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Volvo EX30 interior is minimalism with clever tricks and a sound bar


May 31, 2023
Volvo EX30 interior is minimalism with clever tricks and a sound bar

Volvo’s given us another piece of the battery-electric EX30 puzzle. Our first proper glimpse of the interior proves Volvo was not overstating its focus on minimalism in the EX30. We’ve gone years now accusing infotainment screen of looking like tablets bolted to the dashboard. The centrally placed screen in the EX30 doesn’t resemble an iPad on an instrument panel, it looks like a genuine tablet laid on a shelf. We look forward to finding out whether it can be unlatched from the clip-like supports on the sides.

The automaker says all information is presented through the 12.3-inch portrait screen, despite the small curved screen mounted to the steering column behind the wheel. Our guess is the small screen is a gear selection indicator, if it’s not for tiny info bites like speed and navigation, akin to what’s on the Volkswagen ID.4. The large screen offers a “Calm” setting limiting the display to vitals only, letting some welcome dark into the cabin. For the first time in a Volvo, wireless Apple CarPlay is part of the infotainment functionality.

The instrument panel has as least one trick of its own, being a sound bar laid across the top, under the windshield — the same kind of sound bar you’d buy for an OLED television. The unit in the pic is from Harman Kardon; we’re not sure if that’s standard fit or if it’s an upgraded unit that goes with the optional Harman Kardon audio that will be available. Volvo says the EX30 will be the first application of a sound bar in a production car, chosen in part because the bar’s clustered speakers cut down on wiring and open up space elsewhere. That’s right, the sound bar contains the only speakers in the cabin. The space in the doors where speakers normally go has been converted to storage.

Speaking of which, the EX30 picks up a few tricks we saw first on the battery-electric Nissan Ariya. The Volvo’s glovebox has slid sideways to the center of the IP, accessible to the driver without leaning over. The center console slides fore and aft, providing cupholders in easy reach or more space for notions. The power window controls are on the center console as well, we hope located on a segment that doesn’t slide. Volvo one-ups the Ariya by placing protective walls around the console’s storage area on the floor, so little items don’t roll left and right. Rear-seaters get their own storage box that emerges from the rear of the console. 

And because the Swedes know their customers, they say the cargo bay will include a size guide so flat-pack furniture shoppers know ahead of time whether their new desk and bookcase will fit.

Buyers will choose one of four themed “rooms,” all of which are constructed with a great deal of recycled or responsibly sourced materials. The urban crossover debuts on June 7 in Milan, a couple of days after Lexus debuts its urban crossover LBX in the same city. 

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