- Doors and Seats
5 doors, 5 seats
2.0TSC/107kW Hybrid, 4 cyl.
- Engine Power
340kW (comb), 400Nm
Petrol (95) 1.6L/100KM
8 Spd Auto
5 Yr, Unltd KMs
- Ancap Safety
Can you have your cake and eat it too with Volvo’s dual-motor XC60 medium SUV?
- Surprisingly fast
- Well appointed for the money
- The benefits of the EV when you want them
- Air suspension could be better
- Thirsty if you don’t keep it charged up
- Feels heavy and weighs it too (2.1 tonnes)
Aside from creating new and exciting products like the upcoming and fully electric 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge, it’s also going back and updating its existing products to be better, greener, and more potent.
In fact, the car we’re reviewing today has now become the most powerful and fastest production Volvo ever produced. It’s the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge, a dual-motor plug-in hybrid that sits up top of the wider range as the brand’s flagship and most expensive medium SUV it sells.
It’s been offered in Australia in varying guises since 2019; however, the updated 2022 model brings a whole raft of changes. On top of a bigger-capacity battery (11.6kWh to 18.8kWh), both the petrol and electric motors have been improved.
There’s now a huge 335kW and massive 709Nm to play with – up 24kW/39Nm from last year’s car – coming from its dual-motor driveline. Power comes from two sources: a twin-charged 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder with 233kW/400Nm and rear-mounted electric motor with 107kW/309Nm (from 0–3280rpm).
And to ironically quote 0–100km/h times in a Volvo SUV review, it gets there in 4.9 seconds, meaning it’s bloody fast. Its electric-only range is now 76km, and claims to use 1.6L/100km when in hybrid mode.
For those of us whose living arrangements are not conducive to home charging, or simply live a lifestyle requiring a vehicle that’s reliable, comfortable and maybe with internal combustion back-up, is this utopia?
Let’s find out.
Inside, not much has changed in the past half-decade.
If you’ve been in last year’s Volvo XC60, the one before that, or even the year before that one too, then you’ll recognise the interior. It’s pretty much the same as before.
The original design is holding up really well, however, and Volvo’s bold move to introduce a portrait ‘Tesla-style’ infotainment system years ago is still paying dividends now in 2022.
The other screen in the cabin is found directly in front of the driver as the gauge cluster. Unlike other European brands – specifically Audi – Volvo’s digital instrument cluster is actually rather basic and unconfigurable.
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Other than map view and trip data, there’s not much else it can tell you. The materials surrounding it are top-rate, though, with our car featuring acres of shiny, precision-milled aluminium.
It’s everywhere, even on the precisely made lower console lid that’s cut to concertina (fold) and disappear, almost like a magic trick. That same centre console lid also acts as a chock to keep your phone steady on the face-up wireless charging pad too.
I love when good (Scandinavian) design and ergonomics come together. Poking about the cabin, you get the sense that it’s been exactingly stuck together – like a premium European car should be.
The turn-to-start knurled-effect engine start switch, chunky door pulls and massive flocked door bins all feel fancy and a cut above the mainstream. But by far the most expensive-feeling part of the cabin are its seats. They are incredibly comfortable and adjustable, with heaps of lower-back-targeting lumbar adjustment, and a lower thigh extension cushion that can be electrically slid forward enough to suit the lankiest of body types.
They’re wonderfully shaped overall, too, and after hours on the road, I’d never felt better. In the second row, space is great, and partially because of those front pews I just waxed lyrical about.
Their slim profile creates space in the back, in turn giving a tall person’s knees enough room to swing graciously upon entry and exit. At 183cm tall, I found the second row to be comfortable, and the seats themselves sculptural and supportive. All my pointy points were not banging things, and the visibility you receive as a passenger is as comforting as it is fantastic.
In terms of child support seats, the Volvo has a brilliant trick up its sleeve there. It has a pair of two-stage integrated booster seats in the second row of seating. Designed to suit kids taller than 95cm and weighing more than 15kg, it means you can literally throw away your child seat early the second your kids make the cut – and save money not having to buy another.
