Volvo's New Engines Take Dead Aim at Germany. Here's How They Drive

Volvo's New Engines Take Dead Aim at Germany. Here's How They Drive

We get behind the wheel of the updated XC60 and V90 Cross Country. Both have new mild hybrid engines and a Google-based infotainment system.

  • Both the XC60 and V90 Cross Country get a handful of updates for 2022.
  • A new mild hybrid powertrain delivers improved fuel economy and smoother power.
  • Both vehicles also get a new Google-based infotainment system and updated exterior styling.

While some automakers are slowly embracing the prospect of an electrified future, others are jumping into the waters wholeheartedly. Volvo was one of the first to announce its plan to electrify its entire vehicle range over the next few years. In addition to new all-electric models like the XC40 Recharge, Volvo is introducing a pair of new mild hybrid gasoline powertrains that promise improved efficiency and better day-to-day driving. The upgraded powertrains also go hand in hand with a Google-based infotainment system that promises to be more intuitive than the systems in other Volvos. We recently had a chance to sample the updated 2022 Volvo XC60 and 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country with the new powertrain and tech.

What's new for 2022?

Volvo is introducing a pair of new powertrains dubbed B5 and B6. These will be direct replacements for the T5 and T6 powertrains found in the Volvo XC60 SUV, V90 Cross Country wagon, and the S60 and S90 sedans. Both use a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four paired with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The B5 makes 247 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and thanks to the addition of an electric supercharger, the B6 makes 295 hp and 310 lb-ft. The XC60 will be offered with both the B5 and B6 powertrains while the V90 Cross Country will only offer the B6 powertrain. Both are paired with eight-speed automatic transmissions.

Additionally, the pair now feature Volvo's new Google-based infotainment system. First seen in the Polestar 1 performance plug-in hybrid, the system is controlled through a 9-inch touchscreen display — the same size as last year's version — mounted vertically in the car's dash. It also gains the ability for Volvo to offer over-the-air updates to the vehicles. Additionally, the two get slightly revised front and rear bumpers, new wheel options and different upholstery offerings.

How does it all work?

We only had a chance to sample the B6 powertrain, but we're impressed by the results. The XC60 and V90 Cross Country don't feel vastly different than before, just slightly more refined and polished. An integrated starter generator (ISG) mounted to both engines helps smooth out shifts, improves the automatic stop-start system and helps the engine offer a more linear power curve. The general result is improved fuel economy and better low-end response, making both the XC60 and V90 Cross Country feel a little quicker around town. The EPA-estimated city and combined fuel economy ratings are up slightly for both the XC60 and V90 Cross Country. That said, Mercedes, BMW and Audi offer similar 48-volt systems that are more powerful and nearly or even more efficient as the Volvo powertrains.

Like other automakers, Volvo's stop-start system shuts the engine off momentarily under certain conditions to improve fuel economy, like when you're stopped at a traffic light. The new ISG helps make Volvo's system one of the better ones we've experienced. Both vehicles also use a  brake-by-wire system that uses regenerative braking to help recharge the battery. On the street, the brakes feel seamless and even.

The new infotainment system works as well here as it does in other vehicles we've tested. It uses Google Maps for navigation and works as seamlessly as it does on your phone. You can sign into your Google account (though it's not required) and sync things like preset home and work waypoints. Voice commands can be given using built-in Google Assistant, the same one you'll find on Android phones. It works great in practice and better than just about any other voice command system around. The infotainment also has access to the Google Play store, so you can download apps like Spotify directly to your car.  If you prefer to control things from your phone, Volvo offers standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Edmunds says

The new engines and infotainment system don't radically change the XC60 and V90 Cross Country, but they do help polish what were already a pair of well-executed machines.

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