2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB Electric 3-row SUV Test Drive: The Best Kept Secret in Electric Cars?

Electric 3-row SUVs are still rare, but the compact, tech-filled Mercedes-Benz EQB, with a 245 mile range, 3 power options and room for 7 is a great option.

Scotty Reiss With The Mercedes-Benz Eqb
Scotty Reiss with the Mercedes-Benz EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Fitting Kids, Car Seats and Gear in this Compact SUV

The electric 3-row SUV is still sort of a unicorn: there are a few, but not nearly enough to provide a true alternative to the millions of 3-row SUVs that will be sold this year. However, if this is what you have your heart set on, there’s good news: the Mercedes-Benz EQB is all electric, seats 7, has a respectable range of about 245 miles and a starting price of just over $52K.

And packed with all the Mercedes goodies, the EQB SUV may be the unsung hero of the electric car world.

Related: Rivian R1S First Drive: The First True 3-Row Electric SUV is Here

The View From The Drivers Seat In The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

The view from the driver’s seat in the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss

All the Mercedes-Benz Goodness

A few years ago Mercedes introduced the GLB, the brand’s smallest SUV. Filled with all the things we love about MercedesBenz, from aeronautical-style design, innovative technology and a classic SUV shape, it provided a lot of what entry level luxury car buyers want and need. Shortly after, the company introduced an electric version to give buyers a true choice in SUVs.

The best part: it has an optional 3rd row. So, buyers who need a 6th or 7th seat can have it. Like many mid-size SUVs, a small 3rd row offers flexibility and convenience without the heft and hulk of a large truck-like vehicle.

I spent a week tooling around town in the EQB to get a feel for how this car drives, how it accommodates passengers and kids car seats and to enjoy life in a Mercedes-Benz for a week. Sadly, our test model didn’t have a 3rd row but I did get inside from colleague Connie Peters who tested out the 3rd row during a test drive earlier in the year.

Here’s what you need to know.

Related: 13 of Our Absolute Favorites, the Best Electric Cars, Hybrids, and PHEVs

The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Who This Car is For

  • Buyers who want to go electric
  • Families who need an SUV and want an electric car
  • Buyers who can charge at home have access to a DC fast charger
  • Buyers who don’t need this car for long distance driving
  • Buyers who occasionally need a 3rd row
  • Drivers who want the function of an SUV but a smaller, more compact car
  • Drivers who appreciate the luxury and tech of Mercedes-Benz

Related: Electrify Expo Is the Electric Car Shopping Festival You Need

The Sunroof In The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

The sunroof in the Mercedes-Benz EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What We Loved

  • The option of AWD
  • “Hey Mercedes” voice activated assistance
  • Built in navigation
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Really nice regenerative breaking
  • Eco Display with “bonus from start” shows how many miles you’ve gained through regenerative braking
  • Ambient lighting that lets you set the mood
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Sliding center seats nicely accommodate rear facing kids car seats
  • Leatherette seating upholstery feels like the real thing
  • Spacious center row seats
  • A household outlet!
  • The wide, flat multimedia screen
  • An easy to understand pricing structure
  • The 3rd row is a $1,250 option

Related: Is An Electric Car Right For You? Why an EV Might a Girl’s Perfect Car

This Screen Allows You To See How You Use Your Power In The 2023 Mercedes-Benz Eqb

This screen allows you to see how you use your power. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Which Electric Drive Option is Best For You?

The Mercedes Benz EQB has a range of about 245 miles on a full charge. I found it to be pretty efficient during my drive; I drove about 200 miles around town using the full regenerative mode most of the time and when I finally plugged it in, I had a range of about 60 miles left.

It was easy enough to plug into the wall outlet in my garage; I used level 1 charging over night (a standard 110V plug) to add about another 60 miles, and if I’d charged it every night I could have kept it in the 80% charge range that experts advise is ideal.

On the road, the EQB, while not overly powered, is capable and confident. My test model delivered188 HP which I think is probably not enough power for a 3-row SUV with 4 or 5 passengers. It also is front wheel drive which is great in many places, especially those flat, non-wintry places like Texas and Florida. But in the Northeast, Midwest, Northwest or California, I’d go with the 300 or 350 AWD. It’ll be a necessity in the winter and also, the added power will be helpful when loads are heavier.

