Volvo EX30: A Sleek and Sustainable Runabout

The successor to the XC40 Recharge boasts a luxurious interior, impressive safety features, and a driving range ideal for urban commutes.

By Edward Moleke Makwana

In early May, I had the privilege of test-driving the Volvo XC40 Recharge, and now, I bring you the experience with its successor, the charming Volvo EX30. A special thanks to Volvo South Africa for facilitating this test drive sooner than expected.

At first glance, the Volvo EX30 evokes the image of a friend who has undergone a dramatic fitness transformation or reconstructive surgery – sleeker, more refined, and undeniably modern. Notably leaner than its predecessor, the XC40 Recharge, the EX30 boasts a design that is both attractive and contemporary, highlighted by the distinctive rear lights and Thor’s Hammer headlights that assert its Volvo identity.

The interior of the EX30 epitomises simple elegance with a minimalist approach, hinting at a future geared towards autonomous driving. Almost every function is controlled via the 12.3-inch centre screen, reminiscent of an iPad. This is no surprise given Volvo’s collaboration with tech giants like Google, Apple, and Qualcomm to enhance the user experience. The traditional speedometer has been replaced with an infrared sensor on the steering column, monitoring the driver’s eye and head movements to detect distraction and drowsiness, further underscoring Volvo’s commitment to safety.

Gone are the days of simply hopping into your car and driving off. The EX30 demands that you configure it to your preferences before setting off, ensuring a personalised and safe driving experience. Should you attempt to adjust settings while driving, a warning sound reminds you to prioritise safety. Volvo’s protective technology extends to features like a special alert to prevent ‘dooring’ accidents, warning you when a cyclist, scooter, or runner is approaching as you open your door.

The EX30 also excels in collision avoidance, capable of braking automatically if you turn into the path of an oncoming vehicle at an intersection, and even steering to avoid or mitigate collisions. Despite its compact size, the interior feels like a modern house designed by a graphic artist with a keen eye for detail. The adjustable cup holders and ample storage compartments in the side doors and centre console are particularly impressive.

Sustainability is a core theme in the EX30’s design. The dashboard and trims are made from recycled plastics, flax, responsibly sourced wool blends, and structured knit seat materials — all contributing to a luxurious yet eco-friendly environment.

Launched in South Africa in February 2024, the EX30 is one of the market’s most accessible fully electric cars, starting at just R775 900. It comes in five derivatives, with two powertrain options (single and twin motor), two battery capacities (51 kWh and 69 kWh), and three trim levels (Core, Plus, and Ultra). The flagship Twin Motor Performance model delivers 315 kW and 543 Nm, achieving 0-100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds, making it the fastest-accelerating Volvo to date.

Our test vehicle, equipped with a single motor and rear-wheel drive, offers a driving range of up to 368 kilometres on a full charge, ideal for urban environments. Its electric energy consumption is 16.7 kWh/100km, with a max engine power of 200 kW and maximum torque of 343 Nm. Charging is efficient, taking only half an hour at a DC fast charging station and six hours with a home charger. The boot offers a capacity of 318 litres, with an additional seven litres in the front storage.

Perfect for a young professional or as a gift for a high-achieving graduate, the EX30 combines practicality with luxury. Our test car’s Cloud Blue metallic exterior and “breeze” seats — Volvo’s term for white seats — added to its appeal, though I recommend opting for the indigo or pine interiors. For those who prefer bold exterior colours, Volvo offers the eye-catching Moss Yellow.

“With the Volvo EX30, we enter a new and fast-growing segment for our brand. Many people living in the city are looking for a car that brings convenience and allows them to commute to work and get around while doing so in a way that reflects who they are,” Volvo stated in a press release.

Already recognised as the 2024 World Urban Car, the EX30 is a charming small car with immense potential, poised to create its own success story. It evokes the spirit of a new generation BMW i3 but with the unmistakable elegance of a Volvo badge.

The EX30 comes with a 5-year/100 000 km Volvo Warranty and Maintenance Plan, 5-year/unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance, DataDot, and Volvo On Call (including SOS Roadside Assistance and 24/7 Personal Concierge). The battery pack is covered by an 8-year warranty, ensuring peace of mind as you embark on a new era of electric mobility.

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