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With so many vehicles on the roads today, natural resources are slowly being depleted. This combined with the ever rising pollution levels, is not a good sign for the future. To counteract this, vehicle manufacturers are looking at alternate sources of fuel - one of them being electricity.
Over the past couple of years, we have been witnessing more and more vehicle manufacturers make the shift to electric mobility. A lot of manufacturers have already launched EVs in the Indian market and this segment has managed to pick up the pace in recent times.
Mercedes-Benz is the latest carmaker to introduce their electric offering in the Indian market. The German brand is also the country's first luxury car manufacturer to introduce a fully electric model, called the EQC 400.
The company launched the EQC 400 earlier this month at a price of Rs 99.3 lakh ex-showroom (pan India). We got the SUV for a day and drove it in the city and yes, it did surprise us a bit and here's what we have to say about it.
Exterior & Design
At first glance, you will notice that the design of the EQC looks very familiar with another SUV in the company's portfolio in India. That is because the EQC is basically based on the standard GLC model with changes done to the exterior and interiors.
At the front, the thing that will grab your attention is the futuristic-looking LED headlight units with some blue accents inside that signifies the EV nature of the car. All the beams, including the cornering light, also features a projector setup. You also get a fair amount of chrome around the grille of the vehicle. Along with the chrome accents, the car also gets piano black trims that complement the overall looks of the SUV.
The lower part of the bumper features some vents that channel air through the sides of the car. Also, right on top of the grille joining both the headlights, is a strip of light that blends into the DRLs of the vehicle. That strip of light switches on when the low beam of the vehicle is switched on, rest of the time, it remains off.
Coming to the side, the massive 20-inch multispoke alloys look fantastic and goes well with the overall size of the SUV. Out of the 10 spokes, five are finished in black with the same blue accents that are present in the headlights. Moving on, you get the ORVMs finished in black that features an integrated indicator and a camera on it for the 360-degree parking feature.
Now, there is a badge on either side of the front fender that says EQC and 1886. What does that 1886 signify? Karl Benz made the first car in January 1886: Benz Patent Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first automobile. Now since the EQC is the company's very first all-electric vehicle, that's why the badge has been put on the car. And not only on the outside, but the 1886 badge is also present on the front seats and on the floating dash.
Moving on, the SUV gets very minimalistic body lines on the sides and looks very similar to the GLC. You also get some chrome accents on the door handles and around the windows and it also gets a side step board that makes getting in and out of the vehicle easy. The roof of the vehicle comprises a big panoramic sunroof and is finished in black.
Coming to the last bit of the exterior, that is the rear end of the car. From the rear end also the SUV looks almost identical to the GLC model. You get sleek-looking LED taillights that are joined by a strip of light that runs across the boot. Again, there is a bit of chrome present in the form of the ‘EQC 400' and ‘4MATIC' badges. The lower part of the bumper also gets chrome lines that look like exhaust cutouts from a distance.
Interior & Features
Step inside the SUV and it will once again remind you of the GLC as a lot of things have been carried on. The cabin is spacious and the huge panoramic sunroof adds up to the airiness. The dashboard is finished in a single tone of black, but the AC vents are now not round in shape. The centre ones are horizontal and the side ones are vertically placed. The vents are also finished in a shade of copper that gives the dashboard a good contrast.
Taking the centre stage of the dash and continuing all the way to the instrument cluster is a single floating screen that has been split into two. The fully digital instrument cluster looks nice and provides a lot of information about the vehicle. On the other hand, the infotainment system gets Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and the Mercedes MBUX technology as standard. The EQC gets a surround sound system from Burmester which is just mesmerising.
The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and has been carried over from the GLC. It offers good grip and features mounted controls that operate the infotainment system and the instrument cluster. The steering wheel is electronically adjustable for both tilt and telescopic adjustment.
The seats are finished in a dual-tone shade of dark blue and black and are extremely comfortable. The 1886 badge is stitched near the headrest of the car. Both driver and passenger receive electronically adjustable seats with memory function. Both seats feature a massage function also but it has to be activated via the infotainment screen.
The middle row gets good under-thigh support and is pretty comfortable too. The EQC gets a three-zone climate control that cools the cabin down really fast. The centre transmission tunnel is a bit too high and the middle passenger might be slightly uncomfortable. The second row is best suited for two passengers. There are charging sockets and a coat hanger integrated at the backside of the front seats.
The EQC 400 gets a boot space of around 500-litres and the middle row can be folded down just in case more space for luggage is needed. The boot lid is electronic.
Drivetrain & Handling
The EQC 400 is powered by two electric motors on either side of the axle and is mated to an 80kwh battery pack that is placed under the car. The entire electric powertrain on the EQC produces 405bhp of power and a peak torque of 765Nm. Mercedes-Benz claims that the EQC is capable of offering a range of 470km on a single charge, but in the real world test, we could get around 350km, which is not bad for a 2.5 tonne electric SUV.
Being this heavy, the EQC can catapult from a 0 - 100km/h in 5.1 seconds. The electric SUV is also said to offer an electronically limited top speed of 200km/h. The paddle shifters are not used to change gears, since there are none, but they determine the levels of regeneration: low, medium and high and there is also an option to switch-off regeneration setting as well.
As far as the drivability is concerned, the SUV offers the best of both worlds. The amount of torque that is available instantly will blow your mind and it is available instantly since there are no powertrain losses and the motors are directly connected to the wheels. You have your driving modes: eco, comfort, dynamic and individual. On eco, you will get a better range but the throttle response and the steering wheel will be very light.
On the other hand, in dynamic mode, the throttle response will be crisp and sharp and the steering wheel also becomes slightly heavy. The best is the comfort mode, which allows you to enjoy a balance between the other two modes.
The suspension setup on the EQC comprises two things, regular coil-overs at the front and air suspension at the rear. Which means that the comfort level on the second row will be slightly better than the front. There is very less body roll on the car and if you take it through some corners you will be surprised at how well the SUV handles them. The SUV gets 142mm of ground clearance, which is not the best in class and one will have to be careful over some big speed bumps as it might touch the underbelly.
Ther steering response is sharp and the tyre profile on the EQU is 255/45/R20, which are pretty wide and provide an excellent amount of grip. Since it is an electric vehicle, there is absolutely no noise when you are on the move, except for the road and tyre noise. Even that is not heard much since the insulation & NVH levels of the EQC are excellent. It is extremely peaceful inside the cabin.
Now the EQC 400 has multiple charging options. First is the basic wall socket charger that will take around 20 hours for the battery to charge fully. Next is the AC charger that takes around 10 hours to charge the SUV fully and the last one is the fast charger that will take only 90 mins or 1 hour 30 minutes to charge completely. For the fast charging option, you will need to get special permission and heavy-duty lines.
Though the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 is based on the GLC variant, it definitely looks futuristic and has an eye-catchy stance to it. Also, the EQC 400 is the first fully-electric offering from the brand in the Indian market and has no rivals at this point, but it will soon go up against the likes of the upcoming Audi e-tron SUV in the Indian market.
The EQC offers a host of features and is a good handler too. We wished that being a full-fledged 4X4 electric SUV the vehicle could have got more ground clearance, other than that we have nothing else to complain about. So, if you are willing to spend a lot of money on a fancy car and save the environment at the same time, you should definitely check out the EQC 400.