By Seán Creedon

Writing a car review is no different to any other type of review, be it a film, a book, a play or a show. You hear people talk about what they liked or didn’t like, but you have to see the show or read the book yourself to make up your own mind, or in the case of a new car, drive it yourself.

I had heard colleagues talk about the new electric Volvo EX30 and some said that it was very sensitive and that it might suddenly stop when turning a corner if the safety systems detected an object in its way. I know from previous test drives that Volvo cars always come with many advanced safety and driver assistant systems as standard.

Well I didn’t have any such problems last week, once I figured out how to navigate my way through the 12.3-inch upright infotainment screen on the dash.

A few years back there was a lovely man called Joe Gantly, who was Fiat’s PR man in Ireland. When you were picking up a Fiat or Alfa Romeo car, Joe would come out and give you a quick run-through on ‘what did what’ on the controls on the dash.

I thought of Joe last week as I had difficulty trying to find my way through the infotainment screen on the EX30. I was told that it would be easier to figure out if you owned the car as then you could use the dedicated app for the controls.

I could find a button to open the glove compartment, but couldn’t find one to turn off the headlights. I’m not a great man for reading manuals, but this time round, Mr Google was quicker than any manual and I figured it out eventually.

Coincidentally the EX30 is built on the same platform as the Smart Hashtag One that I drove the previous week. I think the controls were easier to use in the Smart.


My test car came in a lovely shade of Cloud Blue. As usual with electric cars, no grille, so a bland look at the front. At first I thought the external colour was white, but after a few drives I realised that it was not as white as I thought. Topped off with 18-inch, 5-spoke aero alloys the car looked very impressive in the supermarket car park.

Inside the light-blue seats really brightened the décor, which went up another notch thanks to a full-length sun roof. I liked the rectractable divider column between the driver and front seat passenger, which can also be used as a cup-holder. The buttons to open the front windows are also located in that column.

The dash had a minimalist look to it. There is no speedometer in your line of vision and you don’t get a pop up display on the windscreen telling you what your speed is. Located just below the infotainment screen and also on the doors ,there was what looked like speckles of white and black paint on a grey background. It was different, to say the least!

Apart from the stalks at the side of the steering wheel and a few slave controls on the steering wheel, most of the controls for the car are included in the infotainment screen, which means that you do have to momentarily take your eyes off the road to check what speed you are doing etc.

Prices start at €38,600, but my Ultra trim test car with a plethora of extras will cost you €51,095. Road tax is €120. Volvo claim a range of approximately 476km, but I think 430km would be a more accurate figure. No problem charging the car.

It’s a very comfortable car to travel in and seemed to glide along. Plenty of room for three adults in the back seat and the boot is just about average size.

If it’s power you are after the EX30 will respond very quickly when you ‘put the boot down.’