It is a sign of the times and the change in buying priorities, that Volvo whose history is made up of various iconic estate models, announced last summer it would only sell SUVs in the UK moving forward. Therefore, any new Volvo launch will surely be under greater scrutiny than before. 

Volvo’s new baby EV SUV is massively important, and we’re pleased to say the EX30 is, for the most part, a great addition to the range. It shares its SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) platform, developed by Geely Holding, with the Smart #1. From launch, the EX30 is available with three powertrains, Single Motor, Single Motor Extended Range and Twin Motor Performance, and two equipment grades, Plus and Ultra. Plus is available with all powertrains, whereas the Ultra models that we drove, were only available with the Single Motor Extended Range and the Twin Motor Performance powertrain versions.

Rear drive Single Motor and Single Motor Extended Range versions have a 272hp motor, and 343Nm, with battery capacities of 51kWh and 69kWh respectively. Choose the Twin Motor Performance and you get the 69kWh battery, along with an incredible 428hp, and 0-62mph acceleration in 3.6 seconds, all at 2% BIK! 

Top speed might be limited to 112mph, for all versions, but despite all this performance, the Single, Single Extended Range and Performance have 214-, 296- and 280-mile ranges respectively. And when it comes to charging, all EX30s can take AC and DC, with the Extended Range and Twin Motor Performance capable of charging from 10-80% at 153kW in just 28 minutes.

Outside, the EX30 almost looks like a scaled down mixture of the incoming EX90 and current XC40. The design instantly shouts Volvo, is attractive, sleek, has sharp detailing and looks at home on the larger 19in or 20in alloy wheels fitted as standard. We got the chance to speak to T. Jon Mayer, Volvo’s head of exterior design and think he’s done a great job. 

The EX30’s interior design is equally impressive, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag ergonomically. Why? Well, to achieve the clean, airy feel, Volvo has removed most of the interior’s physical buttons. The control for the door locks on the floating centre console is fine, but having the controls for clearing the windscreen and warning lights in a front roof pod takes some getting used to.

Sadly, many of the items needed for daily driving, such as the wing mirror adjustment, are hidden in the 12.3in central tablet screen. There is a lot going on in a relatively modest screen – although there is thankfully a fixed menu for items at the bottom. We couldn’t help feeling some sort of head-up display should be behind the small multi-function steering wheel. On the flip side, there are some great design touches, like push-out cup holders, the Bose sound bar at the front and the central glove box. 

There are many interior design themes, featuring recycled materials, and as a result, the dash plastics on one of the cars we drove, looked and felt like the flooring from school gyms – which we’re not sure is a good thing.

Space is good in the front – the seats supportive, but rear space is tight for tall adults and the boot is a bit on the small side at 318 litres. 

Despite the big wheels on both, the ride is only a bit harsh around town. Both the EX30s we drove surprised with their refinement and control and despite over 400hp, the Performance version handled tidily. It felt under control, with welcome extra grip, unlike the Smart #1 Brabus. There is also the security of all the expected Volvo safety kit, although the Single Motor Extended Range version, is almost as much fun to drive and would be our pick.

With prices starting at £33,795, despite its faults, the Volvo EX30 seems to be a bit of a bargain. We look forward to trying it again in the UK.  

Volvo EX30 Extended Range Ultra 69kWh 

P11D: £41,990

Residual value: 46.1%

Depreciation: £21,815

Fuel: £3,845

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,761

Cost per mile: 45.75p

Range: 296 miles

CO2 (BIK %): 0g/km (2%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £14/£28

Luggage capacity: 318 litres

Battery size/power: 69kWh/272hp