Practicality and boot space
Based on the GLA crossover rather than A-Class hatchback, the EQA does have a decent does of practicality. Though being based on a petrol-powered car, it’s compromised in some areas as an EV, namely a higher floor than is ideal. It’ll impact on the comfort of taller passengers in the rear seats, especially anyone perched in the middle of the rear seat bench. But it’s otherwise a decent place to be, looking like a GLA given liberal application of rose gold trim, which Mercedes has made the hallmark of its electric car. The EQA also has ambient lighting which goes beyond the usual LED strips. The entire console above the glove compartment glows like a Christmas grotto. The boot space has been compromised a little too, although it’s still bigger than an average family hatch in there.
Naturally there are screens galore inside the EQA and just about all functions are controlled via MBUX – the choice of voice, gesture or touchpad commands to do everything from switching radio station to adjusting the temperature of the climate control up or down. It’s activated with the phrase ‘Hey Mercedes,’ which is perhaps a little corny, and works even with natural phrases like ‘I’m a bit hot’ to crank up the air con. Just expect a few teething problems getting it to understand you if you’ve a regional twang or dialect, as many people in the UK surely do.
However, in-built artificial intelligence is designed to learn your habits and so should make controlling things much easier after a few months of ownership, when the car’s brain has – somewhat spookily – learned how warm you typically like the cabin and what you listen to most. Hopefully it doesn’t judge your musical tastes too harshly.
The Mercedes-Benz EQA gets the full five stars from Euro NCAP, and comes tantalisingly close to a perfect score for adult occupant protection, at 97 per cent. It loses a few points for the lane keep functions of its safety assist systems, and it’s perhaps a minor shame that some of these only come as part of an optional, £1,495 ‘Driving Assistance Package’ which groups together active cruise control, blind-spot assist, steering assist and active lane
keeping. It’s a small cost on top of a reasonably pricey premium EV, but that perhaps makes it more disappointing that Mercedes didn’t throw it all into the deal in the first place.