My 2022 Volvo XC90 Review

I Feel Volvo Is Ruining A Great Vehicle And Brand  


New 2022 Volvo XC90 T6

As our Volvo wagons are starting to get more miles on them I went to the Volvo website curious to see what kind of Volvo XC90 I could buy in the future since I was very disappointed with the 2020 V90 Cross Country and V60 I had driven and you can read my reviews regarding those vehicles. We have driven several Volvo XC90's in the past as loaners and are very familiar. I was in total shock and absolutely horrified the only option after 2022 was Hybrid and to make matters worse the infotainment seems to be ran by Google now! It feels like some kind of villain took the XC90 and made some evil version of it. 

I would like to make it clear this is my own personal review and opinion along with some of the thoughts and feelings going through my head at the time. Full disclosure vehicle was loaner or shuttle with 9,500 miles but new to me. 

Well sadly it feels like Volvo is on its way to ruining everything for us and is working on ruining the last vehicle we thought we could buy from them. I also strongly believe many others feel the same and Volvo will be losing many of their customers to automakers providing a traditional powertrain option. If not that I believe Volvo will be losing business to those that will hang onto their traditional ICE vehicles for dear life while those customers would rather dump money into maintenance and repairs over time than surrendering to hybrids. Then there will be others that would rather buy used traditional vehicles.

My first thought of the 2022 XC90 T6 was where the hell did the nice square exhaust tips go and what a stupid thing for Volvo to do! It just really looked cheap and plain and then with a Black XC90 it looks even worse since there is a gray or silver trim piece at the bottom where the exhaust tips normally are located so this just highlights the fact that it looks as if something is missing. For what reason? I thought that I heard something like to signal being more eco friendly or something which is laughable because it makes no difference but oh we are so woke and virtue signal so hard that we hide the exhaust? Thanks Volvo I'm spending a fortune on this new vehicle and you take away a basic thing I had to pay to put back on the vehicle? Every person I have talked to shook their head thinking it was stupid and thought it make no sense.

Really Volvo? It feels to me as if there are no actual car people and die hard Volvo people in management anymore only trendy people pushing this culture. It feels to me like Volvo management's focus is trying to be ultra trendy along with virtue signaling so hard about things when going electric is just really mainly trading pollution from internal combustion engines to power plants while not solving any issue in my opinion where they should have and could have also just really focused on more fuel efficient standard powertrain duh!

I am NOT even an engineer and I have several easy ways that would not even cost Volvo anything without changing much I think could yield 3-5MPG which I believe would be same or better than driving Volvo hybrids as normal vehicles. Yes of course hybrid would be higher if you drive in pure fully electric mode but just think about the additional parts and batteries being manufactured and added to the vehicle and pollution from producing all these additional parts. Then the added weight making vehicles less efficient and how batteries will eventually degrade just turning into less efficient vehicles in my opinion. 

It feels like the people pushing this are naive children.

I keep shaking my head thinking what a damn shame.

Anyway back to my new Volvo . . . .

Thereafter I ended up paying the dealer around $5400 to restore the nice square exhaust tips that should have never been deleted and install a far better looking and more comfortable R-Design Steering wheel. Then Total SW update and Polestar upgrade for increased downshifting so that I am not being hurled to stops which was a ridiculous issue with SPA Volvos in my opinion. I was fuming because I felt forced into purchasing the vehicle since the XC90 is all Hybrid now from what I had seen on Volvo's website and I had also felt forced to reinstall what Volvo should have never removed in the first place.

Maybe Volvo should send me a reimbursement check?

I'm serious. If they keep screwing things up why don't THEY pay for it dammit? Volvo also screwed up our dash on our 2016 XC70 and gave us a bad dash under warranty that has holes under the screen and nothing from these virtue signaling people more focused on stupid stuff than basics in my opinion. Hey Volvo I have some advice for you guys, if you drive your customers away there will be less people to sell safe and more efficient vehicles to so wake up! 

The next major disappointment thanks to Volvo was ugh this has the two piece inlay rim steering wheel not only ugly with the single spoke but uncomfortable. I have no idea why Volvo would make this standard on vehicles. This made me feel forced to also pay to have the far nicer and more attractive R-Design steering wheel installed and I'm sure the dealer is just loving this. So I buy a new vehicle feeling forced to spend thousands of dollars to make it the way the vehicle should have just come in the first place but I guess it's my job!  

The next thing was something my wife noticed which is that there was no more drive mode selector so I quickly swiped the screen and showed her where I thought drive mode selection must now be but as neat as the previous trendy cool drive mode selector had been it was just not really that big of deal. After selecting drive mode the screen closed much sooner than the 2020 XC90 T8 we drove which was a welcomed improvement making system feel smarter.    

