DRIVEN: Suzuki XL6 is a six-seat crossover that fills an interesting niche

Published Aug 29, 2023


The last few weeks has been busy for Suzuki with the launch of the Fronx, followed a few days later by the XL6 and then 24 hours later the showing of the five-door Jimny (currently being homologated) at the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami.

You can see it on the monthly sales charts as well, with the importer having steadily increased their sales to where they currently sit in third place overall and knocking hard on the door to occupy second.

What we’re talking about here though is the new Suzuki XL6, XL because it’s extra large and 6 because it’s a six-seater which is why Suzuki SA have put together a #thinkbig campaign around it.

It has a total length of 4.445 metres and a wheelbase of 2.74 metres, which has allowed Suzuki to fit six seats with two individual seats, captain seats if you will, in the middle and a bench seat in the third row that can fold forward in a 50:50 configuration for more luggage space.

It slots in below the flagship Grand Vitara in terms of specification but offers the biggest seating capacity of all their SUVs.

Four versions of the Suzuki XL6 are offered in either GL or GLX specification with a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic.

All are fitted with Suzuki’s well known and reliable K15b 1.5-litre normally aspirated engine with 77kW and 138Nm powering the front wheels via either of the transmission options.

For a smaller type SUV the XL6 is quite good looking with its hexagonal grille “S” logo and chrome garnish.

All models are equipped with LED front and rear lights, colour coded side mirrors with integrated indicators and, in GLX spec, a two tone paint option and black mirrors.

Silver faux front and rear bash plates give it a more rugged look and it stands on 15-inch alloys giving it 180mm of ground clearance but it does look as though the wheel arches are too big for the 185/65/15 rubber.

The interior is comfortable and well appointed with very low noise and vibration levels unless you happen to thrash the engine.

There’s a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, that also displays the image from the rear-view camera. Fitted too is front climate control, rear manual air conditioning, three 12V power sockets and a USB port, keyless entry and very handy ventilated cup holders in the front console.

In the GLX you get synthetic leather upholstery on the seats and steering wheel as well as auto headlights and synchronised electric fold-in mirrors.

Our launch drive was the GLX manual around the Magaliesburg area that included some terribly bad potholed roads and amazingly some resurfaced tar as well.

The Suzuki XL6 is easy to drive with a light clutch and quick gear change, steering feedback isn’t brilliant but for this type of SUV it’s absolutely fine.

Considering its size it handles the various road conditions comfortably and while I wouldn’t throw it into and out of corners with gay abandon, the suspension does a good job of keeping things steady, exactly as it says on the box.

The 1.5-litre engine doesn’t mind keeping the revs high when you’re shifting through the gears or passing slower traffic.

I suspect though that with six people in the highveld you’ll be doing a lot of changing to keep things optimal. With the third row up, luggage space is limited so if a family holiday is on the cards you’ll have to tow a trailer or fit a Thule-type luggage carrier which will keep your left foot and arm busy, especially in hilly areas.

Consumption shouldn’t be an issue though and with some spirited driving we finished on 6.3l/100km with the engine having only done just under 1,000 kilometres.

Safety-wise you’re taken care of by dual airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, strengthened door impact beams and four parking sensors. While the automatic versions have Hill Hold Control.

The Suzuki XL6 fills a niche that’s normally a lot more expensive once you’re looking at more than five seats and given the popularity and reliability of the brand, it will certainly be a serious choice in that market.

It comes with a four-year/60 000km service plan, a five-year/200 000km mechanical warranty with roadside assistance for the same period and a 10-year anti-corrosion warranty.

Suzuki XL6 Pricing (August 2023)

1.5 GL 5MT - R326 900

1.5 GL 4AT - R345 900

1.5 GLX 5MT - R341 900

1.5 GLX 4AT - R360 900