Many of you may not know that Volvo currently has 6 models available in New Zealand, and four of them are fully electric. The latest model that has been added to their line-up is the international award-winning EX30 compact SUV. This is the most up-to-date model in the line-up, while also being the smallest and cheapest car available from Volvo in New Zealand.

As the EX30 is a brand-new model, the only vehicle we can reflect on is the smallest car before it, which was the last Volvo I got to review, the Volvo C40 Recharge. It didn’t disappoint, the design was iconically Volvo, and its interior was as comfy as a Swedish future.

Will the all new CX30 stand up to the previous models and do the brand justice, or is it a little late to the global EV party?

What We Like and Dislike About The 2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra

What we like

  • Funky Exterior Design
  • Zippy Performance
  • Interior Design
  • Central armrest and cupholder design
  • Spec level

What we don’t like

  • No buttons on the key fob
  • No driver’s display
  • Everything is on the centre screen
  • Front wiper button
  • Range (different to advertised)
  • Radio volume resets after each start
  • One pedal driving while parking

What’s In The 2024 Volvo EX30 Range?

In New Zealand there are two models available, the Plus ($74,990) and Ultra ($78,990). The Plus is the entry-level variant, which has a raft of standard options. The Ultra comes with a Panoramic roof, Park Pilot, 360 degree 3d view camera, heated steering wheels, tinted rear side windows, heated front seats, 4-way lumbar support for driver, power driver and passenger seats. Not bad for an additional $4,000.

To the side of this, you have two drivetrain options. As standard, the Plus and Ultra come with the single motor extended range powertrain, which provides up to 476km range and a 0-100km/h time of 5.3 seconds. The other options are the Twin Motor Performance, which provides a range of up to 445km and a 0-100km/h range of 3.6 seconds. The cost difference between the two drivetrain options is $6,000. 

My two cents here would be to get the Ultra with the single motor, as it has more than enough grunt, and you save yourself $6,000. Realistically, if you’re getting an EV for 0-100km/h times, you’re not understanding the whole story and getting an EV for the wrong reasons.

2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra Colour Range

There are 5 colours available for the new Volvo EX30, and our car was in the rather bright Moss Yellow, which I actually liked. It contrasted with the black design accents really well. It would have been great to see more bright colours, like a bright blue, red and green, as the vehicle’s character really reflects those colours well – all at no extra cost.

  • Cloud Blue
  • Moss Yellow (Review Car)
  • Onyx Black
  • Vapour Grey
  • Crystal White

Interior colours available 

  • Indigo interior
  • Breeze interior (Light Blue)
  • Mist interior (Grey)

Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment

  • Twin Motor Performance – $6,000

Including the optional equipment, our review car’s retail price is $84,990.

For a full list of specs and options available for the 2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra, head on over to Volvo New Zealand’s website.

How Does The 2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra Compare To Its Competition?

Volvo have never been cheap cars, regardless of the fact that the EX30 Volvo’s smallest and cheapest car, it still stands right at the top in price for its market segment, small fully electric SUV. The one thing that the EX30 

Make/ ModelBattery
Lexus UX 300e Limited54150 / 3007.5360310$89,990
Volvo EX30 Ultra – Twin69200 / 5343.6450318$84,990
VW ID.4 Pro77150 / 3108.5519543$79,990
Volvo EX30 Ultra – Single69200 / 3435.3476318$78,990
Volvo EX30 Plus – Single69200 / 3435.3476318$74,990
Opel Mokka-e SRi50100 / 2609.2363310$69,990
Hyundai Kona EV39100 / 395N/A305332$69,990
Citroen e-C4 Shine50100 / 2609.0363380$69,990
Mini Cooper SE54.2160 / 3306.7402210$66,990
Cupra Born V+77170 / 3107.0548385$59,990

Please note that DriveLife does its best to ensure the information above is correct at the time of publication, however, prices, specifications and models can change over time. Please bear that in mind when comparing models in the comparison table.

First Impressions Of The 2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra

Wow, that’s a bright yellow car. But it works, the EX30 looks great – full of joy and life. Regardless of the colour, it’s clear that the EX30 is an EV by design. It has all the design traits we are used to seeing, such as no grille and instead, just a flat face with a badge, and the funky filled-in alloy wheels for less wind resistance. 

