The MPV plays the electric truck card
Mercedes is one of the few that still believes in a minivan with the T-Class. A sign of the modern era, now becomes the Mercedes EQT.
Minivans seemed sad to be ousted by more attractive but less practical SUVs. However, some manufacturers continue to believe in the segment and it is MPVs that best resist these converted urban utilities for families: practical and versatile, combining definitions with one of the best living / size ratios.
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Mercedes is a key player in the segment as it uses the technical base of another reference within the industrial partnership: the Renault Kangoo. It was Mercedes Citan that opened this new page in the history of the brand. It is called the Class T in its civilian version, which can be found in the brand’s passenger car catalog. But now there’s an all-electric Mercedes EQT aimed at families, which we’ve been able to preview.
More techno cabin
Based on a stretched Mercedes T-Class base, the EQT Concept foreshadowed the arrival of a production model with fairly similar styling. But you’ll have to forget the attractive face of the EQ, which is a first in the brand’s electric range, and belies: the standard Mercedes EQT prefers to join the line-up for the usual obvious financial and industrial reasons. However, it plays the card of originality less than its passenger cars, which caricaturally smoothen its features to improve aerodynamics: the EQT differs only in its wider half-full black grille than the T-Class. This is where the tour of the car ends, as the rest of the car is quite similar to the T-Class.
Unsurprisingly, the cabin remains unchanged and we always discover a dashboard with an architecture modeled after that of the Kangoo e-Tech. But if parts like the rotary air conditioning controls or the impressive driver controls (where buttons would suffice) remain, the EQT offers a more polished and less cluttered presentation. At the center of the dashboard is a 7-inch touchscreen that offers access to the MBUX infotainment system with artificial intelligence.
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As with all brand cars equipped with it, the device understands the driver’s habits and then automatically makes suggestions, thus speeding up driving. It also supports Mirror Link functions for smartphones as well as voice control. Hi Mercedes ». The MPV is also packed with active controls that help keep in line and control the front distance. The driver will have two Eco and Comfort driving modes and will be able to play with three energy recovery levels (D-/D/D+).
Marco Polo Module for electric runs
With a length of 4.50 m and a height of 1.82 m, the MPV can accommodate 5 passengers on board. In this configuration, the Mercedes EQT offers a total of 4 seats with ISOFIX mounts for installing child seats. Access to the rear seats is via a sliding door or optionally from both sides of the van. The seat is split 2/3-1/3 and now slides: the appearance of the battery that raises the floor thus allowed the installation of rails according to Mercedes. However, passengers will have to raise their knees a bit more without significantly losing seating comfort.
But for more comfort, we will have to wait for the long-wheelbase version, which will come in 2023. The chassis extended from the front camera moves the battery back under the bench seat, thus freeing up a bit more space in the footwell. .back. This version with a length of 4.90 m will be equipped with 7 seats as promised by the Mercedes EQT Concept. And it will be able to reserve more surprises.
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This surprise is named after Marco Polo, synonymous with adventure and bivouac in Mercedes. To begin with, the brand will offer the Marco Polo module in its equipment catalog from the launch of the EQT. Designed and manufactured by Brabus Automotive, it comes in a box with three drawers and a table hidden inside. After checking all the options, users will have a mobile kitchen, a 15-liter refrigerator and a flexible sink with a faucet connected to a 12-liter water tank.
Inside the MPV, there is a metal base between the two front seats to accommodate the support of a table or folding bed. Because after lowering the rear seat, the Marco Polo module can then form a high-level bed (springs are already integrated to keep the mattress soft) with sleeping space for two people. Note that this complete set, including the table and folding chairs, is completely removable. This allows, for example, to completely discard the EQT’s luggage (from 551 to 1,979 l) for everyday use. This module, which was also announced for the T-Class, has yet to announce its prices.
Mercedes EQT Marco Polo Concept: go further
But this module is not to be confused with the real Mercedes EQT Marco Polo, which will go on sale in the second quarter of 2023. Currently, we have been able to discover it in the form of a concept car that is very close to reality. the van is nothing more than a star-studded replica of the Renault Kangoo Hippie Caviar Motel, literally and figuratively. Because the interior design here is more stylish, it corresponds to the real Marco Polo in the series, which is not yet officially available in the electric version.
Light wood elements contrasting with dark surfaces and warm lighting contribute to the calm atmosphere of this interior designed by Brabus Automotive. Equipment is complete, gas and induction hob, sink with 12 l fresh and used water tank each, 16 l refrigerator. The extendable table is mounted on the side of the motorized unit. At the bottom and after opening, the latter forms a bed for two people.
But it is the retractable roof that makes all the salt of this Marco Polo version. Because if it can fit an extra bed without compromising comfort (1.97m versus 2.0m below), it will above all allow users to stand up in the back, where space under the ceiling definitely counts.
Of course, this is just a concept and may change shape by next year. But the spirit is there, there is definitely a modularity to keep: the modules can be disassembled twice in 5 minutes to find a civilian configuration with 5 or 7 seats. Note that the concept will have only 4 locations with all elements in place.
Only 45 kWh battery
Short or long version, Marco Polo or not, the Mercedes EQT will offer a unique mechanical configuration. And, drum roll, it’s perfectly borrowed from the Renault Kangoo e-Tech, which has just announced its pricing.
Therefore, at the front we will find an electric motor with 122 hp (90 kW) for a torque of 245 Nm. If its performance is not yet known, Mercedes already says that the top speed will be limited to 134 km/h. Therefore, the recovery values should not be the most impressive, but the engine will be strong enough to tow up to 1500 kg.
The mechanical unit is equipped with a 45 kWh battery in both cases. In the short version, the EQT claims a WLTP range of 282 km with a standard consumption of 18.9 kW/100 km. For a car where versatility in family use is at the heart of its specs, that seems somewhat fair!
And it’s not the 80 kW fast peak charging power that improves the balance when going on vacation: according to the manufacturer, it takes 38 minutes to charge from 10 to 80%. On the other hand, the on-board charger will allow you to target a maximum power of 22 kW, allowing a full tank in 2 hours 30 minutes at the respective terminal.
Who is the Mercedes EQT for?
Unlike Renault, Mercedes therefore chose to keep both engine types in its range. A very different strategy from Stellantis, who opted for all-electric for their MPVs and paid the price in terms of sales. In any case, Mercedes’ bet would be correct. Because while the EQT would make a good everyday family companion, the figures put forward in its technical report don’t promise the versatility its styling and interior offer.
Marketing of the new Mercedes EQT will start during December, the entry ticket will be 45,410 euros in the Style finish. Pricing for the 7-seater and Marco Polo versions will be announced later this year.