2022 Volvo S60 B5 R-Design

The S60 B5 mild hybrid is still a great option you might want to grab before it’s gone.
The S60 B5 mild hybrid is still a great option you might want to grab before it’s gone.

by Arthur Chiang | December 20, 2022


Volvo – a marque synonymous with safety for as long as we can remember, now aims to be the first auto manufacturer to end production of internal combustion vehicles, selling only hybrid and full electric powertrains by 2025. Year over year the Scandinavian car maker slims down its model range, relegating gasoline powered vehicles to the “other powertrains” section buried in their website. Dig deep enough and you’ll come across the 2022 Volvo S60 B5 R-Design, “the dynamic and responsible Scandinavian Sedan”.

While other marques seem to be caught in a never ending battle for who can fit the largest grill on the front of their car, Volvo has opted out of this trend and as a result the design is aging gracefully and looking more and more sophisticated with each passing day. Instead of a gaudy grill the headlights have become the brand signature with those unmistakable Viking hammer shaped daytime running lights. The S60 has pleasing proportions with sharp lines lending to its sophisticated look.

Volvo offers the S60 B5 in three trims, Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. The R-Design is the sportiest of the three available trims, with black exterior accents and a lowered chassis. Our tester also has the optional 19-inch 5-triple spoke matt black diamond cut wheels and stainless steel exhaust finishers integrated into the rear diffuser to make it stand out just a bit more in the S60 lineup.

The interior has a solid build quality with a minimalist aesthetic that you might expect from Scandinavian design. R-Design keeps things extra stark with a charcoal headliner and cold woven metal accents. Still there are some nice touches if you look closer like the neat plastic clip in the corner of the windshield for holding parking permits and the French stitch shift nub. There is also a panoramic sunroof should you need to let some light into the cabin.

The leather-free steering wheel is wrapped in a synthetic material that feels soft to the touch, but the highlight here are the seats. As the R-design is meant to be the sportier trim, there are textile patches stitched in with the Nappa leather for extra holding ability during cornering as well as looking the business and offering plenty of comfort and support. Rear passenger room is average for the class, but the trunk is cavernous with its 422-liter capacity.

We still aren’t crazy about vertical tablet infotainment systems, and the S60 B5 does little to change our opinion. Volvo’s tablet even has a physical back button and three pages to swipe between lending more to the idea that someone stuck an iPad in the middle of the dash. It works in a practical sense but it just doesn’t look and feel like a natural experience you’d expect in a car. Thankfully Apple CarPlay and Android Auto has support has been added but it does feel a bit tacked on appearing in a horizontally oriented window instead of using the entire screen in portrait mode as we’ve seen in other makes.

It used to be of forgone conclusion that you would swap out the factory radio for something aftermarket if you wanted a good sound system in your car. Somewhere along the line manufacturers began to partner with premium audio brands to deliver some truly great factory sound. Momentum trim offers an optional 600-watt Harman-Kardon premium sound system that comes standard with R-Design and Inscription. But Volvo didn’t stop there.

With R-Design and Inscription models you can spec the 1,100-watt 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins high-end system to completely immerse yourself in clean detailed sound as loud as you dare turn it up. And turn it up we did using the fabulously oversized chrome volume knob. The resulting sound stage and fidelity simply needs to be experienced to be believed, easily matching top tier systems available in any car at any price point.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four supported with an integrated starter generator which supports the engine not so much in outright power but in smoothness and fuel economy. Every time you dip into the throttle you can feel a little EV like push giving an immediacy to the power delivery, which makes the car feel quicker than the numbers might suggest. The power unit puts out 247 horsepower at 5400RPM and 258 lb-ft. at 1800RPM – good for a 6.5 second charge from 0-100 km/h.

Every time you apply the brakes a little battery icon appears on the gauge display indicating the battery is being charged. Smooth prolonged braking charges the battery more than quick sudden jabs of the brake pedal. Fuel efficiency is rated at 9.4L/100KM city, 6.9 highway, and 8.3 combined. Our week of testing landed us right on the money at 8.3L/100km, an impressive performance given the spirited and city driving we did, indicating the hybrid system is doing its job well.

The engine is mated to an Aisin eight-speed automatic which can be manually shifted by moving the little shift nub left or right. Without steering wheel paddle shifters and the strange shift pattern we found it best to leave the shifting up to the well calibrated software.

The R-Design has stiffer shocks and springs as well as a lower ride height compared to Momentum and Inscription models. It responds quickly to steering inputs and the cornering ability befits what we expect from an AWD sport sedan. There is minimal body roll yet the ride isn’t too harsh for daily driving.

Volvo made its name on safety and as such the S60 B5 is loaded with the latest in road safety tech. We immediately took notice of the blinking dark amber LED’s in the corner of the side mirror blind spot, as well as the barrage of blinking road signs in the cluster to warn of speed limits and school zones (this feature can be turned off). Cross traffic detection and lane keep assist were also put to good use, as the S60 kept us hyper aware of our surroundings at all times.

The 2022 Volvo S60 B5 starts at $45,550 for the front-drive non hybrid Momentum (mild hybrid AWD is $2,350 extra). Buyers can choose the R-Design for a more sports oriented sedan starting at $52,750 or go with the more luxury trimmed Inscription for $54,350. All models provide good value for money for a European sedan with solid build quality and great fuel economy that ticks all the right boxes.

We did find the 2022 Volvo S60 B5 R-Design to be lacking a bit in soul with its agricultural engine noises and stark minimalist interior. The Bowers & Wilkins system may be an expensive add-on at $3,750 but its addition elevates the S60 B5 experience from a safe, fuel efficient car that gets you from A to B to something we’d enjoy spending extra time with. If a charging station isn’t easily available to you the S60 B5 mild hybrid is still a great option you might want to grab before it’s gone.

See Also:

2022 Lexus IS 500 Launch Edition

2021 Volvo S60 T5 R-Design

2021 Jaguar XF P300 R-Dynamic

Vehicle Specs
Compact Luxury Sedan
Engine Size
2.0L turbocharged inline-four mild hybrid
Horsepower (at RPM)
247 at 5,400
Torque (lb-ft.)
258 at 1,800
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Arthur Chiang

Staff Writer

Arthur is a walking encyclopedia of cars and is a known go-to source for obscure JDM parts in Ontario. He’s an avid track junkie and has amassed a collection of rare Subarus and Hondas.

Current Toys: ’00 WRX STI S201, '03 Impreza TS Wagon, ’98 WRX STI Type R, ’05 S2000, ’72 H2 750, ’08 Ruckus