Technological speed continues advancing electrified vehicle progress. Case in point, Volvo’s highly advanced 2022 XC60 Recharge ‘Extended Range’ a mouthful of a descriptor deconstructed a few paragraphs down.
Volvo, an automaker with deep Swedish roots and nimble size, blazed through bureaucratic layers faster than larger European luxury automakers successfully advancing its electric vehicle mantra. Volvo paved the way towards a zero-emission reality by announcing an ambitious target of 50 percent pure electric vehicle sales by 2025. The remaining 50 percent is expected from hybrid-electric cars on its way to a climate neutral goal.
For those new to this electrified genre, a bit of background.
Pure electric vehicles, or EVs team together a sizeable, rechargeable, battery pack (combining scores of lithium-ion cells) to power electric motors. In 2022, EVs average approximately 250 miles of pure electric driving when fully charged, a substantial leap forward from the first-generation Nissan Leaf a decade earlier which squeezed approximately 80 electric miles from a full charge.
By contrast, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) straddles the EV and traditional internal combustion (IC) worlds by combining both technologies together. A PHEV such as Volvo’s XC60 Recharge Extended Range makes sense for those curious about an electrified future without going full EV throttle first. The onboard internal combustion engine calms ‘range anxiety,‘ a term coined describing a fear of running low or out of electric battery power with no apparent charge station or plug in sight.
Consider X60 a luxury crossover skewing towards the larger end of the compact spectrum. Volvo also manufacturers the smaller XC40 and larger XC90 with XC40 crossovers (XC indicating five-door crossover in Volvo speak) marketing a pure-electric Recharge variant. All versions of the XC60 build from the ground up from the automakers Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) first introduced by Volvo in 2016 able to accommodate EV, IC and hybrid technologies.
During XC60’s second-generation debut in 2017, Volvo introduced the plug-in hybrid variant of the XC60 with nearly identical exterior good looks and dimensions of its five-door crossover IC cousin. Volvo badges both PHEV and EV models within its lineup as ‘Recharge,’ better differentiating the technology from IC counterpart.
Ford Motor Company folded the Gothenburg, Sweden-based automaker into its Premier Auto Group from 1999 through 2009. Volvo then found its way to Geely, one of China’s fastest-growing auto conglomerates that also owns Polestar and Lotus. Volvo sales reach 100 countries worldwide.
All 2022 model year XC60s receive a mild refresh with reworked front and rear facias (tail pipes now get hidden behind the bumper). Independent front and rear suspension along with air suspension add to a refined experience expected from a European luxury entrant. A sizeable 8.3 inches of ground clearance combines good road perception and easy entry/exit. Generous headroom abounds in front and back of this five-seater. Three 2022 XC60 Recharge Extended Range trims include Inscription, R-Design and Polestar Engineered.
As with its gas counterpart, the XC60 Recharge grille includes vertical slates with Volvo’s historic logo front and center. The circular logo with an arrowhead pointing up and to the right at approximately 2 o’clock, represents the ancient symbol for iron. Flanking the grille; a ‘Thor’s Hammer’ light design, a nod to the Nordic God of thunder, with a side-resting ‘T’. Rear vertical lighting also pays homage to Nordic thinking with red housing hugging the rear hatch window providing an Alpine slide appearance.
Volvo’s 2022 XC60 Recharge upgrades to a new-for-22, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels. The newly added “Extended Range” suffix reflects a larger battery pack contributing to a substantial increase in pure-electric travel before hybrid technology takes over. The now standard 18.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack (replacing a smaller 11.6-kilowatt hour version) stretches underfloor along the car’s vertical lower spine powering an electric motor turning the front wheels.
When fully charged, XC60 delvers approximately 35 miles of EV driving, and that’s a conservative figure when factoring in electric perks such as regenerative braking. The 2021 XC60 Recharge delivered a mere 19 miles of electric travel, so the jump to 35 miles in just one year represents a huge jolt forward. The two systems in tandem create an all-wheel drive experience.
The XC90 Recharge Extended Range, now includes a ‘one-pedal’ driving feature activated from the eight-speed electronic/automatic transmission shifter located between front buckets. The ‘one pedal’ in ‘one-pedal driving’ reflects gas pedal usage with little need to summon the brake pedal.
Shifting to conventional’ D’ (Drive) to ‘B’ (indicating ‘braking’ I guess) summons additional regenerative braking friction into play, creating and delivering kinetic energy back into the battery for later use. Lift the right foot off the accelerator and the added friction resistance coasts the vehicle to a halt in relative quick fashion during stop-and-go traffic. It’s quickly mastered adding to the evolving opportunities provided by EV and PHEV travel.
The decorative transmission shifter employees a clear, wedge-type grab ornament and when nudged upward twice, engages reverse. Two taps rearward summons drive and an additional tap back delivers the one-pedal option. The B designation shows up within the sizeable digital instrument panel, but not within the template hardware near the ornamental shifter. When finished driving for the day, a push down of a small ‘P’ left of the ornament designates park.
