Suzuki’s XL6 is a family-oriented six-seater SUV that retains the people-carrying capability of the Ertiga but has a more plush interior akin to that of the Grand Vitara. Ryan de Villiers got familiar with the model on local launch.
What are we driving
The XL6 is the latest product in Suzuki’s SUV range, purposed to provide the Ertiga’s people-carrying ability and comfort close to that of the Grand Vitara. The bold SUV demanding one to “Think Big” is offered in two trim levels. The entry-level model bears the designation “GL”, while the range-topper is designated with a “GLX” badge. Both derivatives are offered in manual and automatic configurations.
The interior is a medley of hard plastics adorning the lower half of the interior. The dark surfaces found on the door panels and dashboard are contrasted by the cabin’s upper half wrapped in an off-white fabric in the GLX offshoot.
Related: Review: Suzuki Fronx
Although compared to the Ertiga stablemate, specifically the GL range-topper, the XL6 GLX elevates its cabin’s appeal by way of six seats wrapped in leather upholstery alongside a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The dashboard supports a 7-inch touchscreen alongside a 4,2-inch digital display cluster. Although not crystal clear and laden with hundreds of features, the simplicity of the infotainment screen allows for easy navigation of the infotainment system’s menus and features. Creature comforts include rear air-conditioning, three 12V accessory sockets, keyless entry, cruise control and a reverse camera as standard.
Power is generated by Suzuki’s nearly omnipresent K15B petrol four-cylinder. Also found in the Fronx, this 1,5-litre four-cylinder delivers an output of 77 kW @ 6 000 r/min and 138 N.m @ 4 400 r/min. Depending on trim level, the XL6’s K15B is either affixed to a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission. The XL6 sits on a set of 15-inch machine-polished alloy wheels.
What is the Suzuki XL6 like to drive?
Our time spent behind the wheel of the XL6 consisted of a journey from the Lanseria airport to La Joya wellness centre in Gauteng and then to the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit the following day. This allowed for enough time to identify the kinks in its armour and the little gems beneath the metal.
The roads on our trip were more akin to gravel roads cosplaying as tarred roads, but I digress. The XL6 has a smooth and soft ride presumably by way of the McPherson front struts paired with coil springs on the front axle and torsion beam and coil spring configuration on the rear axle. The second and third-row occupants are almost undisturbed by harsh road conditions. Third-row spacing is cramped but more than suitable to house medium-sized adults, although children would be a better fit.
The K15B, although a competent engine in many regards, struggled in Gauteng likely as a result of power-sapping altitude. That said, the engine is quick to climb through its rev range, but it does struggle on an incline. The four-speed automatic transmission presents itself as a competent component in a relaxed setting. When faced with more challenging driving scenarios, such as climbing a steep hill or trying to perform an overtake, it becomes indecisive and a hindrance to the driving experience.
The five-speed manual is a much better option. The gearbox’s throw is well-weighted and direct. Gearing is short and performs well in various scenarios from careening around urban clusters to expansive highways. The biting point of the clutch is easily identifiable, and the rev-happy engine makes driving a little easier.
Why is the Suzuki XL6 significant?
The XL6 debuts a new facet of the firm’s stables. It’s founded on a wheelbase identical to the Eritga but is slightly longer. The XL6 is a unique offering in Suzuki’s current lineup and successfully manages to take some of the attributes from its stablemates, resulting in a generally appealing package despite its niche composition.
How does the Suzuki XL6 compare to its rivals?
Suzuki says that its XL6 offerings rival that of the Mitsubishi Xpander and Toyota Rumion. In terms of price, the XL6 underscores the pricing of its supposed competition by a fair margin. Suxuki’s XL6 range is more diverse than its aforementioned rivals in both specification and price.
The XL6 is a competent and well-versed six-seat SUV that stands out not only amongst its contenders but in its home stable as well. Affording would-be customers with a sizeable range and at a relatively affordable price (when looking at its segment), the Suzuki 1.5 XL6 is a wonderful addition to Suzuki’s offerings.
Suzuki XL6 Fast Facts
Engine: 1,5-litre, naturally aspirated, petrol, four-cylinder
Power: 77 kW @ 6 000 r/min
Torque: 138 N.m @4 400 r/min
Fuel consumption: 6,0 L/100 km (MT) and 6,1 L/100 km (AT)
Seat capacity: Six seats. 50/50 split 3rd row
Luggage space: All rows up: 209L; 3rd row folded: 550L; 3rd and 2nd row folded: 692L
Service plan/ warranty: 4-year / 60 000 km service plan, 5-year / 200 000 km promotional mechanical warranty with roadside assistance. A 6-year anti-corrosion warranty.
Price: entry level is R326 900 and range-topper is R360 900