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The EQB has always been one of our preferred Merc EVs and it only gets better with the addition of the front-wheel-drive 250+ version. Refined, spacious and quick enough for family transport, it shuns the trait of many smaller Mercs by actually feeling like a lot of car for the money. Faster charging wouldn’t go amiss, but as a premium small SUV with seating for seven, the EQB doesn’t really have many rivals.

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There’s plenty of choice for anyone after a small premium electric SUV, with models from Mercedes, Audi and BMW vying for attention alongside rivals from Lexus and even Smart. But what if you’re after something genuinely practical? Perhaps with a seven-seat option? Your list of options shortens somewhat, bringing the Mercedes EQB sharply into focus. And now it has been treated to some worthy updates.

The changes should widen the EQB’s appeal considerably – although that’s as much to do with the model line-up itself as it is any major overhauls elsewhere. Still, there are visual cues to signify that you’ve bought a facelifted model, with a new pattern on the front grille, including an LED band that joins the headlights, and different bumpers front and rear, plus a new rear diffuser. There are fresh designs of alloy wheels on offer, and the car gets a new tail-light motif.

Inside, the ever-glitzy pair of 10.25-inch displays remains (one for infotainment, the other for the instrument panel), but there’s a revised dashboard design that now incorporates a storage tray. The steering wheel gets touch-sensitive controls, too.

But here’s the thing: whereas before the EQB range used to comprise four-wheel-drive 300 and 350 variants, now the seven-seater gets the same 250+ model as its sibling, the EQA. This means that as well as more expensive (and less efficient) twin-motor configurations, the car is now available with a single 187bhp front-mount motor. And while the 300 and 350 stick with their previous battery capacity, 66.5kWh, and extract a few more miles out of it, the 250+ gets a larger pack altogether, with 70.5kWh. As a result, this is now an EQB that can travel up to 321 miles on the WLTP test cycle between charges, depending on which of the trim levels you pick. That’s around 50 miles more than any of the four-wheel-drive versions can muster.

You’ll want a Sport Executive version if you’re after as much range as possible; it sits on 18-inch wheels and brings standard features like metallic paint, LED headlights with high-beam assist, heated front seats, climate control and a reversing camera. It costs from £52,800.

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Today we’re driving a AMG Line Executive edition, which costs from £55,060 but brings 19-inch alloys, sporty styling tweaks, Artico man-made leather and microfibre upholstery, and a sports steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather. The range takes a hit, but it still stands at a claimed 300 miles.

Beyond this, you can pick AMG Line Premium (£58,060) which brings features like augmented reality on the navigation, 20-inch wheels, a more advanced audio system and electrically adjustable damping. And the range-topper is AMG Line Premium Plus, which throws in a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display and a Burmester sound system – but costs £61,060.

We’re not a major fan of how the adjustable damping works on the EQA, so we’re pleased to report that the entirely conventional set-up on this version of the EQB strikes a much better balance. There’s an honesty to the way the EQB behaves on road, in fact; the steering isn’t overly responsive around the straight ahead, but it’s nicely weighted, and while the body control can become unstuck if you really start to throw the car about, in general it lollops along without too many complaints. There’s decent bump absorption here too, as the EQB tends to soothe out smaller, higher-frequency inputs. Only the biggest, sharpest judders find their way through to the cabin.

Nor does the EQB 250+ feel slow. The throttle is well modulated so you can be aggressive with it when necessary, without having to fear a scrabble of wheelspin – and when you do give it a prod, there’s enough pace to back up the claimed 0-62mph time of just under nine seconds. No doubt seven-up travel would present more of a challenge, but even then, the 385Nm of electric-motor torque would probably be enough for swift progress.

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Refinement is excellent too; there’s a bit of wind noise around the A-pillar and side mirror – blame the EQB’s boxy, upright stance for that – but the electric motor remains hushed even when you’re pressing on, and even the 19-inch wheels don’t spoil the party with loads of roar. 

If you really look hard then you’ll probably find areas where the AMG Line Executive cabin is a little less polished than those of higher-end versions, but you’ll frankly be nit picking. Build quality here is first rate, and the materials and finishes are more than up to scratch, even at this price.

Because on the face of it, a whisker under £50k is a lot to pay for an EV with less than 200bhp and only two driven wheels. But the EQB’s trump card is its packaging and space, with a boot capacity of up to 1,710 litres and 495 litres of capacity even in five-seat configuration. That takes an additional hit, of course, if you fold up the third row, but at least they’re equipped with ISOFIX, so you know you can accommodate a five-a-side team behind the front row. And not many EVs can offer that, regardless of price.

Model: Mercedes EQB 250+ AMG Line Executive
Price: £55,060
Powertrain: 1x e-motor, 70.5kWh battery
Power/torque: 187bhp/385Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Top speed: 99mph
Range: 300 miles
Max charging: 100kW DC (10-80% in 35min)
Size (L/W/H): 4,687/2,022/1,701mm
On sale: Now

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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