Maruti XL6 test drive: 19 specific ways it differentiates from my Xcent

At idling, my 7-year-old Xcent seems more silent than the XL6 test drive car.

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After a long time, since I posted a question in the Hyundai Xcent thread about deteriorating comfort on the not-so-perfect roads, it's now that I really could check another one out.

I had my hand recently at two, Kia Seltos (solo drive) of my cousin. Also, I did a test drive of XL6 (with family), as a potential buyer. The following are my observations and would like to hear your views on them. This is in comparison to my existing Hyundai Xcent, listed in the order of what I noticed and could differentiate in a short 7 Km round-trip around my home, in Fort Kochi, Kerala. This is a very frequent family circuit that we daily do and has pretty ridiculous narrow and bad roads.

  1. The 3rd row is really useful and comfortable even for not-so-tall adults like me.
  2. To reach there, rather than tumbling the seats halfway and moving around which takes some effort, it's easier for us to sneak through the space between the 2nd-row captain seats.
  3. The car idling with its air conditioner on is loud enough like other Maruti. Xcent is way more silent (even after 7 years).
  4. The automatic gear does not seem to light up the engaged positional letters (P/R/N/D/M), but it shows up only in the MID. I found it hard to figure out whether I'm in reverse or forward without taking my eyes off the scene ahead. Need your feedback on this experience, as I never drove automatically (except for once in the U.S., 10 years back) and just a prior drive in Kia Seltos. In those, I could surely know which position it is in, but not in XL6. MID could tell the truth, but once in this short distance I had to negotiate a right turn, and then back up due to an oncoming vehicle from the single lane. The steering thus was in a turned position obstructing MID visibility. The problem is aggravated by the fact that the reverse camera keeps engaged for some 'unknown' time even if you shift to D (forward) mode.
  5. I like the fact that the camera stays on, coupled with the 360-degree camera even after you are out of reverse and crawling forward. But I'm yet to fully come to terms with the 360-degree camera. The screen is too busy for me being the first time at it. It seems to show green markers around vehicle corners and might help to avoid scraping. Just like the reverse camera is an absolutely needed feature for me now, once I get used to 360 it might as well occupy the same status. Talking about the 360-degree camera, the View button to turn this ON during the drive is awkwardly positioned next to those group of headlight level adjustment knobs etc. I hit the 'ISG' turn-off switch trying to hunt for that button. But once turned on, it displays the blind edge details on the side where we are turning to. I just don't know if it activates along with the turn indicator or really the steering directional change.
  6. The first feedback from the family is that everyone including the 3rd-row occupants can clearly see the action in the front. They are so pleasantly surprised and happy that it's like nothing else they experienced in a sedan or hatchback.
  7. It certainly feels bigger and more concerning compared to our Xcent. Xcent is point-and-shoot and can sneak it in anywhere, and make u-turns in one go on two-lane roads. This one seems a size bigger. Doesn't feel so on the main roads, but surely in the single lanes and the 90-degree pocket road turns with square walled corners, this seems to be a tight fit.
  8. Tiled roads, aberrations and imperfections on the road are directly felt in the Xcent, and the most unpleasant movement is the lateral left-right toss we experience in Xcent (I think this wasn't originally there when Xcent was relatively brand new). Anyway, we didn't notice any such lateral movement in XL6. Soon after the TD vehicle left, we took out our Xcent with family through the same route while the XL6 experience is fresh in mind, to categorically say that XL6 did excel our current car in this comfort department. Speed breakers are moderately felt in XL6. A slight miss of judgement in the approach speed on the speed breaker and Xcent would through people in the air. I missed the one-speed breaker in XL6. It sure registered and felt, but only that much. Potholes seem to be dealt with better in XL6. The Kia Seltos made road imperfections feel straight inside, with erratic vibrations. After that drive, I started thinking that Xcent may have been actually better.
  9. The electric folding mirror is a must for the roads I drive to avoid parked two-wheelers and certain two-lane vehicle encounters on narrow roads. The switch for that in XL6 seems tiny, whereas Xcent is a big one which you can't miss.
