New Volvo EX30 vs Smart #1: costs

The all-new Volvo EX30 was developed using the same know-how that made the Smart #1 a class leader. But can the newcomer leapfrog its relative?...

Volvo EX30 charging cable under boot floor

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

With our duo being direct rivals, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re priced closely, with the Volvo EX30 narrowly undercutting the Smart #1 in the forms we’ve lined up. Once you factor in all the bills you’re likely to face during three years of ownership, the EX30 extends its advantage, saving you around £2000 thanks to its much slower rate of depreciation.

However, most EV buyers will go down the route of PCP finance, and it’s here where the #1 looks particularly tempting. At the time of writing, Smart is offering a low borrowing rate of 3.9% APR. On a four-year deal, based on a £5000 deposit and a 10,000-mile annual limit, that puts the #1 at £458 per month, compared with a punchier £521 for the EX30.

Smart #1 charging cable under boot floor

And the #1 looks like an even better deal when you consider just how well equipped it is in Premium trim. As standard, both cars get keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, heated seats and a heated steering wheel, but the #1 also has a host of other goodies, such as Matrix LED headlights (which provide superior visibility at night), a 360-degree parking camera and the panoramic glass roof and heat pump we mentioned earlier. If you want those features on your EX30, you’ll have to find an extra £3500 to upgrade to Ultra trim.

There’s hardly anything in it for company car drivers: between now and April 2027, a 40% taxpayer will have to sacrifice a reasonable £1374 of their salary to run the #1, compared with £1360 for the EX30.

Our competitors have slightly different batteries, but their maximum charging rates are almost identical (153kW for the EX30, 150kW for the #1), so a 10-80% top-up takes as little as 26 minutes for each. Using a 7kW home wallbox, a 0-100% charge takes the #1 about 10 hours, which, due to its slightly smaller battery, is 15 minutes less than for the EX30.

Volvo EX30 vs Smart #1 costs

Both cars are too new to have featured in the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey, but Volvo ranked ninth (out of 32) in the brand league table – a strong performance but still below Kia and Hyundai. We didn’t get enough data to be able to include Smart.

As for safety, the experts at Euro NCAP have yet to test the EX30, but the #1 earned the top five-star rating. Both cars have plenty of features to help prevent an accident in the first place, including automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert
(to prevent you from backing out into the path of an oncoming car) and a system that alerts you if you begin to open a door when a cyclist or car is approaching.

Page 4 of 5

Also consider