Published on May 14th, 2024 | by Subhash Nair


Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC Review: Electric Utility Vehicle

The Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC is pretty unique in the Malaysian market.

It’s a little tough to find unique selling points for many compact premium electric vehicles today. They’re all quiet, they’re all torquey and they’re all pretty well built. They’re all about double the price of the equivalent Chinese crossover and but in terms of specifications don’t really offer double the utility. That’s where the EQB finally steps in to offer a bit of a differentiating factor for Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s compact EV range.

I drove the EQA 250 AMG Line before and found it to be a pretty good starter premium EV, considering you’re getting something with the three-pointed star on the hood. That being said it falls in terms of value when compared to its rivals from BMW and Volvo.

With the EQB 350 4MATIC, you’re getting slightly worse value for money in terms of Ringgit per KM of range. It’s not even that impressive in terms of power figures per Ringgit paid. So, where does the EQB’s value proposition lie?

The answer: in its sheer utility.

Yes, Mercedes-Benz has always been about luxury over utility, especially in Malaysia. However, that has not always been the case for the brand’s compact cars. Models like the B-Class and the former R-Class, and even the A-Class from 2 generations ago all put utility over luxury. In Europe, plenty of Mercedes-Benz vehicles are still sold with basic specifications for middle income families, taxi use and fleet sales. The company also has loads of wagon options, none of which have much appeal here, but are very functional nonetheless. Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to making cars that put function over form and it’s nice to see that we finally see that side of the brand with the EQB 350 4MATIC.

The first evidence of this utilitarian approach comes from the fact that this model has not 5 but 7 seats. Sure, the two extra seats in the back are for children or smaller-framed adults in a pinch, but the fact is nothing else in the segment offers this. In fact, you won’t find any Chinese SUVs that come with this 5+2 seating arrangement, not even the stuff from Tesla Malaysia offers such flexibility.

Now, I know there’s limited use in having two smaller seats, but as an owner of a compact MPV I can tell you that few vehicular experiences are quite as fulfilling as being able to transport your whole family for a short drive to a restaurant in a single vehicle. In the EQB, much like in its ICE cousin the GLB, the 2nd row of seats can slide and tilt forward to enable access to the rearmost seats. The boot is really tiny with all seats in use and there’s just enough space for the included 5 meter AC charging cable. With just 5 seats in use, it’s quite a healthy storage area and this turns cavernous with all rear seats folded down.

I’m also a strong believer that one should own at least one car that can serve multiple roles. You need a car in the household that can move large appliances if need be. With the EQB, you get 5 seats in the rear that can all fold flat down, giving you enough room to slide in a small exercise bike or some flat packed furniture. 95% of the time, most of these seats are going to be empty and thankfully the EQB is still a pretty comfortable and reasonably luxurious place to be in.

The upholstery also reflects this upmarket utilitarian philosophy with a mix of faux Artico leather and “Cupertino” fabric with a sprinkling of bright rose gold and titanium pearl trim for a bit of panache. In fact, it’s this unusual choice of decor that sets the EQB apart from the GLB.

It’s otherwise a very similar cabin save a couple of EQ-specific screens. You get all the niceties expected in a well-specced compact Benz including powered seats with memory function, customisable ambient lighting, a wireless charging pad, and USB type-C charging ports. Thanks to the transverse layout of the engine and gearbox, there’s a lot more space for the front passenger and driver than you might expect.

Those in the middle row are also not neglected. It’s nothing too fancy – there’s no panoramic sunroof or additional screens at the rear, but those aren’t very useful anyway. What you do get is a centre armrest, plenty of cupholders and cubby holes, air cond vents and additional USB type-C charging ports. This would have been a great place for a 3-pin socket but it’s not specified on our EQB but there is a 12V charging socket in the boot area.

If the highlight of the interior is the rose gold inlays, then it’s definitely the EQ-blue contrast colour that make the exterior “pop”. I don’t think it works for every body colour, but for our black unit it’s inoffensive, just giving the 19″ alloy wheels and LED high performance projectors a bit of flavour.

Performance from the EQB 350 4MATIC is pretty impressive, beating out the EQA thanks to its dual motor all-wheel drive setup. It’s good for a very healthy 292PS and 520Nm of torque, which gives it sportscar-like performance… up to about 160km/h, which isn’t very sportscar-like at all. Still, 0-100km/h takes just 6.2 seconds and that’s arguably more important. The 66.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack gives the car about 420km of range, which is just about the minimum we would recommend for any EV one would want to daily. 11kW AC and 100kW DC Fast Charging puts this in acceptable territory – it’s about what the mainstream EVs are offering at half the price.

Still, like I said at the beginning of this review, the EQB offers something none of the mainstream cars can – some actual utility. For about RM333,888 the pricing is just right. It’s about as expensive as GLB 250 4MATIC, but delivers more power and the high-tech of an EV powertrain. You could consider getting this as a one-size-fits-all EV while keeping something petrol powered for longer interstate journeys. If you have to buy just one compact premium electric crossover, this one ticks the most boxes.

mercedes-benz eqb 350 4matic in black from the front

Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC Specifications

Motor: Dual, asynchronous front axle, permanently excited synchronous rear axle
Battery Capacity: 66.5kWh
Range: 423km
Max power: 292hp
Max torque: 520Nm
Top Speed: 160km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.2 seconds
Price: RM333,888

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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