Maruti Suzuki XL6
It goes without saying that the market place for SUVs is so ripe that more and more manufacturers
are jumping on the bandwagon now. The second generation Ertiga is a very good car and a strong
seller, but what do you do to make it more appealing to the SUV loving customers out there? Well,
Maruti has given it a raised bonnet line and kitted it with a lot of SUV elements, and called it the XL6.
It is broadly similar to what Honda did with the Mobilio when they created the BRV. The name XL6,
which to most, brings back memories of the old Grand Vitara XL7, stands for ‘Exclusive’ and ‘6
seater’. And, since it is a premium offering, it will be sold via Nexa outlets.
The XL6 has SUV inspired styling with a more butch face and bolder styling. The wheel arches are
made to look bigger, but since they were working on a constrained budget, Maruti hasn’t reworked
the suspension or given it bigger wheels. The front styling is characterised by larger trapezoidal grille
and LED headlamps. The bumper gets skid plate and black trim around the fog lamps. From the
sides, the 15 inch wheels that are the same as in the Ertiga, look small. The rear is very similar to the
Ertiga save for new rear bumper and black trim under the rear glass.
The biggest improvement in the XL6 is the cabin. You get black interiors and leather seats that are
way classier than the Ertiga’s. We hated the wood trim in the Ertiga, and here you have better
finished trim that’s inspired by granite and aluminium. Also, instead of a middle sofa, you now get
two individual arm chairs that also recline and slide back and forth. The large glass area, the ample
legroom, the flat floor and the tall roof made sure I spent most of my time here. If you are going to
be chauffeur driven, look no further than the XL6. It is less than half the price of an Innova and the
petrol engine’s refinement is in a different league. The third row seats are better too, since it now
lets you sit with your legs extended towards the centre of the middle row. The familiar Bosch
infotainment unit is replaced with one similar to that of the new WagonR, with customizable menus
and all, but it isn’t as bright and suffers from sunlight readability. The XL6 gets cruise control in the
top spec while the rest of the dashboard is similar to that of the Ertiga. The flat bottomed steering is
good to hold and the driving position is excellent. There are two cup holders lower down in the
centre console and they have an AC vent with flow control to keep your beverages cool. The Bboot
space has also been improved with 209 litres with all three rows in place, 550 litres with the last row
folded and 803 litres with both rows down.
The XL6 gets the same 105bhp and 138Nm, 1.5 litre petrol engine as in the Ertiga and facelifted Ciaz.
It also gets the additional Li-ion battery pack for the hybrid system, although in real life, you can’t tell
when it is providing any assistance to the engine. The engine also gets a stop-start system which,
coupled with the refinement of the engine, works like a treat. The engine does offer good tractability
and low end. It is very easy to drive around town and you can maintain a decent cruising speed on
the highway. It labours its way to 6200rpm and overtaking calls for a quick downshift or two.
Fortunately, the clutch is very light and the gearshifts are snappy. The XL6 also gets an automatic
variant, but it is a 4 speed torque convertor which is best suited for city driving. There is no diesel
variant as such.
The XL6 has the same suspension as the Ertiga, which was a neat handler. The steering could do with
a bit more feel, but it grips better than before and is very sure footed through the corners. Yes, it
rolls a little, but you can drive it fast for an MPV. And, this isn’t at the expense of ride quality either.
The suspension irons out most vertical movements, and the cabin feels very well insulated from the
surface underneath. You can drive it fast over broken roads without discomfort. Brakes are
confidence inspiring as well.
With the XL6, Maruti has taken the Ertiga and made it that little bit better. It might seat only six, but
offers more comfort, better premium feel, more equipment and many more,etc. while retaining the
core values that made the Ertiga so good. It costs approximately Rs.70,000 to Rs.1 lakh more than
the Ertiga, and is definitely worth the extra cash.
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