Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


Volvo EX30 a ‘Swedish shopping trolley’ ready to outgun supercars

All-electric crossover SUV goes from 0 to 100km/h in under 4 seconds without any bravado.


For a stock standard road car to reach 100km/h from standstill in less than four seconds is no mean feat. In fact, it’s something only a very small percentage of cars in The Citizen Motoring two-decade long road test archive have achieved.

Some serious pedigreed machines’ efforts to dip under four seconds were in vain. These include the 3.0-litre straight six twin-turbo F30 BMW M3-DCT (4.01 seconds), the 4.0-litre V8 twin-biturbo Mercedes-AMG C63 S (4.08) and the 5-litre V8 supercharged Jaguar F-Type Coupe R AWD (4.14).

But even in narrowly missed out on the stopwatch, the thrill they provided from launch is what petrolheads live for. The soundtrack from the building revs, the violent acceleration that pushes you back into the superbly crafted racing seat and sometime a bit of wheel spinning that propels the car forward in a puff of dust.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Anticipation over as Volvo EX30 lands on local soil

Volvo EX30 ushers in a new era

But the year is 2024 and Bob Dylan’s words that The Times They Are A-Changin are as relevant as ever. The current state of affairs sees a fully electric compact SUV drilling these lean, mean, fire-breathing, race-ready machines off the line.

Volvo EX30
The Volvo EX30’s exterior styling is futuristic and unassuming. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

There was a lot of hype around the China-built Volvo EX30’s arrival. A major talking point the top spec 315kW Ultra Twin Motor Performance model’s claimed 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 3.6 seconds.

With Road Test Editor Mark Jones behind the steering wheel it was a slower in clocking 3.91 seconds during our test at Gerotek, but is still the fastest Volvo we have tested by a long shot.

ALSO READ: Volvo EX30 spec sheet selectively revealed, pricing unchanged

Silent assassin

But it’s not so much about the fact that the Volvo EX30 managed to outsprint the big dogs, but rather the manner in which it did. Where the internal combustion engine rockets were all about big egos and automotive testosterone, the Volvo EX30 went about its business without any drama whatsoever.

There are no dynamic mode displays showing boost and revs that turns red ahead of a gear change, violent G-forces flattened your cheeks or aggressive gear changes along the way. It’s just one long gentle pull with a bit of road noise from the tyres and that’s it.

There is no dramatic visual effect from a head-up display or even inside an instrument cluster for the simple reason that the Volvo EX30 does not have these things. It features only a tablet-style screen in the centre of the dashboard. This controls everything from entertainment to displays usually found in instrument clusters.

When you pull away in anger, the little speedometer reading on the top right-hand side of the screen is as unobtrusive as it is when you are cruising at 60km/h on a school run.

Volvo EX30
The cabin is very simplistic. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

A picture of calm

It is for that reason that we dubbed our test unit “The Swedish Shopping Trolley”. And by that we meant so disrespect, but rather that compared to the mentioned racing snakes the Volvo EX30 is as serene as a Tibetan sunrise. And while it is primarily designed as a family-friendly everyday crossover SUV, it manages to outperform serious performance cars as a side note.

ALSO READ: WATCH: All-electric Volvo XC40 an unassuming silent assassin

While the Volvo EX30 might not strike you with the mean bits and pieces usually showing off from around a race car, it is still a very attractive car. Clad in the EX30-specific Moss Yellow, our tester got a lot of attention wherever we took it. The futuristic LED head and taillight design along with 20-inch wheels works a charm with this hue.

Inside, we do not lie when we say there isn’t much more to it than the big central screen. The only things in the Volvo EX30 not operating from there are the steering wheel-mounted gear lever and wipers, along with the window controls. The rest, even the side mirrors, are all operated on the Google-based system.

Not pressing buttons is key

The simplistic design helps create the feel of space in side the cabin, which is finished in various recycled trim in line with the Swedish brand’s strive towards carbon neutrality. Leg and headroom in the rear is adequate for adults on shorter trips to go with 318 litres of boot space.

ALSO READ: Know the PHEVs from the BEVs in Volvo’s new energy repertoire

One freaky thing that takes time to get your head around is that the Volvo EX30 does not start and stop by virtue of pressing buttons. The car unlocks itself when the key – a little plastic block without any buttons – comes withing a certain distance of it. Once you get inside it is up and running; albeit without any sound of course. Then it’s just a case of flicking the gear lever and stepping on the accelerator.

The Volvo EX30 Ultra Twin Motor Performance is every bit the game changer it promised to be. Coming in at a price below seven figures, it is priced right for an electric car to make sense. With some serious firepower to boot.

Volvo EX30 road test results

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