Maruti Suzuki XL6 review – A better bet than the Ertiga?

Maruti Suzuki XL6 review – A better bet than the Ertiga?

The Maruti XL6 is nothing but a more premium version of the Ertiga. And ‘XL’ stands for ‘exclusive’, while the ‘6’ in the name is to show customers it’s a proper 6-seater. It gets a lot of changes on the outside and inside, and Maruti has decided to sell the XL6 through its Nexa dealerships. Maruti is not offering diesel engines on this model, so you get only a BS6-compliant petrol engine, featuring mild-hybrid tech, along with options of a manual and automatic gearbox.

Slight similarities yet different

When you look at the Maruti Suzuki XL6, you’re instantly reminded of the Ertiga. But the Maruti Suzuki XL6 looks more like an SUV with those strong character lines and upright bonnet. To an extent, it looks quite rugged because of the roof rails and plastic cladding around. At the front, nothing resembles the Ertiga; the XL6 has a face of its own. The bold-looking grille and the scuff plate, along with the pair of large full LED headlamps, give it a different identity altogether. The bumpers get a lot of cladding on them, but the 15-inch wheels don’t match the bulk of the 6-seater’s overall silhouette. Perhaps Maruti Suzuki Cars should consider giving it bigger wheels in the near future. At the rear, the Ertiga’s tail lights remain, but there are certain styling elements, like the faux skid plate and the revised bumper that will help one differentiate it from an Ertiga. Maruti Suzuki Cars are selling the XL6 in 6 colours; also, there are accessories to choose from.

Anything familiar?

Step inside the Maruti Suzuki XL6, and you will note that it appears to be a premium version of its sibling. The dials and the dashboard have been lifted from the Ertiga, but the all-black theme for the cabin is a breath of fresh air. What really adds some class is the faux ash wood finish on the dashboard, the knitted roof lining and those lovely leatherette upholstered seats. These seats are firmer than the ones on the Ertiga but overall comfort is good. The middle row is worth a mention; you don’t get the same bench found in the Ertiga; instead the XL6 gets individual captain chairs. You can very easily get in and have them slid backwards if you find it a squeeze to get in. The chairs are comfortable but under-thigh support isn’t great. You can even have the seats recline to an extent, but there is no armrest adjustment. The rear windows don’t get sunblinds, sadly, but it’s still a comfortable place to be sitting in. You’ll have to somehow find your way, adjusting yourself, as you get into the last row because the middle-row seats don’t tumble forward. There’s a decent amount of kneeroom at the back and headroom is sufficient as well, for as long as you’re not tall. This row also features adjustable backrests and these seats can split and fold, becoming one with the floor, further giving way to more boot space.

There are multiple features on offer, like LED headlights with DRLs, Maruti’s new-gen SmartPlay Studio infotainment unit, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, e-SIM-based connected tech, featuring real-time driving alerts and geofencing, reverse camera, an auto-dimming mirror and leatherette seats.

Mild-hybrid magic

The petrol engine in the Ertiga is the same one in the XL6. The BS6-compliant 1.5-litre petrol engine features mild-hybrid tech, comprising a secondary lithium-ion battery pack and an integrated starter generator. The tiny motor helps when you floor the throttle, but there is no electric-only mode. The engine responds well initially and it has a nice peppy top-end. Push beyond 3000rpm, and the engine sounds nice; pulling power, with the car full isn’t bad, but can’t be compared to torquey diesels. The 5-speed gearbox is nice to use and the clutch isn’t heavy. You also get a 4-speed torque-converter automatic as an option. The gears shift smoothly, particularly when you’re driving around in the city. However, for the automatic model, we’d recommend being easy on the throttle and this model isn’t as frugal as you’d imagine it to be. Ride quality is impressive at low speeds and the suspension absorb bumps without a hassle. You do however feel the big cuts in the road filter through at high speeds but the XL6 feels planted, and the steering, very shockingly, has a nice amount of weight to it. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.

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