2025 Volvo EX30 Review and Test Drive
The Swedish automaker brings forward a compelling crossover SUV that's cost conscious.
Look down the list of budget-minded affordable electric vehicles (EVs)s, and you'll find more misses than hits. The list is admittedly short, but whether it's early examples such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf or more recent options such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, there just haven't been too many options on the market that you could call affordable and desirable.
I've driven those EVs and many more, and I can confidently say that the 2025 Volvo EX30 is shaping up to be the most compelling affordable EV to hit the market yet. It won't go on sale in the United States until mid-2024, but after spending a few days behind the wheel of a pre-production European-spec model, I can confidently say it'll be something worth waiting for.
The 2025 Volvo EX30 is priced to move
When the new Volvo EX30 comes to the U.S. market in mid-2024, the manufacturer's suggested retail price will start in the mid-$30,000 range. That will be for a rear-wheel-drive Single Motor Extended Range model with the Core trim level. The higher Plus trim will begin just below $40,000, while the Ultra will just break $40,000.
Step up to an EX30 Twin Motor Performance model with all-wheel drive, and the starting price is in the mid-$40,000 range for the entry-level Plus trim. (There is no dual-motor EX30 Core.)
Ultra is the highest trim level and adds about $2,000 to that. While formal pricing for all options is unavailable as of publication, the destination charge to ship the electric SUV from the Ghent, Belgium, or Zhangjiakou, China, assembly plant will be $1,295. Volvo has yet to confirm which factory will supply North America.
For this review, I drove a Single Motor Extended Range and Twin Motor Performance EX30 in Barcelona, Spain. Though these were European models, they differ from U.S.-spec models only in a few minor styling details, including amber turn signals on the rear, plus software changes, such as the European Union-mandatory speed limit warnings. Volvo provided the SUV for me to test and paid for airfare, lodging, and meals.
Minimalist chic exterior design
The EX30 has a familiar Volvo look while appearing fresh and new. Approach it from the back, and you'll spot the stacked taillights that are so common of the brand. Here they're split, with lights running up the rear roof pillars standing separate from those at the back of the car.
At the front you'll find the Thor's hammer headlights emblematic of modern Volvos, but they're split up into individual pixels for a modern flair.
The rest of the EX30 has a clean, simple style, with thick rear roof pillars that make this look like a next-generation, downscaled XC40. It isn't a design that will shock or awe, but it carries a sophistication that few small crossover SUVs do.
2025 Volvo EX30 Interior Trades Luxury for Simplicity
The inside, though, is another story. The Volvo EX30's interior radically differs from any other vehicle. Though designed to save money, that frugality comes across as more of a focus on efficiency rather than a brand pinching pennies. There's no gauge cluster, for example. Volvo integrates everything into the vertical, 12.3-inch touchscreen, much like in a Tesla.
Another example is the lack of speakers in the front doors. The EX30 instead relies on a sound bar that runs the windshield's width at its base. That's an odd choice, but the result is surprisingly effective.
Volvo also focuses on renewable materials within the new Volvo EX30. For example, recycled window panes comprise the sparkled surface across the dashboard. Some of these materials do feel inexpensive, but the clean, honest design of everything creates a bright space that made me smile.
Comfort Isn't Sacrificed in a More Compact Interior
The EX30 is not a large car by any means. At 166.7 inches long, it's 7 inches smaller than even Volvo's XC40. From the front seat, you really won't notice it. There's plenty of legroom and 41.7 inches of headroom between the seat and the panoramic glass roof, which is standard on the Plus and Ultra trims.
Move to the rear seats, though, and you may feel cramped. Headroom is still generous, but legroom is limited. And while the EX30 will seat five, the three in the rear will feel more comfortable if they are narrow of shoulder and hip.
I sampled both the standard artificial leather and the available tailored wool-blend upholstery, and both were quite comfortable. The power-adjustable seats have all the right moves, including for lumbar support, and Volvo uses quality materials on all the major touchpoints. Knowing that those materials are entirely vegan and renewably sourced makes them feel good in a different sort of way.
Cargo Space Is Smaller, as Is the Frunk
Given its svelte dimensions, the EX30's maximum cargo capacity of 31.9 cubic-feet is understandable. That's not much. And the main storage compartment behind the rear seats is even more cramped, measuring a scant 14.1 cu-ft. That's barely more than a compact sedan's trunk. It is surprisingly deep, however, and can transport tall objects such as strollers or plants.
Thoughtfully, Volvo went so far as to emboss a little diagram on the back of the cargo compartment lid to show you what fits and where. That thoughtfulness continues in the cabin, with cupholders that slide out from the armrest and a little bin that tucks in beneath. It's easy to pull out and clean, making it a great place for trash.
There is a frunk, but it's tiny, offering enough room for carrying a charging cable and little else.
The EX30 Kick-Starts a New Era with Android Automotive
Volvo was one of the first automakers to offer an infotainment system built atop Android Automotive software. While the Google Maps experience was solid, it was initially painfully basic, with a minimal selection of available apps and neither Android Auto nor Apple CarPlay. It has evolved since but still leaves something to be desired.
For the new 2025 EX30, Volvo is deploying a second-generation Android-based experience that is far more capable and easy to use. That's good because the general lack of physical controls means you'll constantly be tapping away at that 12.3-inch touchscreen. And, with no separate gauge cluster, you'll need to reference the top portion of the infotainment display for crucial information like speed, gear, and vehicle status.
