2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300: First Drive And Review

I was in Germany a few months ago testing the new all-electric 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC. The compact SUV captivated me because it is attractively styled, well-engineered, and offers a third row to allow seating for up to seven passengers – a stand-out in the premium segment. Last week, I was back in Germany testing the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300. This follow-up EQB derivative, positioned as the entry-level model in the States, offers identical physical passenger and cargo packaging and equal battery capacity, yet with a slightly less powerful motor pairing.

After driving both practically back-to-back, I’ve got an answer to the obvious question: How does the slightly slower and less expensive EQB 300 compare to the EQB 350?

As a refresher, the all-electric EQB is based on the combustion GLB architecture, which has been on sale since the 2020 model year. Mercedes-Benz made a few accommodations to adapt the chassis to electric architecture. The engineering team raised the passenger floor a marginal amount (most people won’t notice), reworked the exterior with EQ-specific design and aerodynamics (including adding a signature black-panel front grille), bestowed it with new LED illumination (front and rear), and added a handful of cosmetic enhancements to differentiate it from the combustion model (these include aerodynamic alloy wheels and subtle badging on the front quarter panels). Lastly, the fuel filler is replaced by a charging port on the rear quarter panel. The closed grille and nearly flush underbelly significantly improve aerodynamics permitting the EQB 300 4MATIC to boast an impressive .28 Cd.

While the basic cabin layout remains, Mercedes-Benz upgraded the dashboard with the addition of the next-generation MBUX Multimedia System with Augmented Reality Navigation. New rose gold-colored and blue highlights also help distinguish the EV from its combustion siblings. The two-row EQB 300 boasts an optional three-row configuration (7-passenger capacity). While the rearmost seats aren’t exactly adult size (except in a pinch), they are sufficient for kids and use for short trips. Adding the third row offers another accommodation advantage — Mercedes mounts the second row on rails, allowing the second row to slide 5.5 inches to adjust the legroom between rows two and three. As expected, the second-row seats split and fold 40:20:40, while the third-row splits and folds 50:50. Utility abounds, especially with the optional polished roof rails.

The EQB 300 4MATIC is fitted with two motors (thus, the all-wheel drive powertrain). The front axle features an asynchronous motor, while the rear axle features a permanently excited synchronous motor (the motors are nearly identical in design to those in the EQB 350 4MATIC). As a result of different tuning, the total power in the EQB 300 is slightly less — it is rated at 225 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque (the EQB 350 is rated at 288 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque). Power is stored in a 70.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (identical to the EQB 350), which accepts 110 kW fast charging. With rapid charging, the battery may recover from a 10 percent state-of-charge to 80 percent in just over 30 minutes. With a full charge, the range should be about 230-240 miles, delivering slightly more range than the EQB 350.

Mirroring the driving dynamics of the EQB 350, the EQB 300 4MATIC drives more competently than its combustion-powered GLB siblings. The weight of the battery packs, distributed low on the chassis, improves vehicle stability and handling. The suspension has been tuned to the soft side of the scale, favoring ride quality over sportiness, but the crossover feels perfectly at home in the corners. As mentioned in my EQB 350 review, the substantial weight of the batteries acts much like a tuned mass damper, thereby reducing unwanted body motions and vibrations from the road – the EQB has a more stable and comfortable ride than the GLB.

The EQB 300 logically weighs more than the combustion-powered GLB 250. Still, the power delivery from the electric motors — instant torque at all speeds — negates this deficiency because it provides more responsive ‘real-world’ acceleration. And, despite being down on power compared to the EQB 350, the EQB 300 feels quick and zippy around town and plenty strong for passing at highway speeds. However, I’m betting that only driving enthusiasts will miss the extra power from the EQB 350.

As I mentioned in my EQB 350 review, Mercedes-Benz has done an exemplary job “adapting” a combustion vehicle to a pure EV – they’ve created a premium compact electric crossover that has more power, drives better, is quieter, and is more efficient with only minimal compromise regarding interior utility

I’m equally as impressed with the EQB 300 4MATIC as I am with the EQB 350 4MATIC. Normally, when performance is so closely matched, I’d recommend the less expensive model in an instance like this. Yet Mercedes has created quite the shopper’s dilemma with its pricing structure. The base EQB 300 4MATIC starts at $54,500 and the base EQB 350 4MATIC starts at $58,050 (before rebates and tax credits). The $3,550 difference represents a trivial amount for its premium customers – only increasing the quandary about which model to choose.

And don’t expect to see the gap increase regarding trim levels. One step above the base trim is the mid-grade Exclusive trim, which is another $3,550 bump for both vehicles. The range-topping Pinnacle trim models (with the praiseworthy Burmester Surround Sound, Surround View Camera, and Panoramic Roof) are only separated by a $2,050 gap.

Armed with that knowledge, I recommend choosing the EQB 300 4MATIC in Exclusive trim (MSRP $55,750) if you seek a premium daily driver for running errands, carpooling, commuting, or simply touring. However, for driving enthusiasts, those who prefer a more robust sound system to sing along with, and shoppers who like to be first across the intersection after the stop light, I recommend the EQB 350 4MATIC in Pinnacle trim (MSRP $60,350) – the range-topping model should check off all the boxes and leave everyone (in all three rows) very pleased.

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