2021 Maruti Suzuki XL6 automatic: Ownership experience

I am more than pleasantly surprised by what the XL6 is delivering in terms of driving comfort, power, and efficiency.

BHPian SharathScorp recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

First, please do not mind as I am posting this now after a good amount of time from the purchase of my XL6. Was always thinking about this and finally got some time today to sit on this. I hope you all enjoy this thread. Anyone having any queries, please feel free to comment/reach out. I would be happy to help.


The search for a car/SUV started sometime during the end of Nov or Dec-20. It was just a casual search to start with since I was busy both at personal and professional ends. I was more focused on wrapping up my stay in the USA before moving to India. The search became real from Feb 2021, after I started feeling settled and my mind started thinking about some long drives with the family. The summer holidays for kids were also not very far and that also fuelled my decision of buying a car. The situation of covid was almost like it was a thing of the past during that time.

My requirements were:

  • Minimum 6 seats
  • Automatic
  • Comfortable and convenient to drive.
  • Reasonably good height (I am 6 feet)

Considerations, Test Drives and Shortlist:

I owned Mahindra Scorpio earlier before I moved to the USA and had used it for more than 5 years. With the Scorpio, I must say that, while an initial couple of years were very exciting, it did not sustain the same way throughout my ownership. Those were the days where there were a lot of cravings and fire for aggressive driving and all. But, don’t know if it was because of that bulkiness of Scorpio or those truck type of clutches which bothered me like hell especially in Bangalore city driving, Scorpio did not hold up the same excitement during later days. For that reason, I was firm this time that I was not going with the manual anymore. Also, having experienced Scorpio’s mediocre fit and finish, minor niggles here and there frequently pushed my mind to always look for a Korean or any Non-Indian make this time. Still, my love for mHawk Engine is unconditional and will remain the same forever I believe.

With the minimal 6/7-seater options available, I had the below vehicles shortlisted for test drives.

  • Tata Safari
  • MG Hector Plus
  • Maruti Ertiga
  • Maruti Suzuki XL6

Other candidates, which did not make it to the test drive were:

  • Toyota Innova – for bulkiness and surely, I cannot be driving this to the office (whenever it re-opens).
  • Mahindra Scorpio – Again bulkiness and having a good history of owning it. – Again, back to Mahindra factor!
  • Mahindra XUV500 – Bulkiness – Back to Mahindra factor (was watching the next-gen version spy versions closely too)
  • Mahindra Marazzo – I somehow always felt this will not stay for long and not vfm.

Now came the toughest part. Zeroing down on one from a list of four on top. So, started calling the nearby showrooms over the phone asking for test drives. Started from Tata Safari at Key Motors, Kanakapura road. After a couple of follow-up calls, they finally arranged the vehicle. The RM, who was coordinating, was nice and easy to work with, but her team lead or boss who came along with the vehicle was behaving as if there is no other car on the planet that can match this new Safari. He was also making statements like I am the luckiest since I got the chance for a test drive so soon. While he was talking so many things bragging about the car, I was focused on my detailed test drive, which I normally take for one full hour. While Safari was feature-rich and good, I did not find it matching my expectations on handling. The boot space was a big let-off. I knocked it off from the list immediately by the end of my test drive.

Next was MG Hector Plus. Customer interaction, coordination, response everything I would rate high for these guys. They did well when compared to all others and were quick too. The SUV was loaded with so many features and controls. Again, the driving comfort did not please me and hardly there was any space in 3rd row. Of course, MG staff had clearly mentioned this during my first inquiry itself saying 3rd row is strictly for small kids and not to expect any inch beyond this. But still, I gave it a try and gave it a pass.