I did fit a Britax Graphene child seat anyway, and had no issue using it. Aside from the high seat base with integrated booster seat, the Volvo XC60’s tall and flat roof line also helps by creating a large-sized door opening that’s perfect for the use of a rearward-facing child seat. Family car hunters will love the second row overall.
Boot space is handy at 468L, but its dimensions actually help make it more useable. Instead of small pits or uneven areas making up the total, the Volvo XC60’s space is instead honest, wide, squarish, and easy to unload or pack.
Electrification does require space, however, and sadly the spare tyre has fallen victim this time. Volvo only provides a tyre-repair kit on XC60 Recharge models.
Aside from a 60/40-split rear second row, other party tricks in the back include a button to lower the air suspension. It means your dog might just make it without help, otherwise it makes loading or unloading heavy things a bit easier too.
|2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge|
|Boot volume||468L seats up|
Infotainment and Connectivity
Coming with the 2022 update to the Volvo XC60 range is a Google Android-based infotainment system.
The best way to operate things is by logging in natively and enjoying the spread of apps on offer. Everything from Spotify to Google Assistant works well, so lovers of Android-based phones will naturally find the environment comforting and fitting like a glove.
However, if you prefer to use Apple, the system will oblige. There’s finally Apple CarPlay support in Volvo’s latest products, and it’s a decent-quality integrated solution that uses most of the screen’s real estate. It’s good to have the choice between both.
The 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge comes standard-fit with an excellent Bowers & Wilkins 13-speaker stereo. Aside from fantastic modelling profiles and soundscapes after places like Gothenburg Concert Hall, its basic, unfiltered stereo mode is wonderfully crisp and accurate.
Canadian Jazz act BADBADNOTGOOD’s album III sounded particularly good, with the fast-paced drum licks from Triangle rolling left to right as intended, and the opening synth to Hedron doing it right and brightening ambiance instantly.
It’s really good, and well worth a Tidal subscription.
Although regular 2022 Volvo XC60 models wear a five-star ANCAP badge, the plug-in hybrid version does not.
Read between the lines and expect good levels of safety in your electrified Volvo. It’s also a high-spec and six-figure European car, too, meaning it’s naturally full of advanced driver assist systems as standard.
You’ll find things like forward and reverse autonomous emergency braking with forward-facing pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist with steering assistance, 360-degree parking camera, and adaptive cruise control.
Our car also had the $500 Advanced Air Cleaner option, which means its air-conditioning system can prevent 95 per cent of hazardous PM 2.5-sized particles from entering the cabin – perfect for the future endemic.
Charging a 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge PHEV isn’t as taxing as a fully electric vehicle. It can accept 3.7kW charge, meaning it takes around 4–6 hours to fully charge its 18.8kWh battery using a dedicated wall box or fast charger, or around double using a regular 240-volt three-pin wall outlet.
|2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge|
If you’re sold on the idea of an SUV with a small electric-only range, then the 2022 Lexus NX450h+ is your next best bet.
Like the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge, it’s a plug-in hybrid, and offers a slightly better electric-only range of 87km. We’ve yet to test one, however, so cannot comment on its real-world efficiency figure yet.
Another factor worth considering is how the Lexus is almost 10 grand cheaper at $89,536 before on-roads. As a side note, our 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge starts from $97,990 before on-roads.
Another choice is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLC300e plug-in hybrid. It costs around $95,000 before on-roads and options, but by the time you option it up to match the standard kit of the Volvo, it becomes more expensive. The hybrid system in the Benz isn’t as good as the Volvo’s either.
Servicing the Swede isn’t too costly either, with the brand asking for $1750 to cover three years or 45,000km of driving, and $3000 for five years or 75,000km. It’s fair given the complexity of the dual-motor set-up and the amount of things needing inspection at each interval.
|At a glance||2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1750 (3 years), $3000 (5 years)|
|Energy cons. (claimed)||1.6L/100km|
|Energy cons. (on test)||3.3L/100km|
|Driving range claim (WLTP)||76km|
|Charge time (3.6kW)||3–4h|
|Charge time (50kW)||Unable to fast charge|
|Charge time (max rate)||2–3hr (0–80%)|
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||1.6L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||3.3L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||71L|
The first question I had was: will it meet the claim?
