The EV world is showing us that although these cars don’t emit carbon emissions when driven, the way they’re built can still have a massive impact on the environment. That starts with the materials used to build their batteries. It’s a crucial part of the puzzle that has gotten several carmakers to scratch their heads as to how they can make this happen efficiently without burning a ton of cash in the process.
A GMC Hummer EV may be a good idea on paper due to the absence of a stonking V8 underneath its hood. But when you consider how many smaller batteries could be built with what it takes to make the Hummer's giant 205 kWh battery, you quickly realize that the whole concept of the thing is as dumb as its gas-fed ancestors.
For EVs to be efficient, rather, they need to be powered by small-capacity batteries. And for that to be possible, the car itself also needs to be small.
In comes the 2025 Volvo EX30, an all-new fully electric subcompact crossover that perfectly expresses this thinking in an adorably Scandinavian way. What Volvo is trying to tell us with this car is that the less you have in life, the better off you are. (Considering, of course, that you buy one of their cars.)
|Quick Specs||2025 Volvo EX30|
|Battery||64 Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion NMC|
|Range||275 Miles (RWD) / 265 Miles (AWD)|
|DC Fast Charging Rate||153 Kilowatts|
|Output||268 HP And 253 LB-FT (RWD) / 422 HP And 400 LB-FT (AWD)|
|Base Price||$34,950 + Destination (Core RWD) / $44,900 + $1,295 Destination (Plus AWD)|
|As-Tested Price||$41,895 (Ultra RWD) / $48,195 (Ultra AWD)|
Why The Volvo EX30 Matters
The EX30 may be a miniscule crossover, but it’s a very big deal for Volvo. It’s the Swedish automaker’s first real entry into mainstream, volume-selling, lower-priced cars – something it’s never really done before, and certainly not globally.
We’ll see how this nets out when it actually gets to dealer lots, but it’s also a super-affordable electric car. Those are desperately missing from our automotive landscape right now and part of the reason EVs are considered unaffordable for a lot of common folks.
It’s also made in China. At least for now, until Volvo retools its Ghent plant in Belgium, where the EX30 will eventually be built. So yes, the low price at launch is even with steep tariffs on Chinese-made cars and no U.S. tax credits allowed – and an innovative but aggressive approach to minimalism.
I’ll dive into this more in a bit, but Volvo basically took an IKEA-purchased paring knife to almost everything throughout the cabin and other places in order to reduce costs and get that price down. It’s not unlike what Tesla did with the Model 3 and Model Y, but with a Scandinavian flavor. And similarly, it’s not without its tradeoffs and frustrations.
Can a Swedish luxury brand produce the next great affordable EV? Let’s find out.
Compact And Utilitarian
Dimensionally, the EX30 is about the same size as the soon-to-be-killed-off Chevrolet Bolt EV. It's only about three inches longer and wider than that car, but two inches lower. However, it doesn’t offer as much cargo space.
For instance, its hatch can only hold 14.1 cubic feet of your gear, or 31.9 cubes when the rear seat is folded flat versus 16.6/57.0 cu-ft in the Chevy. The EX30 also has no frunk. All you get is a mini compartment to store a charging cable or a purse.
It does look super cute though thanks to its "Honey, I shrunk the EX90” vibes. The EX30 has that typical clean, minimalistic Volvo styling, all while maintaining the same essential design as the much larger EX90. This gives it a tough and utilitarian look and feel.
Gallery: 2025 Volvo EX30 First Drive
Speaking with the EX30’s exterior designer Maxime Prevoteaux, I learned that the illusion of proportion was one of the key design criteria for this car. Thanks to bold character lines and stance (the way a car sits), you end up with a vehicle that when out of context, it appears large, about the same size as a compact or even a midsize SUV. But when you approach the EX30 or park it next to other cars, you realize how Lilliputian it finally is.
