More features and space than the Ertiga
Written by Eric Tipan
It still feels like an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) but Suzuki has reclassified it as a crossover based in part on how packed it is with creature comforts and safety features.
The XL7 shares its nameplate with a seven-seater, mid-size SUV that Suzuki offers in North American markets and very select Asian countries. But that’s the extent of their similarities.
A better Ertiga
It is more related to the seven-seater Ertiga MPV as it shares the same HearTect platform, engine, and transmission, though Suzuki says there are some 200 components that differ between the two models.
The XL7 is only offered in GLX form (the highest trim level) and priced at PhP 1.068 million while the Ertiga has eight trims ranging between PhP 738,000 to PhP 993,000.
Even at first glance, the XL7 appears more pleasing to the eye. There’s an abundance of body lines from the hood to the sides for shape and texture, plus it has roof rails and cladding on the wheel wells and rocker panel.
It also comes with a chrome trim that stretches across the black grille and connects to the headlamps with LED daytime running lamps. It has silver front and rear undercovers, while the tailgate sports LED taillights, a wide glossy black panel just below the rear glass, and a chrome tailgate garnish.
Click the keyfob to unlock and inside is a Push to Start system. The cabin’s bottom half is black while the headliner and pillars are beige. It carries over the D-shaped multi-function steering wheel with audio controls on the spoke, and Bluetooth and call buttons behind it.
Two things immediately stand out in the cabin. First is the 10-inch touchscreen system with large fonts and symbols that are easy to make out even if you’re driving at night. Second is instrument cluster with a combination of analog gauges and a multi-information color LCD (with G-force data, acceleration, braking, engine output, and torque). I know that’s a lot of information to take in all at once, but if you take the data individually and monitor it regularly, it could help make you a better driver over time.
Seats are all fabric and bolstered enough for comfort and stability. I like how easy they were to adjust to the right height and proper driving position. Two features it has that the Ertiga doesn’t is the automatic climate control system and the faux carbon fiber trim that spans the dashboard.
It also comes with ventilated front cupholders, a USB port (in front), three 12-volt accessory sockets (front, second row, and third row), eight bottle holders, second-row air-conditioning, a pollen filter, and a rear parking camera.
Roominess is commendable with its high ceiling and spacious cabin. It’s wide enough inside so second-row passengers aren’t glued to each other, but the third row will still be more comfortable for kids. With the rear seats in place, there isn’t much room for bags in the back, but good thing the XL7 seats are configurable (60:40 split-folding second row, 50:50 split-folding third row) to allow carriage of a variety of cargo.
Great in the city
The 1.5-liter engine under the hood is the same K15B unit the Ertiga has. It also puts out 103 HP and 138 Nm of torque and sends it to a four-speed automatic transmission. There is no manual gearbox option for the XL7.
Power for city driving is just right; great quick acceleration to get you that burst of speed from a standstill and steering is light (masking its 1.19-ton weight), which makes taking it around traffic and corners easy and actually fun. Just don’t go crazy around hairpin turns as it is a relatively tall vehicle. Check G-force data for more info.
Insulation from noise, vibration, and harshness is very good as the cabin was pretty quiet during the 50-kilometer drive. The reason I say the ride is still more MPV-like than crossover is the torsion beam with coil spring rear suspension that very slightly jiggles the rear half of the body more than it should when you’re riding light and hit a rough patch of road.
While it doesn’t seem to differ all that much from the Ertiga, neither is the price difference. For an extra an extra 75k you get a smarter air-conditioning system, extra outlets that will come in handy for a big family with power-hungry devices, among others, and best of all, a more aesthetically-pleasing exterior.