Then came the Maruti/Nexa family. Having so many options to choose from with many showrooms nearby, I tried calling one after the other. Kalyani (3 branches around), Kataria, and Mandovi. I was expecting all of these would compete like crazy to come with their vehicles for a test drive. But to my surprise, none of them showed any sort of urgency. For all these people, the process is, once you call them, it would go to the reception I believe, and they will take your number and an RM shall call you back. Though they would call back quickly most of the time, some did not until I did a follow-up!
In one of the Kalyanis, they said they share the test drive vehicles with other branches, and they had an event on the day I called and asked me 2 days’ time. Even after two days, no one followed up. When I follow up, they treated me as if I were calling for the first time and another RM again asked for a day’s time. Another Kalyani, an RM said, he shall get the vehicle by evening and when I followed up, he said he is busy with another customer and shall call me back. That call never came back. Then I thought, these folks are not interested to sell anything, so I decided to better avoid them. Kataria clearly mentioned they do not have an automatic variant and would bring a manual if I would like to change my decision or try that and get a feel. I simply rejected them. Then remembered one of my colleagues had recently got his Ciaz, so got a contact of his RM who was apparently from Mandovi Nexa. Spoke to this person and he was surprisingly sounded so easy to work with and nice. He promised me to get the vehicle the next day and promptly got that all the way from Nexa Sadashivanagar to where I live.

Finally, I was on a test drive of XL6! Never expected that, getting a test drive was itself like a big buying experience!

Test Drive (s) and Booking:

Learning from the past experiences of test drives, I had given a clear heads up to the RM that my test drives would be a long-drawn process and he should have all patience. He had agreed to it and lived up to that. I took the vehicle in my regular proven route of moderate and heavy traffic and then concluding that by a good long drive on NICE road.

First impressions were good, and I liked the peppy drive, the space it had for 6 people of my family, comfort, and convenience. Not to my surprise, fit and finish were not superclass but were not very poor also. I was very much curious about how it does between 80-120kmph on NICE road, both in terms of comfort inside for passengers and for drivers in terms of handling. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive output XL6 delivered in both aspects. Both my wife and I liked it a lot and found it super comfortable. My wife’s liking was of paramount importance while driving as she was relatively keener on driving now than in the past.

After this, did another test drive alone for my satisfaction to check on a few of the items which I wanted to clear from my mind and XL6 Auto checked all the boxes, and we decided to go for it. XL6 Alpha Automatic it was!
Did speak to Hyundai and Mahindra top brass in the region to get a feeler on upcoming 7 seaters and timing. By visualizing the features that were on offer and of course the associated cost factor to it, they dampened my urge to wait for them. And did surely realize the passenger comfort was not as superior as you get in XL6. This helped me to decide and go for XL6.

The colour choice was between Magma Grey and Premium Silver. Checked with RM to see if I could physically see and choose between grey and silver. Unfortunately, there were no grey and silver in the display. Finally, it was silver which won the race. Did book by paying booking amount and the wait started.

Price and Breakup:

Ex-Showroom: Rs 11,61,189

TCS: Rs 8,686

Road Tax: Rs 2,20,760

Reg. Charges: Rs 1,811

Temp Reg: Rs 500

Extended Warranty: Rs 19,741

Showroom accessories: 14,623 (Illuminated door sill guard, Interior styling kit, Number plate garnish and body cover)

Corporate Discount: Rs 3,000 (the only discount I got)

Total on-road paid to Mandovi: Rs 14,24,310/-

Insurance: Rs 26,581 (Policy bazaar)

Fast Tag: Rs 200 (Paytm)

Within a few weeks sometime during the end of March, the  vehicle was dispatched and booked a slot with RM for my PDI. During this waiting window, did make connections with BHPian RJ through a post in TBHP. Exchanged a lot of ideas and thoughts as he was also on the same boat waiting for his Alpha MT. Booked Elegant foot mats and had it delivered before the delivery date. RJ was supposed to join me for the PDI but he couldn’t and I did visit Mandovi’s yard cum service centre near Goraguntepalya with my son. Did all the checks and cleared the vehicle. Was happy to see IJL lighting. The vehicle was March manufactured based on VIN. There was another Alpha AT white next to mine. A strange thing I observed while I was comparing was, the fuse of the odometer was taken off from the white car. My car was showing a 39Kms run and just wanted to compare the same with the other. RM was kind of hesitant to open and tell, but later another mechanic there opened and said customers do not like to see the KMs on the odometer, so this is normal practice everywhere to take out fuse keep the odometers at minimum numbers. RM was smiling and nodding his head, I wasn’t too keen on this since you hardly have any control over these kinds of things and cannot expect showroom folks to be so perfect. Did observe the logo on the centre of alloy wheels was removed from my car and RM said they would be fixed before the delivery. But the other white car had it!

