Tested: 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 Progressive

Will the electric car finally take over our roads? Has the internal combustion stuff outlived its usefulness? And should you buy a new German electric luxury crossover? The answers are anything but simple…

It pleases me to no end that in recent times, the self-righteous wave of hybrid and electric vehicle owners was met with a stern rock of anti-EV stubbornness from the general public. It’s worth noting that both sides of the fight have their radical extremists but – hallelujah – the world isn’t blindly accepting electric cars as our saviours.

To summarise my answer when someone asks about my opinion on EV’s: it’s a regional issue. If you live in the stylish modernity of London or Oslo, where first-world infrastructure and renewable energy support a forward-thinking mobility sector… go right ahead. The electric car is amazing and you will love it.

But if you, like me, live in load-shedding South Africa with its pitiful charger network and horrendous distances to cover, an EV is a pretty bad idea. Never mind the cost of buying one, or the toxicity of their batteries. However. I firmly hope and pray that better batteries and cheaper EV’s are on their way… because I like electric cars.

I want to own an electric car. Preferably a second-hand Renault Twizy, BMW i3 or other such wee electricity munchers. Because I can possibly afford one, charge it from solar panels on my garage roof, and use the little critter to zip around my village; because that’s all I need an EV for right now.

For hard or dirty work, I’d nick someone’s turbo-diesel bakkie. My wife has a gas-guzzling SUV to tow a dual-berth horse box. And if I wish to cross a border post, that seems like the right job for one of my V8 coupés. Because a small electric car is completely incapable of completing any of these tasks.

Which finally brings me to the Mercedes-Benz EQA250. Yes, it’s utterly useless at all the above-mentioned caveman activities but oh my word… it is great* to drive. That *asterisk is to deal with any subjective issues like engine sound, charging rate, purchase price or load-shedding woes. But as a new-age EV, it drives superbly.

If you’re just cruising around town, it glides quite smoothly over everything except major bumps or potholes; no thanks to 235/55R18 tyres on this Progressive-spec vehicle. 19’s and 20’s are optional, as is the obligatory AMG Line kit, although Herr Aufrecht und Herr Melcher must be foaming at the mouth about electric AMG’s.

The EQA is only available in “250” guise with a single motor and FWD for our market. I’m unsure what that number symbolizes but assume it’s almost as nonsensical as Audi’s idiotic badge engineering. Typing of which, Ingolstadt’s finest are probably the worst of the EU brown-nosers when it comes to Europe’s blind EV panic.

But back to the EQA 250. It’s obviously very quiet, extremely well insulated, and the cabin is as futuristic as most people would wish for in something that doesn’t burn fossilized dinosaurs as its primary power source. Mercedes-Benz must also be commended for the modern shapes, textures and colours of their EV buffet interiors.

Maximum range for this vehicle is quoted between 400 and 430km, with a small home charger provided with each car. We strongly recommend finding a beefy / fast charger though, as most new EV’s will take up to 1.5 days to recuperate their batteries via a domestic three-prong socket. At the mall’s fast charger? About an hour.

Because it only has one motor pushing 140kW or 385Nm to the front wheels, you can actually get some inside wheel spin from this cute little electric Benz. It pulls away with vigour, lurches into mid-range overtaking salvos, plus it turns and stops with an accuracy I didn’t expect from the normally lumpen EV crowd.

Our best 0-100km/h time was just 8.06 seconds (Mercedes claims 8.6), top speed is limited to 160km/h, while stopping from 100km/h took 3.04 seconds and 40.1 metres. We also found various drive modes, plenty of drive train screens and menus, plus many customizable options for the gauge cluster… to keep the volt-heads entertained for hours.

Head-and leg-room is on par with any other modern crossover, ditto for visibility and soft-roading prowess, while the luggage area can take up to 430L. This extends to almost 2,500L if you flatten the rear furniture, making the EQA a proper family-friendly crossover when it comes to loading up your loved one’s belongings.

Other numbers include an 11.4m turning radius, 2,040kg kerb weight, 4.5m length, 2m width, and just 1.6m height, plus 750kg of maximum towing capacity. That’s what a horse weighs on its own… Oh, and then there’s the asking price of 1.174 million, although that includes a 2-year warranty and service plan.

Does that mean you should replace your Japanese SUV with one of these? I say: not yet. Give the electric car a few more years to find its groove, let the Europeans calm down to a mild frenzy, and hopefully we’ll get better batteries, cleaner (or on-board) power sources, and hopefully enough chargers to make it out of Windhoek…

3 thoughts on “Tested: 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 Progressive”

  1. I must say these new electric vehicles are qutie impressive, I especially love the ones from Mercedes . But we have to sort out the pricing, our Eskom story and the batteries, before people can drive them every day.


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