- Luxury cabin filled with comfort features
- New centre screen system is excellent
- Better value for money than most rivals
- Mild-hybrid bits don't do all that much
- Bootspace isn't huge in the class
- Service cost isn't cheap
Formerly known for its wagon products, Swedish car maker Volvo has – like many other car makers – turned into an almost all-SUV maker in order to survive. While the XC90 was the first SUV the company made and the smaller XC40 steals the limelight currently, it’s actually the mid-sized XC60 that does the sales heavy lifting for the company – of the almost-700,000 sales it achieved globally in 2021, the XC60 accounted for 216,000 of them. To keep that sales momentum going, Volvo gave the XC60 a mid-life facelift and we’ve been testing it. Is it worthy of such sales success? We tested the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design to find out.
The B6 R-Design is the second-from-top model in the 2022 XC60 range – with the Momentum and Inscription sitting below it, and the Recharge plug-in hybrid sitting above. It occupies the role of the sportier model in the XC60 range with its 21-inch wheels, exterior black pack and sports seats. It’s priced $6,000 north of the luxury Inscription, which is priced $7,000 more than the entry level Momentum.
Price & Equipment: 8/10
Priced at $82,490 plus on-road costs (around $92,000 drive away), the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design sits under the XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid in the range, but above the XC60 B5 Momentum and Inscription.
Standard equipment includes 21-inch wheels, all-LED lighting including front and rear daytime running lights and cornering lights, auto lights and wipers, Nappa leather and textile combination upholstery, heated front seats, 14-way electrically adjustable front seats with memory, four-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, heated and auto-folding mirrors, an electric tailgate with kick-to-open functionality, a 9.0-inch touchscreen with a Google operating system, Google Maps satellite navigation, digital radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, a 12.0-inch digital driver’s display and a 10-speaker sound system.
Safety kit includes seven airbags, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, rear auto braking, lane keep assist with lane trace assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, a 360-degree parking camera, auto parking, front and rear parking sensors, driver attention monitoring, speed sign recognition, a heads-up display, auto high beam and an alarm.
Paint options include the no-cost ‘Ice White’, as well as (for $1,950 extra) ‘Silver Dawn’, ‘Fusion Red’, ‘Thunder Grey’, ‘Platinum Grey’, ‘Pine Grey’, ‘Denim Blue’, ‘Onyx Black’ and our test car’s ‘Crystal White’. Interior options are either black or beige.
Unlike the V60 Cross Country that we tested recently, the XC60 does have several option boxes that can be ticked. These include $2,600 adaptive air suspension, $3,000 black Nappa leather upholstery, $1,050 massaging front seats, $350 power folding rear headrests, $3,700-$4,000 22-inch alloy wheels, a $500 air purifier, a $400 Climate Pack with a heated steering wheel and heated windscreen washer jets and the $3,900 Lifestyle Pack, which adds a panoramic sunroof, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and rear privacy glass – this pack can be had with a thumping 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system instead of the Harman Kardon unit for $6,200. Our test car was fitted with the air suspension, Harman Kardon Lifestyle Pack and air filter, and was priced at around $100,000 drive away.
The 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design competes in a very crowded part of the market, so size rivals include the Audi Q5 45 TFSI, BMW X3 xDrive30i, Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce, Mercedes-Benz GLC300, Genesis GV70 2.5T AWD and Jaguar F-Pace P250 R-Dynamic SE. In terms of power outputs, the XC60 is in a league above most of those price rivals as they output around 190kW with the GV70 pumping out 224kW. But once specified to the XC60’s level, almost all those rivals are more expensive to buy with only the Audi and Alfa Romeo sitting below the XC60’s $91,000 drive away price (around $89,000 and $88,000, respectively) and the GV70 sitting at around $95,000.
Optioning the X3, GLC300 and particularly the F-Pace to XC60 levels pushes their pricing to the $100,000 drive away mark – or almost $107,000 in the case of the F-Pace. This makes the Volvo considerably better value for money than the latter rivals, in particular. Buyers can have a fully loaded XC60 for less than the price of a modestly equipped X3, GLC300 or F-Pace.
Performance & Economy: 8/10
Under the bonnet of the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system for added boost. It pumps out 220kW of power, 420Nm of torque and the sole available transmission is an eight-speed torque converter automatic from Aisin. All new XC60s in Australia are all-wheel drive.
Aided by 10kW of electric punch, the XC60 B6 is rapid. With a claimed 6.2-second 0-100km/h sprint time, it’s quick and in person, it feels faster than that thanks to a big slug of mid-range torque. It also sounds quite nice as well, with a deep growl that surprises you. The eight-speed automatic transmission is also pretty good, and was rarely caught out in our testing – though shouldn’t a sporty model have paddle shifters?
In regular driving, the XC60 B6’s engine is quiet and provides more than enough punch for drivers – though we can’t help but think that most folk will be more than happy with the lesser XC60 B5, which still pumps out 183kW/350Nm. The mild-hybrid tech subtly adds to the performance and fuel economy, but for most, it will act like an extended start-stop system as it kills the engine before you’ve even come to a stop. As there’s no starter motor – it’s integrated into the mild hybrid system – starting the XC60 is seamless and barely noticeable.
Volvo claims that the XC60 B6 R-Design uses 8.0L/100km on a combined cycle and we achieved 12.3L/100km in mostly urban driving. It uses a minimum of 95RON premium unleaded and has a 71-litre fuel tank. If you’re looking to tow with your XC60, it will pull up to a 2,400kg braked trailer.
