Suzuki XL6 (2023) Launch Review

Suzuki XL6 (2023) Launch Review

Before the recent arrival of the Suzuki XL6, the Japanese brand already had a compact people-mover in its line-up. But, unlike the dutiful Ertiga, the SUV-flavoured 6-seater XL6 is more appropriately packaged to make the most of the small crossover craze.

I know what you’re thinking. Where have all the new Suzukis gone? I am, of course, kidding. We’re living in a time when it feels like we’re getting a new car from the Hamamatsu-based brand every few days, and that’s mostly true because last week saw the arrival of the Fronx budget crossover!

Suzuki XL6 front three-quarter view.

Like that car, the XL6 is equipped with the K15B 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, which has quickly become a ubiquitous motor in the SA new-vehicle market. It does duty in a plethora of Suzuki cars and, if we’re being honest, their Toyota-badged counterparts as well. But, what the heck is an XL6? Let’s talk about it.

The Suzuki XL6 is an MPV that attended SUV classes at the weekend. When viewed from the front, you’d be forgiven for thinking it is yet another compact crossover from the marque, but if you make it all the way to the rear you’ll encounter a more van-like flank, culminating in a familiar rear end that will have you mouthing the name “Ertiga”. But no, it’s not that car, even though it is based on the same platform.

Suzuki XL6 rear three-quarter view.

The XL6 is positioned above the Ertiga and is priced accordingly; it’s intended for small families rather than a lifetime of Uber duty. There are other fundamental differences here, such as the fact that it’s a 6-seater as opposed to a 7-seater, with two individual captain-style chairs in the middle row instead of a conventional bench, as per the rear row. What it does share, however, is the aforementioned petrol engine, which churns out the now-familiar peak outputs of 77 kW and 138 Nm.

It’s no rocket ship, but it delivers tried and tested performance, here paired with a 5-speed manual ‘box or a 4-speed automatic transmission. In a bold move, Suzuki Auto SA decided against making range-topping GLX derivatives available for our evaluation drive, which left us to test versions of the entry-level GL. The firm’s reasoning for this was that “the base car is so well equipped, you’ll barely miss a feature.”

Suzuki XL6 cabin.

Well, the GL’s extensive equipment list includes – but is not limited to – machine-polished 15-inch alloy wheels tucked into each arch, LED headlamps, daytime running lamps and clear rear lamps.

Also standard is keyless entry and push-button start, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a reverse-view camera, cruise control and climate control with rear air-con outlets.

Safety features are about par for the course for a model at this price point: dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and electronic stability control. There’s also an array of 12V sockets and USB charging points, a 4.2-inch info panel in the instrument cluster and, if you’ve opted for the automatic, it comes with hill-hold assist.

Suzuki XL6 2nd-row seats

But, if you absolutely must have a top-grade XL6 for some reason, GLX derivatives further feature a leather-trimmed steering wheel and seats, dual-tone paint finish, automatic headlamps and auto-folding mirrors. But, be warned, this comes at a R21 900 premium, which you feel on a car at this affordable end of the segment. On that note, pricing is keen at R326 900 for a row-your-own gears 5MT GL, with the auto selling for R345 900. The GLX, therefore, can be had at R341 900 (manual) or R360 900 (auto).

I drove both manual and auto versions of the XL6 in the thinner air of the Highveld, where naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) lose about 15- to 17% of their power outputs. Personally, I’d have the manual- over the automatic version, because it somehow feels less afflicted by the Reef conditions, but trust me – they’re both more than up to the task of transporting a small family safely – and quite briskly.

Suzuki XL6 load bay.

I may have gone off route a little… and I may have commandeered an XL6 for the evening to have some extra time behind the ‘wheel (and to run a personal errand) in thick peak hour traffic from Hartbeespoort to Randburg. I can confidently report that Suzuki’s newcomer handled the task with real-world ease.

How much does the Suzuki XL6 cost in South Africa?

Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL MT R326 900
Suzuki XL6 1.5 GL AT R345 900
Suzuki XL6 1.5 GLX MT R341 900
Suzuki XL6 1.5 GLX AT R360 900

The prices include a 5-year/200 000 km (promotional) warranty and a 4-year/60 000 km service plan.

See also: Suzuki XL6 (2023) Price & Specs


So the Suzuki XL6 is a good proposition, but who is it for? I touched on that before and, perhaps this is an inelegant oversimplification, but the XL6 is aimed at small families, not the ride-hailing app and private shuttle markets. Whereas some of its rivals are, well, frumpy, the XL6 comes across as stylish – but also comfy, roomy and well-appointed with premium touches. That it remains affordable, well that’s a Suzuki hallmark and certainly one of the factors that have drawn so many customers to the brand. 

Related content:

Suzuki Fronx (2023) Launch Review

Suzuki Fronx (2023) Price & Specs

Suzuki Grand Vitara (2023) Launch Review

Suzuki S-Presso (2023) Review

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