Mercedes has set the highest of standards but the EQA doesn't live up to them

I THINK we’d all agree Mercedes has made some of the finest cars on the planet over the past 120 years.

But this one?

Sorry. No. This isn’t good enough. This feels like a rush job.

Whereas Volkswagen and others are now producing ground-up pure electric vehicles, the EQA is simply a GLA with the oily bits swapped out for electrodes.

And the recipe doesn’t work. Here are my problems with it.

The big battery in the floor means rear passengers can’t get their feet under the front seats. So your legs are restricted and uncomfortable.

Up front, everything at eye-level is super-classy and crowned by those glossy twin screens. But look down from elbow height and there is a sea of hard, cheap plastic. It’s the same in the boot.

And how do I get the charging cable from the recess under the floor when the boot is loaded with pushchairs and all the usual bits and bobs? Why not under the bonnet?

But worst of all, ride quality. On a patchy B-road, this car was like a duck chasing a balloon. It was all over the place. Pulling out of a junction, the front wheels spin up with little provocation.

That said, when the roads are billiard-table smooth the EQA is quieter than a library and the regenerative braking system, adjusted via steering wheel paddles, is a joy.

If you are good at anticipating traffic flow, you will hardly ever need to touch the foot brake.

The official range is 263 miles – more like 200 in the real world – and charging takes about nine hours from a wall box at home.

You will get 80 per cent juice by stopping for a 30-minute tea-and-pee break at a 100kW DC public charger.

Of course, there is another drawback to this brave new world: Pricing.

Key facts:

Price: £40,495

Battery: 66.5kW

Power: 190hp 0-62mph: 8.9 secs

Top speed: 99mph

Range: 263 miles CO2: 0g/km

Electric cars aren’t cheap – and neither is a Merc. The EQA starts at £40,495 including the Government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant and you’ll soon be nudging £50k with options if you aren’t careful.

Me, personally? I’d look elsewhere. Volkswagen makes electric cars that are cheaper and go further. As do Kia and Hyundai.

Mercedes has set the highest of standards but hasn’t lived up to them here.

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