First Glimpse of my XL6 in the yard

Standing next to White Alpha AT in the yard

Odometer reading at the yard

RM and Mandovi did not seem to be too pleased when I told them at the final moment that I would be buying insurance and fast tag on my own. They did not express anything though, but it was quite evident when they refused to give me even a god idol for free of cost and no single rupee discount. But I did not care for those as I was not at all ready to fall for dealers’ trap into insurance. It was easily 4-5K savings when I compared. Fast tag I was clear on going with Paytm as it is user-friendly, and I did not want another app to maintain just a fast tag.

Based on an auspicious day, decided to get the vehicle with temporary registration by paying 500 bucks extra. This meant, I had to take the vehicle to the RTO office on a later date for registration (10 minutes job and was easy, everything was done at the parking lot). I did choose a fancy number by paying 5K extra.

This time, for a change decided to take the delivery at the showroom, as I wanted parents and kids to get the new car buying and delivery experience. Went on a good afternoon and it was a smooth, easy, and nice experience. A small cake cutting ceremony and briefing, and some paper signatures, and we were done there. 5-litres of fuel coupon were given and did fill the same in a nearby bunk. Checked for tire air pressure and as expected it was way above 40 in all tires. The first visit was to the temple to get pooja done before reaching home.

Though there was a constant itch for taking the car out for a long drive quite naturally, then hit the covid second wave and lockdown following, hardly there were any drives. It was just nearby driving around the home within the city. Did take car once on Mysore Road via NICE road for a customary photoshoot in one of my favorite spots and meeting friends.

First full tank done.

Nitrogen filled in a neighbourhood store

First Service:

After the lockdown was lifted, even though the car was still at 400+ Km, decided to get the first service done as the 1-month timeline had already passed long back. Of course, MSIL has announced they would extend the mandatory service time windows.

Did call Mandovi, Uttarahalli Road and fixed for pick up and drop. Initially, they said it would be charged, but after asking them to check on that they confirmed it would be free of cost. I clearly remembered RM had mentioned this during the time of delivery. The SA at Mandovi said just regular checks and fumigation/sanitization and charged some 200+ bucks. He was about to charge for windshield cleaner top up and then stopped it when I said I have never used wiper and liquid

Experience so far / How does Automatic perform?

Most of the people had this question, whether automatic gear shifts work smoothly or do we feel manual shifts when the gear shift happens. I must say, I do not have any complaint at all about this and it is smooth so far. In fact, one of the automobile enthusiast friends who owns an Ertiga had strong doubts about this too. I took him along during one of my test drives before I finalized on XL6. He was pleasantly surprised by the performance. We both felt, many of us always tend to have the AMT in mind and feel doubtful about any automatic. This surely is not the case. XL6 old gen TC gear shift works really well. Having said that, surely they are not like new gen CVT or other high-end premium cars. But I feel there is nothing to complain about and you would enjoy the smoothness.

City experience has been great and a breeze to drive around. I am no more complaining when the situation comes to take the car out in the city and drive to nearby places. Automatic is surely a boon. Whoever is having questions on the performance of automatic, I can confidently say XL6 does well and have got similar feedback from my friend who owns a Ciaz which shares the same automatic engine. I am personally experiencing this after driving and owning a handful number of automatic cars outside India. There is hardly anything different in XL6 and of course, sometimes you may feel the lack of sudden surge of power delivery. But it is all about getting used to it. I am now completely used to my XL6 and clearly know when I should floor the accelerator and when to keep it feather touch. It just performs great. Not to forget, I just love the revving noise of the engine when I floor the accelerator.

Highway experience is amazing. I am just enjoying this as; I am no more into go in a rush and keep a target to reach while driving. On the other hand, keep it simple and enjoy the drive in its entirety. Even otherwise, if you understand the automatic transmission well and gain experience with it, then you will thoroughly enjoy the aggressiveness that XL6 automatic generates while you savor the comfort and convenience in parallel.