The two-tone split that runs from black around the skirts and bumpers, up to yellow across the body work and black on the roof, give the EX30 a lot of character. I also really like the lights at the rear which wrap around from the left to the right side, breaking up the boot panels. 

I would never buy a yellow car, but I have to say I really like how this one looks. 

What’s The Interior Like In The 2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra?

Inside the EX30, you can tell it’s a brand-new car with new design ideas. It’s a melting pot of all sorts of eco-friendly and recycled materials that are thrown together in a minimalist design. There are no buttons apart from the steering wheel, and the dash has a smooth open design that wraps from one side of the car to the other, while incorporating the speakers and air vents into its clever design. The space feels nice and open, much larger than a small car should feel inside.

The front seats are fabric, there are no leather options for the EX30. Again using sustainable materials, 30% responsibly produced wool and 70% recycled polyester. The interior colour option in our review car was Mist, which was like a light stone-washed grey/blue. The seats are comfy, and as it’s the Ultra variant, we had the fully electric adjustable driver’s and passenger seat. Overall support is good, and I never found myself feeling sore or uncomfortable while driving the EX30. I thought the heated seats were great; they came on fast on the cold mornings and had good coverage up my back too. 

The rear seats are much the same, less sculpted when compared to the front, but just as comfy. I did find it a bit of a squeeze getting in the back, if the driver’s seat was in a tall person’s position. My 6-year-old daughter had no issues, and really enjoyed it, especially the car overall as it was yellow, one of her favourite colours.

There are a couple of things that bugged me about the EX30, the first one was the key fob, which is pretty much a scale model of the monolith from 2001 Space Odyssey. It has no buttons at all, which I found rather unsettling. You can’t lock the car as you walk away, you either have to touch the door handle sensor or walk far enough away so that it locks on its own. I found myself double-checking this a few times, but as you get close, it unlocks, like it’s playing games with your mind. 

The infotainment screen and driver’s display screen is at the core of the EX30, it has everything on it. For want of a better word, it was an iPad, which is exactly what my daughter called it. It’s split into several sections; the top has the driver’s drive mode, speed, range, battery percentage and car status. The middle section is Google Maps for all your navigation requirements. Below this is your audio and phone connectivity, and below this again are 8 buttons for your general menus. Along the very bottom, you have fixed buttons like hazards, audio, air con and home. 

The central display was the other thing which did not sit well with me. I felt that there should have been a small display for the driver at least, to avoid looking so far from the road to see alerts or driver information. The infotainment system is trying to be smart, but I found it distracting at times, and too bright at night, a problem seen in previous Tesla reviews.

The audio system in the EX30 is pretty good, and it should be, as it is a Harman Kardon Premium Sound system. I like how the front speakers are clearly designed into the front screen surround. They were there, but they weren’t either. The sound system via the ‘iPad’ is pretty easy to use, but I found it frustrating that the system does not remember the volume level after each trip and would restart at a louder level.

One of the features I loved is the central armrest and the incorporated drinks holder. Below the central armrest there is a drawer that you push, and out slides two cupholders. This was neat, and well-thought-out as it’s split into sections. You can set it for one or two cup holders and If you don’t want to hold cups, slide the top bit back, and it becomes a drawer for your phone or house keys. Which can be pushed back in under the armrest to be kept out of sight. 

Below this is another smart section; there is an angled Qi wireless charging pad. One side is for charging and the other is for any other device/phone that may need wired charging. This can be then plugged into the USB-C ports hidden away below a cover panel. This cover panel also doubles as a great place to throw your handbag (my partner’s) or some food for a road trip. 

The boot of the EX30 is not huge at 318 litres, this is the second-smallest boot in the comparison chart. The tailgate opens really wide which is good, so access is easy, and it would hold a buggy or some clubs which was outlined by the diagram on the inside of the boot door. For the price, I would have liked to see more smart use of this space, holders or dividers like we see with Škoda, things that help for everyday life.

What’s The 2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra Like To Drive?