As with all EVs and a large swath of PHEVs delivering substantial all-electric miles, this XC60 qualifies for the Federal Government’s $7,500 tax credit redeemable during income tax filing time and available in all 50 states including Illinois. A decade ago during EV infancy, some manufacturers limited EV and PHEV sales to coastal states. Volvo has yet to reach the 200,000 electrified sales plateau, so the tax incentive applies to all of Volvo’s EVs and most PHEVs. This credit expires once Volvo reaches 200,000 combined EV or PHEV sales in the U.S. Newly sold Tesla and Chevrolet EVs/PHEVs no longer quality for the $7,500 incentive since both companies surpassed the 200,000-unit milestone.
The 312 horsepower turbo IC engine combines with the 143 horsepower electric motor creating 455 of welcomed and thrilling horsepower. Plug-in hybrids are anything but pokey or boring.
Starting price for our Recharge “Extended Range” Inscription trim came in at $62,250. A half-dozen or so factory options/packages plus a $1,095 destination charge increased the bottom line to $72,840. Extras included a $750 climate package (with nifty headlight cleaners and heated rear seats), $2,050 Advanced Package (windshield heads-up display, radar-enhanced cruise control), $695 upgraded exterior metallic paint, $200 power tailgate (which should be standard), $1,800 upgraded air suspension, $3,200 stereo upgrade and $800 diamond cut alloy wheels. All three trims include a nice array of high-tech safety features standard.
Utilizing a ’Level 2’ 240-volt plug charges the battery pack in a swift five hours from a depleted state. The 240-volt outlet is similar to those used to power household washers and dryers. However, investing in a Level two alternating current (AC) garage charger may not be necessary with the XC60 Recharge. Utilizing the provided plug cord and common 110-volt outlet (Level One) fully charges this PHEV from a depleted state in about 14 hours according to our hands-on at-home testing, workable when powering up during overnight hours when rates generally drop lower.
After nightly charging, 45 miles of pure electric charge was ready for use, ten more than its EPA estimated 35-mile all-electric range. A key reason for our additional 10 miles of electric range was optimal driving conditions during testing spearheaded by mild 70-degree temperatures. Lithium-ions within the battery pack lose some motivation when temperatures dip below zero. If charged in mid-January, most likely the electric range would dip back closer to 35 miles. This combines with 415 gasoline-ready miles when fully topped off for a plentiful range of 450 miles. The internal combustion engine recommends pricier 91-octane fuel for optimal performance.
Every XC60 PHEV includes a welcome, dual voltage charging cable Volvo references as a TurboCord. This allows charging from both level 1 and level 2 chargers. Most PHEVs of the recent past only include a dedicated level 1 charger when purchasing from a dealer. With its smaller all-electric range, PHEVs don’t utilize commercially available DC (direct current) Fast Chargers important to the viability of pure EVs.
A sizeable, 12.3-inch, highly animated horizontally situated digital instrument panel works nearby the nine-inch, portrait-style, in-dash, integrated touch screen to the immediate right. This Google-based information touch screen performs multiple duties, including most HVAC controls although small quick-hit front and rear defroster buttons reside directly below the screen.
A single mid-point twist knob below screen serves several functions, including audio volume. Minimal buttons and dashboard dials create an elegant interior look, although the multitude of touch screen functions and layers take time to master depending upon one’s I-Pad skill level. Android Auto Smartphone interplay takes front and center as Apple’s Car Play has yet to receive an invite to this party.
Pressing the ‘settings’ icon in the multifunction touch screen and choosing the ‘Driving’ option allows drivers to switch between all-electric driving and PHEV through an on-screen template. When starting the vehicle, the system defaults to pure all-electric mode as long as electric miles remain. The ‘pure’ electric mode works most efficiently during around-town travel, so choosing the ‘hybrid’ mode when traversing highways saves ‘pure’ electric power for later, slower jaunts.
Wool blended seating surfaces break from the traditional faux leather with a grey/blue hue in our Inscription tester, contrasting nicely with soft-touch wood deco dashboard inlay. A comfortable wool bend (with recycled materials contributing to an ever-greener presence) provided a smooth, un-scratchy experience. Long, narrow, horizontal air vents flank the nine-inch touch screen while square shapes dot the outer dash corners. A roomy second row accommodates three adults if necessary, two ride in optimal comfort.
Electronic start takes the form of a small chrome knob between front bucket seats. A gentle twist right summons the system to attention. The same twist right also shuts down the system before exiting.
2022 Volvo XC60
Recharge Extended Range
Price as tested: $72,840
Gas Engine: 2.0-liter turbo 4
Combined horsepower: 455
Battery Pack: 18.8 KWH Lithium-ion
Driving range: 450 miles
All-electric miles: 35
Wheelbase: 112.8 inches
Total Length: 185.4 inches
Total Height: 65.3 inches
Total Width: 75.4 inches