Maruti XL6 Review
Car Tested: Maruti XL6; Road Test No. 1126; Test Location: Jaipur
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 11.44 - 13.58 lakhs
With the XL6, Maruti is offering Ertiga buyers a more premium and sporty looking MPV with great space and comfort
Everybody wants to go premium these days. If you want to buy a smartphone, you will have the option of a regular version and a pro version. Same is the case with Maruti who has rather successfully been able to go premium via its Nexa channel. In fact, if Nexa was a car manufacturer, it would be the third-largest in India after Maruti and Hyundai, which is only testimony to its success. Now, the Ertiga has become upmarket and it's called the XL6. We are here in Jaipur to find out how different is the XL6 from the Ertiga.
Motor Quest: Maruti launched the Ertiga in the Indian market in 2012. As an affordable MPV based on a monocoque chassis, the Ertiga made a strong case for itself as a value-for-money and easy-to-drive vehicle. Priced significantly lower than the segment's chief player, the Ertiga went on to become one of the best selling people movers in India. The second-generation model was launched towards the end of 2018 and it has continued reflecting the success of its predecessor. It is amongst the top 10 best selling cars in India. To further enhance Ertiga's appeal, Maruti has launched a more premium version of the car in the form of the XL6. With sporty looks, more equipment and captain seats, the XL6 aims to attract a more youthful crowd.
Exteriors - Maruti seems to have delivered on the style front. The XL6 looks rugged and macho from the front. The gaping grille, restyled bumpers and black cladding make give it some presence. We think the headlights are smartly done and we like the chrome strip that seems to intrude into the DRL. Look closely at the elements and you may find some resemblance with the Toyota Land Cruiser 200.
The XL6 gets a lot of differentiating styling elements and looks good
The side also benefits from more cladding. However, the thick cladding makes the wheels look a bit small. Other highlights are the black wing mirrors and solid-looking roof rails. Don't miss the Ignis-esque plastic add-on meant to look like a vent on the bonnet. At the rear, you again have a restyled bumper with added cladding. The black element on the tail is an unnecessary design touch in our opinion. It looks rather aftermarket. To conclude, Maruti has done a good job of giving you an MPV-crossover look.
Interiors - The XL6 employs an all-black theme on the inside which looks not only sporty but also is more practical (less prone to dirt) compared to the standard beige seen on the Ertiga. As dimensions haven't changed, space is really not an issue. There is plenty up front and the ergonomic layout of the cabin makes it easy to get comfortable. The big highlight here is Maruti's new SmartPlay studio infotainment system. It is fairly responsive and feels like an upgrade over the Ertiga's infotainment system. As with the Ertiga, you get a smartly styled instrument cluster with great graphics for the MID.
The XL6 gets Maruti's new responsive SmartPlay infotainment system
This MPV gets captain seats which as you would expect are pretty comfortable. The wide rear doors offer effortless access to the second row. Add in the relatively low ride height, it is a breeze even for senior citizens. The captain seats can be slid backwards and forward with an ability to recline. This flexibility really makes it comfortable for long drives. The captain seats also feature a one-touch forward mechanism for easy access into the third row. The third row feels less cramped now as there is no bench in front and the ability to recline the captain seats opens more legroom. Sure, the XL6 misses one seat, but this layout seems to be more flexible.
Maruti has loaded the MPV with enough features. Available in two variants, Zeta and Alpha, standard equipment includes climate control, cooled cupholders, cruise control, remote keyless entry amongst others. The top-spec Alpha trim also adds leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and auto headlamps. We wish Maruti had added sunshades at the back as a part of the standard equipment to enhance the premium feel.
The sliding rear captain seats are extremely comfortable and practical
Quality does not see a big leap forward. It will suffice for most buyers but you can't escape the panel gaps and lack of soft-touch materials. A few misses aside, the interior does live up to its sporty credentials offering comfortable seating for 6 adults and all the necessary equipment.
Performance - Powering the Maruti XL6 is a BS6 compliant K15 petrol engine with Smart Hybrid technology. This engine produces 105 BHP at 6000 RPM and 138 Nm of twisting force at 4400 RPM. Power delivery is linear and it really comes alive in the low and high end of the rev band but the mid-range is rather flat. This engine is very refined but gets vocal as the revs top out and has a very racy note to it. This car comes with second-generation Smart Hybrid technology and uses a Li-ion battery to store the energy. The batter is placed under the front passenger seat.