In a nutshell, the EX30 is not that exciting to drive, it’s also not horrible to drive. The only exciting thing about the EX30 Ultra is the twin motor performance that can rocket the car up to 100kph in 3.6 seconds. Which is fast, not needed by any stretch of the imagination, but still fun. My point here is that the EX30 drive much like every other fully electric car; it’s a bit sterile with not a lot of feel. But it gets the job done without much fuss, and steering is light and easy to use in the day-to-day. 

I will give credit where credit is due, the suspension/ ride is really smooth in the EX30. This was a bit of a surprise, as small SUVs do not handle New Zealand roads well, and I can usually feel every bump and imperfection on the road, but the EX30 ironed them out rather well. This also went hand in hand with cabin noise, which was quiet and provided the driver and passengers a calm environment within the cabin.

Volvo has been and always will be the pinnacle for driver safety, and this doesn’t change behind the wheel of the EX30. There is a plethora of driver safety features on board, all of which act like a careful hand on your shoulder, grabbing your back if you go too far or don’t see something the car did. On several occasions the systems kicked in, and without freaking me out, gave me enough warnings to take action or to reduce the speed of the car to avoid any possible issues. In all of these cases, I found the systems were gentle in their actions, without being too overbearing and wrenching control of the car away from me.

There are no drive modes as such, just the normal drive selections, P, D and R. You select the gears via the right stalk on the steering wheel, and your Drive selection is then displayed on the top of the central screen. I would also like to note that when driving, all the alerts come up in the top left corner of the central screen, in rather small text. So It’s not only the furthest point away from the driver’s view, but it’s also hard to read. 

Just above the steering wheel, there is a sensor that looks at your eyes. It looks at where your eyes are looking and if you’re not looking at the road it will beep and give you a warning. These sensors are required in new cars to be able to achieve a 5-star safety rating. The irony here is that the sensor fires off warnings when you’re looking at the other warnings that the central display is trying to show you. I just ignored the other warnings as it was getting a bit much. 

I would love to ask the person at Volvo who thought it would be a good idea to have the front and rear wiper spray buttons on the end of the same stalk. What were you thinking? Several times when I pressed the front screen washer button, it would also trigger the indicators. I think this was a case of trying to be too smart for our own good. Other brands leave this button for the rear screen, as it’s not used often. Maybe Volvo should have done the same thing.

Steering wheel controls are Volvo at its core, simple and easy to use controls on the left and right of the steering wheel. One side handled the cruise control and the other side audio and volume. Everything else was in the central display screen. 

When driving a fully electric vehicle, I like to one pedal drive, and I was happy to see the option for it in the EX30. Once selected, it engages the regenerative braking and allows you to just have one foot over the accelerator pedal and leave the braking up to the motors when you need to ease off or slow down coming up to a set of lights. I found this very handy and easy to use, but I did have to turn it off when parking as it became too jerky, something I have not noticed in other EVs. 

The big question everyone asks, is how efficient is it? Volvo claims the EX30 can get 17.5 kWh of energy consumption per 100km. Whether this is the Plus, Ultra or Twin Motor model is unclear. I was not able to get anywhere close to this. After a week in the EX30, I was floating around 25.1 kWh per 100km. That is a big difference. Of course this is down to how you drive, as it is hard to not enjoy the performance of the twin motors. This also has a bit of an effect on range; Volvo says up to 476km of range, but after a full charge at home, the range said 390km on 100%. 

What does Fred think of the 2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra?

While I enjoyed my week with the EX30, it was a bit of a love/hate experience. My first impression of the EX30 was a little frustrating. While it has walk-up unlock, this wasn’t always reliable, and this can be annoying when approaching the car on the passenger’s side; there’s no button on the door to lock or unlock the car from that side, and there are no lock/unlock buttons on the remote. If it didn’t unlock first pop, that meant going around to the driver’s door and pressing the button on the door handle. Not the end of the world, but frustrating all the same if you have your arms loaded up with stuff.

The speedo only existing on the centre screen was a change in behaviour, but oh how this car longs for a heads-up display to alleviate this (and yes, every Tesla as well). The actual screen resolution is excellent and while it is painful to only be able to adjust pretty much anything via the screen, it’s all simply laid out so doesn’t take long to (for example) adjust the AC or turn on your heated seat. There are still voice commands to use too, so you can avoid the screen controls reasonably well.

