The new Ertiga has become a runaway success for Maruti Suzuki. But the company is known for having multiple cars within a segment. A key to their total market dominance! So, here’s a premium version of the Ertiga – the XL6.
If you’ve watched, or read, our review of the second-generation Ertiga, you’d know that we were quite impressed by its evolution. We were even pleasantly surprised with the Ertiga’s usable and comfortable third-row of seats – very few cars on the market can boast of this feature. The only weak link was that, despite an incredible amount of space in the second row, the seats themselves weren’t the best – which left us wishing for a better second-row.
Well, Maruti Suzuki already had something in mind. You see, the new XL6 features of pair of very nice bucket seats in the second row. But that’s not all, in their quest for total market dominance, they’ve also positioned this model – with its premium positioning – to fit perfectly within yet another niche in the market.
With the launch of the XL6, Maruti Suzuki is targeting more upscale MPV buyers, those who prefer to be chauffeured around. So, the XL6 features some premium touches, such as an all-black interior with black-leather upholstery, a modern infotainment system, automatic headlamps, auto-folding ORVMs, and cruise control.
But the biggest highlight of the XL6 are the second-row bucket seats. Thanks to the big doors, ingress is very easy, and so is sliding into the rear seats. The moment you get in and close the door, the first thing you notice is the height at which you find yourself sitting. Maruti has given the middle row occupants a very high seating position, to give them a more commanding view out of the cabin. And, frankly, it works very well – I felt like I was sitting in a much taller car than the Ertiga, ahem… I mean XL6.
Headroom here is enough to ensure comfortable habitability of even 6-foot tall occupants. The seats of the XL6 are far more supportive now, thanks to the firmer seat cushioning, which provides decent under-thigh support. And there is a certain amount of lower back support as well. A better-contoured backrest for the upper back would’ve been ideal.
But the XL6 really shines in terms of egress. Now, because you sit so high, it’s only natural to expect that stepping out of the car will require some effort. But the trick here is that only the seat is positioned higher – the floor and ground clearance remain unchanged, which means you can simply step out onto the road with perfect ease.
The rear seats have both inside armrests and door pad armrests. Meanwhile, the second-row air vents continue to be positioned overhead, between the B-Pillars.
More than just new seats
The highlights of this new Maruti Suzuki offering, however, are not just limited to a pair of new seats. It now comes with an all-new face as well, with a more upright nose, thanks to a taller front grill, a re-profiled bonnet, new LED headlamps, with daytime running lamps, a tall front bumper housing LED fog lamps, and a faux skid plate.
Move over to the side, and you’ll notice that Maruti has given it plastic cladding and roof rails to give it a more imposing stance. Meanwhile, the alloy wheels and ORVM casings are now painted black. At the rear, however, it remains largely unchanged – apart from a new gloss black plastic section that sits between the taillamps and the faux rear skid plate in the bumper.
What about the driver’s seat?
Well, there’s nothing to complain about here either, for the front seats get firm cushioning and are quite supportive. I really like the all-black dashboard, as it looks more premium, even though the quality of materials and fit and finish remains the same as the Ertiga’s – which is not bad at all frankly.
Everything else remains the same too. Visibility out of the cabin is great, and all the driver controls are really light and easy to use, including the steering, clutch, and gear lever.
The XL6, right now, is available only with a petrol engine. The motor in question is Maruti’s 1.5-litre, four-cylinder naturally aspirated unit, which is good for 103bhp and 138Nm. You do get a choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic though.
The manual model is very easy to drive, as this engine has great low-end response, and you can accelerate from as low as 800rpm. This will, undoubtedly, yield good results in terms of fuel efficiency, as you can easily drive around town without even going near the 2,000rpm mark.
This engine’s mild mid-range and high NVH are the only weak link here, but only if you choose to extract more power from it on the open road. And, for that, you will have to breach the 4,000rpm mark, at which point the variable valve timing kicks in and the engine’s character changes. Consequently, you get better acceleration and a more pleasing engine note.
This surge of power stays with you all the way up to 6,000rpm. The manual model revs to around 6,250rpm, while the automatic finds the next gear at 6,000rpm.
Speaking of the automatic model, I quite like the gearbox, despite it being only a four-speed unit. The ratios are well spaced, and acceleration is decent. Upshifts and downshifts are fairly smooth, while kickdowns don’t leave you waiting in anticipation.
Once you get used to the car, it becomes easier to prepare for them by mashing the long pedal and compensating for the slight delay before downshifts. The only time you notice downshifts is under hard braking. Upshifts are quick and right when you need them, both under hard acceleration and otherwise, so you really don’t feel the need for paddle shifters to change gears manually.
One of the biggest high points of the Ertiga is its ride quality. In short, it’s sublime – the suspension absorbs bumps unobtrusively, and it’s pretty quiet in its operation too. The XL6, on the other hand, feels like it has a stiffer suspension setup, which results in a slightly firmer ride. But, then again, given its overall drive experience, it’s really not something to complain about.
Should you buy one?
Personally, I think that Maruti Suzuki has done a good job at evolving the Ertiga into the XL6. It definitely has more road presence now, and it certainly looks more premium. Even its interior, characterised by an all-black theme and leather bucket seats, both front and back, feels high rent.
So, if you are looking for a comfortable, spacious, and practical chauffeur-driven car that you wouldn’t mind driving yourself either, the XL6 makes a strong case for itself.
- Maruti Suzuki XL6
Engine: 1,462cc / 4-Cylinders / 16 Valves / DOHC
Power: 103bhp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 138Nm @ 4,400rpm
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual / 4-Speed Auto / Front-Wheel Drive
Price: ₹10.36 / ₹11.46 lakh (Ex-showroom, India)
X-Factor: The XL6 perfectly merges affordability and opulence.
• 2nd row bucket seats
• Road presence
• Boxy rear end
• Slightly firm suspension setup
Also read - Maruti Suzuki XL6 launched at ₹ 9.80 lakh