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Volvo EX30 (2023 - )

The EX30 is Volvo’s smallest vehicle to date and is fully electrified with a respectable driving range between charges.

Starting price:
£42,045 (as tested)

Why we love it:
  • Cool modern design and generously equipped
  • Competitively priced and impressive driving range
  • Great handling and fun to drive
Where it could be better:
  • You have to look away from the road to see the speed
  • Many rivals offer more boot space
  • Lacks physical buttons

Introduction

Volvo EX30

The EX30 is Volvo’s smallest vehicle to date and is fully electrified with a respectable driving range between charges.

The five-door compact SUV is available in trim levels called Plus and Ultra, although Volvo has hinted strongly that a cheaper Core specification will be introduced a little further down the line.

Customers also need to select between three powertrains. There is a Single Motor rear-wheel drive option with 272hp and a 51kWh battery – this has a driving range of 214 miles. Alternatively, a Single Motor Extended Range with 272bhp and 69kWh battery can deliver up to 298 miles. Finally, there is a Twin Motor Performance that introduces all-wheel drive to the mix and has 428bhp, a 69kWh battery with a driving range of up to 286 miles.

We opted for the Single Motor Extended Range in high-end Ultra specification for our test drive.

Volvo EX30

The all-new Volvo EX30 is a dynamically-styled five-door SUV that looks both modern and appealing in its design. 

Eye-catching features include distinctive LED headlights with signature daytime running lights and a bonnet that curves over at the front and houses the Volvo emblem. 

Our test car, the EX30 Single Motor Extended Range featured Cloud Blue paintwork that changed appearance depending on the lighting, a black contrast roof and pillars that sparkled in the sunlight, body-coloured door handles, a rear light signature that spreads the width of the car, a fixed panoramic glass roof, plus the VOLVO name spelt out clearly on the square-shaped tailgate. Completing the look were 19-inch aero wheels, while the Twin Motor Performance versions gain 20-inch alloys.

Move inside, and you are greeted by a thoroughly modern, clutter-free interior which is very futuristic, but not overwhelming in its appearance. There is a choice of four design styles (or rooms as Volvo calls them) called Breeze, Indigo, Mist and Pine. Our test car featured the Breeze design which, like all versions, focus heavily on sustainability with a large percentage of recycled material incorporated into the upholstery and various surfaces. 

For example, the textile mats are made from fishing nets, the main carpet is created from 100 per cent recycled PET bottles, while the dashboard covering is made up of ground waste from discarded PVC window frames and roller shutters. But you have to hand it to Volvo, it looks and feels absolutely amazing.

Despite the minimalist appearance, all versions are generously equipped with our range-topping Ultra model featuring a 12.3-inch portrait touchscreen which is the main focal point and offers easy access to all the on-board features. There is full smartphone connectivity, a Harman Kardon sound system with dashboard soundbar – this stretches the length of the dash and means there’s no need for door speakers so freeing up extra space.

Other features include a 360-degree camera with virtual 3D view, Volvo’s Park Pilot Assist system, plus heated, powered front seats and a heated steering wheel.

While everything works perfectly well, the only place the speed can be viewed is at the top of the centrally-positioned touchscreen which means glancing away from the road. This is just so un-Volvo-like. After all, this company is renowned for putting safety above everything else.

On The Road

Volvo EX30

Handling & Performance

Our rear-wheel drive Single Motor Extended range EX30 delivered 272hp and 343Nm of torque. It could complete the 0-62mph sprint in 5.3 seconds, maxed out at 112mph and, under WLTP testing, has a combined driving range of 296 miles between charges.

To unlock the car and get it started, you use a keycard that is tapped against the B pillar and then placed in a specific position inside the car, so there is no need for a traditional start button. A digital key on a smartphone will also be an option for owners. Then it’s simply a case of selecting a drive mode via a lever on the steering wheel and off you go.

The acceleration out the starting blocks is swift but also nicely controlled through the single-speed automatic transmission, so you won’t find passengers complaining their heads are pinned against the headrests.

