For 2022, Volvo’s most popular model, the XC60 CUV, gets more of an update than a midcycle refresh usually warrants, with the exterior styling, technology and connectivity capabilities and powertrains all improving compared to the 2021 model.
The ’22 Volvo XC60 moves the needle when it comes to integrating the driver’s voice with the car’s Google-based infotainment system, but that’s not enough to make everything run smooth as butter.
The updated XC60 comes with a standard 48V mild-hybrid powertrain that uses an 8-speed automatic transmission with start/stop and a turbocharged gasoline 2.0L 4-cyl. in two variations. The version in the B5 trim produces 247 hp and 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) of torque. In the B6 trim, an electric supercharger helps increase output to 296 hp and 310 lb.-ft. (420 Nm).
The T6 and T8 Polestar Engineered trim are the plug-in hybrid options that offer 19 miles (31 km) of electric-only range. The T8 produces a combined 415 hp and 494 lb.-ft. (670 Nm) and features upgraded suspension and chassis components for better driving dynamics.
The electric motor on the rear axle provides 87 hp and makes all-wheel drive possible on the PHEV models.
On the road, the ’22 XC60 is not dramatically different than the 2020 version we reviewed a few years ago, but there are a few minor notes to take into account. Back then we drove the T8 PHEV, while this time we got behind the wheel of a $65,890 (including $1,095 destination charge) B6 trim with all-wheel drive.
First, the new brake-by-wire system makes stop-and-go driving smoother, with a brake pedal that feels just like a conventional brake system.
The new XC60 also uses its front-facing sensors to alert the driver if the vehicle in front of them has started moving – just one aspect of the CUV’s ADAS systems that are meant to be seamless and intuitive, so much so that you can’t really turn them off.
When you’re driving and the sensors figure out that you’re in a lane, they will try to keep you in that lane, and there are thankfully no annoying beeps or buzzes to tell you that you’re veering to one side or the other.
For the visual changes, Volvo gives the XC60 a new grille (pictured, above) – standard procedure in the industry these days, whether it’s a model-year update or not – featuring a new “Iron mark” design that’s heated so ice can’t build up and block the sensors hiding behind the logo, as well as new color and wheel options.
The tailpipes now are hidden under the restyled rear fascia, a change that was perhaps simply a style choice or perhaps influenced by the automaker’s stated mission to have 50% of its sales volume be fully electric by 2025.
Whatever the reasons, the new XC60 doesn’t stray from the elegant design language Volvo has been refining in recent years.
The interior (pictured, above) also has been updated (the new, leather-alternative wool-blend fabric, for example), but the real star is the next-generation infotainment system that was built with Google Maps and Google Assistant in mind. It’s fun to play around with, and some of this tech actually makes it easier and safer to get things done while driving.
Overall, though, it’s still a long way for truly natural voice interaction because some of the potentially useful settings are kept off-limits for voice control.
You can’t set the cruise control speed, or change it, using your voice. You can’t speak to pair a new phone or roll the windows up or down. And if you tell the wipers to turn on, the car will play a song from the band The Wipers instead of cleaning the windshield.
The features that don’t work could be considered safety-related, so it’s understandable that they’re off-limits. But a driver can use voice commands in the new XC60 to adjust audio volume and change cabin temperature. Volvo has decreed that voice commands will adjust the temp by 4° F (16° C) while using the buttons will adjust it by two degrees.
The system also responds well with spoken navigation destinations. And between the center infotainment screen, the driver’s display and the head-up display, the car gives you three ways to know when to turn once you’ve told the car where you want to go.