2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge First Drive Assessment | Pumping up the electrical vary

PALM SPRINGS, Calif — It could not seem like it on the skin, however the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge is a considerably up to date plug-in hybrid SUV. In reality, the complete XC60 line is refreshed for the 2022 mannequin yr, however we’re going to zero in on the Recharge PHEV. 

Volvo allow us to spend a day behind the wheel of the newly-announced “prolonged vary” Recharge mannequin in sunny California, and we got here away with much more emotions than anticipated from this Swedish crossover. Simply so all people is on the identical web page, the “prolonged vary” Recharge represents a mid-model-year refresh of the XC60 Recharge. There have been 2022 mannequin yr XC60 Recharge fashions offered previous to at present that featured the identical electrical {hardware} as prior mannequin years, and due to this fact featured the previous EPA-estimated electrical vary of 19 miles on a full cost. The “prolonged vary” mannequin that we drove bumps that each one the way in which as much as 36 miles, practically doubling the earlier vary. Volvo says that these new “prolonged vary” fashions are those delivery to sellers now, not the older mannequin. That is positively one thing to pay attention to in later years must you discover a used 2022 XC60.

So, how has Volvo discovered this a lot additional vary? The massive distinction is within the battery pack, going from an 11.6-kilowatt-hour pack to an 18.8-kWh pack. Volvo managed to bundle a 3rd layer of cells into the pack that it didn’t have earlier than, and it did so in the identical house as earlier than — it continues to run alongside the automotive’s backbone within the heart tunnel space. Volvo claims that this extra energy-dense battery pack will take 5-8 hours to cost when hooked as much as a 240V energy supply, so you need to simply get a full cost by leaving it plugged in in a single day, assuming you will have the relevant charging {hardware}. 

This new battery pack is paired with a very revamped powertrain setup. The structure is similar as earlier than. Meaning there’s an electrical motor positioned on the rear axle that drives the rear wheels and a gasoline engine in entrance that solely powers the entrance wheels, thereby giving the XC60 Recharge all-wheel drive. To our delight, each the electrical motor and the gasoline engine are new this yr.

The brand new rear electrical motor represents a giant energy increase, with 143 horsepower significantly surpassing the previous motor’s 87 horsepower. Finally, which means the XC60 Recharge is now considerably extra pleasant to drive in its purely electrical mode (aptly named “Pure”). Energy is greater than enough to maintain up with exuberant visitors off the road, and it’ll even comfortably get you as much as freeway speeds earlier than maxing out at 78 mph. So, not solely are you able to go a lot additional than earlier than utilizing battery energy, but it surely’s additionally a way more nice expertise that received’t have you ever wired concerning the automotive’s lack of acceleration. Alternatively, it limits the necessity for the gasoline engine to kick in underneath heavy throttle. 

These nice surprises preserve rolling after we get to the gasoline engine a part of this hybrid XC60. The two.0-liter four-cylinder engine that was each supercharged and turbocharged earlier than is now solely turbocharged. Sure, Volvo dropped the supercharger, however just for the Recharge (the XC60 Polestar Engineered continues to make the most of one in its plug-in hybrid powertrain). To maintain this powertrain feeling perky on the low-end, Volvo as a substitute makes use of a crankshaft-mounted built-in starter motor that each eases the transitions between electrical and gasoline energy, and provides a torque increase when the supercharger was beforehand serving to issues. To quantify that shove, Volvo says the brand new helper motor is able to offering 111 pound-feet of further torque on takeoffs. The now-turbo-only engine makes 312 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. All techniques mixed, the brand new Recharge powertrain offers 455 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque.

That may be a heaping pile of energy, and the quoted 0-60 mph time of simply 4.5 seconds feels spot-on. It’s a half second faster to 60 mph than the pre-refresh mannequin, and we’ll attribute a lot of that to the additional leap it has off the road from the extra highly effective electrical motor. You’ll need to use the “Energy” mode to reap the benefits of this added thrust, because it retains the engine operating always, permitting each the engine and electrical motor to work in parallel to 1 one other.

