The 2025 Volvo EX30 is the brand’s smallest SUV ever, but that tiny footprint hasn’t stopped the team behind it from thinking big.
This electric vehicle (EV) has been infused with many of the same attributes that made Volvo’s larger SUVs so successful, and best of all, it’s been done without making compromises. To make it even more compelling, the EX30 is made with sustainability in mind from beginning to end.
Beyond a Buzzword
With far too many companies guilty of greenwashing – claiming their products are eco-friendly when it’s really just sneaky marketing with little evidence to back it up – it’s refreshing to see Volvo taking sustainability seriously. Beyond being a zero-emission vehicle, the EX30’s interior uses innovative materials made with natural and renewable elements like pine oil, flax, and wool, along with recycled/reclaimed plastic bottles, fishing nets, cork, old window frames and blinds, and denim scraps that would otherwise be sent to a landfill.
The best part is that nothing feels like it’s made of garbage; the materials feel robust and fresh, and they look modern and upscale. The EX30 embodies the Scandinavian design principles of light and space well – the interior is functional and minimalistic without feeling bleak, and the textures and shapes make the space warm and inviting.
There’s nothing used in the design that isn’t functional because that would be wasteful, so there’s a certain honesty here, while clever engineering also helps reduce the amount of materials used. It might seem counter-intuitive to put the window switches on the centre console, for instance, or skip door speakers in favour of a dash-mounted soundbar, but Volvo claims doing so has reduced the amount of wiring needed. It also makes the interior feel more spacious because of the thinner and less cluttered door panels.
Volvo also promises that even when the vehicle’s life is over, a lot of it can be broken down and either reused or recycled again, and that circularity is a big part of true sustainability.
The base EX30 coming to Canada is a single motor, rear-wheel drive SUV that Volvo refers to as its extended-range version. This model offers a generous 442 km of estimated range in ideal conditions, along with 268 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. Three single motor EX30 trims will be available.
The dual motor all-wheel drive (AWD) model offers 425 km of estimated range with 422 hp and 400 lb-ft. Volvo calls this the performance model and claims it’s the quickest Volvo ever made. It accelerates faster than the single motor EX30, but no other performance upgrades have been made except tweaks to account for the weight of the additional motor. The fact that the dual motor version doesn’t sacrifice too much range despite its all-wheel drive setup is encouraging. Two dual motor trims will be available in Canada.
No matter how many wheels are powered, every EX30 comes with a 69 kWh battery and can accept charging speeds of up to 153 kW, which allows for the magical 10 to 80 per cent charge in about half an hour at a compatible station. EX30s will ship initially with a CCS charging port on the rear three-quarter driver’s side panel, while an adapter for the Tesla-style NACS charger will be available next year. Eventually, all models will ship with a NACS port.
How Does It Drive?
While the dual motor EX30 slingshots drivers forward with alarming speed (a claimed zero to 100 km/h in under four seconds), the single-motor version isn’t a slouch and offers plenty of power that makes passing and getting up to highway speeds remarkably effortless. Interestingly, Volvo did not engineer a propulsion sound that plays in many EVs as they accelerate; this means some high-pitched whirring can be heard from the electric motors at times, but it’s barely noticeable if you have music playing.
The EX30’s small footprint and excellent outward visibility make it easy to manoeuvre around tight spaces and dart around in traffic, and its bottom-heavy platform helps it feel planted and confident when driven through winding roads, resulting in only a whisper of body movement. The steering has three levels of customizable firmness, but even in its most firm setting, it’s still quite numb, and I wish it felt more connected to the road.
The standard lane-keeping feature has active steering assistance, but it doesn’t feel natural and often tugs the steering a bit aggressively when it doesn’t seem necessary. Drivers can turn this feature off if it’s too invasive. One-pedal driving can be turned on or off but offers no other customization. It works well in the city without being too abrupt, and on the highway, it’s very subtle.
Clever and Practical
The EX30 presents obviously as a Volvo the moment you see it. From the proportions to the signature Thor’s-hammer headlights that look like sideways Ts, designers successfully scaled down the handsome, understated look from its larger SUVs into a smaller package. SUVs naturally don’t have the most aerodynamic silhouettes, but the EX30 has a lot of clever design details that accomplish both style and efficiency without sacrificing practicality.
