If there is one thing you can never blame Maruti for, it is trying. The carmaker is always ready to fill a niche segment before anyone else does. This time Maruti has played it smart to augment its presence in the MPV segment further. It has taken a tried-and-tested formula of the Ertiga and bolted captain arm-chair seats in the second row. The company feels this will help it attract customers from more expensive cars like the Innova and Marazzo. The fact that it will sell via Nexa dealers also adds to the premium touch.
It is hard to find fault with the XL6’s design. Maruti designers have done a good job of transforming the looks of what is essentially a MPV into a pseudo SUV. The stretched-out grille element into the headlamps looks like a unique touch. The heavily sculpted front bumper adds to the appeal as well and the side profile gets roof rails, which somewhat help the car look less bulky and more muscled up. The carmaker has also used black alloy wheels in place of the traditional grey design to add a youthful touch. The rear end is more or less similar to the Ertiga with similar L-shaped lamps. There is a XL6 badge instead of the Ertiga logo on the lid, but apart from that it is similar to that car.
The big changes have been reserved for the interiors. Maruti has decided to junk the colour beige and used black instead. This helps immediately make the cabin feel premium and sporty. The design and layout is the same from the Ertiga though. You get the same gauges as well, with the central gauge offering a heady mix of information which includes the amount of torque and power the car is using as well as the amount of fuel you have saved thanks to the mild hybrid tech. Maruti has also changed the finish of the dashboard now. Instead of faux wood, the car comes with a granite like marble finish. It is still plastic but the design has been changed.
The big talking point is the second row of seats with its captain chairs. The seats offer very good support and there is generous space as well. In fact considering the cars relatively compact dimensions, the XL6 offers very good space and comfort in the second row. There is also space between the seats, where you can move to the back of the XL6.
The last row of seats is surprisingly roomy too. Even a tall adult of around 5 feet 8-9 inches in height can easily sit here in relative comfort. With all three rows up there is decent space for luggage and if you decide to drop the last row, there is over 600 litres of boot space.
Engine, gearbox and performance
Maruti will only offer the 1.5-litre petrol with this car. The engine offers 105bhp, which is decent for such a type of car. The company has refrained from offering the 1.5-litre diesel of the Ertiga because in most likelihood Maruti will completely stop diesel cars from next year.
The gearboxes you can choose include a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic as well. Most buyers will like the responsive nature of the engine as well as the overall smoothness of the motor. The power delivery is linear but doesn’t have the mid range punch. So shifting a gear down is almost mandatory when accelerating or when you want to overtake a slow moving truck. Buyers will like the car in the city but wish it had a little more car for highway usage. The manual gearbox is slick enough and light as well.
Ride and handling
The ride comfort is very good on the car. Slow city speeds or faster highway speeds don’t seem to unsettle the XL6 in the least. Its only the sharpest of sharp crevices which might enter the cabin of the car. Also, most buyers will like the pliant suspension and the feelsome steering wheel.
If you want a comfortable six-seater MPV then look no further. This is a car that offers good comfort as well as a relaxing cabin at a relatively affordable price.