At a time when truly affordable new electric vehicles are few and far between, the 2025 Volvo EX30 is a breath of fresh air. Its combination of minimalist style, utility, range and a compelling price tag—it starts at just $34,950—is almost unmatched at the moment. When I first saw it last summer, I had a feeling it was going to be a lot of people’s “my first EV.”

It may now be the next great vehicle to call my garage home, too. This weekend, I put down a refundable $500 deposit on an EX30. If all goes well—and if I’m ultimately won over by a car I’ve seen one time and have not even driven yet—I could end up being among America’s first people to experience this rather groundbreaking EV.

(Also, let me be very clear about one thing: I have spent $500 on far dumber stuff than this.)

2025 Volvo EX30 First Drive

Candidly, I’m still not completely sold on the EX30. Not yet, anyway. It does seem like a great bargain, but it will have competition for my dollars. Still, I have a sense this little EV is about to be a very big deal, and I’m extremely excited to follow its build process and see how things go as it makes its American debut later this year.

Will we end up pulling the trigger on this stylish, subcompact? I have a few months to find out if it’s the right move, but first, I’d like to dive into why it’s on my radar in the first place.

Why The EX30?

Like most people who pay attention to the world of cars, I was stunned by the EX30 when the first photos and details were released last summer—particularly that sub-$35,000 price tag. I felt the same way after seeing the car in person for the first time at an event in New York I was covering for TechCrunch at the time.

2025 Volvo EX30 North American debut event in NYC

As I wrote afterward, it is a car full of firsts for Volvo. It’s the first purely all-electric model from the ground up; the first time it’s made something this small, or this affordable; and the first time it’s ventured so heavily into building a vehicle with sustainable materials. And it just plain looks great; the EX30 takes the handsome design language that debuted on the massively successful XC90 a decade ago and really moves the ball forward in a future-facing way.

Getting to that price point—which, by the way, doesn’t usually get announced right when a new car debuts—took some doing. In particular, the cost-cutting shows in an ultra-minimalist cabin, largely devoid of buttons and switches and utterly dominated by a huge, 12.3-inch vertical center tablet display.

2025 Volvo EX30 First Ride Review

The gear selector is a little toggle now, the window switches and door locks are integrated into the center console, and there’s not even a customary display unit or gauge cluster in front of the driver. (Centralizing everything made it cheaper and easier to place the steering wheel on the right or left depending on where it’s sold, Volvo engineers said.)

Think of it as the Scandinavian minimalist version of the playbook Tesla ran to get costs down on the Model 3 and Model Y, but a little warmer, a little more full of cute and clever touches; Musk-meets-IKEA, maybe. And while it’s the smallest modern Volvo ever, it’s also the quickest. The top, dual-motor Twin Motor Performance variant gets 422 horsepower and moves from a stop to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds.

2025 Volvo EX30 Twin Motor Performance (Vapour Grey)

It wasn’t long ago that was high-end sports car territory; now it’s where bargain-basement compact Volvos operate. The electric era is truly amazing. Personally, I’m less interested in that version and far more interested in the base, single-motor, rear-wheel drive model. It’s good for 275 miles of range from its 69 kWh nickel-cobalt-manganese battery unit and does 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which isn’t terribly far off the modified Subaru WRX I owned when I was younger and stupider. And that had plenty of usable everyday speed.

Also, I should note what the goal is here: explicitly, to lease a single-motor, base EX30, which will allow me to take advantage of the $7,500 tax credit. (Yes, it applies to this car if you lease it, same as any other EV.) If you do this with as few options as possible, you could be looking at a very stylish, capable electric lease with an out-the-door price of around $30,000 or so.

Not bad at all. In fact, it's far below the average new EV price. So much so that yes, I am worried about dealer markup here.

2025 Volvo EX30 First Drive

Sounds Great. Any Concerns? 

On paper, it sounds like the plan of the century. But I've been wrong before—once or twice, I think.

Though the EX30 has gotten high marks from journalists I trust (and who have contributed to InsideEVs) like Tim Stevens and Steve Ewing, I have not yet driven it myself. I plan to change that as soon as possible. But in my experience testing thousands of cars over the past decade, I have found you never really know how you're going to resonate with something until you've spent some time behind the wheel.

2025 Volvo EX30 Twin Motor Performance (Vapour Grey)

There's also the concern of the EX30 being an all-new, first-model-year car on a very new platform. The "never buy a car in its first model year" adage was pretty tired by the last decade, but it's got renewed momentum in the EV era when automakers are constantly ironing out issues with new electric, software-driven cars; the EX30 has already been delayed due to some bugs. That's typical these days, but I tend to be more cautious with my purchases as I get older. (Do not bring up the 1984 BMW 7 Series I used to own; live and learn, folks.)

I have a few smaller concerns, too, like that ultra-simplified interior. I've driven countless Tesla Model Ys and Model 3s, and I find that screen-centric minimalism is a little annoying at first but something you get used to rather quickly. Will Volvo's ergonomic and UX decisions do even better there? Or will they be worse? Again, there's only one way to know, and I'm not there yet.

XC40 Recharge Test Drive 2024

Finally, there's the matter of size. I'll admit I got this idea after testing a Volvo XC40 Recharge this past weekend—that full review is coming soon to InsideEVs. I was surprised how much I liked that car, even if it's a little dated in some ways and the range and charging specs aren't best-in-class; it's the perfect size for my little two-person, one-dog family.

But the EX30 is small. It gives up eight inches of length and a considerable amount of cargo space to the also reasonably compact XC40. I liked that car's dimensions a lot, and I'm worried the EX30 could bring too many sacrifices with the occasional gear haul.

Then again, there's always the XC40 as an option. I wouldn't say no to that, either.

On that note, the EX30 will face tough competition. Other cars on my potential shopping list this year are the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Ioniq 6, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and maybe even a BMW i4, if I can find one for cheap. As always, my rule is to buy the car you like best and can get the best deal on. We'll see how the Volvo lands when the time comes.

So What's Next?

2024 Volvo EX30

Nothing, really. I put in the deposit on Volvo's U.S. website, I got a polite but brief call from a dealership here in New York, and now I sit and wait. Same as life, really. At some point, I should get a link to actually configure and order the EX30 I want, but my new dealer friend had no idea when that might happen—just sometime later this year. 

Until then, I'm paying attention to Reddit and social media posts about the car, news from Volvo, reviews of the early customer deliveries in Europe, and sitting by the phone, waiting for that dealer to call me. I doubt we'll see any movement here for months, and I'm fine with that.

To be clear, I reserve the right to back out and get a refund for my deposit, which I can do at any time before the delivery happens; that flexibility is part of why I went for it. Maybe I'll find another deal elsewhere or go with something else. The stakes feel relatively low, but following the build and delivery process for one of the most interesting and important EVs of 2024 seemed too fun to pass up.

We'll see how this shakes out. You'll know more as I do. 

2025 Volvo EX30 Twin Motor Performance (Vapour Grey)

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