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The 2022 Volvo XC60 is a mild but appetizing reworking of the Swedish automaker’s best-selling model SUV. The update is designed to keep pace with a long lineup of luxury-badged rivals. By mild, we’re referring to what’s under the hood of this five-passenger sport-ute, not a degree of salsa spiciness or the latest picante fusion taco.

That’s because Volvo has replaced the XC60’s T5 and T6 powertrains with a new mild-hybrid lineup that consists of the entry-level B5 and mid-range B6. Each engine uses the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder as a base, and both use a 48-volt battery and belt-driven starter generator.

2022 Volvo XC60 First Drive Exterior

The turbocharged B5 produces a total of 247 horsepower and can be had in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. The B6 engine employs both a turbocharger and supercharger to deliver 295 horsepower and is only offered with all-wheel drive. As before, the 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid T8 powertrain with its 18 miles of EV range remains the top dog in the XC60 range.

Each of the XC60’s mild-hybrid engines’ claim to fame is smoother power delivery and improved fuel economy. Do these new powertrains live up to their promise? The results are a mixed bag, at least in the trafficked confines of midtown Manhattan and the surrounding region.

Quick Stats 2022 Volvo XC60 B6
Engine Twin-Charged 2.0-Liter Mild-Hybrid I4
Output 295 Horsepower
Fuel Economy 21 City / 27 Highway / 24 Combined
Cargo Volume 22.4 / 63.3 Cubic Feet
Base Price $42,650 + $1,095 Destination

Born To Be Mild

Running roughly parallel to the Hudson River, our north-south (and back again) route included tight and twisty roads that would put a high-revving sports car to the test. Credit Volvo for not shying away from a challenge.

Our test vehicle was an XC60 in R-Design trim with the B6 powertrain, all-wheel drive, and the optional air suspension with 21-inch alloy wheels. Finished in Crystal White paint ($695), this photo-friendly hue is one of nine available exterior colors. Unlike Volvo’s recent (over)reliance on various shades of grey, black, and silver, the XC60 can be had in blue and red. Wild days in Gothenburg, Sweden, indeed!

2022 Volvo XC60 First Drive Exterior
2022 Volvo XC60 First Drive Exterior
2022 Volvo XC60 First Drive Exterior

Before diving into how it drives though, let’s talk about how the XC60 looks. To be honest, the changes are minimal. Exterior mods include a reprofiled front grille insert, new alloy wheel designs ranging from 19 to 22 inches in diameter, a modest reworking of the front bumper, and hidden exhaust pipes at the rear.

If you can spot these changes on the fly, pat yourself on the back because you’re a true yellow-and-blue Volvo fan. The fact of the matter is the previous XC60 was a fine-looking SUV, so there wasn’t a need to dramatically alter the design in the 2022 model.

Charged Up

Before setting out, Volvo reps made a point to mention that the B5 and B6 powertrains have a much smoother – to use their word, "silent" – application of the stop/start fuel-saving system. In Manhattan traffic and at endless traffic lights, it was impressive how the system barely makes any noise or vibration. That’s good because it can’t be turned off, unlike most stop/start systems in other vehicles.

The turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter B6 engine is strong when merging onto a highway, and you’ll need less than 6.0 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph. Now, will that scare sporty SUVs from the likes of Mercedes-AMG or BMW’s M division? Probably not. But power from the XC60 B6 engine is linear and provides more than enough pace.

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One disappointment is that fuel economy isn’t far removed from the outgoing T5 and T6 motors. In the case of our XC60 tester, the official EPA-estimated mileage registers at 21 miles per gallon in city driving and 27 on the highway, for a combined average of 24 mpg. For comparison, the previous T6 engine posted 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway, and a combined 23 mpg.

From behind the wheel the handling is sharp and direct, there are no extraneous drive modes to make it sportier, which in many SUVs simply means adding artificial heft to the steering. Frankly, it’s a relief not to have to toggle through menus to find an ideal driving balance. In terms of the ride, it’s firmer than you might imagine.

Gallery: 2022 Volvo XC60: First Drive

On smooth roads the suspension inspires confidence and keeps the XC60 level during tight corners. Yet, if you expect a pillow-soft ride because this is a Swedish SUV, think again. On potholed city streets, the XC60 bounces and skips over bumps that cushier luxury crossovers would shrug off.

It’s not a deal-breaker, and the tradeoff for the tauter and sportier ride could appeal to many SUV shoppers. We’d like time spent with the standard suspension, and perhaps smaller wheels, to see how the two compare.

Back That Dash Up

The cabin of the 2022 XC60 has plenty of room for adults in the first or second row, and the front seats remain some of the best in the business in terms of comfort and well-placed padding. By and large, the previous interior design carries through the 2022 model year, with some bonuses like wider availability of the Orrefors-designed crystal gear lever knob.

The big news is what’s situated in the middle of the dashboard, namely a new 9.0-inch Google Android infotainment system. Volvo has been retiring its Sensus system for Google software in vehicles ranging from the subcompact XC40 SUV and the V90 Cross Country wagon to the Polestar 2 electric sedan.

2022 Volvo XC60 First Drive Interior
2022 Volvo XC60 First Drive Interior

The graphics are sharp and most menus are easily navigated, though it’d take more time with the system than our one-day drive to get comfortable with all the features. We were instructed to put the Google Assistant voice commands to the test and, surprise surprise, the responses were generally quick and accurate.

There were some quirks, such as a lunch stop address that unless precisely stated would have led us hours away to a brewery on Long Island. Not a bad thing, per se, though definitely not an agreed-upon stop according to Volvo’s agenda. Interestingly, when using this system for temperature controls, you can only adjust via even numbers. That’s correct, Volvo and Google have decided odd-numbered temps are officially canceled.

Volvo Building Blocks

Since cabin and cargo room are carryover, the 2022 XC60 still offers around 22 cubic feet of trunk volume behind the split-folding second row. With it folded, cargo space swells to about 63 cubic feet in total. That’s a solid amount of room, especially considering the Volvo’s tapered tail-end treatment.

And did we get this far without mentioning safety features? Volvo says the sensors incorporated in the 2022 XC60 have been upgraded to provide improved responses for the SUV’s wide-ranging active safety features. In fact, some sensors now reside behind the Volvo badge in the middle of the front grille – it’s heated during cold weather, to ensure snow and slush don’t impede their effectiveness.

It’s a subtle touch in a luxury SUV that’s been gently reworked to be a more tempting alternative in a crowded field of competitors. A few more MPGs would be welcome with the maneuver to mild-hybrid status, though the basic appeal of the XC60 has been amplified with its improved tech and better power delivery.

Competitor Reviews:

Gallery: 2022 Volvo XC60: First Drive

2022 Volvo XC60 B6 AWD R-Design

Engine Twin-Charged 2.0-Liter Mild-Hybrid I4
Efficiency 21 City / 27 Highway / 24 Combined
Cargo Volume 22.4 / 63.3 Cubic Feet
Towing 3,500 Pounds
Base Price $42,650 + $1,095 Destination
As-Tested Price $64,795
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