For buyers who intend to use the 3rd row, the 350 model with 288 HP is probably the best option. You never want that horrible feeling of lacking power when trying to merge onto the highway, especially with passengers in the back seat.

The Roomy Rear Seat In The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

The roomy rear seat in the Mercedes-Benz EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss

How the Mercedes- Benz EQB Fits Kids Car Seats

Configuring car seats is pretty impressive for such a compact SUV. There are four key factors: The center row seat has a lot of legroom, center seats are on a rail to move back and forth, the seats are 40/20/40 folding making configuration flexible, and there are ISOFIX LATCHes in all the rear outboard seats.

In the center row, kids car seats fit really well. I installed my rear-facing Britax Clicktight car seat behind the front passenger’s seat and had both plenty of front row leg room and the car seat didn’t touch the front seat, which is a no-no.

A rear facing child car seat should also fit nicely behind the driver’s seat for most drivers; it didn’t impede my seat and I’m 5’8”. However, a driver who is taller, 6’ or more, may feel uncomfortable with a rear facing car seat behind her.

There’s plenty of space for forward facing car seats, though the center bench seat is not exceptionally wide, so for families who hope to install 3 seats across the center bench, it may be a tight fit, even with slim seats.

Our Forward And Rear Facing Car Seats Installed In The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

Our forward and rear facing car seats installed in the Mercedes-Benz. Photo: Scotty ReissEQB

Car Seats + 3rd Row Access: How It Works

Without the option of center row captains chairs, configuring car seats for 3rd row access is a bit trickier. The center seats slide forward and tilt to provide access, but they cannot slide and tilt with a car seat installed.

So to access the 3rd row, the seat that slides forward will have to be empty. The good news is that with the 40/20/40 split, car seats can be installed on either the driver’s or passenger’s side and one in the middle to leave an outboard seat open for 3rd row access.

We also miss having a passthrough to create a more open and airy cabin, though folding the middle seat down will give some of that open feeling to 3rd row passengers.

The Cargo Area In The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

The cargo area in the Mercedes-Benz EQB allows for an optional 3rd row. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Nice Comfort Features For a Smallish 3rd Row

The 3rd row is small, there’s no getting around it. Connie, who is 5’1” had no problem climbing in and pulling the center seat back, though it was tight. With the center seat pushed a bit forward she was more comfortable, though the roof line is not overly high, so there’s not a lot of headroom.

However, she had all the comforts she needed right at hand: there are air vents tucked into the window sills, two USB-C ports tucked into cubby on either wall and cupholders between the two seats. There are also ISOFIX lower anchors for kids car seats, making installing booster seats easy, especially if they have rigid latches that clip right in.

Boosters with seat backs or convertible car seats may not fit due to the sloping roofline. 3rd row headrests when fully extended abut the ceiling. I can see an elementary school-aged kid or two being quite comfortable in the 3rd row, but but a middle-schooler may simply refuse.

Mercedes-Benz Eqb Driver Display

This driver display shows miles left on the charge, my bonus miles and that I’m in max regen mode. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Driving the Mercedes-Benz EQB: Power and Range

Even the base model with188 HP — which is not actually all that lowly; many 4 cylinder compact SUVs are similarly powered — drives with admirable confidence and zip. The EQB has a “dynamic” drive mode selector which allows you to put it in sport or eco mode, but I mostly drove in normal with maximum regenerative braking. This allowed a comfortable amount of power while maximizing how much power was saved when not needed.

Around town, in traffic and on the highway the EQB’s performance was admirable, with quick pickup that felt good and gave me complete confidence.

Regenerative braking, which is activated by pulling the left paddle on the rear of the steering wheel, allows near one-pedal driving, but not completely. I found that as I drove, I could ease off the accelerator and nearly come to a stop at traffic lights and stop signs, but I had to hit the brake to come to a full stop. I also found I used the brake more on the highway than in city traffic.

One feature I particularly liked is the eco monitor on the driver display. This shows how many miles you’ve recouped using regen braking. At one point I had it up past 6 miles and wondered, if I really paid attention, how many miles could I add? I also appreciated that I saw that number increase in stop and go traffic and decrease when highway traffic flows.