It’s lucky that using that centre screen doesn’t take long, as the driver attention monitor in the EX30 is – like many other brand’s same systems – overzealous. Sometimes, just checking your speed would get you a “focus on the road” warning, as would checking either exterior mirror. Even laughing would get me a “you are showing signs of tiredness” warning. Speaking of warnings, the ‘take a break’ coffee cup on the centre screen never went away.

Looking at my notes, the loves/do not love list is pretty equal. I enjoyed driving the EX30 and not just for its performance; it’s an easy daily driver, and the one-pedal mode is excellently programmed to work just right. This is one of the best one-pedal systems I’ve driven although when coming to a stop and with brake-hold turned on, the car would sometimes jerk to a stop, as if the park brake was being applied too quickly. I believe John found this issue as well. The EX30 could definitely do with either paddles to adjust brake regen or more regen modes. There’s just two modes; low regen, and One Pedal. Keeping it simple, but I’d love some more adjustment here.

On the bonus side of things, sadly we have to commend Volvo for fitting the car with a rear-window wiper, something that is not all that common in 2024.

I did like the sliding cupholder/storage setup at the front of the centre console, but found that having my water bottle in the holder really limited my access to the floor/mounted storage. For some unknown reason, Volvo has chosen not to have a bottle holder in any door, so your only option is high up on the centre console, and that’s not ideal.

Some niceties I found include the EX30’s indicators, potentially the most polite indicator sound I’ve ever heard. I love that when you indicate left, the sound comes out of the left speaker, and right-hand indicating comes out of the right speaker. It’s a small but appreciated touch.

The steering is quick, and I found turn-in to be surprisingly good too, things I was not expecting. I was also not expecting the car to forget my phone every time I got into the EX30; I’d have to go through the Bluetooth menu to make my phone connect. Because of this, the audio would revert to radio and it would be LOUD every time. That was not enjoyable.

Driving the EX30 took away some of those frustrations. It feels like a real Q-Car; it looks like a simple small SUV crossover, but it goes like stink. Nicely, for an all-wheel drive it has a lot of rear-wheel bias, so you can get the tail out quite easily. In comparison to other fast AWD EVs that just hunker down with zero wheel spin, the EX30 lets you get a little loose on it, if you want to.

I managed to get a real-world 400km out of a full charge in the EX30, not too shabby. I struggle with the price, when you can get bigger EV SUVs for the same money, but there’s still a place for the EX30 in the market.

2024 Volvo EX30 Ultra – Specifications

Vehicle TypeElectric SUV
Starting Price$74,900
Price as Tested$84,990
EngineTwin Motor Performance, Electric
Power, Torque
Spare Wheeln/a
Kerb Weight, Kg1,960
Length x Width x Height
4233 x 1838 x 1550
Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,
(seats up/seats down)
Battery capacity, kWh69
Energy Economy,
Advertised Spec – Combined – 17.5
Real-World Test – Combined – 25.5
Low Usage: 6-10 / Medium Usage 11-19 / High Usage 19+
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
Turning circle
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty3-Year unlimited kilometre warranty
Safety informationANCAP Rating – Unrated – 5 Stars – QND864

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John Galvin (JSG)
It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.
2024-volvo-ex30-ultra-electric-car-reviewSummary Section of Review It's cute and cheeky, and I really like it, even in bright yellow. Much like the XC40, Volvo are doing their own thing, the Swedish way. It's easy to create a small, fully EV SUV, there are many on the market. But to make it stand out, to make you look around when you are inside, takes a bit more thought in the design. Just like Ikea, Volvo has thought about the everyday person inside the car, not only how the car looks to the world. <br><br> Considering the EX30 is a compact SUV, the inside feels so spacious and free of clutter. There is room to move and put things. I loved the pop-out cupholder in the centre console, which also can just be a hidden storage tray. There are also fold-up panels on the bottom of the centre console to conceal the cables used to charge or connect phones if required, helping to make it a clean and relaxing space.  <br><br> The EX30 is easy to drive, and it turns heads, especially in that yellow. I thought it gave the car its true funky character, completing what could easily have been a boring car.


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