Ride & Handling: 8/10
Despite the R-Design trim level and 21-inch wheels, the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design is not the sports SUV it wishes it were – but Volvos have never been all out sports cars, so it’s wrong to expect an XC60 that can tackle the Nurburgring with sub-seven minute lap times. Fitted with the optional adaptive air suspension, the ride and handling balance in our test XC60 was not quite as seamless as we were expecting. It’s still quite comfortable, but the 21-inch wheels do upset the ride – even with air suspension, they impede at lower speeds and make the ride quality a touch fussy.
Unlike rivals and their plethora of drive mode selections, the Volvo’s driving dynamics customisation is simple: the ride can be made firmer, as can the steering, but that’s it. We set both to the firmer setting as the body control improves and the steering feels more natural.
Despite the huge wheels and R-Design bodykit, the XC60 is certainly not an all-out sports SUV. Thankfully, the luxury focus is still plain to see as aside from the ride quality, the driving experience is largely serene. It’s a reasonable handling car – not that handling is its focus, of course – with excellent grip from the huge wheels and a well tuned chassis. But it does feel heavy in the bends, with an BMW X3 feeling noticeably nimbler and more fun to drive.
The rest of the XC60 driving experience is great. The visibility is excellent thanks to large windows and road noise levels – despite the huge 21-inch wheels – are nicely low. The XC60’s safety systems are great – as you’d expect for a Volvo – with subtle but effecting tuning. The rear auto braking is a touch sensitive for our liking, however – in one instance, the braking was so severe that we’d thought we’d hit something.
Interior & Practicality: 9/10
As is the case with all Volvos for the past few decades, the XC60’s interior is excellent. It’s great quality, premium feeling, very practical and filled with useable technology. There’s rarely a surface that isn’t covered in a soft material, from the stitched leather-like plastics on the doors and dashboard to lovely Nappa leather and textile upholstery, to even soft plastics used lower down, everything you touch in the XC60 feels great.
The XC60’s cabin is also quite practical, as you’d expect from a Volvo. The centre console is large with big cup holders, large lined door bins, a wireless phone charger, a central armrest with storage underneath and even a large glovebox as well. There’s plenty of space to put your trinkets.
Centre of the XC60’s dashboard is a 9.0-inch portrait touchscreen that features a new Google operating system, which replaces the previous system and will eventually spread to all other Volvo models. It’s quite similar to a tablet like an iPad – the screen quality is great, it’s easy to use and it’s quite quick as well. Our test car didn’t feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but according to the specs on the Volvo website, both should be available wirelessly by now. But even without smartphone mirroring, the Google tech is all fairly seamless and for the first four years of ownership, unlimited data is included – just don’t lose reception as the services without that are frustratingly limited.
The 12.3-inch digital driver’s display is nice and crisp as well, with a big range of displayable information and the ability to have a map right in front of you. The large heads-up display is also pretty good, as is the punchy 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system – so good that we’re not sure we’d consider the further optional 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins unit.
The rear seat of the XC60 is spacious and well featured, with ample room for folks taller than six-foot. Knee and legroom is great, and headroom – despite the panoramic sunroof of our test car – is huge. Features include map pockets, door pockets, integrated booster seats, ISOFIX points, two climate zones with vents and a USB-C charging port – though heated and reclining seats would be nice to have as well.
The boot of the XC60 measures a reasonable 505-litres with the rear seats up, and while there’s no Australian figure provided for when the seats are folded, international reports suggest up to around 1,500L in total, so it’s not small but rivals are larger. The boot is also well finished and well featured with various hooks and straps, underfloor storage, a ski-pass and when the seats are folded, they’re completely flat. Underneath the boot floor is a space saver spare wheel and if you tick the air suspension box, you can raise and lower the car to help load heavy items into the boot.
Service & Warranty: 8/10
Like all other new Volvo products, the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design is equipped with a five-year/unlimited km warranty with five years of roadside assistance. A five-year/75,000km service pack costs a reasonable $2,500 ($500 per service), though rivals can be more affordable.
All competitors – except the X3 and Stelvio – feature the same length of warranty at five years, though their service costs vary greatly. Genesis throws in five years/50,000km of servicing for free with every one of its cars, while the Stelvio costs $2,865 ($573 per service), a five-year/75,000km service pack on a Q5 costs $3,140 ($628), a five-year/80,000km service plan on the X3 costs $2,010 ($402 per service), a five-year/102,000km service plan on an F-Pace P250 costs $1,950 ($390 per service) and a five-year/125,000km service plan for the GLC300 costs an massive $5,800 ($1,160 per service).
The 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.2/10
True to form of Volvo models for the past few decades, the 2022 Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design is a quiet, comfortable, luxurious, tech-filled, safe and characterful way to travel. Its quality interior is well finished all over, it’s filled with standard technology that doesn’t distract the driver, the punchy engine moves it quite quickly and for travelling short or long distances, we think it’s one of the best competitors in the premium mid-size SUV segment.
Of course, it isn’t perfect – despite the mild-hybrid tech, the engine can be quite thirsty if you’re not careful, the boot isn’t massive despite it being a Volvo and ultimately, we think the more luxurious vibe of the lower-spec T5 Inscription suits the XC60 even more. But regardless of the spec chosen, the XC60 deserves to be at the top of your premium mid-size SUV shopping list.