The Updated 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 is now a Mild-Hybrid
But fuel economy hasn't improved by as much as you'd expect...
The Volvo XC60 has been a big hit for the Scandinavian brand since this generation’s introduction back in 2018. For the 2022 model year, the XC60 receives a few updates to keep it relevant in a crowded mid-size luxury SUV market.
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Engine – The biggest change to the powertrain of the 2022 Volvo XC60 is the introduction of a 48-Volt mild-hybrid system. This is similar to Mercedes’ EQ-Boost system where the electric motor aids in improving fuel economy, smoothness, and a bit of performance. Note, this is not a hybrid vehicle where you can drive on electricity alone for short distances. The engine in this B6 XC60 (formerly T6 designation), it is a 2.0L turbocharged and electric supercharged 4-cylinder. The electric supercharger aids at lower rpms until the turbocharger spools up and it saps much less of the engine’s power than the old mechanical supercharger. Power output is at 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (220 kW / 420 Nm). That’s a drop from 316 hp but an increase from 295 lb-ft of last year’s engine. The electric motor provides 13 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque (10 kW / 40 Nm) when the XC60 is accelerating or to fill torque gaps between gear shifts.
Fuel Economy – Of course the main purpose of adding this MHEV system to the XC60 is to improve fuel economy. Officially the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 is rated for 8.7 L/100km (27 MPG) on a highway and 11 L/100km (21.3 MPG) in a city. This MHEV system only improves the city fuel economy by 0.7 L/100km (1.2 MPG) over last year’s T6 model. The highway fuel economy is virtually unchanged. During my time with the SUV, I averaged 10.8 L/100km (21.8 MPG).
Another big change is the omission of a drive mode selector. There is an Off-Road mode in the infotainment system but there is no Sport or Eco drive mode.
Transmission – Paired with the engine is the same 8-speed automatic transmission from previous year models. But with the addition of the MHEV system, the 8-speed provides smoother shifts between gears and it shows. In everyday driving situations, the shifts are nearly imperceivable.
Braking – The brakes have also been updated for the 2022 model year. It is now a brake-by-wire braking system. This allows for better integration with the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving aid as well as the automatic emergency braking system. The brake pedal feel is virtually identical to last year’s hydraulic system. Smooth and easy to modulate in city driving situations but a firm, confidence inspiring feel under emergency situations.
Handling – The non-Polestar Engineered Volvo vehicles were not designed with sportyness in mind. As such, steering effort is easy and light – though you can make it stiffer through the infotainment system – which makes it ideal for daily commutes. On a winding mountain road, the Volvo XC60 is not particularly engaging to drive but it is sure-footed with the standard AWD system on B6 powered cars.
Ride Comfort – This particular demo vehicle came equipped with the optional air suspension. The suspension can be adjusted for a normal ride comfort or a firm ride mode. The firm mode allows it to resist more body roll through corners but makes the ride too jarry. The normal air suspension mode is great for city streets. It doesn’t doesn’t disconnect you from the feel of the road while providing a reasonably plush ride. It’s only small, quick bumps that you feel transfer into the cabin and into the seat bottom.
Interior Space – The 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 has the least amount of headroom among its closest competitors; the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC 300. However, it has more legroom than both for front and rear passengers. It also has more cargo capacity with the rear seats upright at 613 L (21.6 cu-ft). But it has less cargo capacity if the rear seats are folded at just 1,410 L (49.8 cu-ft).
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The integration of the mild-hybrid system means that the electric motor provides an extremely smooth engine start. It is seamless. You cannot turn off the auto start/stop system but it is so responsive and smooth that you wouldn’t really want to. The engine itself is quieter than last year’s model too. However, at higher rpms, it still sounds like it’s screaming for you to let off the throttle pedal. Road and wind noise are very well subdued on highways with minimal intrusion of both into the cabin.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – A base 2022 Volvo XC60 starts at $50,750 CAD ($42,650 USD). This Inscription trim starts at $62,450 CAD ($51,245 USD). After you add on packages and options like this demo vehicle, you’re looking at around $75,650 CAD ($67,040 USD).
Gadgets – Like many other luxury vehicles, the Volvo XC60 can be equipped with soft Nappa leather upholstery, heated & ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, hands-free power liftgate, surround view cameras, head-up display, Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive, blind spot sensors, massaging front seats, premium Bowers & Wilkins sounds system, and so on. One small note on the gadgets, the placement of the wireless phone charging pad seems like an afterthought. While it does have a textured rubber surface to prevent phones from sliding, the phones are very visible from the outside. So if a police officer peers through the window and sees it, you could face a ticket if you live in a part of the world where having an electronic device within easy reach is a crime.
However, the biggest change to the 2022 model year is the new Android Automotive based infotainment system. At first glance, it looks similar to Volvo’s Sensus infotainment. It has the same four primary sections on the home screen with navigation on top, media below, phone below that, and vehicle status at the bottom. Now though, you can’t swipe left or right to access more pages. The car settings have been integrated into one settings menu and the amount of things that you can change has also been reduced. This new system does not integrate Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto but you can access all of your personal things through the Google log in. You can also use Google Assistant by just saying “Hey Google”. Best of all, the new system loads much more quickly on cold start. The old one felt as though I was aging 20 years while I waited for the infotainment to boot up. This new one takes less than 10 seconds.
However, it’s not all perfect because the climate controls are still integrated into the infotainment screen. Yes, it is just one touch if you want to change the temperature but it’s more than one touch for everything else like changing the fan speed or direction of air. Thankfully, volume control is still a physical knob below the screen.
Interior Design – The interior of the 2022 Volvo XC60 has remained largely unchanged. Real wood and aluminum trim cover parts of the dashboard and center console while soft leather covers the rest. I do like Volvo’s use of carpet up the side of the center console as it reduces the use of hard plastics and gives the cabin a premium feel. A couple of things did change – however – one of which is the driver display. The graphics are different and now show a much larger navigation map. You can turn off the map but if you do that, then there’s a large black section between the speedometer and tachometer. The other change is to the sunroof controls. It is now a touch sensitive control that just requires a swipe of your finger to open or close it.
Exterior Design – This Inscription trim doesn’t see many styling changes to the outside. If this were the R-Design trim, then it would have a very different front bumper and rear bumper. This Inscription trim also has a slightly different rear bumper compared to last year’s model and now, all XC60’s have hidden exhaust pipes.
Warranty – The 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 Inscription has a similar warranty period to its German rivals. It comes with a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle and powertrain warranty.
Conclusion – In the end, the updates to the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 have made a drastic change to how the car feels from behind the steering wheel. It is much quieter, a bit more economical, and still a comfortable daily commuter. The changeover to the new infotainment system is also a big plus to the XC60. Overall it is a much more refined feeling SUV.