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Features comparison - 2020 versus 2023 XC60 B5 (Inscription Pro / Ultimate)

United Kingdom
What I Drive
2023 XC60 B5 Ultimate Dark
In February 2020, I purchased an XC60 Inscription Pro B5 MHEV which was full specification model fitted with the Volvo Sensus infotainment system. It provided good reliable service for three years, so I decided to upgrade to a new 2023 XC60 Ultimate Dark B5 MHEV with the full specification and the Google infotainment system installed. I was advised by my local Volvo dealer that the 2023 model was better specified than the 2020 model with more features, but in other ways is more user friendly with the new Google based infotainment system. Well so far after just 4 weeks of ownership, I can say that I wish that I had kept my 2020 XC60 with the Sensus system. There are also quite a few key differences with some specific features. I have listed these below for information to anyone else who may be considering upgrading. Please note these comments relate to UK spec XC60 B5 Ultimate.

Feature/function on XC60 Inscription Pro B5 MHEV (2020 model) versus XC60 Ultimate B5 MHEV (2023 early)
Heated seats: Heated seats in the XC60 were a wide area of the seat and heated up nice and quickly.
Heated seat in new XC60 appear to heat the central middle back area, and not the full width of the back area of the seat? I had the heated seats on position II but in position III the seat does appear to warm up across a wider area of the seat but this may be a false assumption and could just be the more intense heat spreading to the full seat width.
Remote climate: When using the remote climate function from the Volvo App to pre-heat the car, seats, steering wheel and clear windscreen and mirrors etc. the car was efficiently clear of heavy ice within 10 minutes.
The new XC60 is still iced up after 10 minutes. I need to scrape the ice from the screen. OK, my 2020 car had a heated screen in place of the head-up display, but I didn’t realise the new cars climate demist/defrost efficiency would be so inefficient.
For a Swedish designed vehicle, designed in a Scandinavian climate, I am surprised at the apparent ineffectiveness of the ice clearance and de-mist functionality over the 2020 model?
Driver display: A useful feature on personalising the driver display layout was the ability to choose between three dash layouts. I opted for the larger dials and smaller nav info scheme for driver display.
The new XC60 driver display has a ‘C’ shaped design for the speedo and rev counter that is hard for me to see when driving. It may look a bit more ‘funky’ but it is not ‘glance friendly’ and the numerals are small and difficult to see. I am not a fan of the new driver display layout, although the central nav image between the speedometer and rev counter is usefully placed.
I now spend more time looking down at the dash than I need to due to the revised design layout of the driver display. Where have the options gone to change to a different user defined layout? Can driver display options be added?
Parking brake: When I parked up and with my foot on the brake, pushed the 'P’ button so the car transmission went into park mode and turned the start knob to ‘off’, the electronic handbrake was automatically applied adding an automatic safety feature.
When parking up with the new model, I hold my foot on the brake, push the ‘P’ button and turn off the ignition. But the auto parking brake does not engage? I have to remember to manually select the electronic parking brake. Is this a design fault or a design error in programming?
For an automotive brand that focusses on safety, this is a big oversight as it will leave the car parked purely on transmission hold rather than auto parking brake hold. Can this be fixed so that the parking brake automatically engages once the start knob is turned off?
Drive enable: The drive function on this model required a double pull on the gear stick to engage drive. Once I got used to this feature it was OK but took some getting used to.
The new car does not require a double pull to engage Drive. You just need to pull back the gear lever fully once to engage Drive.
I prefer the gear engagement function from the 2023 model.
USB Media: I have my CD media library of 420 CD albums ‘ripped’ onto a FAT 32 formatted USB memory stick. The 2020 car would recognise the USB stick and allow me to play media files in the car. It worked well and was a great feature.
I plugged the same USB stick into both USB ‘C’ ports under the armrest of the new car and a message popped up to say “Media type not recognised”. Is this an error or have Volvo removed this functionality from the new car?
Do I need to change a setting to get the USB to read in the new XC60? If the new car cannot read the USB stick, I view this as a step back in media technology development. Do I need to subscribe to Spotify, Apple Music, or one of the other subscription Apps to stream music? Why can’t we plug in a USB stick to play music from an on-board USB library? Can this be re-instated so that the Google system recognises and plays MP3 file format from USB stick?
Adaptive Cruise: I had the ability to control the adaptive cruise control, speed limiter and drive pilot through the steering wheel buttons. Once I’d learned which buttons did what, it was a one button press to active all functions individually. I regularly used adaptive cruise on motorways. I also used adaptive cruise and drive pilot when on a long motorway drive when fatigue was setting in. Great safety features. I also enabled drive pilot as added security when adjusting other functions in the car (climate, seat, etc.) when taking eyes off the road.
The new car has speed limiter, adaptive cruise and drive pilot, but Volvo have made it dangerous to use. I now need to take my eyes off the road for about 10 seconds to open the controls menu, open Driving options, then locate Pilot Assist on screen. I activate it, then push the steering wheel button on to activate adaptive cruise and drive pilot. But you can only de-activate Speed limiter or Drive Pilot using the central console. Which is in my opinion dangerous and can cause a collision. Why make a safe feature, dangerous to use on the move in the new XC60?
