Volvo EX30 first look: The compact electric SUV we need

You get a lot of premium features along with an affordable starting price of $35,000.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

As we slowly shift towards electric vehicles, there’s a growing number of big, fancy battery-powered SUVs. However, for those looking for something smaller, the options are a lot more limited. But with the upcoming EX30, Volvo has created a compact electric SUV with a ton of premium features and a surprisingly affordable price. After getting to check one out in person at its North American debut, it’s clear we need more electric vehicles like this in the market.

Due out sometime in the summer of 2024, a base EX30 will start at just $35,000 for a single-motor setup with around 275 miles of range. Granted, that’s a bit more than a gas-powered alternative like a Honda CR-V (which starts at just under $30,000) or a Subaru Crosstrek (around $25,000). But when you consider the average price of a new electric vehicle is over $53,000, Volvo is definitely helping make EVs a bit more affordable.

On top of that, a base EX30 appears to be well-equipped, with Volvo including things like a 12.3-inch touchscreen based on Android Automotive (with support for wireless Apple CarPlay), cyclist detection, Pilot Assist and rear passenger detection as standard. And as you’d expect from Volvo, you get a very Scandinavian minimalist interior made from a range of recycled and sustainable materials. Now some may take issue with a few of the components Volvo is using like the speckled panels on the dash – which kind of remind me of a fancy gym mat. But in a car sporting a slick modern design, I think it works.

That said, if you don’t mind spending a bit more, the EX30 is also available with an upgraded dual-motor all-wheel-drive configuration that boasts a 0 to 60 time of just 3.4 seconds. Not only does that make the EX30 faster than bigger and more expensive electric SUVs like a Tesla Model Y Performance, it’s also the fastest Volvo ever (across both electric and ICE vehicles).

The EX30 feels rather roomy in the front, with Volvo simplifying its interior by using a soundbar that runs the width of the windshield instead of multiple individual speakers. The company has also moved a lot of common controls for stuff like the windows to the center console to help streamline the interior. And Volvo put an emphasis on storage, with the EX30 featuring a lot of handy cubby holes including a center-mounted glove box and a dishwasher-safe removable tray (with a cute little moose graphic) for rear seat passengers. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of power options for your devices with two USB-C ports in the front, another two in back, and a built-in dual phone wireless charging pad between the driver and passenger seats.

When sitting in the rear, things do feel a bit tighter, though that’s somewhat expected for a car that, at 166 inches long and 61 inches tall, is very similar in size to a Chevy Bolt. As someone who’s six feet tall, there’s very little legroom if the front seats are pushed all the way back. And in the truck, you get a surprising amount of cargo space at 31.9 cubic feet if you include the extra room underneath the load flat floor.

The EX30 features a similar design and many features with Volvo's flagship EX90 electric SUV, but in a more compact body.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

So while I haven’t had a chance to take it for a drive, all told the EX30 looks to offer a great blend of premium features and decent range in a compact size. Not to mention excellent performance, just so long as you’re willing to pay for it. And coming from someone who lives in the city, the EX30 seems like a great EV for getting around town while still being easy to park on the streets, which is something we need more of among electric SUVs.

Reservations for the EX30 in the U.S. are available today with a $500 refundable deposit before the car arrives at dealerships sometime next summer.