2019 Maruti Suzuki XL6 First Drive Review: The best 6-seater MPV you can buy today

The Maruti XL6 is a breath of fresh air when it comes to premium six-seater multi purpose vehicles in the country and its excellent at what it is designed to do.

By:August 28, 2019 12:50 PM

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What happens when you want a lot from one package? You don’t want to compromise on anything and need everything in one go. Well, in a lot of instances when you want the best of everything in one go, the result is a compromise and that is where precisely MPVs come in. MPVs give you the best of everything in terms of space, practicality, features, the ability to move cargo and people but at the end of the day, there is no excitement in owning an MPV. But Maruti Suzuki now claims that they are going to change that fact because MPVs are not going to be boring with the XL6. This is not just your regular Ertiga as the XL6 is a bit different from the former. What features the XL6 packs, how different it is from the Ertiga and how is it to drive.  Our review is going to throw light on these aspects.

Maruti Suzuki XL6 – Design and appearance

In terms of looks, the Maruti Suzuki XL6 is quite different from the Ertiga on which it is based. If you look at the front, it is entirely different as the XL6 gets new quad chamber LED headlamps with LED DRLs while the fog lamps are again LEDs. The XL6 gets a different grille unlike the Ertiga that has a chrome studded unit. The XL6 in the meanwhile has a blackened out grille with a chrome slat running across. The bumper is also different and it looks a lot more dynamic giving an overall sporty appeal to the vehicle. If you look at the Ertiga itself, it was a great improvement in terms of design compared to the previous generation model. The XL6 does come across as more than a plain boring MPV as it looks exciting from the front and that is something that Maruti claims that they have done very well and we would vouch for it that they have achieved that result very well.

If you look at the side profile of the XL6, the alloy wheels are possibly the first thing that you will notice as these have been blackened out and go well with the overall sporty theme of the XL6. The MPV also gets flared wheel arches and these along with the roof rails add a lot of dynamism to the overall design. Moving to the rear, the XL6 gets a new set of bumper and one can see a lot of creases. Overall, when you merge all these elements together, what you get is an MPV which is not at all boring to look at.

Maruti Suzuki XL6 – Interiors and practicality

Now talking of the interiors of the Maruti Suzuki XL6, it is not vastly different compared to the Ertiga so what you have in terms of differences is stone finish on the dashboard which does look good and offers a premium feel. Rest of the design is also nice and you get AC vents that run across the width of the dashboard. The XL6 offers a 7-inch touchscreen that gives access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with Bluetooth connectivity and USB options as well.

This car comes equipped with a smart hybrid system from Maruti Suzuki so you do get a display for the battery status as well. The display tells you on the move whether the battery is being charged or when the battery is discharging its power and helping with the torque assist function. Overall, there isn’t much of a change compared to the Ertiga. Another big change on the XL6 compared to the Ertiga is that it gets all-black interiors and the seats get leather upholstery which in combination with the black finish gives the cabin a very nice and premium feel and goes in line with what the company wanted to achieve.

Now, moving on to the middle row of the XL6, the most important part since this is a six-seater. If you talk about the captain seats,  these offer a lot of room in terms of space and convenience and the cushioning along with the side support is decent too. The cushioned armrests add to the comfort and since these are captain seats, you can adjust them individually. Even when we set the captain seats in the second row to the forward most setting and the driver seat set to our driving preferences,  the knee room is quite acceptable. When you push the captain seats all the way back, the space is quite much more than what you can actually utilise.

In terms of headroom, there is nothing to complain at all and you get AC vents in the middle row that help in the cooling process. So, the question is – who should go in for the XL6? If you are someone who has a small family or you want to move around with more people and you want to have everyone in comfort, the XL6 does the job well. Apart from that, if you are someone who is going to be chauffeur-driven, nothing beats this in the particular price segment because these captain seats are going to keep you supremely comfortable in comparison to the bench seats that you get in other vehicles.

Now let’s proceed to the third row where most adults do not find enough space to be in. With the second-row captain seats adjusted to their regular position, you will get just about enough legroom in the third row but there is no under-thigh support which means that you cannot be in this place for a long while. It will also create problems for long term seating comfort. However, you can recline the seat and the headrest is adjustable so you can be comfortable in the third row for maybe an hour or so. However, for city drives, you can actually move around with six people with reasonable comfort.

Maruti Suzuki XL6 – Engine specs and performance

 

Now coming to the driving experience of the XL6, the vehicle comes with just one engine option, which is the 1.5-litre K-series petrol engine that produces a maximum power output of 105hp along with a peak torque of 138Nm. The engine also comes equipped with a smart hybrid system so what you get is mild-hybrid technology herein you get brake energy recuperation. All the energy that is usually lost while you are braking is captured and stored in the battery and used as a torque-assist function that eventually lowers emissions and improves fuel efficiency. In terms of driveability, the XL6 feels to have adequate power and there is a lack of power even when you are trying to overtake long trailers on the highways. The XL6 gets two gearbox options – a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic. The five-speed manual works like a charm as the gear ratios are sorted. The gearbox meshes well with the engine and there is no issue what so ever.

The four-speed automatic on the other hand just about does the job. Being a four-speed unit, you cannot expect much out of it and that is a weak area for Maruti Suzuki in terms of automatic transmissions because they still don’t have anything beyond the four-speed automatic except the AMT which can’t be deployed everywhere especially in premium vehicles like the XL6.

Maruti Suzuki XL6 – Ride quality and handling

Coming to the overall driving dynamics, the vehicle is stable and feels good to drive. The one welcome change in the XL6 over the Ertiga is that the company has improved the NVH and insulation levels and as a result, the cabin is much more refined. This adds to the premium quotient of the vehicle. Overall, the XL6 is a good vehicle to drive, it is a good vehicle to be in and it gives you good features. The ride quality is sorted too and there is no major change compared to the Ertiga. The XL6 is a quite comfortable and it goes over broken surfaces and bad roads very well. Moreover, it offers neutral handling and hence you can predict where the vehicle is going.

Maruti Suzuki XL6 – Price in India and Verdict

Now to sum it up, the XL6 does offer quite a different experience from the usual Ertiga. The MPV gets a six-seat layout and it is very useable and comfortable and the cabin feels plush and premium. The changes that have been done inside are quite nice and add to the overall experience. Apart from that, the design is quite nice and Maruti has ensured that this looks quite different and has proper road presence too. The XL6 is priced between Rs 9.79 lakh to Rs 11.46 lakh (ex-showroom). It does offer good value for money and the best part is that it has got no direct competition. There is no other vehicle in this particular price segment that gives you access to six seats in an MPV layout. That said, Maruti Suzuki has hit that sweet spot with the XL6 and we do think there is a market for this kind of a vehicle. The XL6 checks the right boxes and there is a good reason to believe that this will go on to become a quite successful vehicle in the long run.

Images by Rahul Kapoor

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