I don’t like driving with Adaptive Cruise and Pilot Assist on all the time as in heavy motorway traffic, it’s tiring to use with all the self-corrections. But the new system means I switch the whole lot off as I don’t trust taking my eyes off the road for 10 seconds whilst I turn it on (or off). Why has Volvo turned a perfectly safe functioning system into a dangerous to use feature? The set-up was perfectly good as it was before using steering wheel buttons. The speed limiter function is useful, but is no longer ‘one button’ activation, so I’ll no longer use this feature. Can Volvo mirror the 2020 set-up for activation and deactivation of Speed Limiter and Drive Pilot?
Volvo App: The App on the 2020 model had some useful features which included the ability to set a navigation route and send it to the car and Driver Journal. I used this a lot to allocate mileage to either business or private.
The ’new’ Volvo App is in my opinion a useless feature. All you can do now is lock or unlock the car and ventilate the car remotely. Apart from this, I can see no useful features on the new App. OK it provides the location map of the vehicle, but you can’t navigate to it or from it. The map does not have navigation settings, so what is the use of the map?
In my opinion the new Volvo App serves no useful purpose in its current form. Why did Volvo not at least replicate the previous app features rather than dispose of all the previous App useful features? I really cannot understand the logic here. A counterproductive move from a user’s perspective. The Driver Journal was a really useful feature for business drivers. Can this be reinstated?
Dash Cams: when I purchased the 2020 XC60, I wanted to install a front and rear dash cam similar to the BMW system that I have installed (Advanced Car Eye 3.0) which works very well. I was advised by the dealer that fitting of a dash cam system could invalid the warranty as it may interfere with the vehicles in-built safety guidance systems. I was advised that Volvo were in the process of developing a front and rear camera system that would be launched soon. That was in 2020.
I have asked whether Volvo have introduced a compatible dash cam system now after three years of development. The dealer has advised me that the Volvo dash cam system is still not ready for sale, but Volvo are working on it. Are there any non Volvo dash cams that Volvo recommend?
I am interested to understand what the issues are with the fitment of the dash cam system. Is this a safety issue or a technical issue that I’m not aware of? My car comes with 360 degree cameras fitted, so presumably the technology already exists within the vehicle. Surely it is just a case of adding in a wider view camera and recording facility? It would be helpful to understand whether a Volvo recommended dash camera accessory is likely to be available in the near future?
Google infotainment: The Sensus system included a lot of useful features. The voice recognition system worked well for me, turning on/off basic vehicle functions, but is limited in success for on-line functions or for navigation.
The Google system appears very accurate so far when dealing with voice commands to enter navigation directions on the move and stationary. The ability to give voice commands for music streaming app (Spotify) is also very useful. I can say “Hey Google play The Wall Pink Floyd” and the system responds with “Requesting Spotify to play The Wall, Pink Floyd”. It takes about 2-3 seconds for the album to play.
The new Google infotainment system works well for Navigation and music media commands, but you would expect it too. Sadly the lack of vehicle functions (see above) makes it less user friendly for some of the more basic commands. Volvo need to be conscious not to develop wonderful social media apps at the expense of useful basic core vehicle functions.
Bonnet: My 2020 bonnet was easy to lift and elevated to a height that could be reached by the driver.
The new XC60 bonnet release appears for some reason to be fiddly to the release catch under the lip of the bonnet. It also lifts to a height that is impossible to reach from standing in front of the grill. Unless you are 8 feet tall, you have to step to the side of the bonnet to gain the reach to close the bonnet.
Can a part open locking mechanism be added that allows the driver to open the bonnet part way, whilst allowing the service personnel to open the bonnet to the full height?
Dealer vehicle handover: When I purchased my first XC60, the dealer handover was very comprehensive with the product specialist explaining all the features of the car in great detail.
During the dealer handover for the new XC60, the young product specialist was polite and articulate, and set-up the Google account details for me. She was aware that my last vehicle was a 2020 XC60 Inscription Pro. But did not explain the differences in function between the 2020 and 2023 XC60 highlighting the functional differences between the two vehicles.
It would have been helpful if the product specialist had concentrated on explaining the key differences in features and functions as in 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11 that I have detailed above.
In addition, I have been experiencing issues with the Google based infotainment system from Tuesday 21 February and all this week. Can anyone confirm what the mobile data plan is for the Volvo XC60 in the UK? What is the network used and is it an unlimited data plan for the 4 years? I have my Spotify account loaded into the XC60 but it refuses to play music through the car but just keeps 'buffering'. There is no issue with my Spotify account as it plays OK streaming through my iPhone.

The only item that operates is the radio channels through the car. I have turned off the Bluetooth and mobile data switches in Controls and turned these back on. No difference. I then did a manual reboot of the system (20 seconds push of the button). This also made no difference. Has anyone else experienced this issue?

Sadly, I have a Volvo luxury SUV fitted with a wonderful Bowers & Wilkins hi fi system that can’t play any music files off the USB stick and cannot play music files from a mainstream music streaming provider. I've heard rumblings through other forums that this may be a systemic issue with the Google powered infotainment system.

I would be interested to learn whether my comments are isolated or whether other owners have experienced similar issues?
United Kingdom
What I Drive
2023 XC60 B5 Ultimate Dark
I have written to Volvo UK Customer Services to communicate my comments above, but am awaiting a reply to all points raised.