New Volvo EX30 unveiled: order books are open for small electric SUV

Volvo has fleshed-out its electric car offering with the new Volvo EX30. You can order now from under £34,000

Volvo wants half of its cars to be pure electric within the next 18 months – and a major part of that will be this new pint-sized SUV. It’s called EX30, priced from less than £34,000 and due to land in UK showrooms in the autumn.

The Volvo EX30 is the Swedish brand’s smallest SUV ever, and it draws heavily on technology developed by Volvo’s parent company, Chinese conglomerate Geely. The car uses Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), a platform that also underpins the recently launched Smart #1

Volvo’s offering is 4.23 metres long, making it the most compact EV offered by any of the recognised ‘premium’ brands. It’s almost 30cm shorter than Audi’s Q4 e-tron, for example, and nearly 25cm shorter than both Mercedes’s EQA and Lexus’s recently updated UX 300e. Its natural rival could well be the all-electric version of MINI’s forthcoming Countryman, although even that car is set for a growth spurt that will take it beyond the EX30’s size.

Using the bespoke SEA platform, which has been designed from the ground up for all-electric vehicles, means that the Volvo’s wheelbase is 2,650mm – only five centimetres shorter than that of the considerably larger (but combustion-based) XC40. The styling is unmistakably Volvo, with a further evolution of the firm’s trademark ‘Thor’s hammer’ lighting signature and an upright stance, complete with very short overhangs and a near-vertical rear glass area, that gives the EX30 a chunky look. Volvo has also confirmed that an EX30 Cross Country will arrive in 2024, sporting a more rugged look, bespoke alloy wheels and a raised ride height.

Volvo EX30: battery, performance and range

There are three core technical configurations of EX30. The version called Single Motor has a drive unit on the rear axle, producing 268bhp and 343Nm, and it’s available in two guises. The first has a 51kWh (49kWh net) LFP-chemistry battery, enough for up to 212 miles of range and 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds. It can charge at up to 150kW, potentially taking the battery from 10 to 80 per cent of its capacity in 26 minutes.

There’s also an Extended Range model with the same motor but a larger 69kWh (64kWh usable) battery that uses more energy-dense NMC chemistry. It manages 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, and an identical top speed of 112mph, but can travel up to 298 miles between recharges. It’s also quicker when hooked up, with a maximum DC rate of 175kW – so despite the larger battery pack, the 10-80 per cent time is roughly the same, at between 26 and 28 minutes.

The range-topper is called Twin Motor Performance. It has the same battery and charging speed as the Extended Range, but trades some range for the extra punch of an additional motor on the front axle. The total output is a whopping 422bhp and 543Nm, and this EX30 can hit 62mph in just 3.6 seconds. Its WLTP range falls to 286 miles, though.

Interior, practicality and tech

Inside, the Volvo EX30’s fascia is dominated by a large portrait-layout infotainment system which sits above a central glovebox that’s designed to be easily accessible by both driver and front passenger. Volvo’s designers have been able to drop conventional door-mounted speakers and fit larger door pockets, thanks to a sound bar that, in effect, becomes the entire top edge across the dashboard.

There’s also a storage area between the front seats, a cubby for smartphones and further smartphone-sized pockets in the front-seat backrests, for use by rear passengers. The centre ‘tunnel console’ incorporates a storage box that is removable. The boot capacity is 318 litres, rising to 622 litres when the rear seats are folded down.

Prices, options and equipment

Customers will be able to choose from five exterior colours and a number of interior treatments, labelled ‘rooms’ by Volvo, which mix different colours, textures and finishes to create distinct ambiences. Materials used in the treatments – which carry names like Breeze, Indigo, Mist and Pine – include woven flax, upcycled denim fibres, ground plastic waste and recycled PET bottles. 

The EX30 is now available to order in the UK, even though the first deliveries aren’t expected until the first quarter of 2024. It’s being launched with two trim levels, although a third, more affordable version, called Core, will arrive at a later date. The initial entry point is therefore Plus, which brings the 12.3-inch Google-based infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay, 18-inch (standard battery) or 19-inch (Extended Range) alloy wheels, a Harman Kardon audio system, dual-zone climate control with heat pump, heated front seats and steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and a three-phase 11kW onboard AC charger. 

It costs from £33,795 when paired with the smaller-battery, single-motor powertrain – a figure that undercuts the cheapest Smart #1 by more than £2,000 – and Volvo is also rolling a three-year, 60,000-mile ‘care package’, including all servicing, into the list price.

Stepping up to Ultra brings a 360-degree camera and automatic parking technology, a panoramic glass roof, 20-inch alloy wheels, powered adjustment on the front seats, tinted rear windows and a 22kW three-phase charger. It’s available with rear- or four-wheel drive, but with the larger battery only, so it costs from £42,045.

Click here for our list of the best electric SUVs on sale right now...

Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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