Benz’s baby EQ, the EQA, has made its South African debut. We headed to Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit to sample the emissions-free crossover…

Considering the high-revving superbikes that later flew past the pits at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, at first, it felt somewhat strange setting off from the starting line to the swoosh of an electric motor, especially when it’s powering a crossover. However, no matter the car (or powertrain, for that matter), it does make sense to test a vehicle (yes, even a crossover or SUV) on a track. Let me explain: comprising straights and left- and right-hand bends, test driving a car here allows one to test how it accelerates and fares around corners, all without traffic, making it a seemingly safe environment. This is what we did in the recently launched Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 … 

EQA 250

Available in only 250 format locally, the baby EQ is equipped with a single electric motor, which drives the front wheels. Coupled with a 420 V lithium-ion battery, the front-mounted unit produces 140 kW and 375 Nm of torque, all of which, as this is an EV, are available as soon as you stomp on the throttle. As a result, the Three-pointed Star brand’s small premium crossover felt brisk. On the open road, the immediate availability of power and torque should allow for fuss-free overtaking. 

Arriving at the first (left-hand) corner, at considered speed, the EQA 250 felt composed with its “double-decker” battery pack, which sits as a structural element within the car’s underbody, providing a lower centre of gravity. A little body lean was present, however. But this is a trade-off one has to make when driving a tall(er)-riding vehicle. The steering felt light yet responsive. The brakes were sufficiently responsive. Speaking of the braking set-up, the EQA provides the driver with an additional regenerative-braking mode. 

EQA 250

As standard, the regenerative braking is subtle, reigning in speed and directing a fair amount of charge to the battery pack. However, set into the additional mode, the system is enhanced. Lifting your foot off the throttle, it’s more prominent, and, around the corners, depressing the brake pedal was all but necessary. It’s a neat function, enhancing one-pedal driving, and will undoubtedly allow you to save range when driving around town. 

Regarding the EQA 250’s claimed electric range, considering driving around the 4.522 km circuit, it can complete 109 laps on a single full charge. That’s a maximum (again, claimed) range of 493 km. Plugged into a 100 kW DC fast charger, the battery is replenished to 80 from 10 per cent in 30 minutes. 

The suspension set-up felt sufficiently supple. On the track’s smoothly paved tarmac, the ride was exceptionally comfortable. 

Continuing with comfort, the EQA’s cabin is a comfortable place to the sat in. The seats are well-bolstered and supportive. The interior is familiar Mercedes fare. It is solidly constructed, with several soft-touch trimmings and textured finishes. It looks great! 

The EQA 250 also ships with a generous amount of standard features. The premium compact EV comes equipped with Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, climate control, 64-colour ambient lighting and Merc’s ‘Active Parking Assist’ set-up with ‘Parktronic’ and a reverse-view camera. 

Viewed from the outside, the EQA cuts a dashing figure. A striking fibre-optic lighting strip spans the front end. The black panel (which replaces the traditional grille) is flanked by LED headlamps incorporating LED daytime-running lights. The sculpted rear end is equally striking, featuring LED lamps connected via an LED light strip spanning the tailgate. As standard, the EQA 250 sits on 18-inch alloy wheels. 

At a glance

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250

The EQA is a commendable compact crossover. It is suitably premium and impressively refined, as it should be for a car wearing the illustrious Three-pointed Star emblem. The ride quality is comfortable yet has a touch of dynamism, and the steering is well-weighted. It’s generously equipped, too, with several convenience and safety items included as standard. Then there’s its exterior design. Although the sculpted bodywork is reminiscent of its internal combustion sibling (the GLA), it looks distinct. 

  • Price: R1 169 500
  • Battery capacity: 66.5 kWh
  • Engine: electric
  • Transmission: 1-spd AT
  • Driven wheels: F
  • Power: 140 kW
  • Torque: 375 Nm
  • 0-100 km/h: 8.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 160 km/h
  • Electric consumption: 18.9-17.6 kWh/100 km
  • Electric range: <429 km