Have done just one long drive so far on a single day. I did 650+ Kms. Blr – Hassan – Sringeri – Chikmagalore – Hassan – Blr. 3 people and no luggage. Was very curious to see how it behaves in the ghat sections / curvy hilly roads. And I must say, automatic did just great and in fact, was super comfy. Cruise control on highways was tried but as expected couldn’t hold on to it for longer durations. Besides this, have done a couple of day outings on Hassan, Tumkur, Doddaballapur, and Mysore roads.

Recently did a drive from Tumkur to Ramanagaram cutting through Blr-Mlr highway. This scenic route was superb, and I just loved the drive amidst a lot of speed breakers.


  • Comfort and convenience of automatic. This is of supreme value, and I am more than pleasantly surprised by what the XL6 is delivering in terms of driving comfort, power, and efficiency.
  • Steering comfort. I am just loving the ease of steering. Peppy drives wherever you want to go. Car-like manoeuvring being an MPV.
  • Suspension and ride quality. I am just enjoying and have been hearing the same from passengers.
  • Space and comfort for passengers. The second row is no less than Innova's comfort with captain seats. The third row is surely usable and for sure medium-built adults also can feel easy for a drive of an hour or two.
    Hill hold features.
  • Brakes: A lot of people have spoken about this. Initially, I was feeling it could have been better, but again this is also about getting used to and now I am indeed loving the brakes. It stops exactly where I want it to.
  • Good height. Easy ingress and egress for me and my senior parents. Usually, it will be one-sided in many other vehicles. XL6 I feel is balanced in this aspect.
  • 2nd-row roof AC.
  • Auto stop and start: I love this in traffic signals especially.
  • Smart access / Touch-ID sensor to lock and unlock the doors

Could have been better:

  • Fit and finish: raise the boot door and see the finish at the top
  • Headlights throw: Really becomes hard when it rains
  • Fog lamps are just there for style and look. It hardly helps IMHO.
  • Road visibility (maybe because of my Scorpio and other SUV’s legacy
  • I have witnessed a good amount of NVH level while driving on highways. Especially, the noise that comes inside the cabin is much higher than anticipated. Have deliberated a lot on going with damping, but haven't made up my mind yet. I somehow believe doing just door damping might not fully resolve this.
  • Size of the tires, which surely could have been bigger and would have uplifted the looks and also riding quality
  • There is a space for wireless charging, but the absence of this wireless charging feature doesn't align with the premium car feel
  • Number plate housing: Lot of noise after you close the boot window
  • Central armrest space: This again is very badly designed and of hardly been useful. You cannot keep anything other than your small wallet inside it.
  • Speakers / Sound quality: Nippon speakers are very much low grade in quality. It just works and surely you cannot enjoy it thoroughly.

Fuel efficiency:

City: 12-14Kmpl

Highway: 16-18Kmpl

Always AC ON

Behind its sibling - Friend's Ertiga top end

After a day's long drive in Hassan highway

Accessories and Upgrades:

I did go for Nexa illuminated door sill guard, interior styling kit, number plate garnish to be fitted by the showroom before the delivery and they were all set. I also took body cover from them. The Interior styling kit did surely uplift the premium looks.

70Mai front dashcam is the only other accessory fitted so far apart from floor mats. Got this from Nexdigitron website. Again, thanks to BHPian RJ, and did the wiring hiding DIY work by myself hiding it behind the A-pillar. It did come out clean and looks neat too. After the long drive, felt the cabin lights are dull and got them changed to LEDs by Suresh of The Bass Club who is just next door and a well-known person from my Scorpio days. Have purchased Turtle ceramic wax and have applied it once. It sure did give some additional shine and is helping to drain the water droplets quickly. The other accessory I might go for soon would be window sun films to reduce the sunlight and heat inside the cabin. Still deliberating on it or out-of-market removable shades.

I am someone who doesn’t like to hamper the original make and parts of a car. So decided not to change the tires / upsize them. Similar way did not install any additional accessories such as TPMS, etc.

After replacing the cabin lights

Beaming after a round of turtle ceramic spray wax session

You can see the fit and finish

Getting a complete wash at a neighborhood detailing store

Mileage snapshot after a recent long drive

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