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Car Review

Volvo EX30 review

£33,740 - £44,440
810
Published: 26 Feb 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

It's certainly decent down the road. The steering is quick off-centre but disconcertingly light even in its weightiest of three settings. It took us a couple of hours to acclimatise. Once you're keyed into it though, this is a fairly agile car, exploiting its smallness and disguising its rather porky mass. The rear-drive traction keeps things neutral under power.

Impressively, it combines this with a cushioned yet well-damped ride that polishes off big bumps and small irritations with little fuss or noise. To us it actually rides better than the larger Volvo C40, and it’s massively better than the wallowy Zeekr X. The brakes meld regen and friction seamlessly.

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What happens when I put my foot down?

The Extended Range Single Motor one (268bhp, 253lb ft) does 0-62mph in the low fives. More than quick enough. You'll be wondering why the Twin Motor version (422bhp, 400lb ft) – a £41k Volvo mini-SUV – needs a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds. The chief engineer told us it doesn't, but they're the same motors as used in other Geely brands that share this platform, including the Smart #1 Brabus, and he couldn't see the point of de-rating them. So, 3.6s it is.

Its suspension is tuned to feel very similar to the Single Motor EX30. "This is not a sports car." No kidding. On wet roads in the UK, we did find it broke traction on slippery roundabouts under throttle. Turns out there is such a thing as too much power.

In normal mode it declutches its front motor in gentle driving. Performance mode keeps it engaged all the time, but you’ll need to delve into the menus to activate that, so we doubt you’ll ever bother. 

It's a Volvo, so no doubt chocka with safety assistance?

Yup, you get all the forward alerts for vehicles and pedestrians. Side alerts warn you if you're about to open a door on a cyclist or car, or reverse into crossing traffic. There are 360-degree parking cameras too.

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The support at road speeds works well too: there's little of the over-excitable bonging and wheel-grabbing of some recent Chinese EVs, or even Mercedes. Although any time you take your eyes off the road to look at the screen you’ll get a few annoying beeps.

The motorway adaptive cruise and lane centring system nudges the steering and speed smoothly enough. As usual you can change the time interval to the car in front. But again only by taking a deep menu-dive, when it's usual for cars to have a steering wheel button for this. You might well want to adjust it at speed, say when merging from a quiet motorway where following close is silly, to a busy one where following close is necessary to discourage other traffic from jumping into the gap. Hmm.

Tell me about the range.

It's a max of 296 miles WLTP for the 18-inch wheels and rear-drive. We saw a 245-mile range (efficiency of 3.8mi/kWh from that 64kWh unit, fact fans) which isn’t bad at all in varying conditions. On a cold UK day we did find the Twin Motor slightly less impressive. Some road-tester driving with the cabin heating on saw a projected range of less than 200 miles. Not great when WLTP suggests a minimum of 277 miles. 

It's also worth noting that the smaller-battery version (49kWh and 215 miles WLTP) doesn’t get a heat pump in the UK, so it might be a 150-mile car in winter. It also still weighs roughly the same as the bigger battery versions, because the lithium iron phosphate battery is heavier than lithium-ion.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

315kW Twin Motor Performance Ultra 69kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-623.6s
  • CO20
  • BHP422.4
  • MPG
  • Price£44,440

the cheapest

200kW Single Motor Plus 51kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-625.7s
  • CO20
  • BHP268.2
  • MPG
  • Price£33,740

the greenest

315kW Twin Motor Performance Ultra 69kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-623.6s
  • CO20
  • BHP422.4
  • MPG
  • Price£44,440

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