Proof that manufacturers have been scrambling to pump out more EVs than they were expecting to a few years ago is the multitude of ICE vehicles that have been changed and transformed into EVs. Some of these vehicles are too compromised as a result, but many are actually quite compelling, and I think the Mercedes-Benz EQV actually has a lot going for it, even if it is still just an electric version of the V-Class (that you know as the Metris in the US).
What has Mercedes done to the V-Class to create the EQV? Well, quite a lot under the skin, actually, and less when it comes to visual differentiation. If you pay attention, you will be able to tell it apart from ICE versions of the V-Class, although you won’t be able to do so at a distance - you need to be fairly close to it to spot the telltale EQ details.
By the end of my time with the EQV, a vehicle that is not my cup of tea, I myself was surprised by how much it had grown on me. It is very easy to drive, comfort levels are high, it looks pretty good for what it is and it does the EV part pretty well t00 - it has a decent-sized battery pack and good rapid charging capability.
The V-Class on which the EQV is based is already quite a handsome commercial vehicle, and with the posh trinkets of the electric version, it really does look quite special on the road. My tester was also helped by its Mountain Crystal White Metallic paint, as well as the EQV-specific grille (that looks similar to that of other EQ-badged models), and the EQV-specific wheels.
In all fairness, you really have to get close to the EQV to spot that it is, in fact, the electric model. The most obvious giveaway, especially from a distance and at a glance, are the different wheels, but if you get closer you will also spot the subtle EQV badges on the front fenders, the EQV 300 badging on the rear, the charging port door located on the left corner of the front bumper, and if you get really close, you will also spot there is no exhaust poking out from under the rear bumper.
Its very high level of ride comfort has to be one of the EQV’s biggest qualities. Thanks to its 2.6-ton weight, soft, floaty suspension setup and excellent insulation, it is probably the most serene minivan experience you will ever have. The seats also deserve praise, as they do not wear you out on longer journeys, and the fact that they are raised off the floor allows occupants to have a natural, armchair-like position.
In turning the V-Class into the EQV, Mercedes has had to work hard on the sound insulation and we have to applaud their results. The EQV is sometimes eerily quiet, especially at lower speeds, because as you increase speed, you do start to get hints of wind noise, as well as increased levels of tire roar (although the latter may have been caused by my tester’s winter tires). It’s also worth noting that because its interior is quite cavernous, it can get a bit boomy at higher speeds too, but that shouldn’t ruin the experience.
Technology & Connectivity
The big news with the EQV on the tech front is that Mercedes opted to give it its new MBUX infotainment system. That means it has a decent voice command feature, the new menu structure and graphics, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The more modern infotainment certainly helps the EQV feel fresh, which is more than can be said about the C300de that we tested a while back, which came with Mercedes’ older infotainment solution and it made the entire car feel a bit dated.
It also comes with Distronic adaptive cruise control, 360-degree cameras, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, as well as autonomous emergency braking. My tester also had the excellent optional Burmester sound system, cabin mood lighting and Thermotronic automatic climate control.
Performance & Handling
You may find the EQV’s 5.37-meter (211.4-inch) length and 1.93-meter (76-inch) width a bit daunting, but thanks to a steering system that allows for a lot of lock, the vehicle is actually more maneuverable than you would think. The 11.8-meter (38.7-foot) turning circle is actually pretty decent for a vehicle its size that doesn’t get rear-axle steering, not even as an option, although it would certainly make it even better.
The EQV is still really good in town, surprisingly so. However, it is even better on the open road, where its relaxed nature and the aforementioned soft suspension really recommend it as a great cruiser. Top speed is 140 km/h (87 mph), but you can have it raised to 160 km/h (99 mph) as an option.
Acceleration off the line is a bit sluggish, but it still hits 100 km/h from standstill in under 12 seconds (even though honestly it feels slower than that thanks, in part, to the almost silent powertrain). Once you do get it moving, though, it actually feels really punchy when you need it to be, especially if you put it in sport mode. Then you access its 204 horsepower and 362 Nm (266 pound-feet) of torque - the vehicle also makes a very interesting sound when you floor it while on the move, a kind of angry vacuum cleaner noise that somehow enhances the sensation of accelerating.
Back in 2014 when Euro NCAP tested this generation V-Class, on which the EQV is based, it was awarded the full five-star rating, with a 93 percent rating for adult occupant protection, 87 percent for child occupant protection and an 85 percent safety assist score.
Browsing the official Euro NCAP website, it appears as if the EQV was tested for its side impact protection in 2020, but we didn’t find any additional videos of it being subjected to other tests or a full breakdown of how it performed.
Efficiency, Range & Charging
Mercedes says the EQV should use around 28.2 kWh/100km or 45.38 kWh/100miles or 2.2 miles/kWh. However, during my driven, when I didn’t try to drive it particularly economically, it averaged over 35 kWh/100km, sometimes above 40 kWh/100km; the average by the end of my drive was 36.7 kWh/100km or 1.69 mi/kWh, driven almost exclusively in the city, with a bit of quicker driving on the city’s ring road.
When I picked the car up, it had 98 percent state of charge and indicated a maximum theoretical range of 287 km or 178 miles. Mercedes’ official WLTP range rating for the EQV is 363 km or 226 miles, but that seems a bit optimistic, and in the real world, if you drive with care and consideration, you can definitely nudge it past the 300 km or 186 miles mark.
The vehicle has a 100 kWh battery pack whose usable capacity is exactly 90 kWh, and according to Mercedes, charing it from 10 percent to 80 percent at its maximum charging capacity of 110 kW will take 45 minutes. Charging it from a more common 50 kW station will double that time. It also has a three-phase 11 kWh on-board charger that will fully replenish the battery in about 10 hours. Check out our detailed EQV charging analysis.
Pricing & Verdict
In Romania, where I am based and tested this EQV, it kicks off at around €75,000, but with options it can exceed €90,000. That is a lot of money, considering the fact that the quicker diesel-burning V300d costs about the same, but it also has all-wheel drive and better range.
The EQV doesn’t compete with its ICE V-Class brother for long-distance passenger hauling duty, but it is unquestionably a better choice for those who only need it for shorter journeys, say for a company to pick up important guests from the airport and take them to their hotel, or as a private school minibus.
The EV powertrain won’t blow you away with performance, but the vehicle is not slow, and it actually has a big enough battery pack to make it thoroughly usable. And given its decent 110 kW maximum charging rate, you won’t have to wait around for hours for it to be fully-charged - it’s still not as easy as filling up with gasoline or diesel, but at least you don’t have to wait around for hours.
Take one look at the EQV, and it’s clearly a vehicle that has a lot of presence, and it doesn’t shout about being a fully-electric vehicle. It has to be one of the most handsome commercial-based vehicles currently on sale, and while some pieces of trim and mechanisms inside do betray its van roots, it feels luxurious enough to make the driver and passengers feel special.
So if you’re in Europe and thinking of buying a diesel-powered V-Class, but you know you will only be using it in and around a city, then you should totally consider the EQV, currently the only vehicle of its type that’s fully electric (and a competent too).
Gallery: 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQV 300