Although the roof slopes down quite dramatically, there’s still decent headroom in the front and back. There was still lots of room for a passenger to sit comfortably behind my 6-foot-1 co-driver during this test, and with its adjustable floor, the trunk can still comfortably hold enough luggage for a few people. With the seats folded down, the EX30 can hold up to 904 L of cargo, and there’s a graphic in the trunk that illustrates the cargo hold’s dimensions and visual representations of what can fit in the back.
The EX30 has a small frunk with enough space to store a charger and an emergency kit. The frunk’s lid has a cute easter egg that shows a cartoon moose Volvo has lovingly named Morton.
Inside, the EX30 has huge door pockets and many clever solutions for small item storage. The centre console offers a few different configurations that offer storage or use as cupholders that can be stashed away when not in use. Most storage spaces have a lid that can be closed to hide valuables and create a shelf or used wide open to create room for larger items.
There are no cupholders for rear seat passengers, which seems like an odd oversight, but the seat pockets have a slot for a phone, each passenger gets a USB-C port, and there’s a removable bin that can be used for knick-knacks, trash, or storage that also features Morton the Swedish moose.
The EX30 has almost no physical buttons (apart from the window activators), and the entire interface has been centralized into a tablet-like touchscreen running built-in Google software. It replaces Android Auto, but wireless Apple CarPlay is still available for iPhone users.
The gear selector is a stalk behind the right side of the steering wheel, and the EX30 allows drivers to use a card or phone as key. If using the card, drivers must place it in the upright wireless charging tray before driving away, which is sort of weird. Key proximity should be enough because this method creates an extra step for a driver – if they want to charge their phone after getting into the car, they must remove the key from the slot first and then slip their phone in.
Information like speed, time, state of charge, safety and driver assistance information, and range that is usually shown in a gauge cluster takes up the top portion of the central screen, so it remains in a driver’s field of vision. Even if the screen were to glitch out, this portion should remain visible.
All controls for climate, door mirror adjustments, door locks, glove box opening, emergency lights, and audio are controlled via the touchscreen. The system takes a bit of getting used to, but a permanent bar of useful shortcuts and a home button help make it easier to navigate. There’s also a contextual bar of shortcuts that changes based on your most used apps, where you are, or how you’re driving. If, for example, you’re driving at parking lot speeds, a shortcut pops up so a driver can easily access the available parking assistant that automates parallel, perpendicular, or even diagonal parking.
The native navigation system should be familiar to anyone who has used Google Maps, which means it’s very user friendly, but if you’re in a place with no reception, it might cause problems and delays. The system is built specifically for EVs, so it shows you what the EX30’s stage of charge will be when you reach your destination and can also help drivers plan charging stops and filter for stations by speed, distance, or availability.
Pricing and Availability
Canadian orders for the 2025 Volvo EX30 are open now, but it’s not expected to arrive until summer 2024. Volvo has priced the EX30 competitively for a luxury product, especially since all models should be eligible for federal and provincial incentives, where available. The brand says that it was important to price this EV in the same ballpark as a similarly sized gas-powered luxury vehicle, removing one huge barrier to adoption. Important for Canadian drivers, every Volvo EX30 comes standard with heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a heat pump, so heating the cabin in the winter is more efficient and doesn’t significantly impact range.
Standard safety features include blind-spot monitoring, a driver alert system, safe exit assist, front and rear collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control with lane centring, and more.
A Cross Country version with body cladding, roof rails, and more ground clearance will be available at a later date.
2025 Volvo EX30 Single Motor Canadian pricing:
2025 Volvo EX30 Dual Motor Canadian pricing:
Pricing does not include a $2,015 destination fee, taxes, or any incentives.
It can be tough to instill a personality into an EV. Because of their nature and relatively similar bones, many end up feeling sort of the same from a driving perspective, so a lot of an EV’s charm will come down to style, design, and user experience. Volvo has managed to rise above EV sameness with its signature attention to detail.
A lot of effort has been put into making the 2025 Volvo EX30 more sustainable without being punishing (we all know plastic straws are bad for the environment, but the alternative of using paper also feels like retribution), and it has infused a tangible sense of joy into its new EV via fun details and clever design. With both single and dual motor models offering generous range, sensible style, surprising practicality, and sustainability drivers can be proud of, the 2025 Volvo EX30 checks a lot of boxes for not just for an EV, but for a small luxury SUV in general.
This article was originally published on AutoTrader.ca