2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6 – First drive review: Subtle and sophisticated

Maruti Suzuki has been on quite the offensive when it comes to product launches. In fact, the company promised to launch six new models by the middle of 2022. One of the models that recently arrived on the scene is the updated XL6 MPV, and it’s gotten a few subtle but noteworthy changes, both on the outside and inside. As most will be aware, the XL6 is based on the Ertiga MPV and is sold through Maruti Suzuki’s Nexa channel of dealerships. That’s to say it has a more premium appeal than the Ertiga. It even costs more than the Ertiga but crucially comes packed with a little more as well. So, how much does it cost and what are all those subtle changes? Let’s take a look!

How is it different?

Let’s start with the exterior first. The biggest change you’ll notice is the updated front grille with a dash of chrome added for good measure. Speaking of which, there’s also a chrome strip added at the rear for a more premium feel. Another notable change is the fact that the updated XL6 now comes with dual-tone 16-inch alloy wheels, which I must say, has really added to the overall stance of the MPV. Even the new smoked-out gray taillamp design looks particularly cool.

2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6. (Image: Abhinav Jakhar / Firstpost)

As far as safety features are concerned, Maruti Suzuki is offering the XL6 with four airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and hill hold assist as standard on the 2022 version. The top-end variant even gets a 360-degree camera and there are a load of other goodies like new ventilated front seats, ambient footwell lighting, front door lamps, quad-LED headlamps and a telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel.

2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6.  (Image: Abhinav Jakhar / Firstpost)

2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6. (Image: Abhinav Jakhar / Firstpost)

It must be said that Maruti Suzuki has put quite a bit of effort into making the XL6 that much more desirable on almost every front. The new Nexa blue paint job looks particularly good, and XL6 even comes with new dual-tone color options. But, what’s the story on the inside? Do all those changes make the XL6 a better place to be in?

What’s it like on the inside?

In short, yes, very much so. Although not a lot has changed on the inside, the aforementioned additions make the XL6 facelift a lot more desirable than before. There’s a functional feel from the equipment and nothing really feels out of place or overdone in any way. The new color for the faux wood also seems to particularly well with the blacked-out look on the inside. The steering wheel is chunky to hold and the ventilated seats are a welcome addition given the arrival of summer! Although, I do feel there is a case to be made for ventilated seats for the second-row passengers, especially given the six-seat arrangement.

There also could’ve been a provision for USB ports at the rear, both in the second and third-row of seats. Another slight sore point is the headroom for adults in the third row of seats. My height is about 5’10 and even with the seats slightly reclined back, the top of my head still touched the roof. That being said, the third row is best suited for children below a certain age. Although the 209 liters of boot space with all three rows of seating folded up is pretty decent to store a couple of mid-sized bags.

2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6.  (Image: Abhinav Jakhar / Firstpost)

2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6. (Image: Abhinav Jakhar / Firstpost)

That number goes up to 550 liters with the third row folded, and 692 liters if the second and third row is folded down, which is more than enough to pack a lot of stuff into the back of the XL6. Moreover, the seven-inch Smartplay + touchscreen infotainment system feels quite easy and handy to operate. That’s not all, MSI has also equipped the XL6 with Suzuki’s connected car tech with over 40 features like remotely switching on the air conditioning (only on the automatic variant).

Other neat and helpful additions like the cooled cupholder and 360-degree camera go a long way in making the XL6 so much more desirable. As mentioned before, there is that air of functionality but now it feels more premium in a number of subtle ways. However, one other minor complaint would be the fact that the center console storage is just too small; trying to fit a smartphone in there could prove difficult. Apart from that though, the updated XL6 is a great place to be as a passenger. So, what’s it like in the hot seat?

What’s it like to drive?

The first word that comes to mind is mature. The XL6 rides extremely well, soaking up undulations with aplomb. Maruti Suzuki has done an excellent job when it comes to road manners and even handling to a certain degree. In our blast down the highway and the nearby Nandi hills, the XL6 did a fantastic job of keeping its composure, both at high and low speeds.

However, there are two major changes that make the XL6 that much better. First, the new 1.5-liter DualJet engine, which uses two injectors per cylinder and Maruti‚Äôs smart-hybrid technology with start-stop technology. The 1462cc engine puts out 103hp @ 6,000rpm and 136.8Nm @ 4,400rpm. Gearbox options? There’s the five-speed manual and the all-new six-speed automatic, which happens to be a torque converter unit. That, by the way, was the second big change.

We drove both the manual and automatic, and one thing feels immediately clear is that the 1.5-liter engine is clearly more suited for fuel economy. It’s not like the XL6 lacks the power, but it feels best when it’s not pushed too hard. If you are in the mood, though, the engine will gladly humor you and get a move on. Maruti Suzuki has put out a claimed figure of 20.97 km / l for the manual and 20.27 km / l for the automatic, which is quite astonishing given the sheer size of the XL6.

2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6.  (Image: Abhinav Jakhar / Firstpost)

2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6. (Image: Abhinav Jakhar / Firstpost)

If one is gentle with the throttle, the XL6 feels smooth and relaxed to drive. The five-speed manual slots into place rather well and feels light to use but lacks slightly on the highway. For example, at 80km / hr the XL6 sits just above the 2,000rpm mark, which is slightly high for my taste. Although, that’s one thing you won’t experience with the brand new six-speed automatic.

In the automatic, the 80km / hr mark is achieved at just around 1,500rpm which is ideal for cruising. The ‘M’ or manual mode on the automatic gearbox basically gives one the option to use the paddle shifters which are quick to respond to inputs. I’d go so far as to say that the XL6 feels more refined in the AT guise, which is a massive improvement over the previous four-speed automatic. Overall, great ride comfort, torquey engine and smooth automatic make the XL6 much more desirable.

Should you buy one?

First things first, the XL6 costs between Rs 11.29 lakh and Rs 14.55 lakh (new Alpha + variant with dual-tone colors). That puts it up against the might of the recently launched Kia Carens, which feels and looks bigger than the 2022 Maruti Suzuki XL6. It is more expensive than the previous-generation model and the reason for that is more standard equipment on the base variants.

Overall, I’d have to say, Maruti Suzuki has done an impeccable job of bringing the XL6 up to speed with the competition. There’s a lot to like about the updated MPV, and its honest and functional demeanor matches up really well with its rather premium and classy appeal. So, if you’re out in the market looking for a good looking, well-equipped MPV with a sorted automatic gearbox and a smooth & torque gearbox; the XL6 should be high up on your list!


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