On the Road: The new Volvo EX30 Ultra
On the Road: The new Volvo EX30 Ultra

Volvo’s new electric SUV leaves Ian Lamming fully charged

THIS is a game-changer. Why? Because Volvo has become the first premium brand to produce an affordable electric vehicle.

The fact the new EX30 is utterly brilliant to drive seems to be a mere cursory detail in a cost of living crisis for anyone thinking of abandoning the internal combustion engine (ICE).

Until now if you wanted an affordable EV you had to head to budget brands or go small with the cost of many of the bigger mainstream electrics eclipsing some very tasty ICE motors.

But Volvo has come to market with the EX30 with a price tag that starts with a three. This makes it so much more appealing as it is affordable and will help with residuals when you come to trade in.

That, coupled with a decent range of close to 300 miles, should put the Volvo firmly on the shopping list of anyone thinking of making the big change.

Price, range anxiety and residuals (the second hand value in, say, three years) have been killing the market, hence the many 0% offers on EVs and the fact Government is starting to rethink emissions deadlines.

EX30 is the car to restore confidence in something that will benefit the environment and help with global warming.

The small SUV is a stunner to look at, eye-grabbing with its contemporary looks and proportions. The nose features an unusual take on the brand’s Thor hammer lights and there’s no grille just a sleek nose. With looks like this it leaps off the forecourt.

Inside is equally radical. There will be a whole industry of switch and button manufacturers who will be out of a job thanks to an undoubted trend being set by the EX30. Everything is on the centre-mounted touchscreen tablet – even the function to alter your door mirrors. It should have been my idea of hell, I’m old and a button man, but strangely it is so clear and easy to use and so intuitive that within minutes I’ve adjusted. Because it’s the main source of controls it’s the only place to look so you quickly adapt.

In front of the driver is just the squared off chunky steering wheel, which is a tactile delight. There are no clocks just the windscreen and it is a bit odd at first looking to the touchscreen in the middle of the fascia for the speedometer as well as everything else. There is also voice control but once again it hates my accent so I soon learn to leave it alone.

The interior is ultramodern with trim and seat fabrics that look like they have been recycled from waste plastics – a good thing cleverly executed. For the first time in a good while you feel like you are in something from a new generation and there is also bags of space in the uncluttered cabin.

To drive, the EX30 is a thrill a minute. This model sends 272HP to the rear wheels which makes it a scorcher – 0-62mph comes up in just over five seconds. It’s not only blisteringly quick off the line but also the mid-range is vastly powerful.

It’s one of those days and various slow-moving vehicles keep pulling out in front of me, despite being a vibrant colour, including lorries, buses, tractors and caravans. Normally my heart would sink at the prospect of being stuck behind them for miles. But in the Volvo they are dispatched with such alacrity that they barely register as being there in the first place. This thing overtakes like a motorbike.

It is also incredibly agile with lightning fast, light steering and astoundingly reassuring handling and grip. You can throw it round like a sports car if you fancy it.

With that many miles on the extended range battery I didn’t need to charge but I’m told it does that well too. Your 7kW home unit should have it full in eight hours as you sleep and if you have to go public then the rapid 150kW chargers should have you topped up from 20 per cent to 80 per cent in just 26 minutes, not the splash and dash of an ICE car but much improved and usable.

EX30 is a game changer in so many ways by being great to drive, easy to charge and, according to the local dealer, quick to order – it takes just around a month for delivery at the moment. I wouldn’t hesitate.

Fact File

Volvo EX30 Ultra

Engine: electric, single motor

Power: 272hp

Range: up to 285 miles

0-60mph: 5.3 secs

Top speed: 112mph

Transmission: Automatic, rear-wheel-drive

CO2 g/km: 0

Price: from £39,500.00