The first thing you notice with the Cleveland Classic XL driver is the very deep face. It is much taller than most drivers you have seen. Given the restrictions on head size this also means the that slightly rounded clubhead is a little more compact visually from above than most other 460cc drivers.
At address the face almost looks like sheer cliff face, but in a good way as this means that you can tee the ball up ball and swing away. It is a very forgiving face and feels very good at impact even if the sound is a little on the harsh side for us. Overall the performance is very good and is as good as the previous Cleveland Classic driver.
The biggest difference is the visual look of the driver which has gone from the Classic's retro styling, which we preferred, to an all black finish with a single alignment dot. Some may feel it looks sleeker and more sinister and certainly a pretty cool retro headcover does live up to the Classic branding.
This is the third generation of Cleveland drivers to be under 300g and this Classic XL comes at 285 grams thanks to an excellent Miyazaki shaft and lightweight grip. It is interesting that the 3 head and weight options of the Classic have changed to one weight with the Classic XL, but actually the Classic 290 was the best head so having a similar style head with a longer 45 inch shaft and a slightly deeper centre of gravity are all good improvements.
For a little more cash there is also a Classic XL Custom driver which is the same head but with an adjustable hosel offering +/- 2.25 degrees face angle change and a choice of 3 adjustable weights (3, 7 and 11 grams) for the back of the sole.