In the last few years, we have witnessed a strong demand for SUVs in India. Comparatively, except for the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Toyota Innova Crysta, the MPV segment has not really been a popular choice among customers. MPVs are undoubtedly a practical choice, however, the rugged character of an SUV is what pulled the heartstrings for many. To address this dilemma, Maruti Suzuki has introduced the XL6 that combines the best of both worlds.
To keep buyers like you informed about new car options, a Nexa Blue coloured Maruti Suzuki XL6 was loaned to me to share my experience of living with it. Moreover, this was my opportunity to find out if this is just a cosmetic enhancement job over the Ertiga or is it really a premium MPV as Maruti Suzuki claims it to be. The one you see in the pictures is the top-spec Alpha AT variant.
Visually, the Maruti Suzuki XL6 is a charmer that borrows styling elements commonly found in vehicles from the SUV family. But does this premium MPV really has the potential to meet your needs? Read below to learn more about my experience of living with the Maruti Suzuki XL6.
How practical is it?
In terms of dimensions, the Maruti Suzuki XL6 has a length of 4,445mm, width of 1,775mm, and height of 1,700mm. The additional cladding and inserts around the vehicle make the XL6 marginally longer and wider than the Ertiga, while the wheelbase and the ground clearance remain the same at 2,750mm and 180mm, respectively. The XL6 is a fairly large vehicle in its category, however, getting behind its wheel and driving around within the city limits is quite effortless.
Open the driver-side door and you will notice an all-black theme, which is different from the standard beige theme in the Ertiga. Moreover, the dashboard is highlighted by a black-grey finish instead of the wooden trims. The three-spoke steering wheel with a silver insert enhances its premium quotient, while the analogue instrument cluster is large and easily readable. The wide rectangular air vents are smartly enclosed in housings that run across the length of the dashboard.
Maruti Suzuki cars have been easy to use and this trait is noticeable in the XL6 as well. Stepping in and out of the vehicle is not a problem, and there is ample knee room and headroom for both the front seat occupants. There is an adequate amount of lumbar and thigh support. The controls on the steering wheel help you keep your eyes on the road while accessing the audio, phone, and cruise control functions. However, the full-colour MID display is only accessible via the knobs behind the steering wheel and the steering-mounted control option could have added value to its premium appeal.
Now here’s its USP, the second-row seats! Unlike the bench seat layout in the Ertiga, the XL6 offers captain seats in the second row. The leather-wrapped seats look premium and are equally comfortable as the front seats. There is ample legroom and headroom for the occupants and there is no much reason to complain here. That said, ingress and egress to the third row are not exactly graceful, as the captain seat only reclines and slides ahead and does not fold up like the Ertiga’s bench. The other way to do this is by using the passage between the captain seats. The third-row seats are similar to the ones offered in the Ertiga and are best suited for children.
What’s on the feature list?
The seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with smart play studio has been smartly positioned and it is not too far from the line of sight. The system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with app support for maps, car health, and geofencing. The user interface is easy to use and works without a hiccup, while the internet connectivity is via the cell phone. The vehicle offers a manual driver seat height adjustment function as standard. Though functional, an electric seat adjustment feature could have been a nice addition, especially since Maruti Suzuki positions the XL6 as a premium product offering and the competition has grown stronger over the years.
The XL6 gets a standard list of safety equipment which includes ABS with EBD, three-point seat belts for all occupants, ISOFIX, and dual-front airbags. Equipment like ESP and hill-hold control is limited to the top-spec variant. Parking the XL6 is not a problem, thanks to the reverse camera, large windows, and wide ORVMs that offer an obstructed view. The other notable features here include keyless entry, push-button start/stop, automatic climate control, and rear aircon vents. The automatic headlamps are limited to the top-spec Alpha variant.
How does it perform on the daily commute?
The Maruti Suzuki XL6 is powered by a 1.5-litre hybrid petrol engine which generates 103bhp at 6,000rpm and 138Nm of torque at 4,400rpm. The one here is a four-speed automatic version and alternatively, it can also be had with a five-speed manual unit. In terms of performance, the XL6 has one of the finest engines under the hood, however, the four-speed automatic feels a little outdated and is not best suited for spirited driving. That said, for drivers with light feet, this gearbox will ensure that that you don’t break a sweat. The bottom end is strong and offers adequate power while commuting within city limits, however overtaking on the highways will need some planning. It does not offer a manual mode, but one can switch to the low mode to hold the second gear, which is particularly helpful when the vehicle is fully loaded and one has to go up an incline.
The steering is light and well calibrated and works perfectly at all speeds. The XL6 sits tall and the body roll is quite evident, however, the suspension has been well-tuned to offer acceptable damping over undulated surfaces. The vehicle does not struggle over bad roads and can effortlessly handle a mild off-roading bit. We have tested this engine with an automatic setup, wherein it managed to sprint from 0-100kmph in 12.67 seconds. The 20-80kmph kickdown was completed in 7.54 seconds while the 40-100kmph kickdown was cleared in 9.60 seconds.
How is it for the weekend?
The vehicle is a practical choice when it comes to long-distance commuting. Fold down the third-row seats and you have ample space to hurdle in a couple of large suitcases and duffle bags. The vehicle stands true to its claims of being a six-seater. With all the seats up, there is a decent amount of legroom and headroom for occupants seated in either of the three rows.
The captain seat in the middle row is a vital part of the premium experience, therefore emerges as a perfect four-seater particularly during long commutes. Moreover, the automatic setup further eases driver’s stress and also allows them to enjoy the scenery en route to the holiday destination.
What’s the deal with the warranty?
Maruti Suzuki XL6 attracts a standard warranty of 24 months or 40,000km, whichever comes earlier. Additionally, customers can avail of an extended warranty for the third, fourth, and fifth year or up to one lakh kilometre at an additional cost. The parts covered under extended warranty include high-pressure pump, compressor, ECM, turbo charger assembly, engine, steering, strut, and self-assembly.
Maruti Suzuki XL6 is for customers who seek a soul of an MPV with a character of an SUV. The six-seat configuration is ideal for individuals seeking their own space. The no-fuss layout and a practical feature list make it a no-nonsense car. Maruti Suzuki’s legendary strategy for the right pricing has rubbed on the XL6 as well, which is offered with a modest set of feature-list and no bells and whistles to boast about.
To answer my question if this is really different from the Ertiga? The answer would be, it is fairly different, without losing out on the teachings from its older sibling. There is more of a feel-good factor rather than improvement in driving dynamics, if any. Over the Ertiga, the XL6 is sure to command attention and if you are among the ones to be chauffeur driven, the XL6 will definitely please you.
Photo credits: Kapil Angane