plug-in hybrid | Nissan e-NV200 Combi | Peugeot e-Traveller | Vauxhall Vivaro-e

Key specifications

Model as tested: Mercedes-Benz EQV 300 Sport
Price: £70,665
Powetrain: 150kW electric motor
Gearbox: Single-speed automatic
Power: 204 hp

Torque: 366 Nm
Top speed: 99 mph
0-60mph: 11.8 seconds
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Range: 211-213 miles

Jack Evans
Jack Evans
Articles by Jack Evans are provided for The Van Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association), including news, new LCV reviews and other automotive features.

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