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2025 Volvo EX30

First Drive: This small SUV is a big deal!

When talking about the 2025 EX30, Volvo is quick to tell you it's a small SUV that does big SUV things. I have to say I agree. From the range to the cargo space, this all-new electric SUV hits a sweet spot.

And that's without bringing price into the conversation.

When Volvo announced its mid-$30k price point, we all thought here had to be a catch. But I've been looking at the fine print for a few days now, and I can't find it - if it exists. The base Core model comes standard with things like a heat pump, parking sensors, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, a Google-based infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and blind-spot monitoring.

Leveling up to the Plus trim adds things like the digital key, Harman Kardon audio system, power tailgate, dual automatic climate control, a fixed panoramic glass roof and wireless phone charging. All for just an extra $4k.

Add another $2k, and you go all in on the Ultra trim with power front seats, a 360-degree camera, hands-free park assist and the hands-on highway Pilot Assist system.

All in, if you add every whistle and bell as well as include destination, you'll still top out at less than $50k.

Yeah, I think that's a BFD*.

And, no, it's not cheap

People often mistake minimalist with cheap. And while the 2025 Volvo EX30 is minimalist to the extreme, the materials feel solid to me. While the Breeze-themed interior with the speckled-paint accent pieces may not be to everyone's taste, it has a solid tactile feel that doesn't feel plasticky. There is no shiny black lacquer in any of the interior options, and the wool seating material on Mist-themed interior (my fave) stands on its own as a luxurious alternative to leather.

From the door handles to the dash materials, there is a touch of luxury mixed in with the whimsical - what else is paint splatter supposed to be called?

There is also a lot of clever thrown into the mix with the interesting and unique storage spaces. The huge pockets on the doors will hold 20-ounce water bottles, the flip-up compartment on the center console holds and hides a phone, and the pop-out cup holders fit both large and small beverages. Not to mention the fact that the removable storage tray in the back seat has Marten the moose embedded as an Easter egg at the side.

Let's talk about range

Outside of pricing, probably the biggest consideration when buying an EV will be the range. The 2025 Volvo EX30 holds its own with up to 275 miles of range. Of course, that's for the single-motor, rear-wheel drive options. But even with opting for the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive vehicle, you only lose 10 miles of range - and that, too, is a BFD*.

While some might whine that 275 isn't enough, I'll counter that with this: It's enough to drive from Chicago to Indianapolis (200 miles) without charging. Of course, that's in temperate weather conditions - but I'll look forward to winter testing. So, stay tuned.

However, if you do need to charge on a road trip, it has 153 kW charge capability, and can go from 10 to 80% within 26.5 minutes. As Volvo begins rolling out its charging partnership with Starbucks, that's just the right amount of time to stop off the highway, hit the facilities and grab a coffee.

While it's hard to comment on range anxiety and accuracy in a first-drive program, I will say we drove these test vehicles for 4 solid hours and still managed to turn them in with something more than 40% of the range "in the tank."

Ride and handling

The 2025 Volvo EX30 is a compact SUV, and it handles like one. It's easy to park, and as I discovered in Barcelona, it does quite well on narrow city streets. Plus, with a minimum of 268 horsepower (single-motor model), it has plenty of pep in its step for highway merges and passing maneuvers. If you opt for the dual-motor model, it has a max output of 422 horsepower.

While I could feel the heft of the battery on the twisty bits, it didn't hold me back or weigh me down. The EX30 is a fairly fun-to-drive vehicle with a planted feel under hard acceleration and aggressive turns.

The one thing I missed: Aggressive one pedal driving. This is a personal preference, as my drive partner liked the more coasty feel you get with the Volvo one-pedal system. But I found I wanted more of an aggressive slow down as I laid off the accelerator pedal, and I didn't get it. More often than not, I had to use the brake to slow down, and that, to me, isn't one-pedal driving. I'd rather Volvo call it "aggressive regeneration" rather than "one-pedal driving" because you definitely need both brake and accelerator on the EX30 - regardless of which mode you have it in.

The 2025 Volvo EX30 tech conundrum

As a part of its minimalist consolidation, the 2025 Volvo EX30 moves to a Telsa-like single screen info system. You don't have a behind-the-wheel gauge cluster, and buttons and dials have gone the way of the Dodo.

Your speedometer is tucked at the top of the center info screen - as are your drive functions and cruise control indicators. Your HVAC is a pop-up menu on the same screen. And the volume control is a slider accessed through the bottom menu icons.

Additionally, several vehicle functions that normally had physical button adjustments have moved to the center screen - like your side mirror adjustments.

As someone who as only behind the wheel for a few days, I try to remember an owner would have a different experience. I had a short amount of time to figure out and get used to the controls - and I didn't quite get there. Owners will have considerably more time to set their muscle memory. So, this single-screen situation is TBD in my book.

Another interesting side note: There is no stop/start button. You get in the vehicle with the key, and it turns on. You leave AND LOCK the vehicle, and it turns off. As far as I can tell (and I did ask), you can't turn off the vehicle while you're sitting inside of it. In fact, the folks at Volvo looked at me like I was nuts when I asked why you couldn't. They asked me why you'd want to turn it off while sitting inside. When I said power draw, they replied: What power draw? You're not moving the vehicle, so the power draw is minimal. But still, I persisted, and I got a puzzled look in response.

The bottom line

The 2025 Volvo EX30 is a thoughtful, clever and functional SUV that also happens to be an EV.

Overall, I really this small SUV that thinks big. From the price point to the range, you won't find a more quality EV on the market at the moment. The cargo space is flexible enough to fit golf clubs (without flipping down your seats), and the driving position is comfortable enough to fit this 5-foot-tall driver as well as one of my 6-foot-9-inch automotive colleagues.

In more ways than one, the EX30 is absolutely a BOG DEAL!