The XL6 is here to represent both itself, as well as the second-generation Ertiga, which was launched after our annual jury round late last year. And when I first drove it, I was quite impressed by the Ertiga’s comfort quotient – a result of incredibly pliant suspension setup – and improved seating comfort for all three rows. That said, the second-row seats did have some room for improvement.
Enter the XL6 – a more premium version of the Ertiga, with a new front-end design, full LED headlamps, exterior body cladding, an all-black interior, and bucket seats for the second row. Underneath all this, however, is still an Ertiga for all intents and purposes. And if you want a people mover at under ₹15 lakhs, the XL6 is the one you need to go for.
But we’re here to answer a question that no one has asked – how does the Ertiga / XL6 perform on a race track?
Well, it’s built on Maruti Suzuki’s fifth-generation Heartect platform, which is very well balanced and is powered by Suzuki’s 1.5-litre petrol engine, coupled with a mild hybrid system. The engine is fairly refined, and its gear ratios are very well spaced, so you don’t have to change gears often in traffic.
It’s also extremely quiet in its operation. On the track, when you need more power, you do wish it had a stronger mid-range. In order to extract full power, you must rev this engine to the redline. Once you cross the 4,000rpm mark, the engine rewards you with more power, and the improved power delivery stays strong until 6,000rpm.
We tested the manual model, which comes with a smooth-shifting five-speed manual gearbox that makes the drive quite engaging. Despite the fact that it’s an MPV, the body control is quite impressive, thanks to the rigid chassis.
On the whole, its performance is quite satisfactory, aside from the fact that its low rolling resistance tyres provide minimal grip. That being said, as a car that you can enjoy driving, as well as being ferried around in, the XL6 is a brilliant package.