First Look Review: Is the Volvo EX30 2024’s most exciting EV launch?

  • Sweden's smallest EV now available to reserve in the U.S.
  • Priced from $34,950 (excl. $1,295 destination)
  • Expected to deliver up to 275 miles of range
  • To start arriving at U.S. dealers by June 2024

The Volvo EX30 is the smallest SUV from the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, and it’s fully electric, ready to disrupt America’s small car market. The subcompact SUV is dwarfed even by the Hyundai Kona Electric, and is priced closely to this mainstream EV.

With the EX30, Volvo aims to be more accessible to young customers. The SUV is expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships by June 2024, but I had the opportunity to explore the vehicle at the 2024 Bangkok International Motor Show. Here are my observations:

Design

The EX30 may be compact, but it leaves no stone unturned to make a bold impression. The new Thor’s Hammer headlamps, muscular hood, sculpted shield, and U-shaped edge-to-edge gloss black trim contribute to the car’s strong and confident look. I can confirm from my experience at the 2024 Bangkok International Motor Show that the EX30 doesn’t have concealable headlamps like the EX90. The main beams are located above and below the DRLs, which double as its turn signals.

On the sides, the EX30 can’t mask its stature of a small SUV. Yet, it manages to look somewhat imposing with its 19-inch wheels, pronounced wheel arches, and strong shoulders. The greenhouse tapers towards the rear, highlighted by a sloping roofline and a rising beltline. At the back, the split taillights and the rectangular formation on the tailgate, made by their C-shaped segments and trim stripes, highlight the EX30’s tall body.

After closely examining the EX30 at the 2024 Bangkok International Motor Show, I didn’t notice any glaring manufacturing defects. The EX30 is currently produced at a Geely factory in Zhangjiakou, Hebei, China. Starting in 2025, production of the small EV will also commence at Volvo Cars’ facility in Ghent, East Flanders, Sweden. However, at least for the first model year, the U.S. will source the EX30 from the Chinese factory.

Interior

As a 5’7” tall person, I had no trouble entering or exiting the EX30, both in the front and back. I noticed that the small SUV’s doors closed with a reassuring thunk, which I think serves as a reminder to customers they’re stepping into a Volvo. The doors weren’t too heavy and didn’t require much effort to swing open/close, yet felt solid and durable.

Volvo EX30 interior dashboard
The Volvo EX30’s lack of an instrument cluster and a head-up display will require a learning curve.

The rim thickness of the compact steering wheel could be improved. I had more than sufficient headroom in the front. Even in the driver’s seat’s tallest position, there was a gap of approximately five inches to the roof. The lumbar support was good, too. The headrest, though not adjustable, was supportive. I didn’t notice any issue with the under-thigh support in the front.

Forward visibility was good, and I had no issue with side visibility either. Rear visibility was slightly compromised, primarily due to the short height of the back glass.

Volvo EX30 Breeze interior front seats
The Volvo EX30 may be compact but it doesn’t compromise on passenger space.

In the rear, I had sufficient knee room and the legroom was also good. I felt the under-thigh support could’ve been better, as I was sitting slightly with my knees up. I noticed that the floor was not completely flat. I had about five inches of headroom, and the lumbar support was good, too. The backrest had a comfortable angle, but it wasn’t adjustable. I can say from my experience that the center position of the backrest isn’t meant for adults.

This particular EX30 featured wool blend upholstery, which was notably soft. It looked and felt quite different from leather that I’m used to seeing in modern SUVs. The quality of materials in the rear was the same as in the front. Even though this was a Volvo, there was some hard plastic in the lower section of the door panels. The rear doors didn’t seem to have enough space to house a regular water bottle. I liked the removable storage box at the bottom of the center console, though, which can be used to store a pack of fries.

Volvo EX30 Breeze interior rear seats
The Volvo EX30’s rear seat doesn’t recline, but I found that the backrest has a comfortable angle.

I feel that customers transitioning from older SUVs may need time to adjust to the EX30. Notably, it lacks an instrument cluster, and is missing many of the physical controls typically found in vehicles, such as switches, buttons, and knobs. Instead, many core functions are accessed through the touchscreen infotainment system.

Additionally, the window switches are positioned on the front and rear of the center console rather than on the door panels, which is not convenient. Thankfully, the infotainment system features an intuitive user interface and runs on the familiar Android Automotive operating system, which should make the transition easier for new users.

Volvo EX30 cargo area
The Volvo EX30 offers up to 27.8 cu. ft. of cargo space in the cabin. Additionally, it has a frunk with 0.2 cu. ft. of cargo space.

As much as I like clean interiors, I think Volvo Cars went overboard with the minimalist theme. The absence of analog controls and the heavy reliance on touch-based operations may prove inconvenient for some users. Additionally, the absence of both an instrument cluster and a head-up display, with no option to add one, is going to test many drivers.

Driving impressions

The Volvo EX30 is available in the U.S. in single-motor RWD (268 hp/254 lb.-ft.) and dual-motor AWD (422 hp/400 lb.-ft.) variants, both with a 69 kWh battery pack. The EX30 RWD takes 5.1 seconds for a 0-60 mph sprint and delivers 275 miles of range (preliminary). The EX30 AWD can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds and still travel 265 miles on a full charge (preliminary).

Also See: Volvo EX30 dual-motor sparks plenty of curiosity in this Cloud Blue shade

Early reviewers are also of the opinion that the EX30 is engineered brilliantly. It can be nimble when needed and remain stable in almost every scenario. Some noise does penetrate the cabin on the highways, but overall, the ride is pretty hush, which is impressive considering the model’s segment and price. Performance is commendable with even the base variant displaying much sprightliness.

While the EX30 delivers on driving dynamics and performance, it’s not entirely perfect. There’s no option to alter the intensity of the regenerative braking system in this model. Moreover, the steering feels light even at speed.

Price

The Volvo EX30 starts at USD 34,950 and go up to USD 46,600 (excl. USD 1,295 destination).

Also Read: Volvo EX90 customer cars to reach dealers in early 2024

TopElectricSUV says

The Volvo EX30 is a nifty little urban commuter with ample style, adequate range, sprightly performance, and good comfort. It’s priced aggressively, and to me, the EX30 proves that compact or low-segment models don’t always equate to feeling cheap or slow. However, the minimalist interior might seem highly unconventional to many drivers, and it’s best suited for those who are willing to embrace change.