2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge
The XC60 crossover is by far Volvo’s most popular model worldwide, and for the 2022 model year the Swedish company makes some significant updates to keep this SUV’s popularity strong. The 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge gets styling tweaks as well as a major change to the vehicle’s infotainment system. One of the most significant updates, though, came to the XC60 Recharge PHEV, which gets a new powertrain that boasts more power as well as longer electric-only range. Let’s take a closer look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStep Toward Electric Cars
“For many customers, a plug-in hybrid is their first experience in driving electric,” said President & CEO, Volvo Car USA Anders Gustafsson. “This upgrade will show so many the benefits of an electric future, and serve as a stepping stone on their own journey toward full electrification,” Gustafsson noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStyling Updates
While the overall shape of the vehicle remains unchanged, the XC60 gets a fresh face for the 2022 model year. The grille has a new centrally located Volvo Ironmark logo. Forward-looking sensors are now housed in the logo, which is heated to prevent snow or ice buildup. The lower front fascia also has updates that give it a more aggressive look — especially on the sportier R-Line trim.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear View
At the rear of the 2022 Volvo XC60 sit familiar, large LED taillights that flow into the tailgate and also incorporate vertical elements along both sides of the rear window. The restyled rear fascia now hides the exhaust outlets completely. Interestingly, Volvo designers explained this was done to remove “design elements that celebrate CO2 emissions.” (Perhaps a premeditative styling tweak that foreshadows Volvo’s intention to be climate neutral by 2040.) New Diamond Cut alloy wheels complete the revised look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceT8 AWD Powertrain
Underneath that fresh skin is Volvo’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 312 horsepower, teamed with a 143-horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 455 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle also has an integrated 34 kW starter motor that aids in the transition from gas engine to electric power. The gas engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor drives the rears to create a unique all-wheel-drive system.

© Volvo Cars North AmericaBattery Update
This updated XC60 Recharge also gets a more powerful battery, increasing from 11.6 kWh to 18.8 kWh. This increase energy motivates the more powerful electric motor and also increases electric-only range to 35 miles. The XC60 Recharge can be fully charged in 5–8 hours on a Level 2 charger — easily done overnight on a home charging system. The increased battery power has another added benefit: the XC60 Recharge is now eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Efficiency
According to the U.S. EPA, the updated XC60 Recharge is rated at 63 MPGe combined when operating on electric power, and 28 mpg combined driving in hybrid mode. Both numbers are impressive for such a powerful all-wheel-drive crossover.

© Volvo Cars North AmericaOne-Pedal Drive
With the more powerful battery and electric motor, Volvo has added true one-pedal driving to the XC60 Recharge. With this system the driver can control acceleration and braking with only the right pedal. Lifting off the throttle employs regenerative braking ,which slows the car while capturing energy for the battery. With some practice it’s possible to bring the car to a complete stop at the right place (a stop sign, for example) without ever touching the brake pedal.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSharing the Power
Volvo will use this new plug-in hybrid system throughout its Recharge and Polestar Engineered range, including the S60, V60, S90 and XC90. Total range and fuel economy will vary depending on the vehicle, although power output remains the same for all.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
Exterior changes to the XC60 for the new model year could be called evolutionary, although interior updates are more profound — not revolutionary, but significant nonetheless. The driver faces a new 12.3 inch digital display that adjusts depending on the drive mode. The large display can also integrate navigation for improved driver engagement. The large 9-inch vertical display at the center of the dash looks the same as it did before; however, behind the screen resides a completely new Android operating system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGoogle Integration
One of the most significant changes to the 2022 Volvo XC60 is Android integration with Volvo’s infotainment system. The new system acts much like an Android phone, using Google Maps app for navigation as well as Google Assistant to answer natural voice queries. Google Play allows the driver to download apps specifically designed for Google Automotive, such as Spotify and other music streaming services. The system even connects to Google Home when parked at the driver’s house. The system also allows drivers to log in with their own Google accounts so certain services can be shared seamlessly from the phone to the vehicle. Note that Apple CarPlay is not available; Volvo anticipates it will be added via an over-the-air update later this year.

© Volvo Cars North AmericaOn the Road
Volvo invited us to Palm Springs, California, for a short drive in the new XC60 Recharge. While cruising in traffic through town it was easy to keep the XC60 in full electric mode. In city driving the electric motor provides more than adequate acceleration to keep up with traffic. Over the course of 10 miles to the other side of town so we could head up into the mountains, and the gas engine never started during this drive, even at speeds up to 60 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFull Power
Once reaching the mountain roads, we took full advantage of the more powerful hybrid system. Full throttle brings strong acceleration, shoving occupants back in their seats. Volvo claims 60 mph arrives in 4.5 seconds, and we would not dispute that figure. With one-pedal driving we were able to stay on the throttle longer heading into curves and respond quicker on the way out, contributing to a noticeable uptick in performance. Thanks to tight steering, all-wheel drive and excellent throttle response, the XC60 Recharge is much more fun to drive than one might expect from a Volvo SUV.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceIntrusive Traction Control
Even though the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge has great power on tap, sometimes it won’t allow full use. During our drive we had pulled off to the outside of a curve to take some pictures. In order to get back underway we had to accelerate across the oncoming lane, which had loose gravel at its outer edge. With 455 horsepower on tap we figured that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, when the wheels began to slip the traction and stability control cut power to the wheels to keep them from slipping, leaving us in the middle of the road with no power. Luckily power returned quickly and were able to get across the road safely, although for a moment things were a bit tense.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
Not often do vehicles receive a power increase that also increases efficiency, but that’s the case with this 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge. The new powertrain is impressive with plenty of power, extensive range for a plug-in hybrid and overall fuel efficiency. Thanks to updated styling and intuitive Google integration — as well as a spacious interior and advanced safety features — the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge is a great option for premium SUV shoppers. It also offers a taste of what owning an EV might be like — a perfect entree as Volvo continues its move toward full electrification by 2030.

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Published on: March 23, 2022

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