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Always Safe, but a Dash of Sideways Fun: Electric Volvo EX30 Winter Testing

I drove the electric 2025 Volvo EX30 in northern Sweden's winter wonderland. Both the RWD and AWD impressed, but the AWD induced the biggest smiles.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
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The new 2025 Volvo EX30 is a full-electric subcompact crossover that will hit the U.S. market this summer. First off, all versions of the vehicle are a great new car value — especially for an EV. Pricing ranges from $34,950 to $47,900. But, let’s focus on whether you should buy the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) version.

I flew to the other side of the globe — from Oregon to Sweden — to find out and get some seat time in the great white north, just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. Not only did Volvo create a 2.3-mile, 75-turn private ice track on a frozen lake, complete with an adjacent slalom course, but it also ordered up some properly wintery conditions — with Mother Nature providing fresh snow and high winds.

Wintery Swedish Roads

Upon landing in Lulea, a small city in northeastern Sweden, I hopped in an RWD 2025 Volvo EX30 and headed north on a sunny morning. The roads were mostly clear of snow and the car just cruised along. It was quiet, quick enough, and smooth — everything you expect of a Volvo.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Turning down the final road toward a remote dogsled adventure the road got very narrow and very snowy. The EX30 didn’t skip a beat as it cruised along without drama. Aggressive hard braking revealed that the road surface had much lower traction than communicated by the car otherwise.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

After being pulled around the Swedish countryside in a sled behind a team of excited dogs for a bit, we headed back to Lulea for an afternoon exploring the town on foot, an epic local dinner at Hemma Gastro Nomi, and a good night’s rest.

As I strolled out to the car park the next morning to grab the keys to an AWD EX30, the wind whipped my face with fresh snow and bitter temperatures. A storm was brewing and the day was going to be perfect for testing out the EX30’s low-friction driving characteristics.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

We cruised for a few hours north again, this time on curvy snow-covered roads with plenty of wind drifts and nearly zero traffic. I gave the car some aggressive inputs and played with the angles I could get it to slide — within the limits of the conditions and the traction control. It was a fun morning commute!

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

2025 Volvo EX30: RWD vs. AWD Reviewed on Ice

The main event of this trip to Sweden was the day’s destination: a day of exploring the limits of the 2025 Volvo EX30, in both RWD and AWD versions, on a custom ice track. Volvo had set up a 2.3-mile 75-turn track on a frozen lake, along with a large icy slalom/handling course.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
Volvo ice track; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

Driving enthusiasts might be lifting an eyebrow with cautious optimism when they hear that you can buy a Volvo once again with RWD. You might assume a RWD car would be much more tail-happy and fun on low-traction wintery conditions than AWD, but in the case of the electric EX30, you’d be very wrong.

By the Numbers

The EX30 is just under 14 feet long, just over 5 feet tall, and about 6 feet wide. It’s a small vehicle. It does offer 7 inches of ground clearance, which was plenty for the snowy conditions I encountered in Sweden.

The Single Motor Ext Range (RWD) — with pricing starting at $41,100 — offers up 268 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to motivate it to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 112 mph. Its 3D woven seat material is very nice, and I like it better than the wool blend interior in the AWD.

The AWD, or Twin Motor, EX30 starts at $44,900, but our tester was a top-spec model at $47,900. It puts out a very impressive 422 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to get to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.4 seconds. Its top speed is also limited at 112 mph, however, likely because of the tires.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Drive Setup

Both models have an “ESC Off” slider — electronic stability control — in the infotainment system. You, for sure, can notice when it’s turned off when driving on a slick surface, but it’s never turned fully off.

What the slider does is turn down the nannies, but still keep enough looking over you for the vehicle to still be the super-safe Volvo we all know and love. Of course, that means less tail-out good times on the ice course and on snowy backroads.

On the twin-motor AWD EX30, you also have the option of enabling Performance AWD mode. What this does is lock the front axle and remap the power delivery for performance over economy. I believe this feature is what really lets the AWD EX30 shine on slick surfaces, both in terms of fun and pace.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Sideways & Safe

We were also driving on studded tires (Michelin P245/40R20 X-Ice North 4), necessary for the slick ice and snowy roads. But, tail-out good times were still had, especially in the AWD version of the little crossover.

The extra horsepower, less intrusive nannies that allowed you to get back into that power faster, and locking front axle, combined to make the twin motor AWD EX30 far outshine the single motor RWD in terms of fun loose-surface driving.

That was a bit of a surprise to me, as logically a rear-wheel-drive car you’d think would be more tail-happy and purposefully driftable. Four-wheel drifts in the AWD were tons of fun, and considerably quicker around the track.

The reality is that both versions of the EX30 are Volvos, which means they are tuned to be very safe. The computer nannies are needed on electric vehicles to control the immense and immediate torque, but on a Volvo you can expect them to be a bit more aggressive than in competitors, as the system is tuned for the ultimate in safety first.

