2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB First Look Review: The GLB Goes EV

Mercedes-Benz’s EQ line of electric vehicles continues its rapid expansion with the new EQB small SUV, which the company pulled the wraps off of at the Shanghai Auto Show. While the EQB revealed in Shanghai is built in China for the Chinese market, a global variant of the electric SUV will also be produced at Benz’s plant in Kecskemét, Hungary.

While Mercedes is mum on details related to the global-spec EQB, the company plans to ship the electric SUV to the United States in 2022 as a 2023 model year vehicle. The U.S.-spec Mercedes EQB ought to share much of its styling with the Chinese-market model, which wears distinct front and rear fascias relative to the GLB-Class SUV upon which it shares much of its underpinnings, body panels, and interior pieces.

That EQ Look

Like other EQ models, including the recently revealed Mercedes EQS, the EQB’s mug features a big faux grille with a milk-mustache-like light strip that merges with the accent lighting elements of the triangular-shaped LED headlamps. Additionally, Mercedes further differentiates the EQB from its GLB kin by way of model-specific wheels and a distinct rear end treatment with a new fascia and full-width lighting that extends through the rear hatch.

Although we applaud Mercedes for making the EQB look noticeably different from the GLB, we are not entirely sure it looks any better than its gas-powered counterpart. Blame a contrast between the front-end design, which looks like it was crafted in a wind tunnel, with the otherwise boxy proportions.

Fewer changes are made to the EQB’s insides, which look almost identical to those of the GLB. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as the GLB’s cabin is a fine enough space to while away miles—provided you’re not stuck in the SUV’s optionally available and cramped third-row seats. That third row will remain an option in the EQB (and come standard in the China-market model).

The EQBeating Heart

Mercedes is launching the EQB in China with all the fixings, including the racy-looking AMG Line kit. With 288 hp, presumably from two electric motors (one at each axle), the initial batch of Chinese-built EQBs promise to offer formidable grunt off the line. 

European-spec EQBs, meanwhile, are due to offer front- and all-wheel-drive powertrain options, the most powerful of which packs more than 268 hp, per Mercedes. A 67-kWh battery pack is responsible for supplying electricity to the EQB’s powertrain. Mercedes is keeping quiet on driving range details, however, it does acknowledge a long-range variant of the EQB—likely with an even larger battery pack—is due to arrive later. We wager much of the European-spec EQB’s powertrain options will also apply to the U.S. market model, too.

Look for more details related to the powertrain, driving range, and price of the 2023 Mercedes EQB to come online closer to the model’s 2022 U.S. launch.

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