This is the same sort of proportion wizardry that renowned car designer Frank Stephenson once used for the first-generation Mini Cooper, or what Hyundai recently did with the Ioniq 5, a car that does the opposite by appearing small from far, but large up close.
By the way, the Volvo EX30 is not a replacement for the XC40/C40 twins, also built in Ghent. However, given the fact that it rides on a completely different platform –; in this case the Geely group’s SEA2 (for Sustainable Experience Architecture) –, it’s not impossible that the EX30 could eventually spawn an all-new family of small EVs at Volvo. A slightly larger new generation XC40/C40 (or EX40?) based on this platform could be added to the lineup soon, although none of that has yet been confirmed by the Volvo spokespeople.
In the US and Canada, the EX30 only comes with one battery option, a liquid-cooled lithium-ion NMC (for nickel manganese cobalt) 64.0 kilowatt-hour usable (69.0 kWh nominal) unit. For now, we are not getting the smaller and much more interesting 51.0-kWh LFP (for lithium iron phosphate) battery offered in other markets, which grants the EX30 200 miles of range.
Consumers can then choose between a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration, resulting, of course, in different range, horsepower, and torque figures. What’s interesting here is that there’s very little compromise for choosing one over the other as they are both quick off the line and offer plenty of real-world range.
For reference, the rear-wheel-drive EX30 pumps out 200 kilowatts or the equivalent of 268 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. That’ll grant you an EPA-estimated 275 miles of range and a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds, or just two ticks behind a Toyota GR Corolla hot hatchback.
The all-wheel drive version, or the one Volvo calls the Twin Motor Performance, is good for a combined 315 kilowatts (115 front + 200 rear), or 422 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The range for that one is estimated at 265 miles, while the 0-60 mph time drops to an absolutely bonkers 3.4 seconds.
May I remind you that the McLaren F1, the fastest production automobile in the world during the 1990s, would do this in 3.2 seconds. We’re talking about a subcompact crossover from Volvo here! What a time to be alive.
Optimized Inside, But Ergonomically Challenged
Being a 6-foot-tall automotive journalist with a bit of a gut, I was seriously worried that I wouldn’t fit comfortably in this car. But to my astonishment, the little EX30 is very well optimized inside, at least from the passenger area, which made getting in easy.
This mostly has to do with the shape of the thing. Thanks to that high roofline and boxy shape, the EX30 feels spacious, even when you’re tall. However, once a big guy like me has his seat in place, the rear passengers might find it to be a bit of a squeeze back there due to limited legroom.
This is why Volvo clearly states that the EX30 is not a family car per se, but rather what it calls a pre- or post-family vehicle. Although, as the father of a newborn, I can totally picture my young family living with this vehicle.
Gallery: 2025 Volvo EX30 Interior
Volvo prides itself on utilizing sustainable and recycled materials across the EX30’s cabin. For instance, its dashboard is composed of recycled window frames sourced from scrapped cars. It makes sure to highlight this by the texture of the material itself, which looks like a mashup of crushed things. Because, well, it essentially is.
Most of the EX30’s build quality is good, but it’s obvious that this is the cheapest car Volvo is going to sell, as some plastics feel fragile and cheap, especially the ones used for the floating center console.
That flimsy console is quite smart though, integrating a slide-out storage compartment that can also double down as a set of cup holders. This sort of optimized storage space is visible all over the car, with deep pockets in the door cards, an additional storage bin on the floor between the seats and another cubby hidden at the rear of that center console.
In the name of minimalism and cost-cutting, the EX30 essentially has no buttons except two, the window switches that were awkwardly installed on the center console. Yes, two – like in a Volkswagen ID.4 – to operate four windows via a third haptic feedback sensor to activate the rear ones.
Volvo obviously wanted to cut production costs to a minimum here, but this is a classic case of trying too hard to reinvent the wheel. Those window controls suck.
