New Volvo EX30 vs Smart #1: practicality

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 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

No one is likely to find either of these cars short on head or leg room in the front, but the #1 is a few steps ahead of the Volvo EX30 when it comes to rear space. Not only is the Smart #1 more generous when it comes to head room, but its rear seatbacks can be reclined for extra comfort (unlike those in the EX30). Plus, its taller side windows, combined with a standard panoramic glass roof, help it to feel noticeably airier in the back. If you have children who are prone to getting car sick, this is well worth taking into account.

That isn’t to say the EX30 is cramped in the back; a couple of six-footers will find head room is decent enough and leg room passable. However, unlike in the #1, there isn’t a whole lot of space for feet under the front seats, making it less easy to stretch out. Also, because the EX30’s floor is high relative to the seat base, occupants have to adopt a raised-knees posture that affords little under-thigh support.

Smart #1 rear seats

When you don’t need to prioritise leg room for people sitting in the back, the #1’s seats can be slid forwards to make the boot bigger – albeit not by enough to challenge the EX30 for load-lugging honours. We managed to wrangle four carry-on suitcases below the #1’s parcel shelf with the bench all the way forward, and three with it slid all the way back.

The EX30, meanwhile, can swallow five cases, plus it has a height-adjustable boot floor that enables you to create a space below your luggage for storing the charging cables. Both cars have 60/40 split rear seatbacks, but the #1 also gives you a ski hatch so you can pass long, thin items between a pair of passengers.

Boot space

Volvo EX30

Volvo EX30 boot

Boot 318-904 litres Suitcases 5

Smart #1

Smart #1 boot

Boot 273-976 litres Suitcases 3

<< Previous | Next: How much will they cost to run? >>

Page 3 of 5

Also consider