Electric crossover and SUV get new star-pattern grilles plus Plug & Charge connectivity, more range, upgraded infotainment and new subscription features
August 24, 2023 at 04:00
The Mercedes EQA and EQB aren’t noted for supercar-humbling acceleration, but there is one speed record they have made their own. In the race from launch to first facelift they’ve left every other electric vehicle standing.
To refresh your memory the EQA (an electric version of the GLA crossover) was unveiled in spring of 2021 and went on sale later that year, meaning its only been in European showrooms for a couple of years. The GLB-based EQB is even fresher, debuting serval months after its little brother and only landing in the U.S. (where the EQA isn’t available) in summer of 2022.
But both have now been given a micro facelift to bring them into line with Mercedes’ pricer EQ electric vehicles. Most obviously they each get the firm’s star-spangled black grille as standard and a light bar connecting the DRLs, plus some changes to the bumpers and taillights. But there are plenty of other smaller changes, which, while not exactly headline-grabbing when considered individually, should make the two EVs more desirable and easier to live with.
advertisement scroll to continue
More Tech, Better Infotainment
We’ll start with the infotainment because that seems to be many buyers’ primary concern these days, and with good reason: us car guys might still be more interested in the ‘car’ bits than the touchscreen, but if an automaker is going to insist on putting almost all of the controls to operate the car inside that touchscreen it better be a good one.
Related: All-New Mercedes EQC SUV Wants To Spoil Tesla Model Y’s Fairytale
So both the EQA and EQB now come standard with a 10.25-inch central touchscreen that was standard in most markets anyway. The system runs the latest version of Benz’s MBUX software that brings three display styles, 10 color options and a Zero Layer interface, meaning less scrolling through millions of menus to find the function you’re looking for. Smartphones can now connect wirelessly to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the voice assistant is claimed to be more useful to compensate for the loss of the trackpad, and the optional Burmester surround sound system now features Dolby Atmos and sound ‘experiences’ to help calm or invigorate you on the move.
Over Air Updates And Subscription Services
If you want the fancy Burmester hifi you’ll need to tick that box on the order form, but other equipment, including Active Distance Assist Distronic speed management and augmented reality navigation can be purchased outright or via subscription long after the car has left the factory and activated by an over-air update. And sticking with the gadget theme, Mercedes also says improved sensor tech means the lane-keeping feature and parking aids are more refined in operation this time around.
More Range, Plug & Charge Top-Ups
The 2024 EQB lineup looks much like the one it replaces – as does the EQA’s since it uses the same battery and motors. But the base EQB 250 that was available in some regions seems to have disappeared, a trend we’ve seen in facelifts from other automakers such as Mazda. The range now starts with the single-motor 250+ (188 hp / 190 PS) before stepping up to a dual-motor, all-wheel drive configuration for the 225 hp (228 PS) EQB 300 and 288 hp (292 PS) EQB 350.
The EQB 250+ already came with a bigger battery (70.5 kWh vs 66.5 kWh for the 4Matics) that underlined its position as the mile-eater in the lineup, but some optimizing for 2024 has improved the WLTP range from a maximum of 314 miles (506 km) to 333 miles (536 km), while the dual-motor cars both return up to 278 miles (448 km), which is still not great, but does at least represent a 17 -mile (29 km) uplift. And while the max DC charge rate for both the EQA and EQB is still a slothful 100 kWh, the addition of Plug & Charge tech borrowed from Benz’s bigger EVs – no more messing about trying to log into accounts – should speed up overall charge times a fraction.
Other 2024 upgrades on the two EVs include the option of a trailer hitch on five-seat EQBs, something that was already available to three-row versions (probably so they could tow their kids behind; those rearmost seats are lousy) and revisions to the steering wheel and interior trim.
Overall, it’s a very minor update for both cars, but if you already liked the idea of owning an EQA or EQB these changes might make you like that idea even more. European sales start this fall with deliveries following in early 2024. North American EQBs are likely to take longer to filter through, and the EQA will once again fail to make the boat.