In terms of fully electric driving, achieving the claimed range is genuinely possible. On multiple occasions I ran it from full, two-thirds full, and once from about 25 per cent, and found myself falling anywhere from 0–4km off the claimed maximum or theoretical target.
So if you’re thinking of buying one because you can keep it charged between round trips, I reckon you’ll be mostly motoring on electricity and not petrol.
It’ll just be hard to sacrifice the performance on offer, though, as in hybrid mode the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge is bloody quick. Whereas the last T8 twin-engine product I drove three years ago left me a little skeptical of the power figures, this one left no such doubt.
Off the mark it’s hilariously good, and on-the-roll performance is equally as good. The brand said revisions to its engine mean it churns more power over a larger and earlier occurring curve, and for once it’s not baseless PR speak.
Volvo claims 0–100km/h in the high fours, and some rough and ready testing saw low 5s possible with a quarter tank of fuel and plenty of charge in the battery.
The petrol motor gets it done, but doesn’t sound the best under duress and can be intrusive in the cabin, but that’s the biggest problem it has. In terms of combined-cycle driving in hybrid mode, we saw 3.3L/100km, and with a fully flat battery the high 6s.
Even if you fully drain the battery, the vehicle will still maintain and even sometimes accumulate a small amount of charge, which means it feels like a closed-loop Toyota hybrid if you’ve failed to plug it in.
Like a closed-loop Toyota hybrid, a 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge flicks over between internal combustion and electric motors so well it’s hard to tell when. It’s smooth and close to imperceptible.
Another comforting factor is a clever indicator on the rev counter tells you how far off your current accelerator pedal press is from firing up the petrol motor – which almost gamifies the idea of trying to avoid it. I was always trying my best to take off as slowly and silently as possible in EV mode, regardless of how little charge I had left.
Coming as standard is Volvo’s air suspension system, and likely as a requirement to manage its massive 2.1-tonne heft.
Two motors come with a huge weight penalty, but it feels comfortable and somewhat agile at low speeds considering that. The air suspension offers good ride comfort, but not at the levels of similar-priced Audi or Land Rover products.
All Australian cars come fitted with the R-Design package and 21-inch wheels, however, and I think they are partly to blame for the bumpiness over mottled and water-damaged roads.
They’re everywhere in Sydney at the moment. I will give the suspension credit for body control, as at higher speeds and on curvier roads it feels really secure and confident – just not as agile as an Audi.
The electric steering is excellently calibrated, too, feeling direct off-centre and reminiscent of a traditional hydraulic system, and the seats are really supportive yet ergonomically refreshing. Both come together to make your time behind the wheel feel more secure.
|Key details||2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo supercharged petrol|
|Power||233kW @ 6000rpm petrol|
|Torque||400Nm @ 3000–5400rpm (combustion engine)|
309Nm @ 0–3280rpm (electric motor)
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Eight-speed torque converter automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||158.4kW/t|
|Tow rating||2250kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
Plug-in hybrids are great, and Volvo’s is exceptional.
Simply put, they offer the benefit of an electric vehicle to those who can’t make one work. It doesn’t matter if you park on the street outside your trendy terrace or you frequent your country weekender where electricity is both unreliable and scarce.
You too can benefit from electric vehicle motoring on your nine-to-five, between Monday and Friday, or better yet whenever you want. Just make sure your round trip is about 75km, or ensure you have access to a charger at work.
On top of being versatile with two engines, it’s bloody fast as a result too. The outcome when both engines work together is as hilarious as you think, and out on the freeway you’ll get good range from a single tank too.
If you’re shopping around the six-figure mark for a luxury medium SUV of any style, please drive this one. It’s worth your attention.
2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid Wagon
Interior Comfort & Packaging
Infotainment & Connectivity
After more than a decade working in the product planning and marketing departments of brands like Kia, Subaru and Peugeot, Justin Narayan returned to being a motoring writer – the very first job he held in the industry.