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The Maruti Suzuki XL6 is the first six-seater under the Nexa brand. We drove it in Rajasthan to see what more does this Ertiga-based MPV have to offer.


Design

The name Maruti Suzuki XL6 roughly translates into an extra-large six-seater. It’s a smart package since it borrows the HEARTECT platform, powertrain, and most cabin parts from the Ertiga but looks more robust on the outside than its sibling. You’ll notice a more raised bonnet while the grille gets a bold chrome cross-bar, both of which try to give it a more SUV-ish face. Also new are large headlamps with four LED lights and a unique LED is running light pattern which looks rather sharp. And to make it appear more rugged, the designers have also added silver skid-plates. All these bits add up to make the Maruti Suzuki XL6 look very different from the erstwhile Ertiga.
There’s obviously not much change in the shape of the side profile, which, understandably, has been disguised with some plastic cladding and roof-rails. The alloy wheels have been tricked, too, with an all-black treatment, but the small 15-incher look doesn’t gel well with the overall SUV-like styling. Sadly, there isn’t any room in wheel-arches to fit larger wheels with similar profile tyres. The rear design gets some minor tweaks as well, including re-profiled tail-lamps, slightly different bumpers, and, of course, skid-plates. All these changes ensure that the Maruti Suzuki XL6 distinguishes itself from the Ertiga and, in fact, the front looks a lot more appealing.
(Also Read: Maruti Suzuki XL6 Launch)

Cabin and Interior
There are changes in the cabin, too, but not as discriminating as those in the exterior. The biggest update on the Maruti Suzuki XL6 is a couple of captain seats in the second row, vis-à-vis a bench seat in the Ertiga. This essentially means two separate seats with individual arm-rests which aim to offer additional comfort and a more premium touch. The back-rest can be reclined and the seats can be pushed back, so that you can stretch your legs with ease. It’s a six-seater, so you can squeeze in two more passengers in the third row or fold the seats to create more storage space. Ingress and egress are made easy thanks to the one-touch recline and slide mechanism for the second-row seats.

The other notable change is the all-black theme of the dashboard which stands apart from the Ertiga’s black and beige combination. The black treatment in combination with leatherette seat upholstery and stone-finished highlights give the Maruti Suzuki XL6 a sportier appearance. You still don’t get soft-touch plastic and to some the hard, black plastic on the dashboard might not seem very premium either.

Features
As seen in the Ertiga, the Maruti Suzuki XL6 also gets a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with some extra features: you can connect your smartphone and listen to online radio and remotely track the vehicle or get alerts, and set up geofencing. Also new are the inclusion of cruise control, automatic headlamps with a follow-me-home feature, and auto-folding wing mirrors. The cloud-connected infotainment system gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, but the touchscreen often needs a second tap to register the instruction. Other features have been carried over from its sibling such as steering-mounted audio controls, push-button start with keyless entry, automatic climate control with rear vents, and multi-info display which gives a host of readouts.

(Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is Now BS-VI Compliant)


Engine and Performance

Even the engine has been borrowed from the Ertiga, for the Maruti Suzuki XL6 can be had in just the petrol version with the option of manual or automatic transmission. The 1.5-litre unit is BS-VI compliant, in the same state of tune, and makes 105 hp and 138 Nm. Gearbox options include a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic and it also retains the mild-hybrid system. With the same underpinnings, powertrain, and suspension system, the Ertiga-based Maruti Suzuki XL6 doesn’t feel much different to drive. Which isn’t a bad thing considering the booming sale of the older MPV.

The four-cylinder petrol has excellent refinement and is free-revving. The petrol-electric combination is also pretty efficient, promising 19.01 km/l for the manual version and a slightly lower 17.99 km/l for the automatic variant. The Maruti Suzuki XL6 auto is convenient to use and manages city commuting without much complaint but every time you press hard on the gas, the four-speed is in no hurry to deliver the goods. It stumbles through the gears and revs hard to make the car go. You can’t control the shifts since there are no steering-mounted paddles either. Maybe Maruti should introduce a modern automatic transmission to the race. The manual, on the other hand, feels a lot more spirited to drive, is also more efficient. The clutch is light and gear-shifts are precise, making this version my pick among the two.

Ride and Handling
The suspension system has been fine-tuned to restrain body-roll and it does switch direction with reasonable aplomb. The highlight is how it soaks in the usual bumps and potholes you find in most cities, remaining impressively settled and composed. There’s no bouncing about nor does the suspension bottom out, at least not with two people and camera equipment on board. The steering is very light, making chores like lock-to-lock parking stress-free. On hind sight, the feedback isn’t crystal clear, which dampens confidence during quick direction change manoeuvres.

Conclusion
For a premium product like this, the standard safety equipment isn’t exceptional but does get dual airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX, front seatbelts with pre-tensioner and force limiter, and the automatic variant also boast of ESP with hill hold. Since the big selling point are the second-row captain seats, curtain airbags for the passengers would have been a welcome addition.
And, finally, coming to the cost. The Maruti Suzuki XL6 demands a premium of about Rs 70,000 over the Ertiga and is available in two variants, Zeta and Alpha, priced between Rs 9.8 lakh and Rs 11.46 lakh (ex-showroom). The good news here is that unlike the Ertiga, the automatic version of the XL6 can be had in the top-end Alpha variant. Though most buyers will still be attracted towards the more practical Ertiga, the Maruti Suzuki XL6 will amplify the sales for the company. It looks more sporty, gets the comfy captain seats and surely won’t be mistaken for a cab.

 

About the author: Sarmad Kadiri

 

 

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