Posted at 11:45 a.m.
In the wake of its high-end EQS electric sedan, Mercedes is launching its utility derivative. Stupidly named SUV, this behemoth of almost 3 tonnes symbolizes the brand’s know-how, but seeks to do too much.
Luxury, calm and technology: this pretty much sums up the attributes of the EQS SUV, an electric vehicle whose ultimate goal is to push its gasoline counterpart, the GLS, towards the exit. To convince us that this is a viable alternative, the EQS puts forward arguments quite similar (or even superior) to the GLS in terms of pleasure, comfort and even off-road capabilities. Similarities that break the figure when it comes to checkout.
Shorter than the GLS, but sitting on a longer wheelbase, the EQS SUV provides more clearance for the occupants of the first two rows. On the other hand, the trunk volume is reduced, even if the seat backs form a practically flat surface. Another handicap: the towing capacity. The EQS SUV limits the load to 1800 kg while the GLS ensures that you can tow double that. The future will tell us if technological progress will one day compensate for this disadvantage.
Designed on an identical architecture (code name MB EVA2) to that of the EQS sedan, this “truck” fully exploits the advantages offered by an electric vehicle. The reduced size of the motors and the installation of the batteries under the floor contribute, as we read a little higher, to releasing an interior volume comparable to that of the GLS.
On the outside, we notice the wheels installed at each corner of the body and the softened shapes. Looking at it, it is hard to imagine that this utility reaches the respectable mass of 2.8 tons. The front end is devoid of a grille, but rest assured, the three-pointed star is there. And so that it remains clearly visible even after dark, Mercedes offers to illuminate it for a disbursement of $250.
The interior atmosphere, identical to that of the EQS sedan, puts the heart on a trampoline. No matter which of the armchairs you collapse into, you will have your eye on a multitude of luminescent tiles and will be surrounded by colored nets. Sight is called upon, but smell (the aerators diffuse an artificial fragrance) and touch (materials, textures) are also challenged. This sheer enchantment is, visually at least, distracting. The system regularly reminds us of this, but there are so many nested commands in this interface. This leaves us little choice: we must venture into the trees of touch screens. And voice recognition called “Hey Mercedes”, it? Its use remains both frustrating and disconcerting.
Compared to the sedan, the SUV offers a different nomenclature. For now, no AMG version, but rather another entry-level ($136,000, all the same), called 450. Let’s open a parenthesis here about the 450 marketed south of our borders. It has only one propeller and only drives its rear wheels.
In Canada, the EQS SUV family adopts all-wheel drive (4 Matic) and the two engines that come with it as standard. These are less powerful (see the “Specifications” tab) on the 450 than on the 580, but both are powered by the same battery.
Ditto for the cooldowns. On this subject, given the size of the accumulator, forget the household outlet, which requires almost 50 hours to “refuel”.
Like any electric car worth its salt, the motors deliver instant acceleration and smooth pick-up. During this test carried out at temperatures below the freezing point (-4 oC), reaching the 458 km range claimed by the manufacturer was too ambitious. Our best result (353 km) was achieved without too much effort and discomfort.
At the wheel of the EQS SUV, we find the sensations specific to a high-end electric vehicle. Powerful, quiet and heavy. On this last point, it is not the agility that is in question, but the weight that makes his gait so nonchalant. You don’t feel like you’re one with this vehicle, despite the well-weighted steering, but only when the chassis is set to Sport mode. On all the others (Eco, Comfort), we would prefer it to move on its own. It will come. Handy thanks to its steered wheels well seated on the asphalt, the EQS SUV is less fun to drive than the sedan. Like the latter, unfortunately, brake pedal reactions will appear confusing due to system fluctuations (travel, pressure) caused by the energy recovery device. This element, on its own, does not inspire confidence, unless of course you temper your enthusiasm, the time to acclimatize to it.
Unless you’re hitting the trails, having to tow a load or providing shelter for seven occupants, the EQS SUV is no better than the sedan. The latter is more stimulating to drive (despite the brakes that are difficult to modulate), more efficient (consumption) and less expensive.
Mercedes EQS VUS
From $136,000 to $158,500
458 km (450 and 580)
Ride comfort and silence
Agility at low speed
Magical interior presentation (also a source of concentration)
We love less
Less autonomy than the sedan
Clumsy behavior, overweight
If you really want one, prefer the sedan to the SUV
- Synchronous motors
- Maximum power: 355 hp (450); 536 hp (580)
- Couple : 590 lb-pi (450) ; 633 lb-pi (580)
- Battery capacity: 120 kWh (useful: 108.4 kWh)
- Minimum empty weight: 2825 kg
- Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 4.8 s
- Towing capacity: 1800 kg
- Standard: 1-speed automatic
- Optional: none
- Drive mode: all-wheel drive
- Level 2: 12.5 hours
- Level 3: 31 minutes (10%-80%)
Consumption and autonomy
- 26.1 kWh/100 km (580) – winter conditions
- Autonomy (presumed): 458 km (450 and 580)
- Wheelbase: 3210mm
- Length: 5125mm
- Height: 1718 mm
- Width: 1959 mm (excluding exterior mirrors)
« Made in USA »
The EQS SUV originates at Mercedes-Benz’s facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This factory, erected in 1995, has always symbolized the utilitarian pole of the brand with the star. At the GLE, GLS and Maybach-GLS that they currently assemble, employees now see EQS SUVs and EQE SUVs on the lines. The batteries that power the latter are produced not far from there (Bibb County), at one of the six sites created by Mercedes-Benz.
The EQS SUV has a lot in common with the EQS five-door sedan. Steering wheel in hand, the experience remains a little different. Less heavy, more aerodynamic, the sedan offers the added bonus of greater autonomy and a more felt road feel.
Share your experience
The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Honda Pilot, Kia Niro, Mercedes EQB and Nissan Ariya. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering purchasing one, we would love to hear from you.