The 1.5 petrol engine is highly refined and is coupled to a mild-hybrid system
The Smart Hybrid system has three main features. Stop/Start system, regenerative braking and torque assist. While the first two are self-explanatory, torque assist essentially aids to give an additional punch via the battery at lower speeds thereby improving low-end performance. Mated to this engine is an option of a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic transmission. The automatic is an old school 4-speed torque convertor which does offer convenience but it comes at the cost of performance and fuel efficiency. It does a 0-100 km/hr run in approximately 14 seconds, which is slower than the manual by about 2 seconds. Fuel efficiency too is less than the manual by about 2 km/l and is between 8-10 km/l.
The 5-speed manual is the pick of the transmissions and offers slick shifts and has well spaced-out ratios. It revs freely to 6500 RPM and the first gear tops out around 40 km/hr, second around 80 km/hr and third goes all the way up to 120 km/hr. It is much more fun to drive too. With this, one can expect a fuel economy of around 10-12 km/l. The manual XL6 stops the clock on a 0-100 km/hr run in around 12 seconds. Maruti is currently not offering a diesel on the XL6 and we expect it to do so once BS6 norms kick in next year. There was anyway no point launching a BS6 diesel at this stage as BS6 fuel isn't available as yet. Maruti already has a BS6 ready 1.5-litre diesel engine in its portfolio, the same one which comes with the Ciaz and Ertiga.
Driving Dynamics - The steering is light at low speeds and weighs up reasonably as the speed picks up. It feels well centred and doesn't feel vague at all. The XL6 takes corners with predictability and its best to say that handling is great by MPV standards. Yes, there is a fair bit of body roll but is well controlled. The suspension is set up on the softer side and hence the XL6 absorbs everything that is thrown at it. Ride quality is so good that we actually took it over some really bad roads to find a fault but there wasn't any. There is slight vertical movement in the suspension at the rear but you can't make that out on a full load. Maruti has managed to strike the right balance between ride and handling.
Ride quality is fantastic and the Maruti XL6 actually handles well for its size
The brakes bite well and braking performance is satisfactory from the front discs and rear drums. Although grip levels are not bad, we would have liked larger rubber on the car but Maruti has ditched that for the sake of fuel efficiency.
Safety - The XL6 gets the basics like ABS, dual airbags, child seat anchorages and ESP with hill-hold for the automatic variant. Maruti says that the front meets Pedestrian Protection Compliance and the car has been tested to meet the upcoming norms. We think this was a good opportunity for Maruti to add side and curtain airbags, at least as an option.
Verdict - Although Maruti is positioning the XL6 as a premium MPV, there is nothing significantly different compared to the Ertiga and mechanically they are identical. Maruti could have justified the premium tag by offering 6 airbags, wireless charging, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a sunroof. However, the XL6 is worth considering if you are looking for better aesthetics and comfort in an MPV package and are willing to shell out the extra lakh. That said, you have to give it to Maruti for inducing some appeal in the plain jane MPV segment without compromising on the practicality.
* Tough and premium look
* Feature-loaded interior with great space
* Refined petrol engine with linear performance
* Good ride quality and handling
What's Not So Cool
* Styling at certain places looks overdone
* More airbags and equipment would have been welcome
* No diesel engine
Maruti XL6 Specifications
* Engine: 1462cc, 4-Cyl, Petrol
* Power: 103 HP @ 6000 RPM
* Torque: 138 Nm @ 4400 RPM
* Transmission: 5-Speed MT | 4-Speed AT
* Fuel Consumption: 10-12 km/l | 8-10 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Tyre Size: 185/65/15 (Front & Rear)
* Suspension: McPherson Strut (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Drum (Rear)
* Safety: 2 Airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP
Maruti XL6 Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4445 mm X 1775 mm X 1700 mm
* Wheelbase: 2740 mm
* Ground Clearance: 180 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 45-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1180 kgs
Further Reading -
Maruti XL6 Review
The Maruti XL6 is basically an Ertiga with new clothes. The exteriors get significant changes making the XL6 a good-looking MPV while the interior comes with an all-black colour scheme and a 6-seater layout with captain seats in the middle row. While the petrol engine offers good performance and economy, a diesel variant could’ve find a lot of takers too.