Wednesday, May 29, 2024
First Reviews2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV First Drive Review: EQS luxury for the whole...

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV First Drive Review: EQS luxury for the whole family?

We review the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, the new flagship fully electric SUV from the German automaker.


2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV Pros


  • Remarkable comfort
  • Premium luxury features
  • Surprising handling
  • Generous range, even in winter


2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV Cons


  • Disappointing interior space
  • Slow charging
  • Avoid the rear screens if you have kids


Slowly but surely Mercedes-Benz is building up its electric vehicle offering, and the German automaker is starting from the top. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is just now arriving on the market and is heavily based on the EQS sedan which was introduced last year. We’ve driven the EQS sedan multiple times in the last 12 months, now we get our chance to review the SUV version.



The Mercedes-Benz EV lineup is closely mirroring the brand’s gas-powered model family. The EQS, for example, is the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles which makes the new EQS SUV the GLS equivalent. The upcoming EQE will slot where the current E-Class stands while the EQE SUV will be one step below the EQS SUV.


So, that means the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV (really wish Mercedes-Benz had picked another name, if only for SEO purposes, but anyway) is supposed to be the most luxurious, refined, exclusive, and spacious electric SUV Mercedes-Benz offers. Does it deliver? Yes, but in only three of the four elements listed above.


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2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV Overview


The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is currently offered in two trims in Canada although a third, AMG-built model should arrive at some point.



Our tester is the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 SUV, the top trim in the EQS SUV lineup. It features the same 108.4-kWh battery powering the entry-level EQS 450 SUV as well, and both deliver a posted range of 459 kilometres of range. The EQS SUV can charge at up to 200 kW which will replenish the battery to 80% from 10% in 37 minutes, on paper. At home, the Mercedes-Benz electric SUV can charge at up to 9.6 kW which, again in theory, gives you full range in 11.25 hours. The reality is a bit different, but I’ll get back to that.



Total output is rated at 516 horsepower and the posted 0-100 km/h time of 4.6 seconds is just 0.3 seconds more than the current EQS sedan. Towing capacity is rated at 1,600 kg, or just under 4,000 pounds.


The starting price of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV is $136,000 while the EQS 580 SUV starts at $158,500. Our tester was loaded and rang in at $178,600 before taxes and other fees.


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Impressive Performance


The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 SUV has the immediate and neck-snapping accelerations associated with a performance luxury electric vehicle. Nudge the accelerator and immediately the EQS SUV leaps forward with no hesitation and passing on the highway will put a smile on your face every single time. The EQS 580 SUV is just as impressive in its power delivery at a red light as it is at 115 km/h, and the rush of power never dips or wavers.



It is as quick as, say, a BMW iX M60? No way. But it’s quicker than an iX xDrive50. It’s not on the same level as some ultra-performance EVs or even a Tesla Model Y Performance or Mustang Mach-E GT, but as far as SUVs go, electric or not, the EQS 580 SUV is in the top percentile in terms of performance, at least in a straight line.



The EQS SUV backs its impressive accelerations with stable, predictable handling. It’s not a corner carver by any stretch but given its mass it delivers surprising agility that doesn’t force you to shy away from tight corners. It’s an odd feeling really because there is a certain disconnect between the steering and wheels. It makes the EQS SUV feel like its floating a few inches above the road on occasion, but things seem to magically tighten up and the steering dials in when coming quickly into a corner.


There’s no denying the new EQS SUV is focused first on comfort, but the compromise on handling is not evident.



Speaking of comfort…


Going into this review, I expected the EQS 580 SUV to deliver outstanding comfort and refinement, and it delivered. The Mercedes-Benz electric SUV delivers a cloud-like driving experience as a top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz product should.



Every EQS 580 SUV comes with 21-inch wheels, but there’s still a lot of rubber to help absorb the bumps and potholes, and the suspension does a great job to ensure that road imperfections do not filter to the driver. The cabin is well isolated from exterior sounds as well and finding the right driving position is quick and easy. Point blank, the EQS SUV is the most comfortable electric SUV you can buy right now.


The comfort is partly explained by the standard adaptive damping system that adjusts damping firmness continuously to guarantee a buttery ride on the highway while also helping plant the EQS SUV in corners as described previously. Compared to a GLS, the EQS SUV is more confident, wind noise is a non-issue, and the overall refinement behind the wheel is a notch above.



Moreover, the directional rear wheels shrink the EQS SUV’s turning radius around the city. Getting around indoor parking lots is a breeze, further enhancing the overall comfort felt behind the wheel.


Of course, luxury is more than just on-road comfort. It’s the little things. The ambient lighting should be a benchmark for other automakers with its ample colour options and the multiple LED strips inside the cockpit making for a truly unique experience at night.



And then there’s the little hit from the Mercedes-Benz Air Balance system that cleans the air inside the cockpit and replaces it with a subtle hint of different aromas through the Mercedes-Benz atomizer. For what it’s worth, the EQS SUV smells good, and the fragrance was never overbearing despite my sensibility to such things and my asthma.



More importantly, the large HYPERSCREEN that stretches from door to door and houses three displays (driver, centre, and passenger) creates a stunning look inside the EQS SUV. Moreover, like in the EQS sedan the technology is not just beautiful, it’s functional. The latest generation of the MBUX infotainment system is one of the easiest to use, doing a great job of organizing the vast array of different functions within in an intuitive way.


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Interior space might be an issue for some 


Given this is the largest electric SUV Mercedes-Benz plans to offer, I was expecting a spacious cabin, but in reality, the EQS SUV feels more like a GLC than a GLS. As a matter of fact, rear legroom is just 15 mm more than the GLC, and nearly 100 mm less than the GLS. And that’s when you push the sliding rear seat as far back as it can go. But doing so reduces the cargo area to under 700 litres. The EQS SUV does have plenty of headroom, front and back, but the rear legroom is frankly disappointing.



And then there are the optional screens for the rear seat entertainment. The first thing my colleague and fellow dad Matt and I noticed when getting into the EQS SUV were how far these screens stuck out from the front seats. They couldn’t be better positioned for a swift kick from an angry toddler. It’s frightening when you know how much they cost…


This is where I think the EQS SUV really missed its mark. Given its positioning in the Mercedes-Benz EV lineup, I expected it to blow away the competition in terms of versatility and in the process provide a true family-friendly electric vehicle on the market. Unfortunately for Mercedes-Benz, the BMW iX and Tesla Model Y are much more appealing options when it comes to versatility.



Good range, slow charging


One element that stood out about the EQS sedan was the generous range its battery provided, even when driving enthusiastically or when the weather wasn’t optimal. The EQS SUV despite having less range than the sedan exceeds expectations in much the same way. Given it’s the middle of winter, I didn’t expect to get close to the posted EPA range, but I still managed an average of about 375 kilometres on a full charge, more than enough for most buyers.



Charging is on the slow side, especially when you get below 20% battery charge. When I first charged the EQS SUV I had about 14% range left which because of the cold temperatures meant less than 50 kilometres of freedom. My home charger charges at about 7 kW on average which meant I needed a full 14 hours to charge the EQS SUV. The best you can do on a fast charger is 200 kW which is fine, although given the price and standing of the vehicle, I would have liked the option of a 350-kW charger when available.



Final thoughts on the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV


If you are looking for a premium electric vehicle that focuses on comfort, there’s no better option than the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV right now. You will also get decent range, a luxurious interior packed with features, and surprising agility. The versatility is disappointing, however, and ultimately the only real benefit of going with the SUV version over the EQS sedan is the extra headroom and cargo space. The new EQS SUV is all about luxury, just not for the whole family.


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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including and as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email


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