Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Suzuki XL6 offers comfortable alternative for larger families

Japanese carmaker has found yet another way of offering a ride that is good value for money.

Suzuki is renowned for offering affordable cars. But up until very recently the largest family that can fit into them have been restricted to five at a squeeze if you don’t include the Ertiga.

But the only seven-seater in its portfolio in South Africa is regarded more of a commercial people mover than a family car.

Now the Japanese carmaker has finally ticked that box and with very little drama too. Based on the Ertiga, Suzuki has created a very handy niche called the XL6. It’s kind of a mix between a multipurpose vehicle and an SUV. The XL meaning extra-large and six referring to the number of occupants it can carry.

The Citizen Motoring recently got to spend a week in the flagship Suzuki XL6 GLX automatic derivative and were quite impressed how Suzuki managed to pull it off.

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Suzuki XL6 has ace up its sleeve

Like the Ertiga, the XL6 also features three rows of seats, but with a clever little twist. Instead of having a second-row bench seat that seats three, it features two captain’s chairs complete with armrests and adjustable headrests.

Suzuki XL6 second row
The captain’s chairs in the second row of the Suzuki XL6. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

The third row consists of a standard two-seater bench seat with adjustable headrests, with a cupholder and armrest in the sidepanel on either side. While the legroom in the third row is not fantastic – show us a three-rower where it is – the Suzuki XL6 has a trick up its sleeve. The captain’s chairs in the second row can slide forward to create more legroom for the third row.

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And even with the third row up, boot space is a very decent 209 litres. In terms of daily life, that is enough for school cases or a whole bunch of grocery bags.

Should you choose to fold the 50/50 split third row completely flat, you have all of 550 litres at your disposal with the two occupants in the second losing out on no comfort whatsoever.

And speaking of second row comfort, the two captain’s chairs can also recline. And rear occupants benefit from four roof-mounted air vents behind the front seats equipped with its own controller.

Suzuki XL6 rear
The Suzuki XL6 GLX rides on 15-inch alloys. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

GLX offers lots of goodies

Our Suzuki XL6 tester was equipped with the GLX-specific synthetic leather upholstery on the seats and steering wheels. Other niceties included keyless entry with push-button start and ventilated cupholders in the front. Plus a 7-inch infotainment system with six speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus rear-view camera.

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The exterior styling fits right into the Suzuki SUV family and offers a generous ground clearance of 180 mm. It features large headlights with LED light in front and at the rear, silver faux bash plates at the front and rear, hexagonal large grille and 15-inch, colour coded folding side mirrors machine polished alloy wheels.

Safety in the Suzuki XL6 is covered by dual front airbags, electronic stability control, ABS with EBD, door impact beams, holl-hold control and front and rear parking sensors.

Familiar powertrain

If there is one thing in the Suzuki XL6 open for debate it is its powertrain. The KB15B 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol mill has become a bit of a cornerstone in the Suzuki stable, some will argue that 77 kW of power and 138 Nm of torque might be iffy in hauling six big adults along up on the Reef.

Suzuki XL6 boot
The Suzuki XL6 offers 209 litres of boot space behind the third row. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

While we agree with this sentiment, chances are that buyers of this car won’t be hauling the Springbok tight five. Those big boys are happy to drive around in their big sponsored bakkies.

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The trick is not to drive the Suzuki XL6 for something it is not, but rather for what it is. In everyday daily life, the powertrain and four-speed auto box get on with the job. When you do exercise the patience required to figure out the transmission, you’ll be alright.

We overshot the claimed fuel consumption of 6.1 L/100 km/h by two litres. But even that number is half decent compared to smaller turbo engines.

The XL6 does is not perfect, but the R370 900 GLX automatic offers a comfortable and practical solution for larger families. And that is exactly what Suzuki stands for.

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