It’s time for another EV showdown – the compact electric SUV edition

Smaller SUVs make for perfect family cars, but their fuel-guzzling ways aren’t always the best for the environment. An electric SUV makes for the perfect compromise – all of the fun, all of the space, none of the petrol.

Not content to sit on their laurels and let the big EV players have all the fun, in recent years both Mercedes-Benz and Audi have turned their hands to crafting some of the best electric SUVs on the market.

First launching the Audi e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC back in 2019, both have gone on to launch smaller SUVs, catering to the whims of the market. The Audi Q4 e-tron and the Mercedes EQA might be compact in comparison to their older siblings, but they’re both perfect for day-to-day family life.

If you’re after a well-built, good-sized EV that’s easy to live with, an Audi Q4 e-tron lease or a Mercedes EQA lease is an excellent choice – it’s just picking which car you want that’s difficult.

So, we’re putting them head to head to see which comes out on top.

Audi Q4 e-tron

Audi Q4 e-tron

Introduction to the Mercedes EQA and the Audi Q4 e-tron

Both the Mercedes-Benz EQA and the Audi Q4 e-tron are the smallest and least expensive EVs in their respective line-ups.

But where the EQA is sat on a version of the brand’s modular front architecture platform (fancy speak for the underbody the car sits on), Audi have used the bespoke VW Group MEB platform. It’s become one of the best – and most recognisable – EV platforms in the market, with electric cars like the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 and the Skoda Enyaq also using it.

And there are many upsides to using a bespoke platform over adapting an existing one.

Although both offer three different variants, the EQA models (250, 300 4Matic, and the 350 4Matic) only have a choice of one battery size – 66.5kWh – with a range between 250 and 260 miles, while Audi offers a range of motor configurations and battery sizes.

The entry-level 35 (52kWh battery, 208-mile range) is perfect if you’re after an EV without all the bells and whistles, the mid-range 40 with its 316-mile claimed range is the Q4 for you if range anxiety is your biggest worry, while the performance of the Q4 e-tron 50 is fantastic (the second motor bumps the output to 295hp and the 0-62mph time to 6.2 seconds - though the range is knocked back to 295 miles).

Mercedes-Benz EQA interior

Mercedes-Benz EQA interior


The bespoke build also allows for the Audi to be extremely practical.

The electric motor is packed beneath the floor, and there are few cars out there that use this advantage in quite the same way as the VW Group.

With a flat floor in the back limiting arguments over who’s feet go where, the spacious rear is big enough for three of your tallest friends. There’s plenty of knee room for everyone, and space for the front passenger to stretch out comfortably on long journeys.

Even if the car ends up packed to the rafters when you go on holiday.

The cabin space in the Audi Q4 e-tron hasn’t come at the expense of the boot space either. With a generous 502L on offer, it’s up there with the best of the compact SUVs, and nearly on par with the larger combustion engine Audi Q5.



The EQA doesn’t fare quite so well when it comes to interior space.

The floor is higher than usual thanks to the battery pack, and though backseat passengers will still have plenty of head and knee room, the boot has been knocked back to 340L.

Still a respectable size, and still big enough for daily family life.

But – because the EQA is essentially a GLA with a big battery – the interior is lovely. Quality furniture, plush materials, and two big screens that do everything you need them to and more. And if you’re not a fan of controlling everything by tapping the screen, you can also use the small pad controller between the seats, the buttons on the steering wheel, or your voice.

The driving experience

When it comes to the actual drive, neither the Audi nor the Mercedes are going to win top prize at the races.

Mercedes-Benz EQA

Mercedes-Benz EQA

But they’re comfortable, solid, and reliable – and that’s really all that matters for this sort of family workhorse. With the electric motor, the cabin is quiet, and you’ll really only notice some wind rustle and tyre hum when you’re going at speed.

Other than that, there’s nothing to get between you and singing along to Whitney.

It makes for a relaxing journey when you’re travelling a good distance, though they are just as good around town, the stop-start driving suiting the electric motor.

And when it comes to long journeys, both the Mercedes EQA and the Audi Q4 e-tron have rapid charging capabilities. If you’re whizzing up the motorway and can access a rapid public charger, they’ll go from flat to (nearly) full in under 40 minutes – just enough time to grab a coffee and a cake.



The winner

The real strength of the Q4 e-tron and the EQA lies in their ordinariness.

And this is no bad thing.

Early adopters of electric vehicles were won over by their futuristic looks and tech (us among them) – but there’s a whole bunch of people who want a car to just get them from here to there and back again. That’s what the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Mercedes-Benz EQA do very well.

Sure, they’re both packed with as much kit as their respective companies can get in them. And the sleek interior looks of the Audi are a little on the futuristic side. But they’re both comfy, capable, and well-built, with enough range to get you to work and back with plenty of juice to spare.

If you’ve been umming and ahhing about making the switch, a compact SUV EV is a good place to begin.

The Audi Q4 e-tron does pip the Mercedes EQA to the post for the title of ‘best compact EV SUV’, with a little extra pizzazz and a good heaping of practicality.

But they’re both very good picks for your next electric car lease.

The EQA and the Q4 not taking your fancy?

Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.