While only some of the test vehicle's software worked, system performance seemed acceptable. It integrates Google Assistant and Google Maps, and finding restaurants or other points of interest should be a cinch. You can also use voice commands to change climate and vehicle settings. Those who'd prefer to do the Apple thing will find wireless CarPlay this time around, but Android Auto is still not supported yet, sadly.
That Harman Kardon sound bar, included with Plus and Ultra trim, lacks the punch of a more extensive system, but it sounds great. The infotainment system's clear, bright sound belies its svelte dimensions, and it has plenty of power to fill the EX30's small cabin.
Though petite, the EX30 is not lacking for sensors. With a whopping five radar modules plus cameras and ultrasonic emitters, it can see the world in every direction. Go with the Ultra trim, and you can see it, too, thanks to the 360-degree surround-view camera system. That may seem like overkill for such a small vehicle, but with the EX30's wide rear roof pillars, rearward visibility is somewhat limited. The cameras were handy when maneuvering out of a few tight spots during my testing.
2025 EX30 Pilot Assist Affords the Safety You Expect From Volvo
All those sensors, of course, also feed into the EX30's advanced driving-assistance systems (ADAS), which are comprehensive, as you'd expect from a Volvo. As standard equipment, the EX30 features:
- Forward-collision warning
- Front and rear automatic emergency braking
- Pedestrian and cyclist detection
- Blind-spot monitoring with active steering
- Cross-traffic alerts with automatic emergency braking
- Driver monitoring system
Step up to the Ultra, and you also get Volvo's Pilot Assist system, with an advanced lane-keeping assist and lane-centering assist paired with adaptive cruise control that automatically adjusts speed to match the posted limits.
In my testing on rural roads and highways, the EX30 did a great job keeping itself centered within the lane, adjusting speed as appropriate, and even coming to a complete stop when needed. The production EX30 will also offer an assisted lane-change system, but on this pre-production model, the feature was not active.
Safety Ratings Unavailable for 2025 Volvo EX30
As of publication, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has performed crash tests on the 2025 Volvo EX30. Check the
Volvo EX30 Details Reflect Value-Minded Range and Power
Whether you go with the single- or dual-motor variety of the EX30, you'll get a vehicle that goes a long way on a relatively small, 69-kWh battery pack. Volvo estimates the EPA-rated range for the dual-motor variety will be 265 miles, with the single-motor variety traveling 275 miles on a charge.
Horsepower and torque figures are also impressive. The dual-motor offers a whopping 422 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. That gives the EX30 an estimated zero-to-60-mph acceleration time of 3.4 seconds. The single-motor steps down to a still-respectable 268 horsepower and 253 lb-ft, delivered exclusively through the rear wheels. Volvo claims it accelerates to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
Dig Deep for the EX30's Horsepower
My time driving the EX30, both the single- and dual-motor models, was primarily spent in and around Barcelona, motoring through the worst of the city's rush-hour traffic before escaping up into the hills to the north and west for more spirited driving.
During my testing, the single-motor EX30 averaged 26.3 kWh per 100 miles, and the dual-motor returned 31.5 kWh per 100 miles. Remember that these were pre-production models, and given it was a test, a fair bit of hard acceleration was involved. When measuring efficiency this way, the lower the kWh figure, the better. In comparison, the 2024 Hummer EV consumes 63 kWh while a 2023 Tesla Model 3 single motor consumes 25 kWh over that same distance, according to EPA estimates.
The dual-motor EX30 is prodigiously quick but not nervous like the XC40 can occasionally feel. The acceleration curve is subtle and relaxed, such that you need to dig deep into the pedal travel before you summon all the electric horses hiding in those motors. Get them all galloping in tune, and this Volvo is remarkably rapid.
The single-motor EX30 is also speedy. It darts from light to light with zeal and has plenty of power for merging and passing on the highway.
Once up to speed, the EX30 is calm and quiet. There's a bit of wind and tire noise, but it's less than you might expect, given the size and price of the car.
The EX30's sophisticated demeanor is most noticeable when driving over broken, bumpy roads. The ride quality is quite good, whether on the 19- or 20-inch wheels. The EX30 floats just a bit when unsettled by big bumps but then quickly settles and carries you on your way. It doesn't waft along, but the SUV's ride lends itself to a more relaxed way of driving that's also more efficient.
Light and crisp steering underscore that sense, but there are three resistance levels should you want a firmer feeling when working through the bends. The low-rolling-resistance tires give up grip early and often, complaining quite a bit all the while, but the EX30 is otherwise a competent corner carver.
Likewise, the brakes exhibit a long, gentle throw, and you'll need to move your foot over to that pedal more often than you might like because the regenerative braking is too light. The EX30 offers a supposed one-pedal driving mode that will bring the car down to a complete stop, but its deceleration rate is lower than I prefer. Worse, you can't adjust it. The only way to request more regen is to step harder on the brake pedal.
Driving the EX30 Reveals a Clear Winner
The upcoming 2025 Volvo EX30 is the brand's most compelling electric vehicle yet and one of its most attractive options ever. It might just be the ultimate enabler for EV-curious consumers. With its value pricing, fresh looks, environmental focus, and solid performance, it's hard to find a significant flaw aside from its lack of passenger and cargo space.
My only concern is whether Volvo will be able to build enough of them to meet demand. The market is flush with high-dollar, luxury EVs that wow the senses but would destroy most budgets. The Volvo EX30 offers a genuinely premium look and feel in a practical, frugal package. It's the real deal.