In summary, buy the twin-motor AWD EX30. It’s worth the extra money — about $6,000 for similarly spec’d vehicles. Go fast. Have fun.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
Glass roof on higher trim levels is not my favorite, as it has no sun shade or adjustable opacity; (photo/Volvo)

2025 Volvo EX30 First Impressions

For an in-depth review of the EX30, after a first drive in Portugal, be sure to read Paul Eisenstein’s writeup: Fastest Volvo Ever Is an Electric Bargain: 2024 EX30 First Drive Review.

But, here are some quick impressions after a few days of driving a few different versions of the EX30 in the winter wonderland of Northern Sweden.

It was impressively quiet for a car in this price range, especially considering the studded tires I was driving on and the howling winds I experienced.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
Tiny cargo space in the EX30; (photo/Volvo)

A tiny cargo area will only fit one big duffel bag, a carry-on, and a small backpack. In other words, great for groceries, but you’ll have a problem fitting your kid’s jogging stroller or much outdoor gear.

Most of the touch points inside the car feel really good, like the soft armrests and the metal interior door handles. But, the buttons and stalks on the steering wheel feel very cheap.

The seats are quite comfortable. While the passenger seat has fully powered adjustments, it lacks the lumbar adjustment the driver’s seat gets.

The central dash glove box has no hard button to open it. It can only be opened through a button in the touchscreen infotainment system.

When using adaptive cruise control, the “pay attention” alert is very aggressive. This is very annoying and can’t be turned off or down.

Similar to Tesla and some other EVs, there is no driver gauge cluster. Instead, the central infotainment screen is used for everything. It takes some getting used to with the speed and range info always being displayed in the upper left of this screen — not in front of you like in a traditional vehicle.

If you opt for the AWD with the glass roof, expect to deal with some sun glare in the vehicle. The roof has no shade or adjustable tinting, so whatever is happening outside is transmitted into the vehicle.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Volvo EX30 Cross Country

I do wish this little electric crossover had a bit more ground clearance and maybe some more aggressive looks. Volvo recognizes the ruggedized trend that we see across the automotive landscape and has already announced that an EX30 Cross Country is coming — and I heard it is coming very soon.

What that vehicle will look like is still up for debate, as Volvo is being tight-lipped about it. But, we can likely expect AWD, a bit more ground clearance, roof rails, and some chunky fender flares and cladding.

We also expect it to be priced at around $50,000 on the U.S. market, which is still quite the bargain for a rugged and luxurious electric crossover.

While the Volvo EX30 Cross Country will be a bit smaller than the Rivian R3X, they will likely be pretty solid competitors.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
2025 Volvo EX30; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

How So Little Money, but Still All the Features?

How does Volvo pack so much value into this little crossover for so little money? I know, $34,950 isn’t inexpensive, but the EX30 is much cheaper than any comparable EV on the market today. Volvo manages this impressive feat by creating all-in-one solutions.

2025 Volvo EX30 winter drive
The EX30’s interior is clean, modern, and full of recycled materials; (photo/Volvo)

There is no driver gauge pod or heads-up-display (HUD). Instead there is a portrait-oriented central infotainment screen with all the info you need. There are also extremely few buttons, again having the buttons integrated into the infotainment system.

No speakers are found in the doors; instead the EX30 has a dash-wide soundbar — like the one you likely have for your home theater.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Fewer things put into the car save money on the parts and labor, simplify the design, and create a very modern, clean aesthetic.

Production in China, with shared Geely parts, likely also helps keep the cost down, although production for EX30 to be sold in Europe will also begin next year in Belgium. However, these production locations will likely exclude the Volvo EX30 from many of the available federal EV tax credits.

The 2025 Volvo EX30 already has lots of preorders in the U.S., with 80% being new customers to the Volvo brand. You can configure and reserve your own on the Volvo website today.

2024 Volvo EX40: Quick Review

2025 Volvo EX40 winter drive
2025 Volvo EX40; (photo/Volvo)

Volvo also had a couple of 2024 Volvo EX40 AWD vehicles on the ice track for testing, which, of course, I had to sample.

I only got a few laps of the ice track in the 2024 Volvo EX40 — previously called the XC40 Recharge, and similar to the C40 Recharge. While it’s a great little electric crossover, it feels a bit archaic after having just spent some time with the EX30.

The EX40 is a considerably larger vehicle and feels much heavier. The interior is more of what you’d expect from a Volvo in the past 5 or so years — not the super-clean and modern setup in the EX30.

I specifically drove the twin-motor, 441-horsepower, and 494 pound-feet of torque version of the 2024 EX40. It is good for a 4.5-second-to-60mph time — on dry pavement, that is.

On track trying to get the EX40 sideways, you could feel the much more top-heavy — and generally heavy — vehicle. Combine the weight with even more aggressive electronic nannies, and most of the sideways fun was shut down before it began. But, as will all Volvos, it is incredibly safe and confidence-inspiring.

While the EX40 is still a very competitive vehicle in the small luxury crossover segment, complete with everything we’ve come to love about a Volvo, it isn’t the fun, nimble, and properly modern vehicle that the 2025 EX30 is.

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