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

Volvo Cars’s most recent launch, the Volvo EX30, is a compact electric SUV that slots in below their 40 Series EVs, and is available in the U.S. market. You can check out our first look review to get our detailed perspective on Volvo’s baby SUV.

At the Mobility Live Middle East 2024 held in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, I got a chance to spend time with a Cloud Blue dual-motor Volvo EX30 (Ultra Performance) variant. Here’s my take on the top-spec version of the baby Volvo.

Looks

At first glance, the EX30 strikes me as a scaled-down version of the EX90, evident in its front and rear designs. Its shape deviates from the typical boxy ‘XC’ SUVs, featuring a softer roofline which I find enhances its aerodynamic profile, and contributes to a higher range.

The influence of the EX90 is unmistakable, particularly with the Thor’s Hammer headlamps that not only act as dynamic daytime running lights but also artistically reveal the main projectors. The nose is sleek, devoid of traditional grilles, and integrates a wide, slim air intake that distinguishes it from the vertical fog light setup seen in the EX90.

Volvo EX30 dual-motor Cloud Blue rear three quarters
I felt that the EX30 is a different kind of Volvo. It evokes curiosity with its thoughtful design and robust performance, and mouth-watering prices.

Viewing the EX30 from the side, I notice hints of the XC40 Recharge (EX40), especially with its angular windows and the pronounced kick in the beltline at the rear doors. There are, however, distinct tweaks such as the more streamlined side mirrors and a more fluid rise in the beltline that culminates in a sportier roofline, which sets it apart.

On the inside

Stepping inside the EX30 was straightforward for me, even at 6-feet tall. The doors shut with a reassuring solidity, yet they were light enough to operate effortlessly, reinforcing the vehicle’s solid construction. The absence of a traditional instrument cluster and head-up display means there’s a bit of a learning curve, but believe me when I say that it’s nothing too daunting.

The steering wheel felt a bit slim to me, but the ample headroom was a surprise. I had adequate space above me, even with the driver’s seat adjusted to its highest setting. Forward and side visibility were good, but the rear view was slightly compromised by the short rear window.

In the back, the legroom and knee space were adequate, although the under-thigh support left a bit to be desired as the seating position felt a bit elevated. The materials used throughout the cabin, including a noticeably soft wool blend upholstery, were a pleasant departure from the usual leather, offering a nice tactile experience.

Volvo EX30 infotainment system and instrument cluster
I wish Volvo would move the AC controls to a physical console, and offer a Head-Up Display option in the EX30 facelift as it lacks a gauge cluster.

The EX30’s 12.3-inch portrait-oriented infotainment display is powered by Google’s Android Automotive OS. This system is crisp and responsive, integrating features like Google Assistant and the Google Play Store. However, I’m not a fan of having the instrument cluster integrated into the same screen.

Controls for Media, Phone, Navigation and Vehicle settings are included, but adjusting the temperature through a menu can be cumbersome. The top portion of the display shows the vehicle’s speed and charge level, while the rest of the screen offers some customization, as shown in my image above.

Volvo EX30 dual-motor Cloud Blue cargo space
The EX30 offers 400 liters (14.1 cu. ft.) of cargo volume behind the rear seats, which is good for a couple of large suitcases and a duffel bag. Folding down the rear seats expands the luggage space to 904 liters (32.0 cu. ft.).

The fully-loaded EX30 variant features Pilot Assist, a panoramic glass roof, power adjustable driver and passenger seats with 4-way lumbar support for the driver, dual zone climate control, and a front storage compartment, along with tech and sound enhancements such as a Harman Kardon premium sound system with 9 speakers, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a wireless smartphone charger.

On the road

In the U.S., the Volvo EX30 comes in two variants: a single-motor RWD with 268 hp and 254 lb.-ft. of torque, and a dual-motor AWD setup that pushes 422 hp and 400 lb.-ft. The RWD model can zip from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and offers an estimated range of 275 miles, while the AWD version makes the dash in just 3.4 seconds with a range of 265 miles.

Those among you who have driven the EX30 would mostly agree that it is surprisingly nimble for its segment, maintaining stability across various driving conditions. The interior is quiet, even at highway speeds, a testament to its solid build and insulation. However, the steering is a bit lighter than expected at higher speeds, and the fixed setting for regenerative braking might not suit everyone. I would also wish to see Volvo add a few physical controls for the air conditioner and infotainment during the mid-cycle update.

Volvo EX30 dual-motor Cloud Blue
Globally, the Volvo EX30 is available in Single Motor, Single Motor Extended Range, and Twin Motor Performance power-electric configurations.

Pricing & Future

The starting price for the EX30 is USD 34,950, climbing to USD 46,600 before additional charges. The car is made in Zhangjiakou, China. The EX30’s list of competitors includes the upcoming MINI Aceman and the smart #1, besides crossovers from the Hyundai Motor Group.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Biden administration is planning to significantly increase tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, potentially quadrupling them. This move would undermine Volvo’s ambitions for the EX30, casting a shadow over its near-term future if these changes are implemented.

Although Volvo has said that it will also make the EX30 in Ghent, Belgium, starting in 2025, the first year of sales is crucial for any new product. Thus, any changes in the tariff would pose real challenges for Volvo during this critical launch period.

That said, at the current prices, the EX30 is a decent choice for young customers in urban areas, including new drivers, looking for a premium SUV that’s safe, sustainable, and stylish, and offers many advanced technologies for connectivity, comfort, and convenience, for an affordable monthly payment.