A High-Tech Mercedes-Benz

Interior Ambient Lighting Is A Standard Featrue In The Eqb

Interior ambient lighting is a standard featrue in the EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss


One thing to truly appreciate about Mercedes-Benz is its democratic approach to features and technology. Want the smaller motor? Fine. Want the top of the line tech? You can have that too. You can configure a car for just about any wish list.

Our model had the top of the line tech package and it’s something I can easily get used to. From “Hey Mercedes” voice activated assistance to the fully customizable driver display, there are only a couple of things missing on this car (augmented reality video overlay on the navigation system, for instance, and while that’s fun, it’s not a necessity).

Many features can be accessed via the highly-functional steering wheel. IN addition to buttons and dials, there is a tiny touch-sensitive pad on either side that allows you to swipe and choose your options. It’s fun and adds more layers of screen options so you can set things up just how you’d like them.

One sort of curious item missing was wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I’ve come to like that feature because its so convenient. But the systems were easy to access by connecting with a USB cord.

Plugging In The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

Plugging in the Mercedes-Benz EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What You Need to Know

  • Many of our favorite features, including voice activated assistance and adaptive cruise control are additional
  • Captains chairs are not an option
  • The 3rd row is small, better suited for passengers who are less than 5’ tall (or so)
  • This is a small car, so accommodating both passengers and gear may mean compromises
  • 3rd row access is via sliding the center seat forward which provides only a very small space
  • The least expensive model is front wheel drive only
  • True one-pedal driving is not an option
  • Add all wheel drive via a second motor and an additional 37 HP for $4,150
  • This car does not qualify for US federal tax incentives, but may qualify for state, local or power company incentives
The Center Console With Cup Holders, Wireless Charging And Function Buttons

The center console with cup holders, wireless charging and function buttons. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What This Car Costs

Basically, pick your power level, pick your trim, pick your added packages.

  • EQB 250 front wheel drive with 188 HP $52,750
  • EQB 300 4Matic all wheel drive with 225 HP $56,900
  • EQB 350 4Matic awd with 288 HP $60,550
  • Premium edition includes power seats, 10” multimedia system, 10” driver display, navigation, ambient lighting Apple CarPlay Android Auto, park assist,
  • Exclusive edition includes handsfree ljftgate, smart key, advanced sound system and wireless phone charging add $1,250
  • Pinnacle trim includes panoramic sunroof, surround view camera system, Burmester premium sound add $3,800
  • AMG line package with 19” wheels, AMG styling, sport seats and AMG badging, add $3,250
  • Add a 3rd row, 1250
  • Add augmented navigation, head up display and MBUX “Hey Mercedes” Assistant, $2,000
  • Add driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control, steering assist and cross traffic braking, lane keep assist, blind spot assist and lane change assist, $1,300
  • Cost of our EQB 250 test model including $1,150 destination charge, about $63,850

The EQB, which is an electric version of the GLB, is carries a premium of about $11,000- $13,000 over its gas-powered counterpart, or about 25%. Is it worth it? Comparing gas prices to electric prices takes a bit of calculating: if it costs $1,800 per year to fuel the GLB and about $600 a year to charge it at home, it would take 10 years to recoup the price difference. Buyers who can charge for free at work, using solar or can charge at reduced rates may recoup the cost sooner. And, those who plan to keep the car for 10 years or more, which is not unusual, would definitely feel the benefit.

How To Open The Liftgate Mercedes-Benz Eqb

How to open the liftgate: Push the badge. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Great Electric 3-Row SUV Option

When it comes to electric driving and accommodating all your people and gear, the Mercedes-Benz EQB is a great option. For commuting in HOV lanes that allow EVs, premium parking, charging using home solar and other advantages offered exclusively by electric cars, the EQB might be the option that also gives you premium features and technology. For casual buyers who may still be on the fence about an electric car, though, the price difference between the gas and electric models is significant and may not be worth while.

But for those who need a 3rd row and are ready to go electric, the Mercedes-Benz EQB might just be the unicorn they are looking for.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss