Now in its early teens, the Volvo XC60 is the Swedish manufacturer’s best-selling vehicle in the United States and globally. The luxury compact sport utility vehicle reached its tenure-best last year, with sales of about 41,500 in this country.
The Volvo XC60’s second generation was introduced in 2017 as a 2018 model. The carmaker describes the 2022 model as the most significant upgrade since.
Changes are aplenty. Exterior styling improvements include: subtle differences in the front and rear-end designs, new exterior color options and new wheel designs.
Mechanically, a mild-hybrid powertrain is new and optional. The infotainment center has been improved to include an Android operating system and new sensor systems for driving assistance.
What remains is the best of what Volvo has always offered. It’s a strong, versatile vehicle throughout the lineup. What it may lack in style pizzazz or extraneous sizzle, it counters with common sense. It’s a car that lets its strong driving personality rule—bravado not needed.
With its leanings toward luxury, Volvo shares an automotive niche with Subaru. It’s a daily driver for many purposes, but it’s at its best in inclement weather and mountainous areas.
The 2022 Volvo XC60 is available in Momentum, Inscription and R Design trim levels. The new Recharge is a plug-in hybrid; the specialty Polestar Engineered version of the Recharge alters various systems to deliver much higher performance. The base XC60 is front-wheel drive (FWD). All-wheel drive (AWD) is available across the remaining lineup.
Volvo categorizes the XC60 as a crossover SUV. It’s a wagon, a description in no way meant as derogatory. Station wagons once reigned, but they were viewed at some point as pedestrian and replaced simply wagon or sport wagon for German brands.
The reviewed 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 AWD R Design is one of the two new and cumbersomely titled trims. The less expensive B5 replaced the T5 and the upscale B6 replaced the T6. The new powertrains add increased efficiency via the mild-hybrid system. It complements the same four-cylinder engine standard in the vehicle and Volvo models for several years.
The B6 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 295 horsepower and all-wheel drive. All models feature an eight-speed automatic transmission. A strong Volvo trait is the easy-shifting, best accomplished with finesse. Flicking the shifter gets the job done perfectly. Aggressive shifting fails.
Acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.1 seconds. Gas mileage averages are 21 mpg in city driving, 27 mpg on the highway. The towing capacity is 3,500 pounds, and Volvo recommends only dolly towing for its vehicles and never flat towing.
According to Volvo, its mild-hybrid system “brings smoothness and electric power to your drive.” A 48V battery and an integrated starter generator support the combustion engine for reduced tailpipe emissions. When the brake is engaged, the battery is recharged.
The 2022 XC60 B6 AWD R Design adds to an already healthy list of standard technology and safety equipment. Highlights include the Climate and Advanced packages. The former features a headlight pressure washer and heated steering wheel. The latter is more elaborate: metallic paint, power-operated liftgate, a Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system, four-corner air suspension and 21-inch alloy wheels.
With the two option packages, stand-alone item costs and destination fee included, the base price of the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 AWD R Design is pushed from $55,100 to $65,890.
Volvo has never offered bargains. But the combined value of safety, consistency, sturdiness, comfort and road presence? It’s what makes the wagon, a so-called crossover SUV, worthy. It’s an example of paying for what you get without hesitation.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.