Tested: 2022 Volvo XC60 inch towards electrification

The basic powertrains for Volvo’s XC60 crossover add a 48-volt hybrid system, but you’re more likely to pay attention to new Google-based infotainment.

Tested: 2022 Volvo XC60 inch towards electrification
Tested: 2022 Volvo XC60 inch towards electrification

UPDATE 3/11/22: This review has been updated with test results for the XC60 B6 model.

With the desire to become a futuristic-minded automaker, Volvo has announced that it will only sell electric cars starting in 2030, earlier than most of its competitors. So far, the brand has two EVs in its stability: the XC40 Recharge and its mechanical double, the C40 Recharge. Its other Recharge models, the XC60 T8 and XC90 T8, are plug-in hybrids — halfway towards a battery-powered future. Now, the two main versions of the Volvo XC60 (the brand’s most popular model) – along with the S60 sedan, S90 sedan and V90 Cross Country wagon – add hybrid features to their powertrains.

It’s a 48-volt hybrid system, the smallest step on the electrified path.

As before, the XC60’s powertrains all use a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine. However, the emergence of the 48 volt hybrid system entailed a change in nomenclature. The T5 base is now called B5, while the T6 steps up to become B6. (The plug-in-hybrid variants remain unchanged, offering a 19-mile electric range, continuing as the T8 with a total of 400 horsepower, or 415 in the Polestar Engineered style.) All models continue with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The B5 has front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, with AWD standards elsewhere.

IGHS: Improved infotainment, powerful braking system, style from the inside out.

The 48 volt system does not increase the output power of the B5 or B6. The basic, turbocharged powertrain now produces 247 horsepower (down from 250) along with 258 pound-feet of torque as before. The turbocharged and supercharged version, which also replaced the drive supercharger with its previous straps for an electric-controlled fan, dropped from 316 hp to 295 hp but the torque increased from 295 pound-feet to 310.

The hybrid system helps the XC60 achieve small fuel economy. The EPA’s estimate for front-wheel drive base vehicles improved by 1 mpg in both city and highway tests, to 23/30 mpg in the city/highway. Both the B5 and B6 all-wheel drive add 1 mpg city to their 2021 predecessors, with estimates of 22/28 mpg (B5 AWD) and 21/27 mpg (B6).

In a long-term test with the XC60 T6, we averaged 23 mpg per 40,000 miles. We also recorded a time of 60 km/h of 5.4 seconds. The new B6 version that we tested was significantly slower, took 6.6 seconds to reach that mark, and its 15.0-second, 93 mph pass time was a full second and 7 mph over its predecessor T6. The Audi Q5 45, BMW X3 30i and Mercedes-Benz GLC300 all have speeds up to 60 mph faster.

Subjectively, the new XC60 B6 doesn’t feel any slower, because the 48-volt starter generator supports the horsepower and torque of the engine at lower engine speeds. Moreover, electric power assist does a good job of masking any turbo lag. Reactions to light regulatory applications are now more linear and less disruptive, whether you’re looking to speed up a bit or are stopping.

And when you put the hammer down at 30 mph, the time to accelerate to 50 mph is a little faster than before.

The starter generator also helps to restart automatically seamlessly, which can cause many drivers not to turn off the automatic stop-start system. Also in the theme of stopping and moving driving, the switch to a wire brake system, to maximize recovery braking, is something that cannot be noticed from the driver’s seat, since the adjustment of the brake pedal is no different from a conventional braking system . The new setup also pulled the car to a stop from 70 mph in just 164 feet, 5 feet shorter than before. And finally, there’s a new warning to let the driver not pay attention to knowing when the car in front starts to move, even though it’s not working as fast as the NYC taxi behind you.

LOW: Slower than before, the small cargo hold with the rear seats is raised, the availability of satellite stations and phone reflections are delayed.

