Pros—Handsome. Upscale. Roomy. Quick. Good handling. Supple air suspension ride. AWD. Safety features
Cons—Distracting touchscreen. Tight rear seat behind tall driver. Marginal city fuel economy.
Bottom Line—Compares favorably in many respects to top European mid-size upscale SUVs.
Volvos have changed a lot since the legendary television newsman Walter Cronkite successfully raced a Volvo PV444 sedan in the 1950s—until CBS made him quit. As the years passed, Volvos progressively became more upscale. So now we have the 2022 Volvo XC60
B6 AWD R-Design, a $55,100 upscale mid-size SUV that compares favorably with Mercedes and BMW mid-size SUVs.
The handsome XC60 B6 AWD R-Design is a rather sporty SUV from Volvo’s R Design high performance division. My test model thus had an R-Design grille, new front bumper, special high gloss black windows and black trim, modified suspension and19-inch R-Design alloy wheels.
The 2-liter 4-cylinder engine is turbocharged and also has a new electric supercharger. It produces 295 horsepower and 310 pound/feet of torque. The 0-60 m.p.h. time is about 6 seconds. Acceleration is linear, thanks partly to the efficient 8-speed automatic transmission of this 4,222-pound vehicle.
There are no gleaming chrome exhaust tips found on other sporty SUVs, but Volvo is heavily emphasizing its electric-vehicle future and, silly as it seems, it didn’t add the tips to the gas-engine XC60 because they wouldn’t look “electrical.”
Estimated fuel economy isn’t great in the city: 21 miles per gallon. (I got 9 miles per gallon during a city stop/go 6-mile trip.) However, the estimated highway figure is 27 m.p.g. The fuel holds 18.8 gallons, so the estimated cruising range, using Volvo figures, is 507.6 miles on highways and 394.8 miles in the city.
It’s unusual and surprising that the engine makes absolutely no noise at idle. It thus seems as if you’ve started an electric vehicle. Also, while the engine shuts off to save fuel when you’re sitting for awhile, the XC60 imperceptibly starts the engine when you have to get moving, without the usual shudder or sound found with many other such start/stop systems I’ve experienced.
The electric-assisted power steering is firm but quick and accurate. And handling of this 112.8-inch wheelbase,4,222-pound vehicle is quite good, thanks to electronic stability control, an advanced sport chassis and AWD (all-wheel drive). The ride with my test vehicle’s optional “4-corner” air suspension was supple and comfortable.The brake pedal has a high, firm engagement, and the anti-lock brakes can be easily modulated.
The XC60 B6 comfortably seats four, or five in a pinch in the quiet interior, although a tall passenger behind a tall driver who has his seat moved way back will want more legroom. Front doors open wide, but rear doorways are rather narrow. At least the heated rear seats offer pretty good side and thigh support, and the middle of the rear seat has a large fold down-armrest with two cupholders. Front console cupholders are easily reached, but there are only a fair amount of cabin storage areas. The covered console bin, which serves as an armrest, isn’t very spacious.
There’s a power tailgate and the cargo area provides plenty of room for, say, a week’s groceries. The rear seat backs easily flip forward to reveal an impressively spacious cargo area.
The stylish interior has attractive stitching, super-supportive R-Design power front Nappa Leather heated seats, leatherette rear seats, soft leather sport steering wheel, 4-zone climate control and the usual upscale interior stuff such as a premium sound system and a panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade. A charging tray is at the front of the large front console and there are power points throughout the vehicle. There was no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality, although sources say they are coming.
A special Climate package, which I appreciated during a bitterly cold, snowy Chicago January, contained heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The distracting 9-inch infotainment touch screen was rather convoluted, although the 12.3-inch digital driver display was nicely designed. However, Volvo’s console mounted engine start/stop control causes a driver to twist his/her wrist and should be replaced with a simple push-button start.
This is a Volvo, so there are a good number of safety features. They include a blind-spot information system, cross-traffic alert, low and high speed collision mitigation, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, lots of air bags, rear park-assist camera and also front/rear park assist.
Volvo has come so far up in the world since its 1950s PV444 (I had one and found it indestructible) that the XC60 B6 AWD R-Design can be favorably compared to top European upscale SUVs.