From looking at the average fuel economy when we purchased and after we had driven the T6 and then comparing to the T8 Hybrid loaner we drove when driving it as a normal vehicle like you should be able to (not using pure) there seemed to only be around a 2MPG improvement. In my opinion that 2MPG could easily be gained if Volvo just simply lowered boost and horsepower ratings to say 300HP and could have a more aggressive transmission shift program to compensate for any reduction in horsepower. It just seems totally pointless to add what I feel is a bunch of wasteful crap to vehicles that will just complicate things and make vehicles heavier and also less reliable overall. I also believe there could be a day where the batteries degrade and then there will be all these hybrids driving around as heavier less efficient vehicles.

After driving a 2020 V90 Cross Country and V60 Wagon where I thought the ride and handling was unsporty and not European like I have actually been very impressed with the firmer European like ride and quick rebound of the XC90 and impressive handling for a large vehicle. I am not sure if it is because firmer struts or springs were used but firmness and rebound is perfect and any ride quality and ride harshness complaints I have seen from other reviewers are due to Volvo stupidly offering 21 inch and 22 inch wheel options with super skinny low profile tires that are like riding on skis. The XC90's with standard 20 inch wheels ride perfect when tire pressure is correctly set cold before driven and if still too harsh then you can set it to 36PSI instead of 38PSI. 

I am really surprised Volvo was able to add a Supercharger and with 330HP (Polestar software upgrade) we somehow incredibly manage to get the same fuel economy as our XC70 T5's with the same 2.0L engine and 240HP with NO supercharger which does not seem at all possible. After a lot of thought the only thing I came up with is that this is likely due to required Premium fuel for T6 where our XC70's with same 4cyl 2.0L engine are using Regular but I believe should really require Premium since NOT low pressure turbos. I also think that our XC70 fuel economy ratings were just somehow really overrated while the 2022 XC90 T6 ratings seem to be inline with real world driving.

Imagine if say Volvo would just make the T6 have 280HP with about 4PSI less boost and help compensate with a sporty aggressive shift program for what I think could be a 4MPG increase. Make the airbox less restrictive getting rid of the extra filter layer glued to the bottom of air filters and exhaust valve on the right side of the exhaust for at least another MPG right there in my opinion for a possible 5MPG total increase! If Volvo made a T6 FWD version I believe that could be 2 more MPG! I think the T5 could be a base 228HP FWD only, adding 2-3MPG to it as well. While you might think that's not possible our 2005 S80 Sedan had only 208HP with a 5 speed automatic but could do 0-60 in about 7.5 seconds with very strong acceleration and a nice direct punch. It seems to me Volvo should be able to do a 228HP T5 FWD base version of the XC90 which would do 0-60 in about 7.5 seconds with an 8 speed transmission and sporty aggressive shift program to help compensate for less power.

We could also average a very impressive 26MPG in our 2005 S80 which is more than we could average in new 4cyl Volvos! If you need another example our 2005 V70 5cyl NON turbo with only 170HP and 5 speed transmission with sporty high revving shift program could also do 0-60 I believe in roughly about 8 seconds and we could average 28MPG and drive up to 500 miles on a tank of gas! So why shouldn't 58 additional horsepower combined with the new 8 speed transmission instead of a 5 speed be able to achieve that in about 7.5 seconds for a base T5 FWD XC90? It seems ridiculous and backwards to me that we could average better fuel economy from 2005 Volvos. I also believe our 2005 Volvos had PremAir Catalyst radiators advertised to clean pollution from air passing through. The question I ask myself is am I crazy or is Volvo now not really being as smart with vehicle efficiency as they should be?  

I also think that rather than alienating previous, current and potential new customers Volvo could be pushing cleaner more efficient lower priced base model vehicles which would do a lot more for the environment and since Volvo cares about people and safety get a lot more people into their vehicles!

Does current management know how efficient and environmentally friendly our 2005 Volvos seemed to be and do they know about PremAir? I believe Volvo is no longer using PremAir although the cost could be passed on. I ask myself was this a gimmick that did not work? (Although I believe tests shown that it actually helped remove pollution from air passing through the radiator). If it works why not use it in new ICE vehicles even if this only helps a little since we are talking about potentially thousands or millions of vehicles on the road? I really do care about the environment and was proud to drive those vehicles. Why not focus on just making engines more efficient and expanding catalyst technology rather than trading pollution to power plants in my opinion?

