If the enjoyably boxy-looking GLB crossover is Mercedes’ best all-round current car (and it just might be…) then this, the electric EQB, might be the best of that best. Although it gets the blanked-off grille styling that Mercedes is applying to all of its fully-electric EQ models, the EQB is clearly based on the GLB and, thankfully, picks up much of that car’s practicality too.
Under the floor, there's a 66.5kWh (useable) battery, and a choice of 4MATIC four-wheel drive EQB 300 or EQB 350 models. There will also be a front-wheel drive EQB 250 version, which Mercedes expects will be the best-seller in Ireland.
The maximum range available, according to the WLTP test, is 419km and the battery can be fast-charged to 80 per cent capacity in just 30-minutes, if you can find a sufficiently rapid DC charging point. Average electric consumption is claimed to be 19kWh/100km.
Inside, optionally, you can have the EQB with a seven-seat layout, and if all of the seats are folded, the boot expands to a whopping 1,710-litres (or 465-litres if you actually want to carry some passengers).
Irish prices start from €64,030 for the EQB 250. Also available are the EQB 300 from €68,505 and the EQB 350 from €71,520. Describing it as "a model designed to meet the needs of family-oriented customers and eco-conscious motorists alike", Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz in Ireland said: "Thanks to its exceptional levels of flexible spaciousness, the EQB is poised to set a new benchmark in the all-electric compact class."
A bit too expensive for you? Or perhaps you need something practical and reasonably eco-friendly, but without the potential hassle of a switch to fully-electric power? Clearly, many people agree with that sentiment - sales of hybrid-engined cars continue to climb in Ireland, and have risen by 62 per cent so far this year, and so Suzuki reckons that it fancies a slice of that pie.
The Japanese brand is launching the new Swace hybrid-engined estate into the Irish market, and if it looks a bit like a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, well then that’s because it basically is a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. Suzuki and Toyota have a technology sharing agreement, which extends to making Corolla and RAV4 models in Toyota factories, but fitting them with Suzuki badges.
Under the skin, the Swace uses the same 1.8-litre hybrid petrol engine as the Corolla, which gives it 122hp, a claimed fuel economy figure of 4.4-litres per 100km, and CO2 emissions of 103g/km, which equates to annual motor tax of €190. Inside, there’s a generous 595-litre boot, which expands to more than 1,606-litres with the back seats folded.
Standard equipment includes seven airbags, dual zone automatic air conditioning, seven-inch LCD colour information screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto device connectivity, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated front screen, eight-inch centre dash touchscreen, rear parking camera and dynamic radar cruise control, all of which - for a price of €30,995 for the one and only SZ-T model - gives the Suzuki a small price and spec advantage over and equivalent Corolla model.
Will Irish buyers - traditionally disinclined to purchase estates - be moved by this? We shall see…
Either way there will be a wait: with the ongoing supply shortages, anyone ordering a GLB today can expect delivery in March, while there will be an estimated six week wiat for the Suzuki.