Maruti XL6 Long Term Review
We drove the Maruti XL6 for a couple of months and enjoyed its no-nonsense nature.
Outstanding comfort, stylish design and a very practical cabin make the XL6 an ideal MPV in its class
I have never been a fan of MPVs because even though they are immensely practical, you can’t really derive any driving pleasure from them. But, citizens of our country love MPVs which is evident from the sales numbers of these vehicles month on month. In fact, my colleague Javeid was driving the second generation Maruti Ertiga as his long term car so when the XL6 came to us for a short while, I decided to keep it because I got lured by the ride quality of the car and also the fact that the XL6 looks, ahem, better than the Ertiga. In between, I also had the Honda Civic, and these cars are as different as chalk and cheese, one being a low-slung diesel sedan while the other being a comfortable petrol MPV.
The very first thing that struck me was the high seating position and the large glass area which lends a very airy feel to the cabin while also offering excellent visibility. The XL6 has large windows, especially for the second row. While the Ertiga has a rather simple design, the XL6 looks more premium with its LED headlamps, new grille, new bonnet, new bumpers and the slightly tweaked tail lamps. The vehicle also has a slightly sporty edge when you look at it in this Nexa Blue shade with black alloys. Talking about the wheels, the 15-inch wheels do look a size small for this people mover and 16-inch wheels would have added to the looks.
The cabin is shared with the Ertiga and many components are shared with other Maruti vehicles which is why everything feels familiar. The cabin is laid out nicely and I liked the all-black colour theme with some silver inserts on the dashboard. You get the same SmartPlay Studio infotainment system with 4 speakers and 2 tweeters and the sound quality is just fine. Apart from this, the vehicle has all the basic features like dual front airbags, ABS, keyless go, reverse parking sensors, etc. An auto-dimming IRVM would’ve been quite useful though. The LED headlamps look striking and they do offer pretty decent throw but I found them slightly inadequate during heavy rains. The vehicle gets two cooled cupholders at the front and I really love this feature because I always have a tendency to carry a water bottle and probably a juice or some other beverage with me.
The captain seats take the XL6’s practicality and comfort to a whole new level, justifying its premium over the Ertiga
The XL6 is powered by the same engine that also does duty on the Ciaz, Ertiga, S-Cross and Vitara Brezza. The 1.5-litre K-Series petrol engine is known for its refined nature and also offers good punch. Belting out 105 PS and 137 Nm, the motor offers smooth driveability within the city and the low-end response from the car felt quite good. It is the mid-range where it feels a bit flat while things do improve in the top-end. The engine does get vocal at higher RPMs too. Our test car used to vibrate more than usual, especially at idle, but I’m confident that this is a one-off issue because this particular car seems to have gone through a lot of heavy usage before it came to us.
Now, this petrol engine is fairly efficient in terms of fuel consumption but hey it is no diesel and I have always felt that UVs need to have a diesel engine for a nice cruising range. On a tankful, the XL6 petrol used to run for 400-450 kms depending on the driving style while a diesel car would easily do 600-650 kms on a full tank. In day to day conditions, the XL6 returned around 12.8 km/l under regular driving which was a mix of city roads and highways and the lowest figure I got was 11.4 km/l while on a very long highway drive, the XL6 did return north of 15 km/l which is good. Our test car was the manual variant which gets a 5-speed gearbox while Maruti also offers a 4-speed torque convertor with this vehicle. I found the gearbox easy to use but some clutch slippage could be felt on this particular car.
The Maruti XL6 really shines in the ride quality department. The Ertiga itself offers brilliant ride comfort and this one is no different. The suspension doesn’t make unnecessary thud sounds, it is very pliant and the soft setup ensures that passengers get a cushioned ride. The car does feel a bit under-tyred when you drive it over bad patches and go a bit heavy on the throttle; bigger tyres would have offered better grip for sure. For regular usage, these tyres work fine and pose no other major concern. The ground clearance is quite good for our roads while the steering is also light enough albeit lacking in feel. Even though the XL6 is a long vehicle, it is easy to drive. The seats are also generously sized and while I was in the driver’s seat majority of the times, I did manage to sit in the captain seats for a couple of trips and absolutely loved the comfort.
Now I know why MPVs are so popular in India. Most people who use their cars only for commuting don’t want a low-slung sedan and all they care about is space, practicality, low running costs and a hassle-free ownership experience. The XL6 offers all of this and much more. It offers almost everything that a buyer would want and the captain seats are just fabulous in terms of comfort. The XL6 is priced at a good premium over the Ertiga and the latter is more VFM and offers an extra seat as well but if you’re confident that you’re not going to use all the seats, it makes sense getting the XL6, especially for those who are chauffeur-driven. If you want a comfortable and reliable people’s mover but do not have the budget for something like the Innova Crysta, I would whole-heartedly recommend the XL6.
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