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In the whirlwind of the electric vehicle revolution, a little-known fact often gets buried in the dust. Over a decade ago, Mercedes-Benz held a significant stake in Tesla, a fledgling electric car company back then. This wasn’t just a financial play; a hint of this partnership was even visible in early Tesla Model S cars, which sported a drive selector eerily similar to the one found in Mercedes S-Class sedans! While their partnership didn’t blossom into a long-term collaboration, it seems Mercedes-Benz gained valuable foresight from the experience. For a deeper dive into this pivotal moment in automotive history, look no further than the documentary ‘Revenge of the Electric Car.’.

Fast forward to today, and Mercedes-Benz isn’t just a bystander in the electric vehicle race, they’re a full-fledged competitor. Recognising the potential of EVs, they’ve established a dedicated brand – EQ – specifically for their electric vehicles. This brand encompasses a wide range, catering to diverse needs. From the colossal EQS SUV, a luxurious behemoth that pushes the boundaries of electric performance, to more compact offerings like the EQA, Mercedes-Benz is serious about offering a comprehensive electric driving experience.

Now with that brief look into the past, Here in Jaipur, we’re getting behind the wheel of the EQA, an electric twist on a familiar platform. Jaipur might not be the first place that springs to mind for an EV launch. This exotic tourist destination, steeped in history and vibrant culture, also grapples with modern city woes like traffic congestion and limited EV infrastructure. It was precisely this intriguing contrast that made it a fascinating backdrop to test the mettle of the EQA – could a premium electric SUV navigate the bustling streets and limited charging options of Jaipur?

Built upon the foundation of the popular second-generation GLA, the EQA offers a combination of the comfort and driving dynamics you might expect from a Mercedes-Benz, infused with electric power to make it a bit more eco-friendly.

Mercedes-Benz’s design cues with a touch of futuristic flair, hinting at its electric nature. Following the design language of its larger siblings, this EV gets a prominent black panel grille adorned with a signature Mercedes star pattern. Sleek LED headlights flank this central element, connected by a light band that adds visual width. A keen eye will catch a subtle blue accent line within the headlights, a subtle nod to the car’s electric avatar. Further emphasising its electric identity, the EQA ditches the traditional chrome accents for a more contemporary look. For those seeking a sportier aesthetic the wheels are a set of stylish 19-inch alloys with a unique aero design.

Aluminium trim, bolstered seats, and “EQA” door sills set the tone. Paddle shifters (for regen braking) and sporty pedals hint at performance, balanced by heated seats and lumbar support. A multifunction steering wheel and ambient lighting keep things comfortable and stylish.

Dual 10-inch displays dominate the dashboard – one serving as a touchscreen infotainment system, the other a digital driver’s display with EV-specific information. For a truly immersive experience, The EQA comes with a Burmester surround sound system with Dolby enhancements, ensuring every note comes alive. The car’s electric nature further amplifies the listening experience, providing a noise-free canvas for the system’s exceptional audio quality to truly shine. While features like keyless entry, a head-up display, gesture control, and a panoramic sunroof elevate convenience to new heights. Even 64-colour ambient lighting is available to personalise your driving environment. Safety is paramount, for any Mercedes boasting seven airbags, electronic stability control, a 360-degree camera system, and a suite of advanced driver-assistance features.

Forget fumbling with maps – the EQA’s infotainment system features a game-changer: augmented reality navigation. Channelling stuff which looks like it came from the more ‘Minority Report,’ this tech overlays real-time directions onto your windshield. Roundabouts and tricky intersections become a breeze – no more missed exits or frantic map checks. It’s a futuristic touch that streamlines your drive and eliminates navigation headaches.

Up front, the EQA pampers with bolstered seats, luxurious touches, and a driver-focused cockpit. However, the rear seats tell a slightly different story. While comfortable enough for shorter journeys, the lack of legroom and under-thigh support which Mercedes-Benz is typically known for a great rear seat experience. However, using sustainable and recycled materials throughout the interior is a commendable step towards a greener future.

The EQA 250+ packs a punch when it comes to electric performance. Nestled beneath the floor is a massive 70.5kWh battery pack, which energises a single, potent electric motor powering the front wheels. This motor cranks out a healthy 188 bhp and a whopping 39.25 kgm of torque, delivering an instant and exhilarating driving experience. Select ‘Sport’ mode, and prepare to be surprised – a chirp of the wheels and a surge of power might just put a wide grin on your face. However, the EQA isn’t a one-trick pony. Other drive modes offer a more relaxed power delivery, perfectly suited for cruising or maximising efficiency.

The rains in Jaipur prevented us from testing the EQA’s 0-100 kph claim of 8.6 seconds, though we have no doubt it can achieve it. We were also keen to verify the claimed WLTP range of 560 km. During our short drive of 180 km, we returned the car with 305 km of range remaining, which is quite impressive. The EQA supports DC fast charging, allowing the battery to charge from 10% to 80% quickly.

Being electric was a double-edged sword in this urban jungle. The silent powertrain allowed for zippy maneuvering through stop-and-go traffic, a stark contrast to the usual symphony of honking. However, the hefty price tag loomed large, a constant reminder that this luxury needs a hefty bank account.

Our adventure wasn’t limited to the city. We cruised the palace grounds, soaking in the history, and then hit the highway for a taste of open-road performance. The ride remained smooth and quiet, even at higher speeds. Back in the city, a stint in traffic boredom was alleviated by the EQA‘s tech haven interior – AR navigation projecting directions onto the windshield kept us entertained.

The verdict? The EQA might not be the most revolutionary EV, but it’s a Mercedes through and through. It electrifies the compact SUV scene. It’s not a revolution, but a refinement – classic Mercedes luxury meets electric thrills. A tech haven awaits inside, with AR navigation projecting directions onto your windshield. The hefty battery whispers efficiency, hinting at a possible 560km range (though our test wasn’t long enough to confirm). Sport mode delivers a surprising punch, while the ride stays quiet and comfortable.

The rear seats lack some signature Mercedes pampering, but hey, the driver gets a blast! The Burmester sound system with Dolby Atmos shines, showcasing Mercedes’ commitment to exceeding expectations, not just meeting them. So, would I recommend it over the competition? It depends. The EQA offers a luxurious electric experience, but its price tag might be a hurdle for some. If you crave that Mercedes badge and are okay with a slightly less spacious rear seat, then the EQA is a compelling choice.