Volvo XC60: new vs old compared

The new Volvo XC60 is a relaxing, rather than sporty, take on a prestige SUV. But how does it compare to its hugely popular predecessor?...

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Steve Huntingford
23 Jun 2017 14:40 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

We don't usually like to dwell too much on a car's predecessor, but it's worth making an exception for the Volvo XC60.

In 2016, the 'old' model’s ninth year on sale, Volvo sold more of them than ever. That’s almost unheard of; usually when a car is launched, sales peak a year or two later.

So, with the all-new XC60 now on sale, we've taken a look at whether it retains the strengths of its predecessor while adding enough to justify its higher price.

Volvo XC60 new vs old – styling

Volvo XC60: new vs old compared

Given the popularity of the old XC60, it's perhaps not surprising that the new car's exterior not only adopts some of Volvo’s current design themes, but also looks reassuringly familiar. It's a stylish, if conservative, SUV among some more aggressively designed cars such as the Jaguar F-Pace and, our current class leader, the Audi Q5.

The most obvious changes are at the front, where the grille is more upright than it was on the old car, and the headlights flow out of it, much like with the larger XC90.

Volvo XC60 new vs old – engines and driving

Volvo XC60: new vs old compared

So far, we've only sampled the new XC60 on the optional (and expensive) air suspension, but this delivers a soft and supple ride the majority of the time, particularly at high speeds.

Volvo's claims about sporty handling are a bit misleading; if you’re hoping for an SUV that changes direction as eagerly as the Porsche Macan, or F-Pace, you’ll be disappointed. However, the new XC60 grips well enough and feels more controlled in corners than its similarly comfortable predecessor.

Refinement is also much improved, with the 188bhp D4 and 232bhp D5 diesels both being smoother and quieter than the engines they replace. The new eight-speed automatic gearbox is a big step forward, too.

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