Volvo EX30 Review: Volvo’s Most Compelling EV Is Actually Affordable

The EX30 is the brand’s fastest-accelerating production vehicle ever, but you should consider it for practicality, not speed

The Volvo EX30, a compact electric SUV, is a compelling and actually affordable EV. Here's our full test and review.
Range? Good. Utility: Adequate. Price? Just right.

Volvo has grand ambitions to only sell electric vehicles by 2030, and a major stepping stone toward that goal is the new EX30. The all-electric compact SUV is finally ready for American buyers to put down their deposits, and while deliveries won’t begin until the first half of 2024, Volvo representatives are already touting its success: they claim that 80% of those who already stepped forward looking to grab this little “EV that could” are new to the brand.

A big reason for those fresh faces must be the 2025 Volvo EX30’s surprising price point. The vehicle has a starting price of just $36,245, which includes the destination fee. That’s a very manageable amount for a mid-range luxury brand known for safety and reliability, especially considering the average price paid for a new car today is $47,936

Buyers have two main configuration options: a single or double electric motor, with the single offering better range and the double improving performance.

The Single Motor Extended Range model has an estimated range of up to 275 miles on a full charge, while the Twin Motor Performance choice manages up to 265 miles. That dual electric motor combo packs a considerable 422 horsepower and sprints from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds — enough for Volvo to christen the EX30 their fastest-accelerating car of all time. If charging speed is more important to you than outright range, the EX30 has a maximum fast-charging capacity of 153 kW, which can offer a charge from 10% to 80% in around 27 minutes.

  • Volvo EX30 electric SUV
  • Volvo EX30 electric SUV rear
  • Volvo EX30 electric SUV top

Volvo is the automaker that gifted the world with the three-point seatbelt, so in keeping with its tradition of building vehicles dedicated to safety, the EX30 offers new protective technology.

It’ll warn the driver if a bicycle or scooter is approaching from behind — telling you not to open your door until they pass. Instead of the traditional gauge cluster above the steering wheel and a separate infotainment setup in the middle of the dashboard, all the essential information in this SUV appears through a central-mounted screen tracking speed, vehicle comfort, navigation and the driving environment. Driver aids provided by onboard AI can be enabled or absent, depending on the driver’s preferences.

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Much of the technology Volvo piled into the well-equipped EX30 made its debut in an earlier concept SUV, the larger EX90, which is now also set to begin delivery in the first half of next year. Joakim Hermansson, Volvo product lead for the EX30, acknowledges some technology will be shared between the vehicles, but their sizing makes them unique machines.

“The EX90 and EX30 are very different cars with different platforms,” Hermansson tells InsideHook. “What we strive to achieve is a consistency in user functionality throughout our cars to deliver a Volvo experience that is seamless and natural. Both cars deliver a similar digital user interface by the design and layout of the center screen, with contextual information for personalization and over-the-air updates when features become available.”

For Volvo’s purposes, they’re calling the EX30 their “smallest ever SUV.” But it’s up to you to decide if it’s really a compact SUV or large hatchback; the driving experience leans toward the latter with a light and maneuverable feel. The expected torque of the electric motor (or two, if you choose) provides ample quickness for street driving or escaping freeway wolf packs. The build quality doesn’t feel as solid as a traditional Volvo — the car make that cliches swear is “built like a tank.” Still, Volvo obsesses over driver safety, even in a $35,000 dollar package.

  • The minimalist interior of the Volvo EX30
  • The seat layout in the Volvo EX30
  • The center screen in the Volvo EX30

The EX30 dimensions (166.7 inches long; 72.3 inches wide; 61.2 inches high; with a curb weight of 4,034 to 4,284 pounds due to battery bulk) drop this vehicle smack in the middle of that fading large hatchback category — bigger and more comfortable than a small hatch, but too small for it to serve many of the duties we usually assign to larger SUVs. All is well in the front seat (or what Volvo terms the front interior room) as an EV’s natural absence of a drivetrain and front-mounted engine opens up ample legroom. Still, with two grown-ups in the front, the same number of said adults will have to squeeze in the back.

That’s by design, as Volvo looks to position this new small EV as a “pre-” or “post-family” car, hopinh to recruit single buyers, young couples and empty nesters in the market for a daily commuter. In the end, this is urban transport: simple, safe and manageable daily travel for one or two people.

According to Hermansson, targeting those younger and older drivers guided what Volvo designers, engineers and executives chose to include in the EX30 amongst the potential feature inventory.

“It’s all about consumer needs and what kind of solutions we can support them with to make their lives less complicated,” he explains. “Depending on the segment for the applicable car, the needs of the consumers differ and give us indications of how to prioritize what features that will make a great product.”

It’s the EX30’s price that marks a big marketing play for Volvo. With the overall automotive market cooling on electric vehicles over pricing and range concerns, the EV segment looks like it’s becoming the realm of the wealthier driver — buyers who can afford both the $40,000-plus car or SUV and the fast charger they’ll install in the garage of their home.

Ford and GM appear to be pumping the brakes on EVs and leaning toward hybrids to bring eco-minded buyers back to their folds. Meanwhile, Volvo is giving the average automotive shopper a compelling new all-electric option here with the EX30. Since the luxury carmakers of the world can’t replace enough machines fast enough to make the desired dent in climate change numbers, perhaps Volvo’s strategy of bringing elite technology into more affordable vehicles like the EX30 will help spur adoption — and help them reach their 2030 electrification goal.

“We cannot speculate how other car manufacturers will implement the technologies that we are using,” Hermansson says. “But a general rule of thumb is when technologies emerge from newly launched to becoming more available, volume increases and prices go down with [economies of scale].”

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