There is a constant stream of power on tap which makes motorway driving pleasurable and, then when faced with more challenging twisting lanes, the EX30 is nicely balanced, well-grounded and confident both in and out of tight bends with the added benefit of well-weighted steering.

It’s agile in busy town centres where the excellent driver visibility is a bonus and the single-pedal driving also makes the most of recouping energy under braking.

The ride is refined and cushioned with occupants well protected against any bumps and dips, while the efficient insulation keeps any noise intrusion at bay.

Volvo EX30

Space & Practicality

The Volvo EX30 is a compact five-door SUV that looks modern and dynamic when approached from any angle. It stretches 4,233mm in length, is 2,032mm wide (including mirrors) and 1,554mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,649mm. 

The cabin is deceptively spacious with Volvo engineers making the most of every inch of interior room. A couple of six footers can stretch out up front and a further two adults of the taller variety will fit comfortably in the back with oodles of leg, head and shoulder room. Add a third and it gets a little bit cosy, but would be fine on shorter journeys.

The boot can swallow 318 litres of kit, increasing to 904 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat. There is also extra space beneath the bonnet which is ideal for storing the charging cables.

Elsewhere, there is a glovebox that drops down from the centre of the dashboard which has been designed to be easily accessible by either the driver or front seat passenger. There are door bins, front and rear cup holders, a large storage area between the front seats and seat back pockets.

Charging the EX30’s 69kWh battery from 10 to 80 per cent takes 28 minutes using a 175kW fast charger or 11 hours, 30 minutes via an 11kW home wallbox. 

The Single Motor EX30 with rear-wheel drive can tow a trailer weighing up to 1.0 tonne. This increases to 1.4 tonnes on the Extended Range model, as tested, and then rises again to 1.6 tonnes on the all-wheel drive version.

Ownership

Volvo EX30

Running Costs

The Volvo EX30 line-up is currently available with Single Motor, Single Motor Extended Range and Twin Motor Performance powertrains and in trim levels called Plus and Ultra. Prices range from £33,795 to £44,495 although there will be a new entry-level Core specification added to the mix further down the line which is likely to cost from £31,000 to £32,000.

Our test car, the Single Motor Extended Range in Ultra grade cost £42,045. 

For business drivers, the Volvo EX30 would have an attractive Benefit in Kind tax rating of two per cent and thanks to its zero carbon emissions, drivers benefit from a number of financial benefits, such as being exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax), along with congestion and low emission zone fees. 

In addition, buyers are not penalised for purchasing a vehicle that tips the scales at £40k or above as owners of traditionally powered cars are.

That’s the good news though. The bad news is the Government has already announced it will be reducing or withdrawing incentives completely from 2025. 

Insurance group ratings are yet to be announced, but one thing is guaranteed, with high residual values, Volvos are always a very sound investment.

Verdict

We have become accustomed to announcements about new EVs being launched from manufacturers across the globe. And we’ve become even more accustomed to their hefty price-tags with all manner of excuses about technology and battery plant investment blah, blah, blah. 

So, when Volvo said it was developing an all-new compact SUV that was fully electrified but would appeal to the masses cost-wise, it raised a few eyebrows to say the very least.

After all, over recent years Volvo models have taken on quite a premium status with, in fairness, price-tags to match.

But the EX30 is a complete game-changer. Yes, you get all the Volvo build quality and safety tech. And the craftsmanship and emphasis on sustainability is second to none.

It has a great driving range between charges and drives well when faced with all manner of differing roads. But somehow it has a pricing structure that starts from just £33k with a cheaper model still to come.

It’s true, we really didn’t like the lack of a speed readout in direct driver eye-line, but that was our only gripe in this model that will hopefully see rival carmakers rushing back to the drawing board to see how they can reduce customer costs. And a pricing war is just what the EV industry needs right now.

By Maxine Ashford
Nov 08, 2023

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