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nEXt Level: 2024 Volvo EX30 Twin Motor Performance Review

I’ll begin this review by clarifying my bias. As the owner of a Rebel Blue Volvo V40 T5 R-Design, there may be some favouritism of the brand displayed in this article but there’s another angle of looking at this. Upon googling the car, you may realise that it is rather unlike most things Volvo make or have made historically, small, dynamically designed and rather quick. Thus, we are back to a neutral viewpoint once again.

Volvo have always struck me as a brand that makes cars which are dull but not boring, big difference. Their character usually comes from their thoughtfulness of design and comfort rather than their 0-100 times, although their famous 5-cylinder engine does make a rather memorable noise. So then, Volvo is the thinkers’ brand of choice and they have committed to a fully electric future, one of a few brands who stand to gain from such a move (at least in my opinion)!

Front three quarters view of a 2024 Volvo EX30 in Moss Yellow.
EX30 is the first dedicated fully electric Volvo

As part of Volvo’s electric shift, first came the XC40 & C40 Recharge (now EX40 & EC40) but those were both developed as diesel/petrol/hybrid cars originally, not as an EV. My opinion of the two cars were that they were in fact, boring. Presenting restrained designs with dark interiors paired with a minimalist approach, these were offerings for the seasoned Volvo buyer. With this new shift, what the Swedish brand needed was something a little more daring, something to attract the eyes of the (younger) car buying world.

Enter the EX30. When Volvo announced the new model with that now famous unboxing video, I was genuinely excited. This was a Volvo I could actually see myself in after what had felt like a decade! This was a Volvo with an appeal broader than retirees & soccer mums and rightly so.

Rear three quarters view of a 2024 Volvo EX30 in Moss Yellow.
Familiar design cues exist but with a new twist

The EX30 was worthy of my fondness for many reasons but above all for its thoughtfulness, a trait which I and many others have always associated with Volvo. However, that is simply where one’s appreciation for the car begins.

As I mentioned before, Volvo needed to be daring with the EX30 and they have but in a very Swedish way. Take the taillights which are very similar to the brand’s signature style but broken up rather than a big single unit. The headlights are the same where the handle on Thor’s hammer has been elongated. Also note the black roof that gives the car a sporty look incorporating a sloping roofline. Then there’s the colour, Moss Yellow. Named after a lichen that grows on the Western part of Sweden, it’s a tongue in cheek name but done so in a lovable away.

Interior of a 2024 Volvo EX30 in the Mist configuration.
‘Mist’ interior configuration is my pick of the bunch

And lovable it certainly is, both for those on the outside as well as those in the cabin. This particular review model came in the ‘Mist’ configuration which brought a light and airy colour scheme to the mix. After viewing all the configurations, this is still the one to have for me. Perhaps because the lighter colours keep things interesting but it may also be down to the New Zealand sourced wool that lives in the seat fabric.

Yes, the upholstery is made from Kiwi wool fibres and feels beautifully soft and warm. Mind you, the seat heater works a treat when it does get that cold. With the environment in mind, the doors inserts are made from woven flax fibres, there’s recycled plastic and metals too. All of this makes the EX30 the most carbon emission friendly Volvo yet.

The cabin itself is a welcoming place to be. Not just down to the material choices but also the large glass roof which floods the compact cabin with light. There’s a few different inserts in the same yellow colour around and a limited but thoughtful range of ambient lighting choices. My pick of the bunch was the ‘Northern Lights’ option. Space inside is good too as Jim Rowan (Volvo’s CEO) promised. Despite being Volvo’s smallest SUV ever, it fitted my family of four comfortably.

There’s so much to talk about with the EX30 that I haven’t even covered off the harman/kardon soundbar yet! What was a pure stroke of genius from Volvo, making for a listener’s treat. Taking the speakers from the door cards and applying them to the top of the dashboard not only freed up door cubby space but meant that when coupled with a subwoofer, the system could provide a well rounded sound experience for all involved.

However, the cabin is also the home of all of this car’s shortfalls. It is minimalism on steroids as literally everything is controlled by the central infotainment screen which also displays the speedo. There’s nothing in front of the driver’s vision apart from a vision focus monitor and the road. This means that the driving experience certainly takes some getting used to.

An experience it certainly is as the little Volvo drives unlike anything we’ve known from the brand especially in a straight line. This Twin Motor Performance model brought 315kW (428hp) and 543Nm of torque to the traffic light sprint, allowing a 0-100 kph sprint of 3.6s! It wasn’t just me that was taken by surprise when I planted my foot, every other car around was equally as dumbfounded. I can imagine questions arising like “was that really a Volvo that just whizzed past?”. Indeed it was! I loved that part of this particular EX30, it has a nonchalant way of delivering its power, leaving other drivers with puzzled looks and the driver with a wry smile.

It’s not just in a straight line where the EX30 does well though, it offers a very comfortable ride for those with a more relaxed outlook to driving. Cornering is good too, partially helped by limiting the battery to 64kWhr and therefore reducing weight. The claimed range is 445km on the Twin Motor Performance model but this is one of the rare EVs that actually exceeded its predicted range!

Front three quarters view of a 2024 Volvo EX30 in Moss Yellow.

The Verdict

To end, I have waxed lyrical about the EX30 as is obvious in this article or at least should be. However, I will go one step further and give it the ultimate kudos that I as a car reviewer can bestow upon a car. Yes, I’d put my fictional money where my mouth is and actually buy a Volvo EX30, specifically one in Moss Yellow with the Mist interior and Twin Motor power. It’s that good.

2024 Volvo EX30 Twin Motor Performance: 5/5

Thanks for reading! For more Volvo news and reviews, visit Tarmac Life.

Words and pictures by Matthew D’Souza. Car courtesy of Volvo Cars New Zealand.

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