2022 Volvo XC60 and V90 Cross Country First Drive Review

Volvo says it is committed to transitioning to an all-electric vehicle lineup, and the latest step in the process involves upping the electrification of some of the marque’s existing gasoline-powered models. For 2022, the Volvo XC60, S60, S90, and V90 Cross Country ditch their old gas-only turbocharged T5 and twin-charged T6 drivetrains in favor of new turbocharged B5 and twin-charged B6 mild hybrid systems. We joined Volvo for a day in Santa Monica and Malibu, California, to learn more about the new drivetrains and to test them on a variety of roads.

Be sure to read up on what else is new for the 2022 Volvo lineup here.

What Does B6 Mean?

Every gas-powered Volvo uses a variant of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Here’s a breakdown of the existing drivetrain offerings:

  • T4: Naturally aspirated
  • T5: Turbocharged
  • T6: Turbocharged and supercharged
  • T8: Turbocharged and supercharged, with an electric motor

Volvo now interrupts its fairly straightforward range with B5 and B6 offerings that replace the T5 and T6 for the 2022 XC60, S60, S90, and V90 Cross Country. The regular belt-driven supercharger is gone, replaced by an electrified unit. There’s also a belt-driven starter-generator. Both variants use brake-by-wire and shift-by-wire systems.

How Does It Work?

A 48-volt system is the foundation for Volvo’s latest pair of powertrains. The small battery gathers electricity from a two-stage braking-energy recapture system and uses it to power an integrated starter-generator (ISG). The ISG connects to the engine with a belt, starts the engine quickly, and recoups electricity from the brakes to the 48V battery. B6 models ditch the old belt-driven turbocharger in favor of an electric supercharger.

Total system output is 247 hp for B5 variants and 295 hp for the B6 version. Although the starter-generator provides 13 hp that is worked into the total output figures for both drivetrain versions, it makes a maximum of 30 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, which can’t be factored into the B5’s 258 lb-ft and the B6’s 310 lb-ft.

What’s It Like to Drive?

We had some seat time in both the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 AWD R-Design and the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD Inscription. The first stretch of the drive featured plenty of opportunities to test the twin-charged engine’s off-the-line tuning with a number of stop lights and stop signs.

Volvo’s new ISG helps make for a fantastic automatic stop/start system. You can’t disable it, but it is entirely imperceptible when it fires up or shuts down the engine. When it was time to take off, the 2022 Volvo XC60 and V90 Cross Country exhibited great throttle response and were quick off the line. The Swedish manufacturer claims an entirely believable 5.9-second 0-60-mph time for both vehicles.

When it came time to hustle the V90 Cross Country through the canyons, the tall wagon scooted up steep grades with ease. Transmission tuning was never one of the old T6 drivetrain’s strengths, and it remains a weak point for the B6, too. Gear changes felt slow, and at times the eight-speed automatic hesitated to step down when called upon for a downshift. Once the gearbox sorted everything out, power delivery to the all-wheel-drive system was meaty and linear. There’s some sweet induction noise under full throttle, too.

The new drivetrain also suited the XC60 well. It hauled the compact luxury SUV off the line with ease and provided plenty of passing power on a winding two-lane stretch of Pacific Coast Highway.

Both models suffered a slight weight gain thanks to the new componentry. At 4,280 pounds, the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 AWD is 21 pounds heavier than the 2021 XC60 T6 AWD. Meanwhile, the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD sits at 4,271 pounds, a 58-pound increase over the 2021 V90 Cross Country T6 AWD.

Both models enjoy somewhat improved fuel economy. The 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD returns an EPA-rated 22/29 mpg city/highway, whereas the T6 from the previous year only managed 20/30 mpg. The 2022 XC60 B6 AWD also received a slight bump. The EPA rated the compact crossover at 21/27 mpg city/highway versus the 2021 XC90 AWD T6’s 20/27 mpg. The gains are small, but so were the drivetrain changes. In all, both vehicles’ average fuel economy rose by 1 mpg over the previous model year.

Despite having a two-stage brake-by-wire system, a feature that can often cause the brake pedal to feel soft along with jerky or abrupt deceleration, Volvo’s B6 energy recapture system includes a predictable and linear pedal feel. The car stopped smoothly and had no trouble hauling down from speed.

In short, the mild hybrid system is smooth off the line and delivers stout acceleration. Although the driving experience isn’t vastly different from the previous T6 models, the B6 provides an overall improvement for models that feature it.

Is the B6 Worth It?

The 2022 Volvo XC60 R-Design and 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country look spectacular inside and out, and the new drivetrains make it easier to justify buying either the SUV or wagon for more than just their great design. Volvo asks $56,195 to start for the 2022 XC60 B6 AWD R-Design and $56,295 for the V90 Cross Country B6 AWD. The XC60 we tested came totaled $65,890, and the V90 Cross Country stickered at $68,440. That’s full-on luxury car pricing—but the new drivetrains add the smoothness Volvo needs to contend better against its competition.

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