logo
Latest News
Follow
Sunday / 14 July 2024
HomeFeaturesVolvo EX30 review – A R1-million rocket ship

Volvo EX30 review – A R1-million rocket ship

Volvo has seriously rocked the boat with the launch of its new EX30.

The battery-powered crossover looks like nothing else on the road and it’s an exciting little thing to drive, not to mention it is among the most affordable in its class at a starting price of R775,900.

It may have just helped the Swedish automaker to seal its fate as one of the big players in the electric vehicle (EV) segment.

A rocket ship on four wheels

For the past week, I’ve been skirting around town in the EX30 Ultra Twin Motor Performance and it is nothing short of a rocket ship on four wheels.

As the name suggests, it features a potent powertrain consisting of two electric motors pumping out a combined 315kW and 543Nm, which is good for a stupendous 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds.

For reference, the original Lamborghini Urus Super SUV that launched in 2019 did the deed in exactly the same time.

However, with the EV’s distinct advantage of instantaneous torque delivery you can hit this benchmark with dependability and don’t have to rely on the perfect conditions to do so, and the high power ceiling means the pulling force doesn’t diminish until you near its top speed of 180km/h.

It also handles quite sharp if you take into account its two-tonne heft and plan your steering inputs accordingly.

Supplying the e-motors is a 69kWh battery pack that on paper provides a maximum driving range of 450km at an average energy consumption (AEC) of 18kWh/100km.

In my testing, I ended up with an AEC of closer to 21kWh/100km which would give the EX30 a theoretical max of around 330km.

In the Volvo’s defense, my driving style was probably the biggest range eater. It’s been a while since I’ve been behind the wheel of a car that feels so alive when you touch its throttle that I thoroughly enjoyed it before giving the EX30 back to its rightful owners.

The climate control and seat heating were also used liberally as the EV was delivered during the first truly cold week we’ve had this year, and this consumed juice, too.

On that note, I visited the strongest plug in my area to replenish the battery and it saw a 17-100% charge completed in a little over one hour.

Step into the EX30 and you are greeted by a minimalist interior with only a steering wheel, a large portrait-style infotainment screen, and four skinny aircon vents adorning the fascia.

Space in the front of the cabin and the boot is generous for a vehicle with these dimensions, but leg- and headroom in the second row, not so much. The door openings are also a squeeze to get through if you are of above-average height.

I loved the grippy squared-off steering wheel, and the particular unit I drove had the “Indigo” interior consisting of stylish dark blue 3D-knit fabric seat upholstery and “denim” decor panels made of recycled materials which lent the cabin a premium yet distinctly Volvo atmosphere.

The Swede is kitted to the nines with creature comforts and advanced assistance systems so you will have everything you ever need at your fingertips – whether it be a steering wheel heater or an autonomous parking function – and the throaty Harmon Kardon sound system in the top-spec models is hands down one of the best on the market.

The central screen is used to service all your needs from music to airconditioning to the speedometer as the EX30 does not come with a separate driver’s display, a design choice made by Volvo to reduce the number of cables it has to route through the passenger cell and therefore maximise space.

The centrally aligned setup takes getting used to but once you have grown accustomed to it, it seems more natural than to have everything spread between your left and right sides.

Now, one hand is responsible for things like adjusting the climate control, opening the windows, and tuning driver assistance settings, all while the other stays welded to the steering wheel, which just feels a bit safer to be honest.

However, I would have preferred to still have a small instrument cluster behind the steering wheel to monitor speed and the like instead of having to tilt my eyes toward the middle of the cabin and away from the road, especially in the devilishly quick twin-motor EX30.

Another design decision that affected the driving experience was that the pedals are just far too close to one another. I found myself constantly hitting the brake with the edge of my shoe when stepping on the accelerator and then being given a stern warning by the car itself that I must not press both pedals at the same time.

Early adopters have complained about software gremlins in the Volvo’s advanced digital ecosystem that was designed from the ground up specifically for the Swedish automaker’s next-gen EX vehicles, so there was always bound to be something that needed work this early into its launch cycle.

The hiccup I encountered was that the keyless entry and start system stopped functioning after the first time I unlocked the vehicle through the EX30 smartphone app, illustrating the need to have buttons on the key fob.

Yes, the EX30’s key fob has zero buttons on it so if you want to unlock the car manually, you must hold the key on a specific spot on the B-pillar until the doors open, and then position it carefully on the wireless smartphone charger which doubles as a key sensor before the car will drive.

Don’t do it right, and the crossover refuses to go into gear and notifies you that it does not register a valid key nearby.

The latest over-the-air software update meant to iron out some of the issues owners have with the EX30 was also frozen on 91% downloaded for the entire week I spent with it, so I could not find out whether this would have sorted out the keyless-entry bug.

Verdict

For all its imperfections, the EX30 probably remains the best bang-for-your-buck EV you can buy in South Africa at the moment, which is tough to say considering it is not all that affordable in the grand scheme of things at a price range of R775,900 to R995,900.

Nevertheless, as a package, the Volvo’s performance, looks, build quality, and tech are unmatched in the present EV landscape, and looking at what’s on the horizon, it doesn’t seem like that will change any time soon.


Volvo EX30 Ultra Twin Motor Performance


Share

Show comments