Cars/ First-drive/ Volvo XC40 Recharge Vs Mercedes EQB350 Vs Audi E-tron 55 | The Best of Luxury EV SUVs in India

Volvo XC40 Recharge Vs Mercedes EQB350 Vs Audi E-tron 55 | The Best of Luxury EV SUVs in India

Our picks across segments of luxury electric SUV’s to ascertain what makes the most E-sense!

For

Volvo XC40 Recharge - Exhilarating Performance, Connectivity, Squat SUV proportions
Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic - Interior Design, 5+2 seating, Relaxed Drive
Audi e-Tron 55 - Driving Comfort, Cabin Ergonomics, Build Quality

Against

Volvo XC40 Recharge - Wow factor missing inside & outside
Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic - Not exactly a cheap family runabout
Audi e-Tron 55 - Weight, Compromised range

Overview

What is it?

If you’ve been looking for an electric luxury family SUV between the 50 lacs to over a crore Rupee range (pun intended), you can stop reading and just head to my verdict section and pick one that suits your lifestyle and fits your wallet! But if you want to find out what makes each of these 3 SUV’s special, do read on. Because out of the 10 odd Luxury EV’s (featuring an SUV body style) sold currently in our country as on mid-2023, these 3 choices offer the most rounded packages and would be the best rated for all their inherent abilities and proposition.

Let’s start with the most powerful (4.9s to the 100kmph) and compact in this group - the Volvo XC40 Recharge. Introduced in July ’22, it’s attractively priced at Rs. 56.9 lakh for what is inherently a XC40 EV twin. It also gets a prettier Coupe cousin – the recently launched C40 Recharge & if you're self-driven, and pick Volvo-ness as the top of your wish list, this could be your bet!

The second option up the price ladder, at Rs. 77.50 lakhs, is the Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 featuring a 5+2 seating layout, strong all-round performance and some suave interiors. Launched in December ’22, the Merc is the most versatile of the lot and if you're driving six kids around ever-so often this would fit the bill rather perfectly!

Finally, the Audi e-tron 55 priced at Rs. 1.19 crores (ex-showroom), which has to be the most comfortable & best suited to be chauffer driven in. It features adaptive air suspension, a spacious cushy back seat and a super spacious boot & frunk. Though this e-tron now has been replaced by the Q8 e-tron with a bigger 114kwH battery (that’s technically a facelift of this e-tron), it’s the best option at this price point and the pick if you're looking for the all-around experience of space and a full-size SUV.

The EQB and the e-tron both are very alluring to impress the luxury car buyer with interiors, one borrowed from Merc’s larger SUV’s and the other teched out in design, while the XC40 features a rather minimalist interior with the most intelligent infotainment system featuring Google’s assistant that makes using tech literally hand’s free. All three feature powered seats, soft touch materials and a driving range of under 400kms in the real world. But the Volvo has some blistering performance at a package that doesn’t feel a tall ask. So, good value could just tip your choices!

Verdict

When choosing an E-luxury SUV, you're probably looking for refinement, range practicality and prestige, to be the headlining elements, but value was on the top of my list with each of these picks. The e-tron is the greatest all-rounder here - a well-built spacious interior, a massive boot and one that’s great for being chauffeur driven or self-driven - that’s down to its superb ride quality which is simply in a class of its own. The new Q8 e-Tron improves the e-tron’s range and feature list but if you're looking for more glamor, style and with added dynamism, then take a hard look at the BMW iX!

The EQB does a lot right. It's the first relatively attainable luxury electric seven-seater in the mainstream and the pick of the segment in the Rs. 80 lakh bracket. It goes briskly, drives tidily and charges reasonably quickly. Those sold on screen inches and rose-gold details will pore over the interior, but I suspect the EQB's USP will be short-lived, though, and as soon as cheaper EVs with a similar seat count show up on the market, the Mercedes that already looks quite pricey due to being a full import, may be a try-hard. But if you just can't wait to ferry your kids around in smug, efficient silence, it's a safe bet. Much as I prefer the GLB to the GLA.

But it’s the XC40 Recharge that’s had our love, now amongst this esteemed company, its worthier attributes of thoughtful packaging, sense of minimalist design, the best voice enabled infotainment and insatiable performance - the XC40 Recharge makes an almost irresistible case for electrification - and at an asking price of Rs. 60 lakhs it sure does make the most e-sense for that great day-to-day family electric SUV!

 

Watch Video



TopGear Magazine June 2024