The thing that drives me crazy about Volvo is it feels to me like people that design new vehicles seem to not know some of their previous vehicles were better in certain ways. For example on P3 Volvos when you shift into manual and let it shift for you it steps down a gear and goes into a sportier shift mode. Well on our SPA XC90 when you shift into manual and let it shift for you expecting it to get sportier like P3 Volvos it does not do this. I have put it in manual and pressed the gas with weaker acceleration and less downshifting than when shifted into drive! This just feels mindless and totally stupid. Then I was more shocked that even after paying $1400 for the Polestar upgrade when in Polestar mode it STILL did the same thing and there were times where I shifted back to drive and it felt more sporty unless forcing it down! Seriously, what is that? I thought Volvo was into trendy and unnecessary tech in my opinion but then does some stupid stuff like this in my opinion! 

This is one of the things that I would really like to talk to Volvo management, designers and engineers about and ask them what the hell? Did they not know their own past vehicles and that they had something better previously and why would you not take the best from previous vehicles and make sure it is carried over to newer vehicles? Why start from scratch making things worse?

This is similar to the infotainment system. P3 Volvos showed folders so you can put mp3 files into your own folders on your flash drive which can be by genre or by artists or bands and albums depending on what you name folders. I loved this because I was able to have 4 different folders for example 70's and 80's Rock, 80's Collection, 90's and 2000's Rock and R&B, Hip Hop and Rap. Then I could select what kind of music I felt like listening to and my collection in each folder was shown in alphabetical order which was very intuitive. I had figured it must be the same and would show folders especially with a touch screen but from as far as I can tell nope. When I go into my files by artist or band there is this dreaded extra step of making me then select album when I don't listen to music by album because there are normally only a couple or a few good songs so when I change songs by an artist or band I have to then keep selecting album which I find extremely distracting and unsafe!

What I had to do to try and overcome this is put my music collection on a new flash drive and rename albums on over 400 songs to the name of the artist or band to consolidate many songs into that artist or band. That way I could select artist or band and avoid the dreaded distracting extra step. However the new Sensus in SPA for some unknown reason when attempting to consolidate some albums would surprisingly respond by dividing and creating additional new album selections (Album Name Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3, Disc 4) and just to listen to Led Zeppelin I could not select songs in one folder I had to select by album now split into even more album choices that I have to select to get to songs rather than just selecting each song in one place under Led Zeppelin. I hated this distracting extra step so much I figured out a solution. The thing that I don't understand is in Library you can choose "select by album" and if I wanted to select by album I would choose that so it's totally idiotic!

Volvo could have easily simplified this and made artist and band selection more like P3 Volvos which would have eliminated additional steps and I want to ask Volvo management, designers and engineers have you driven previous P3 vehicles and used your own previous infotainment and do you realize this extra step that I think is really distracting and unsafe wasn't there? These are just two examples where I really feel like Volvo totally went backwards as if the people working on the SPA platform had no idea or forgot they had something better with P3 that should have been integrated into SPA vehicles! Another thing that just feels clumsy and stupid is infotainment gets to the bottom of the page while music is playing then will not automatically scroll down! 

I actually really like the latest Volvo Sensus. In the latest software updates as of around 2022 any lag issues previously reported by other reviewers have been addressed and is now very responsive. I have mastered it and accepted the touch screen although I still prefer our 2016 XC70's with manual controls but now Volvo is ruining another good thing by surrendering to Google in my opinion and that is yet another reason in my mind not to buy a new Volvo in addition to now all being Hybrid which I believe will be less reliable. Honestly my only real problem with SPA Sensus is the music issue discribed.

I also liked how customizable everything was with later Volvo Sensus and that you could change things like steering feel and brake pedal feel. Although I like sportier vehicles I actually went with the light steering feel and for brake pedal feel Normal instead of Dynamic which I found a little touchy and jerky but not nearly as bad in terms of jerkiness as the 2020 V90 and V60 I drove that felt as if the front were dipping and diving while jerking back and forth. I actually set up an individual mode where it is set to Polestar but normal brake feel and light steering feel which I feel really improves the driving experience.

The base sound system once you customize the equalizer and get it set right is extremely impressive. I was extremely disappointed with the Harman Kardon upgrade system for 60 and 90 series and think it should be discontinued with the B&W being the only upgrade system. The audio system by default kind of has a blaring flat sound because midrange is too high so like our XC70's I went into the equalizer and turned middle adjustment nearly all the way down. On our 2022 XC90 the bass is weaker by default even than our 2019 XC90 so I turned up the far left adjustment to about 75 percent to increase the bass frequency in the equalizer and it sounded great. Everything I have in my music collection from Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Van Halen, Steely Dan, Talking Heads, The Cars to Aaliyah, Timbaland and Heavy D sounds great. The system is very clear with no distortion and very rich full sound.   