The XC60’s suspension remains unchanged and the R-Design car we drive is equipped with an optional 4C adaptive damper. Besides some of the initial tilting movements at the corners, the adaptive damper also does a good job of quelling the body’s movements. But walking on the optional 21-inch wheels, the XC60 still feels heavy legs on the cracked pavement. We measured 0.86 g on the slide, putting Volvo’s cornering grip almost exactly on par with the Q5, X3 and GLC300.

The current XC60 has been out since the 2018 model year, and with 2022 marking a mid-cycle refresh point, Volvo is required to make additional changes beyond the mechanical movement.

The molting in the middle point includes a refined exterior including a new grille structure, a redesigned lower bar, a new wheel design, and a new rear bumper that hides the exhaust. The neatest exterior feature you can’t see: The logo in the center of the grille has now been heated, to prevent the accumulation of tape that can block the sensors contained in it.

Inside, there are new wool blended upholstery seats available, part of Volvo’s move towards more leather alternatives. (The company recently announced that its EV will have no skin.) This is a free option on the Inscription model. The spare Scandinavian-style interiors remain largely the same as before, with enough room for 4 adults, the vault can line up on average in this segment, and there is only a minimum of storage space in the cabin.

The only major update in the cabin was Volvo’s infotainment system switching to a Google-based operating system. Google Maps is now your navigation system, Google Play runs music, and the Siri-style Google Assistant is always ready to answer your queries. The 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen remains physically unchanged, and the homepage (accessed via the system’s unique physical button) continues to have four horizontal cells for navigation, audio, phone, and Google Assistant. The system can receive updates over the network and it will need them, as the original production cars we drive lack satellite radios as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay — all of which are delivered through updates.

The Google Maps navigation system runs Volvo’s signature fonts and the graphics look great, both on the screen and in the standard 12.3-inch digital tool cluster. As before, the latter offers the option of showing two methods: whether there is a map or not.

There are no changes to the (very) limited set of buttons below the screen, which means that for the audio system, there is a volume knob, buttons to search for increase or decrease, and not much else. An adjustment knob would be welcome, as it currently takes multiple search button presses or a few swipes to switch from 93.9 WNYC to 107.1 WFUV.

One change to the screen layout is that at the bottom of the screen, there is now a touchpoint to call the camera the view around, which means you no longer have to search for it in the menu. Even better, the camera will now automatically appear when the car pulls over to the curb, as well as when switching to a reverse number.

Prices start at $43,745 for the front-wheel drive XC60 B5 in the Momentum version. The B6 skips the base setting and starts at the R-Design level for $56,195 with a standard AWD. Everything goes up to $70,595 for the XC60 T8 Recharge Polestar Engineered.

The XC60’s latest move towards electrification brings small improvements in driving capability and fuel economy to popular models. That will help maintain the brand’s best-selling product updates until a brave new battery-powered future emerges.


2022 Volvo XC60 B6 AWD
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

Base/As Tested: $56,195/$65,890
Options: Bowers & Wilkins premium sound, $3200; Advanced package (head-up display, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera), $2050; air suspension, $1800; 21-inch wheels, $1,000; Climate package (headlamp cleaners, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel), $750; metallic paint, $695; power-operated liftgate, $200;

turbocharged, supercharged, and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 120 in3, 1969 cm3
Power: 295 hp @ 5400 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 2100 rpm

8-speed automatic

Suspension, F/R: control arms/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.6-in vented disc/12.6-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season PNCS
255/40R-21 102V M+S VOL

Wheelbase: 112.8 in
Length: 185.4 in
Width: 74.9 in
Height: 65.3 in
Passenger Volume: 100 ft3
Cargo Volume: 26 ft3
Curb Weight: 4378 lb

60 mph: 6.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.0 sec @ 93 mph
100 mph: 17.5 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.2 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.2 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 113 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 164 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.86 g

Observed: 20 mpg

Combined/City/Highway: 24/21/27 mpg




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