First impression: Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 - Never judge a book by its cover
It may not look very exciting, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve
When Mercedes-Benz Malaysia launched the EQB 350, EQC 400, and the EQS 450 electric models at the 2022 Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week, most eyes were locked on the EQC and the EQS as they were simply the better looking and more powerful models out of the three.
Fast forward a few months, the aforementioned models were once again presented to the press to be driven from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka and back over a couple of days, and believe it or not, the model that surprised us the most was actually the EQB 350. Here's why.
Priced at RM328,888, the EQB 350 4MATIC is the only seven-seater EV in the market at the moment. Capable of covering between 388 km and 423 km with a fully charged battery, the EQB 350 4MATIC produces 292 hp and 530 Nm of torque, comes with the 4MATIC AWD system, and hits a top speed of 160 km/h.
In case you’re wondering how long it takes to charge it, AC charging time from 10% to 80% takes 6 hours and 15 minutes, while DC charging takes just 32 minutes.
The EQB 350 4MATIC offers a maximum boot capacity of 1710 litres thanks to having the long wheelbase of the GLB (2829 mm).
The backrests of the seats in the second row can be adjusted in several stages as standard, and this row features fore/aft adjustment. Also worth mentioning here is the fact that the two seats in the third row fit occupants who stand up to 1.65 metres tall.
The EQB 350 4MATIC also features Electric Art and is complemented further with 19-inch 5-spoke light-alloy wheels. The vehicle also includes Polished aluminium roof rails, LED High Performance headlamps, Surround lighting with projection of brand logo, and the Vehicle key set (one key in rosé gold) and the standard Windscreen wipers with rain sensors.
The EQB 350 4MATIC also includes a charging cable for wallbox and public charging station at 5 m, and will also have Acoustic ambient protection. The vehicle is further complemented with Comfort suspension and Dynamic Select.
The EQB 350 4MATIC is wrapped in Artico man-made leather - Cupertino fabric upholstery, in a two-tone rosé gold and titanium grey pearl.
The vehicle also brings with it the Keyless-Go Comfort package, Hands-Free Access and a Spiral-look trim elements, backlit with a Multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather. Adding to this is the Galvanised steering-wheel gearshift paddles and Thermotronic automatic climate control.
Our immediate reaction upon getting into the EQB 350 4MATIC was "wow, this thing is actually quite spacious" as the amount of head, leg, and shoulder room available in front and at the rear seats clearly exceeded our expectations. The fact that two adults who stand almost 1.65 m tall can fit in the third row makes it even more impressive.
The cabin is quite a practical one as well, as there are four cupholders, a decently sized centre-console, and a dedicated compartment to store your mobile devices in front. At the rear, there are another four cupholders, rear air vents, and a dedicated mobile phone storage compartment. To charge your mobile devices, there are two USB Type-C ports in front and one at the rear.
On top of all that space and convenience, the level of refinement we experienced in the EQB was mighty impressive as well. Unlike some EVs from rivalling brands with noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) that are average at best (despite costing more than RM400,000), road and wind noise are almost little to none in the EQB 350 here, which is a big plus.
The seats on the other hand, provide amazing level of comfort and support. In fact, they felt much more comfortable than the seats in the EQC and the EQS which felt firmer than the ones in the EQB.
The EQB 350 is also quite enjoyable to drive. As conservative as it looks, the EQB 350 is actually bloody quick. The top speed may be limited to just 160 km/h but what blew our minds was how quickly it reached the limit. Thanks to the 4MATIC AWD system 19-inch tyres that offer generous amount of grip, all 292 hp and 530 Nm of torque is actually usable.
Another interesting fact about the EQB 350 is that it is just as quick as the EQC 400 which is much more powerful, due to the fact that the EQB is much lighter than the EQC thanks to the lighter chassis it sits on. Only after the EQB reaches its limited top speed of 160km/h, the EQC goes ahead until it reaches its top speed of 180 km/h. So, from 0 to 160 km/h, both models are actually just as fast.
Range anxiety was also non-existent as the EQB 350 covered about 400 km with a fully charged battery, allowing us to drive it just like a regular vehicle with an internal combustion engine without a worry in the world.
To be frank, the only downside of the EQB 350 here is that it lacks the visual appeal some of its siblings and rivals have. On the exterior, it looks very normal compared to funky EVs in the market like the quirky Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the sporty BMW iX3 for instance.
Now, the EQB is still a good looking EV, but it just doesn't make you wish you could go and buy one immediately.
Even in the interior, the Artico-Cupertino fabric combination, as comfortable and plush as it is, doesn't look as luxurious and appealing as a full Artico man-made leather upholstery like a few other Mercedes-Benz models in the stable.
But these petty things aside, the cabin of the EQB 350 is a very nice place to be in.
In all, the advantages of the EQB 350 outweighs its downsides, which makes it a vehicle absolutely worth considering if you're looking for an EV that can fit seven occupants.
It may not look as exciting as some EVs in the market but it does what it's supposed to do very impressively, comes with a long list of features, and drives well too.