All of the car’s information is presented through that center screen which sort of looks like one of those cheap Android tablets you can find at Walmart. To its defense, this Android-based interface looks the part thanks to clean graphics and responds fast to your inputs. The home screen does a fantastic job of reuniting all vital information while the navigation system – essentially Google Maps – proved precise and reliable during my drive through crowded Barcelona where Volvo was hosting us.
This system does have its share of caveats, though, like accessing the dual-motor model’s full performance option, adjusting rearview mirrors or removing most of the driving aids. They require cycling through menus while driving, a distraction problem that could have easily been solved by using physical buttons. Or was that too expensive?
Fast, But Not a Handler
The fact that the EX30 essentially has no dashboard, like a Tesla Model 3, allows it to have formidable forward visibility. This is especially appreciable in a small urban car like this as it makes it feel even more nimble and easy to drive around a crowded city.
My first drive was performed behind the wheel of an all-wheel drive Twin Motor Performance model over the span of roughly 50 miles. In this form, the EX30 is one heck of a pocket rocket. In Normal mode, it prioritizes rear-wheel drive by decoupling the front motor for maximum efficiency. It then locks it in when you ask that center tablet to unleash full force.
Smashing the accelerator pedal in Normal mode will still eventually grant you full power after a noticeable delay, caused by the car activating the front motor. As a matter of fact, I preferred that sort of power build-up over the instant neck-snapping launch in Performance mode. It felt more organic.
I must say, I was rather amused to have a Porsche 911 hang next to me on one of Spain’s motorways. If you’ve ever driven in that part of the world, you know how much the Spaniards have a heavy foot. While I attempted to avoid doing anything stupid, a few throttle blips in the EX30 allowed me to keep up with that Porsche, laughing hysterically at the thought of being able to do this behind the wheel of a dinky little breadbox.
Handling on twisty and picturesque Spanish roads was only fine in this Volvo. The EX30 isn’t exactly sporty. Its steering wheel feels floaty and disconnected from the car, even when you set it to its firmer settings. The EX30 may be small, but it still feels heavy and clunky from behind the wheel. I was also disappointed to not have different levels of resistance at my disposal for the regenerative braking system.
That being said, I did feel a bit more connection and playfulness from the rear-wheel drive car. In my book, that one is quick and agile enough to call it a day.
I ended up my two runs with a 3.2 miles per kWh consumption average in the AWD EX30, and 3.5 miles in the RWD model, which translates to 209 and 224 real-world miles of range respectively. Of course, a more thorough test on US – or in my case, Canadian – roads will undoubtedly allow me to pull better figures.
An Affordable Premium
With a pricing ladder kicking off as low as $34,950 for a base RWD Core model and never exceeding $50,000 when fully loaded, the 2025 Volvo EX30 definitely carves itself a new niche in the premium electric crossover segment. Whether cars at the bottom end of that spectrum or the top one make it to dealer lots and order books remains to be seen.
Volvo says it sits in an all-new category of cars, and in a way, that’s true; no other vehicle, except perhaps a Hyundai Kona or a Kia Niro EV, really comes close to this in terms of packaging and range.
The big question is if American consumers will buy into the “small is better” concept from a premium brand. While smart, the EX30 could be a tough sell in the land of the large and free.
From my perspective at least, I feel like more carmakers should head down this route. The EX30 is further proof that when you downscale everything on a car, everyone, including the planet, wins.
Does the Volvo EX30 qualify for a tax credit?
Unfortunately, since the Volvo EX30 is built in China and, soon, Europe, it does not qualify for a U.S. tax credit.
Is the Volvo EX30 the fastest Volvo ever made?
Yes. With a 0-60 mph time of just 3.4 seconds in AWD form, the EX30 is the quickest Volvo ever to go into production.
When is the 2025 Volvo EX30 on sale?
Deliveries of the 2025 Volvo EX30 are expected to begin in the summer of 2024 and continue through late 2024.
2025 Volvo EX30