2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 First Test: The Least-Electrified Volvo
“Mild hybrid” does little for fuel economy or performance, but this is still the V90 we like.
- Fun to drive for its size
- New electric supercharger works well
- Unique styling
- Jerky braking action
- Mild hybrid offers little benefits
- Updated infotainment on dated screen
We thought we had all the Volvo engine codes down pat—T5, T6, T8—and then along comes a 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country with a “B6” badge. Er, what?
Here’s what’s going on: As part of its commitment to electrification—that is, some sort of electrical powertrain assistance in all of its cars—Volvo upgraded its old T5 and T6 powertrains with a 48-volt “mild hybrid” system. You’ll forgive us if we’re a bit cynical on this whole mild hybrid idea; according to the EPA, the new V90 CC B6 sees an increase of 2 mpg in the city cycle, 1 mpg combined, and a 1 mpg decrease on the highway compared to the ’21 T6 model.
Yep, that’s pretty mild.
But we were rather intrigued by one engine alteration, made possible by the 48-volt system: The supercharger is now driven electrically.
Nuts And Bolts
For those unfamiliar, Volvo’s T6 engine employs—perhaps we should say employed—both a turbocharger and an engine-driven supercharger, the latter to fill in the gap in low-rpm power (turbo lag) while the exhaust builds up enough pressure to make the turbo boogie. It’s a nifty idea and one we’re surprised hasn’t seen more widespread adoption, as it helps Volvo’s relatively small 2.0-liter engine deliver outsized punch.
The problem with a supercharger is that it’s driven directly by the engine, robbing power and economy. The move to an electric supercharger is much like the change from engine-driven power steering pumps to electric motors: It removes the parasitic load when it’s not needed.
Still, we wanted some hard numbers, so we brought the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 out to our test track. Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter found in Volvo’s T5- and T6-equipped cars. Power output is 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, a decrease of 21 hp and an increase of 15 lb-ft compared to the 2021 T6 engine. The eight-speed automatic transmission is a carryover.
The B6 powertrain features something called an integrated starter-generator (ISG), which you can think of as a beefed-up starter motor. It’s connected directly to the engine, and is charged (heh) with restarting the engine after an auto-stop (the engine shutting itself off at stoplights). It also provides the muscle to get the car rolling as the engine fires, which explains the improved city mpg figure.
The ISG doesn’t provide power on the move, which is why you wouldn’t expect to see its output (13 hp and 30 lb-ft) added to that of the engine’s, as with most hybrids; instead, the ISG does its generator bit, producing electricity for both its own (small) 48-volt battery and the car’s 12-volt electrical system, as well as providing some regenerative braking effort.
Running The Numbers
So how did the B6 powertrain fare at the test track? Before we hit the numbers, we should note the weight penalty; the 2022 V90 Cross Country B6 tipped our scales at 4,356 pounds, 89 pounds heavier than the T6-powered Cross Country we tested in 2017. As for acceleration, we timed the B6 car to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, 0.4-second behind the 2017 T6. The new car ran the quarter-mile in 15.1 seconds at 94.2 mph, one-third of a second behind the T6 but with a 0.5-mph faster trap speed.
We noted strong power off the line—thank you, supercharger!—but the engine seemed to run out of steam at higher speeds. Volvo nixed the V90’s Sport mode for 2022, and the transmission shifts did not feel particularly urgent, even under full throttle. We tried an acceleration run in Off-Road mode just for the heck of it, but we noted no significant time difference.
The B6’s acceleration characteristics aren’t much different from the T6 car; actually, the test data reveal exactly what we expect from a car that is mechanically simpler but carrying an extra 1.3 pounds per horsepower. From that we deduced that the electric supercharger works just as well as the old engine-driven one.
Braking And Handling
Braking performance was identical to the 2017 car, with a 128-foot stop from 60 mph. The Volvo exhibited lots of nosedive, but we lauded the consistent feel between Volvo models, with the V90 CC behaving exactly like the 2022 XC60 B6 on which we’ve also done braking tests.
The air-sprung V90 Cross Country model is styled as an SUV, with a significantly taller stance than the now-discontinued V90 wagon with which it shares a body, so we’re not too surprised it pulled an average of 0.80 g on the skidpad, compared to the 0.89 g we saw in a 2021 non-Cross Country V90 R-Design we tested last year. (The 2017 V90 Cross Country also did better at 0.84 g—a tire change, perhaps, or just the extra weight at work.)
We drove the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 around our figure-eight course in 27.7 seconds at an average of 0.61 g, again trailing both the lighter 2017 T6 car (26.4 seconds at 0.68 g) and the on-road-only 2021 V90 (25.9 seconds at 0.68 g). But there’s more to this test than pure numbers, and the car felt sportier than we had imagined. It was also impressively consistent as it completed all of its laps within a tenth or two of one another.
Wheeling the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 around the streets of Los Angeles, we marveled once again at the smooth flow of power from the hard-working engine, as well as the nearly imperceptible operation of the auto-stop system.
But we also noted the transmission’s lazy shift behavior, and we were surprised by how difficult it was to modulate the brakes; pedal effort felt inconsistent, perhaps due to the ISG’s regenerative effort, and when the auto-stop system shut off the engine as speed slowed to a crawl, the V90 stopped as well—often more abruptly than we intended.
Volvo made several changes to the V90’s two screens over the years, and we quite liked the new digital dashboard with its moving-map display. But the portrait-style center screen, once the most modern thing we’d seen and now among the most dated, is a sore spot.
The 2022 V90 is an early adopter of Volvo’s new Google-based software, and it’s a poor fit for the old hardware. Everything is accessible through menus, and not all of the placement makes sense. We don’t know that we used the Google Assistant voice-command system to its best advantage; our car was an early model that had some glitches (which we expect to go away, as the system now supports over-the-air updates).
To be fair to Volvo, our focus was on performance testing, and we need more time with the company’s new infotainment system to give it a fair review. To be fair to ourselves, Volvo’s old software was never the most user-friendly, and our first impression of the new system is that it is even less so, not least of all because all this new functionality is stuffed into that same tiny screen. A bigger monitor with a better-thought-out home screen is a good idea.
Since our mothers taught us to always pair a criticism with a compliment, we’ll add that the optional Bowers and Wilkins audio system sounded absolutely marvelous, especially once we stumbled upon the menu to fine-tune its settings. Then again, with a $4,000 price tag, we’d expect nothing less.
Overall, we could have this car and be mostly happy. Sure, we have criticisms. Some, like the confusion over its infotainment system, we could get over; others, like the inconsistent braking action, could prove more irritating. Our time with the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 reminded us of everything we love about the V90, including its size, comfort, and luxurious cabin.
And although the V90 Cross Country doesn’t offer as much cargo space as other big SUVs, it looks a heck of a lot sexier. The B6 powertrain might make it a bit slower, but it’s done nothing to dampen our enthusiasm for this big, beautiful wagon.
Looks good! More details?
|2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$69,440|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, front motor, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon|
|ENGINE||2.0L Turbo and e-supercharged direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4, plus permanent-magnet electric motor|
|POWER (SAE NET)||295 hp @ 5,400 rpm (gas), 13 hp (elec); 295 (comb)|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||310 lb-ft @ 2,100 rpm (gas), 30 lb-ft (elec); 310 lb-ft (comb)|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,356 lb (54/46%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||195.2 x 75.9 x 60.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.1 sec @ 94.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||128 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.80 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.7 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||22/29/25 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||398 miles|
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