Maruti Suzuki’s premium people carrier gets fresh bits of trim outside, a tech update inside, and a new heart. But is that enough to keep the XL6 competitive?
One hundred and six! Yep, one hundred and six Maruti Suzuki XL6s were sold in February 2022, every single day. That’s over four units an hour. And while the XL6 may not be the hottest seller for Maruti, it is definitely bringing food to the table. To ensure that it continues to contribute to a hearty dinner, Maruti has given the XL6 a few updates – some of which are significant, while others not so much. Let’s talk about the latter first.
Of course, this XL6 isn’t all-new, but it does get a new grille with more chrome, a chrome bar at the rear, redesigned taillamps, and 16-inch alloys. These changes, especially the new grille and the chrome bar at the rear don’t do much to differentiate the facelift version from the outgoing XL6. However, the redesigned smoked taillamps do look cool, and the larger, wider 16-inch tyres add to the XL6’s overall appearance and stance.
Inside, there’s a new 7-inch SmartPlay Pro infotainment (on the Alpha variants, while the Zeta variants carry over the 7-inch SmartPlay Studio system). The new system works well and is fairly responsive to the touch – the UI, however, looks a bit dated. There’s also a 360-degree camera system here, which (as useful as it sounds) is more of a novelty because it shows a rather warped image of the outside world. The rear-view camera is handy though, and the ventilated seats are even handier – an addition that would be highly appreciated in our sweltering home base of Delhi, as opposed to the cool and breezy streets of Bengaluru where we tested the XL6. Oh, and if you happen to be from a sweltering part of the country too, you might also appreciate the addition of Suzuki Connect, which allows you to remotely start the air-con and access other features like remote lock/unlock, safety alerts, and vehicle status.
While all of these are welcome additions, I feel Maruti could have thrown in USB-C ports – USB-A is so, um, 2010. While we’re at it, let me mention that the second and third rows only get 12-volt outlets – no USB ports at all. 2008? Another missing element is the lack of AC vents in the third row, but the cabin isn’t too large, and the air-con system is very effective, so, more often than not, you won’t notice their absence.
Now, flip the brochure and look at the technical specs – no, not the dimensions, they are all the same as before. Find the engine and transmission column, and you’ll notice that the XL6 gets a new powertrain!
C Follows B
Replacing the K15B engine of the outgoing XL6 is the new K15C unit. The ‘C’ gets dual injectors and dual VVT, and it is mated to a 12-volt Smart Hybrid system. The output figures are 102bhp and 138Nm of torque, which are, in a word, adequate. Like most Maruti engines though, the K15C is smooth as butter and refined. And owing to the mild-hybrid system, it is also likely to be fuel-efficient – Maruti claims 20.97km/l for the manual and 20.27km/l for the new six-speed automatic.
Yup, gone is the four-speed, and in comes a new six-speed AT, which also adds paddle shifters, making the XL6 the first-ever Maruti to have paddle shifters – and they do come in handy. Why? Because the new six-speed automatic isn’t great. It is hesitant to kick down, eager to shift up, and drops revs to let the car coast every time you lift off the throttle. All this is done in the interest of fuel economy though. To be frank, efficiency is more important to the average buyer than a slick gearbox. We also drove the manual variant briefly, which is typically Maruti – it gives you the feeling that the transmission has been lubricated with warm, sweet honey. Marvellous!
The larger 16-inch rims don’t impact the ride quality too much, which is on the firmer side, but the XL6 remains a comfortable car overall and takes potholes and rough terrain in its stride.
So, overall, there is not much new in terms of design and features, and while the K15C is technically a new engine, it’s fairly similar in its characteristics to the K15B. However, to be fair, the XL6 didn’t need many changes in the first place. And whatever changes it has got have made it better equipped, more refined, and marginally better looking, at least to my eyes. What’s more? It continues to be very well priced. I won’t be surprised if that 106-a-day figure only gets bigger from here on out.
- 2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6
Engine: 1,462cc / Four-Cylinder / Naturally-Aspirated
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Power: 102bhp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 137Nm @ 4,400rpm
Price: ₹14.39 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: A comfortable, well-priced six-seater that offers great bang for your buck.