Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL

We assess the new Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL’s practicality. Image: Suzuki Auto South Africa

Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL review: Where common-sense meets value

The robust, practical and keenly priced Suzuki XL6 excels as both a ride-sharing proposition and family conveyance. Here’s why …

Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL

We assess the new Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL’s practicality. Image: Suzuki Auto South Africa

The new Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL contends for a top spot in the MPV market in South Africa. As the naming nomenclature suggests, it boasts an extra-long wheelbase (XL) and prides itself on being able to seat six inside. With its ability to seat six full-size adults – with independent captain-style seats with arm rests in three rows – it is an ideal family friendly conveyance. Plus, it’s a set of wheels that could double as an e-hailing investment for any entrepreneurs out there. Priced at just R363 900, the common-sense Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL should find lots of common ground with the common man.

2024 SUZUKI XL6 1.5 GL

Suzuki XL6
Note the Suzuki XL6 1.5 GLX manual pictured. Image: Suzuki Auto South Africa

Powering the Suzuki XL6 in the ‘GL’ specification is yet another example of the Japanese firm’s clever amortisation philosophy. It’s not complicated or turbocharged, instead it’s the commonly used 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor that majors in reliability and robustness rather than sportiness. The pleasant upside, however, is that thanks to its smooth, responsive power delivery, the Suzuki XL6 isn’t the worst driving MPV by any stretch. In fact, it’s almost certainly capable of getting you into a bit of trouble if you don’t keep an eye on the speedo, with a claimed top speed of 170 km/h.

Furthermore, the free-breathing 1.5-litre petrol produces 77 kW and 138 Nm of torque. As a result, the claimed/combined consumption is 6.1 l/100 km, although we saw a figure closer to 7.5 l/100 km during the course of our evaluation of the four-speed automatic derivative. As far as performance goes, a zero to 100 km/h sprint time will hardly be top of mind for any potential buyer of this family wagon. However, we pegged it beyond 11 seconds, thanks to the widely geared automatic gearbox. A five-speed manual is the other drivetrain option and it’s most likely the one we’d pick, given the choice.

HOW PRACTICAL IS IT?

Suzuki XL6
Six adults will fit comfortably in the new Suzuki XL6. Image: Suzuki Auto South Africa

Unsurprisingly, interior space of the Suzuki XL6 1.5 is highly impressive. The driver’s pedal-seating-steering wheel arrangement is almost a little uncomfortable due to the cavernous space available. As bizarre as it sounds, there’s almost too much head and shoulder room for a six-foot-plus tester like myself. For a brand that builds brilliantly snug-fitting compact cars, the Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL feels positively enormous by comparison. However, far more important to any likely buyers will be the dimensions of the rear quarters and the practicality of the three-row layout. The XL6 MPV sports 180 mm of ground clearance so it can tackle curb-hopping or inopportune off-road sections will aplomb.

The model has a total length of 4.45 m and a stretched wheelbase of 2.75 m. Each row has three-point seatbelts and separate head restraints. Likewise, each seat in the front and middle rows can slide and recline. And, if you’re not carrying six adults, the third row can tilt forward and fold down in a 50:50 configuration for additional luggage space. Utility space inside is 209/550/632 litres respectively with the third row upright to folded. Honestly, for a vehicle with a wheelbase spanning close to three metres we were hoping for more interior practicality. The second-row seats do not fold flat to create an unobstructed panel van-like space in the rear. If it did, the Suzuki XL6’s utility space would be far more than 632 litres.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Suzuki XL6
For a Suzuki, the XL6 is impressively large. Image: Suzuki Auto South Africa

Our 1.5 GL model comes with good specification for the money. A 4.2-inch LCD multi-function display, trip computer, steering wheel audio controls, auto hill hold function, full array of airbags, electric windows, climate control up front, Apple CarPlay connectivity and rear-view camera with park sensors. As a result, the Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL 4-speed automatic is not one to light your hair on fire with crisp dynamics. But it’s an honest, well-priced, what-you-see-is-what-you-get MPV. Expect to see a phalanx of them at the next school run or your next Uber XL pick-up.

THE FIGURES

  • Best for: Ride sharing, family motoring, entrepreneurial e-hailing ventures.
  • Not so sure: Not particularly fun to drive. But, then again, that’s not what MPVs are about.
  • Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL
  • Engine: 1 499 cc 4-cyl petrol
  • Power: 77 kW, 138 Nm
  • Performance: 11.20 sec 0-100 km/h (tested)
  • Gearbox: 4-speed auto
  • Economy: 7.5 l/100 km (tested), 6.1 l/100 km (claimed/combined)
  • Price: R363 900

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