The engine sound and exhaust was too subdued and quiet as if Volvo went nuts trying to quiet their vehicles. They seem to forget people like sporty and aggressive sounding vehicles which is why competitors like Audi have some mean sounding vehicles that make me jealous. Look at all the soccer moms driving around in big SUV's with larger engines that usually have a deeper more serious engine sound. It makes them feel good to be in a big mean serious sounding vehicle and impression is everything. I wanted to tastefully upgrade the exhaust like I did with our P3's to achieve a slightly louder sound with same 4cyl 2.0L engine (T5 version) by having the resonator removed. However if you remove the resonator on a SPA Volvo especially T6 or T8 supercharged when you drive with the rear window rolled down it sounds high pitched and pathetic because these small 2.0L engines are heavily dependant on resonator to maintain a lower tone where it should NOT be removed and people doing this are unknowingly making the exhaust sound worse.

I realized there was an electronically controlled flap on the right exhaust pipe coming from the rear muffler and it was closing at times which not only makes the exhaust quieter but I believe slightly hurts power and fuel economy. When first punching it in Polestar mode there had felt like an initial lag I was very surprised by since the T6 is also Supercharged. I had really expected a more immediate punch but was very disappointed. Maybe I'm crazy but I thought my 2005 S80 felt like it had more of a direct punch than my XC90 with 330HP? I do believe that part of this is transmission programming too subdued at times where you don't get the hard kickdown that I expect when flooring it.

I went to a professional exhaust shop to have them remove the electronically controlled flap so both sides are open from the rear muffler for slightly louder and more aggressive sound and didn't really expect better performance but my 2022 XC90 not only sounds much better it also now feels like there is a more immediate punch. When the exhaust guy checked it out he said the flap for the right exhaust pipe coming from the rear muffler was staying closed at idle then when revved he thought was opening and closing. I had them remove the flap then they welded it back together. The exhaust is only now about 10-15 percent louder and I have no idea why Volvo would waste money to put this on the vehicle instead of saving money eliminating that instead of exhaust tips. What is totally ironic is that I think removing this slightly helps gas mileage in addition to seeming it would also be eco friendly to produce less parts!

There is also yet another restriction to over subdue the vehicle that is choking off and making things less efficient in my opinion. There is an additional filter layer similar to a piece of foam glued to the bottom of the air filter. Our P3 Volvos have Polestar filters you can buy without this but I could not find these for SPA so I very carefully peeled the foam layer off the bottom of the air filter making sure it didn't damage the filter and the extra layer came off the glue. It seemed like the vehicle got another slight bump in response and performance along with only a slight increase in engine noise. After this I did notice you can hear some slight Supercharger whine at times but it is only very sight. I really believe that this and removing the exhaust valve at the rear could yield up to a 10HP increase in power and that could be 1 pound of boost Volvo could cut to make engines more efficient and easily add another MPG in my opinion.

So much for all the environmental urgency in my opinion! I think had Volvo just simply made some very slight changes vehicles could be more efficient.

The exterior looks are perfect and as far as the interior I was happy that the T6 now also came without the Inscription package because these used to all have leather dashes. As nice as the leather dashes look I did NOT want one after knowing how the leather can start to lift and my ridiculous nightmare with our XC70 leather dashes which you can read about on this website. I was also pleasantly surprised that walnut woodgrain is now being put in NON inscription models which I felt was another good move by Volvo. The walnut wood has grown on me although I miss the beautiful darker gloss woodgrain T5's used to come with and still believe walnut woodgrain should be slightly darker.

I was not a fan of the wheels because they just seemed unattractive and too busy to me so I decided that I would change them to another 20 inch wheel but my wife likes them so I will probably just keep them. There is an option wheel I would want but unfortunately that wheel comes in 22 inch which I believe is very stupid and will be susceptible to being bent, damaged and will result in a harsh ride since ultra thin low profile tires have to be used with those wheels. I also think they look stupid I mean come on 20's are enough. I wish that wheel came in a 20 inch wheel maybe 21 inch which should be the largest since it's an SUV and does not need super thin ultra low profile tires. This feels like the old Rolling Stones song You Can't Always Get What You Want and part of the lyrics say you just might find you get what you need.   

My family and myself love our 2022 XC90 and it is a near perfect vehicle. Although I purchased a new Volvo it is also very sad for me because I feel Volvo has now taken what could have been a perfect SUV and keeps ruining things and doing stupid things. Now Volvo is only going to make all of their vehicles hybrid and electric which we really would not even want. I am all for the environment but I think jumping to things that in my opinion are not really helping solve any problem and will be less reliable and also create other issues is not the solution and strongly believe that Volvo should focus on more efficient T5 and T6 models starting with a 228HP T5 FWD and 280HP T6 and compensate with more aggressive shift programming to get the most out of horsepower and compensate for reduced ratings. While I feel that Volvo is not listening I really feel they need to or lose business and I hope they listen.

Click here for 2020 Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid Review

Click here for 2020 Volvo V60 and V90 Cross Country Review




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