What’s much more spectacular than the sheer acceleration from this new powertrain is its added refinement. The previous T8 powertrain with the supercharger was one of many rougher and extra unrefined boosted 2.0-liter engines on the market. Now, it’s an incredibly clean operator with not one of the vibration harshness or gruff noises we’ve complained about up to now. Volvo’s declare of the built-in starter motor smoothing transitions out couldn’t be more true.

One other space of smoothness we respect considerations Volvo’s newly-added one-pedal driving mode for the XC60 Recharge. Plug-in hybrids sometimes don’t have a one-pedal drive mode — you’ll see choices for varied ranges of automated regenerative braking, however to have true one-pedal driving in a PHEV is taking the comfort issue to the extent of a full EV. The system is powerful sufficient to supply enough deceleration in virtually all circumstances outdoors of heavy brake functions, however should you don’t need it, Volvo means that you can change it off for a standard braking expertise. This one-pedal mode can be accessible on the S90 Recharge for 2022, and Volvo says it’s coming to the remainder of its PHEV lineup sooner or later.

Within the realm of issues that aren’t very totally different between this XC60 Recharge and the one earlier than it’s dealing with. Regardless of the rear motor being much more highly effective, the XC60 nonetheless drives like a front-drive-biased SUV. Torque steer is current whenever you attempt to get the facility down out of corners, and whereas it isn’t debilitating, the sensation is omnipresent when traversing up and down a mountain highway with tight switchbacks. Stiffen the adaptive dampers up; slide the toggle over to a mode actually referred to as “stiffen steering really feel,” and the XC60 is a keen sufficient companion. Nevertheless, it’s simply not going to hold toe-to-toe with any of the performance-focused SUVs in its class which are all much more enjoyable to drive.

You’re a lot better off settling again into the Wool Mix upholstered seats (seen in our take a look at automotive) that appear and feel like pure luxurious. The brand new-for-2022, 9-inch infotainment system operating Android Automotive OS is similar as what’s discovered within the electrical C40 and can quickly be the infotainment system in each Volvo mannequin. It’s inside right here which you could swap between drive modes (the previous curler wheel on the middle console is gone), flip the up to date Drive Pilot driver help techniques on and off, and work together with the default Google apps like Google Assistant and Google Maps. Apple CarPlay isn’t but supported on this Google-based infotainment system, however Volvo says it’s coming as an over-the-air replace sooner or later.

Those that can be utilizing the up to date XC60 Recharge to tote their household round can be glad to know the upgraded battery capability hasn’t come on the expense of inside house. Rear legroom is strictly the identical as earlier than, and cargo capability hasn’t modified both, that means the XC60 stays one of many extra household pleasant choices within the class. 

In the event you have been pondering of upgrading for the aesthetics — don’t — this XC60 Recharge is basically about what’s beneath, not what’s on the skin. That stated, Volvo gave the XC60 a brand new grille, together with a brand new Iron Mark emblem that integrates the radar techniques that can be heated to withstand ice and snow buildup on the sensors. It will get a barely totally different entrance fascia and likewise integrates the exhaust pipes underneath the rear bumper and out of sight. Past new wheel and coloration choices, the brand new XC60 is troublesome to tell apart from the pre-refresh model.

The sunshine aesthetic adjustments aren’t precisely detrimental to us, although, because the XC60 Recharge seemed good earlier than, and now it drives even higher. In its most simple kind, the XC60 Recharge Prolonged Vary stickers at simply $55,345. That is corresponding to the Lexus NX 450h+, and some grand greater than the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring – the one different plug-in hybrid compact luxurious SUVs. Just like the Lexus, the XC60 is now eligible to reap the benefits of the total $7,500 tax credit score because of the bigger battery pack dimension, making it an much more reasonably priced possibility. The model we drove crested $70,000 on account of it being a fully-loaded Inscription mannequin, however you don’t have to tick each single field to have an excellent plug-in hybrid driving expertise. 

This replace is actually one which addresses our greatest complaints about Volvo’s previous T8 Recharge fashions, and it turns the XC60 right into a highly-viable PHEV possibility for anyone who won’t be able to make the leap right into a full battery electrical automobile. The “Prolonged Vary” powertrain is an replace that’s scheduled to be launched throughout the entire Volvo PHEV lineup, too, modernizing the entire Recharge fashions in what appears to be an distinctive method.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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