An invitation to visit Rajasthan is always welcome. Lovely topography, colourful people, delicious food and the best driving roads in the country. It’s no surprise that Rajasthan plays host to multiple media drives each year.

FIRST.jpgLast weekend we were in Jaipur to drive the new Maruti Suzuki XL6. Maruti’s new premium MPV, which is being retailed through the Nexa network.

HOW DOES IT LOOK?

The XL6 is a good looking MPV. Raised bonnet lines, larger grille, a scuff plate, full- LED headlights are what one sees when viewed from the front.

Car 1.jpgCOLLAGE outside.jpgCladding has been added to the front and rear bumpers and on the sides. This gives the XL, kind of a SUV look. 15-inch wheels sit under the exaggerated wheel arches. As you walk around the side towards the rear, you will notice the roof rails, a rear scuff plate and dual tone tailgate.

We were told at the product presentation that these are exclusive to the XL6. The XL6 is available in 6 colour options.

HOW IS IT INSIDE?

Step inside, and the familiarity of a Maruti car greets you. Slide into the driver’s seat and the first thing you notice are the all-black interiors theme the XL6 cabin comes with. This makes it look plush and premium.

COLLAGE INT.jpgAdding to that experience are the faux black ash wood finish, leatherette seats and the knitted roof lining. The front seats are comfortable and offer good under thigh support.

The biggest change in the XL6 over the Ertiga is in the middle row. The bench has been replaced by captain seats. The seats are very comfortable and offer good under thigh support. Legroom is impressive; the second-row passengers can incline the seats to a fair degree for further comfort.

To get into the third-row seats one must push the second-row backrest forward. Getting in doesn’t take too much effort. Leg and headroom on offer are decent. One can incline the backrest further to make it more comfortable. These 3rd row seats split and fold completely, thus increasing the luggage capacity from 209 litres to 550 litres.

The XL6 comes in Zeta and Alpha trims with loads of features on offer. Starting with Maruti’s next generation Smart Play studio infotainment system. The User interface is smooth and fast and easy to surf.

COLLAGE INT 01.jpgIt comes bundled with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Keyless entry, auto climate control, electric fold mirrors cruise control, reverse camera makes up the list of features in the XL6.

Suzuki Connect can be added as an option. This is an E-sim based connected tech which offers features such as geo-fencing, vehicle alerts, live vehicle status, vehicle tracking and driving behaviour analysis.

The XL6 is powered by a BS6 compliant 1.5-litre petrol updated to BS-6 specifications. It comes with mild-hybrid technology that Maruti offers in some of its other cars as well.

car8.jpgThe first evening I drove the auto version of the XL6. Easy to drive, the moment you put it into drive mode the XL6 feels familiar. That’s because this is the same petrol engine that Maruti uses in the petrol Ertiga and Ciaz. Acceleration is smooth and linear, there’s enough power going through the gears. Once you go past 3000rpm the engine sounds throatier.

car18.jpgThe XL6 gets to three digit speeds easily. The automatic transmission on duty in the XL6 is a 4-speed torque convertor.  There’s an OD button on the side of the gear knob. Switch that off and the car converts to a 3-speed. This is very useful when climbing steep slopes, driving in hilly terrains, driving in smaller places where you want more power to overtake.

Next morning, I got my hands on the manual transmission XL6. The 5-speed manual gearbox is refined, upshifts and downshifts are very smooth, the clutch is light enough to use.

car22car12.jpgThe ride quality of the XL6 really impressed me. The roads I drove on in Jaipur during this media drive were a combination of national highways, off road stretches, bad stretches of city roads. That made no difference to the XL6.The suspension handled everything thrown at it with ease. Extremely well planted at all times, the XL6 has the best ride quality in its class.

THE VERDICT

car19.jpgcar 6.jpgThe XL6 offers comfort, great ride quality, is very easy to drive and is priced well. The size of the car makes it just right as a family car. This is a car which can be self-driven, be chauffeured in, something every adult member of the family would enjoy driving. If you are in the market for a premium 6-seater at an affordable price, look no further. The XL6 is just the car for you.

car13.jpgThe XL6 pricing starts at 9.8 Lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai (inclusive of GST) for the Manual Zeta Petrol. The Auto Zeta petrol starts at  10.9 Lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai(inclusive of GST)

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sanjeev joshi

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