  10. Once you come to a standstill and have your feet on the brake, the engine seems to turn off automatically and turn on when you're off the brake. A faint shudder is felt during this start-up, which I mistook as a vibration from the gear engagement once I let go of the brake.
  11. At least on the two-lane roads I took, short and fast overtakes couldn't be done. For one, I've no idea what gear it is currently on. The MID shows just D. It makes an initial noise if you give the accelerator and after a second it starts to pull off, which I think is good enough power for the overtake. But by then, I think it's enough to power, delivered late. We would have completed the overtaking if that had ever happened, thanks to the generosity of the oncoming guy. I never do such risky overtakes, without ample clearance so as not to scare the oncoming guys if at all any. But I'm not confident this system can ever be used in those ambitious ones. Given, I've very rarely driven automatic transmission cars, this might be more about myself coming to terms with its behaviour. I felt the same delay with Kia Seltos too, but once it gets going it flies ahead. I don't think XL6 is in that group. I flicked the paddle shifters (-), but I don't think it did anything at all. Maybe something flashed in the MID, but the road is busy and couldn't take my eyes off it to see if there was any indication. Xcent with its manual transmission is sweet for me and it stays on my command. But I doubt if it would have been done with the same enthusiasm with 5 adults and 2 kids. Maybe the XL6 engine is powerful enough for that task.
  12. For a limited stretch where I could really gather some decent speed, I felt like the car is swinging front to back, a see-saw effect - for a tiny duration. Maybe a nose dive on slowing or a nose up on acceleration? That's not something I experienced in any recent cars, but I've felt it in our old premier Padmini when it does 50+ on the highway, much later on, then in Scorpio, Xylo, long route buses etc (none of these as driver). I had that weird experience with Wagon R too. This wave-like motion that I experienced in Wagon R, maybe aggravated by crosswinds. It was very scary that I never wanted to drive Wagon R again. But I never felt anything so bad, whenever I travelled in Wagon R rear seat. So for me, it's just about a loss of confidence in control. I didn't feel like the vehicle is firm on the road. Is this expected for such 3-row MUVs, or is it the higher seating that I've to just get used to? For this reason, I have asked the sales executives if I need to drive this once in a long enough open stretch.
  13. I reach my home back and was checking out the switches. Then realized that it had ventilated seats, and it's a very welcome thing for me who sweats bottom first. It was not turned on during this test drive. The SA didn't tell me of that feature, and I couldn't feel the comfort of it. It was evening anyway, and the AC was okay. We don't crank up AC too much.
  14. The internal rear view mirror is a manual one, this looks ages old compared to my Xcent which had auto-dimming IRVM. Even the Xcent later edition had lost this beautiful feature. It really worked well in my car. How much of a cost saving would that have been?
  15. The boot has no comparison to Xcent in practicality. Though in XL6 we can lay the rear split bench flat, given that the middle row seat is captain, you would need to use one seat in the rear for sure for the 90% typical 3 adults, 2 kids journey we have. We've probably used a boot organizer bag or something like that but still won't match the Xcent. There is no boot lamp as well, which we will miss.
  16. Oh yeah, pick up the 2-digit speeds and the door auto locks. This was sorely missed in Xcent.
  17. I like the looks of Ertiga better, the beige brighter interiors would help claustrophobic people in the family (but surely, no way XL6 feels claustrophobic once inside). For me, the exterior of Ertiga feels nice, the Kia Carens is oddball, and the XL6 is ugly in its attempt to look butch. It to me looks like a blown-up balloon of a cartoon character. But I'm shopping primarily for the primary objective of accommodating 4 adults + 2 kids very comfortably over long drives. Looks are of the least priority.
  18. There perhaps isn't a cabin light for the third row? I can't remember clearly. Surely there's nothing in the boot and we would miss this.
  19. XL6 brakes never felt biting hard, and it did stop when I needed it to. But is it a bit spongy? Kia Seltos was on the other spectrum and I don't want such a harsh bite. I'm accustomed to Hyundai brakes by now which in the initial days did behave almost the same as Kia Seltos. This might be another behaviour I need to perhaps come to terms with.

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