The K15C Dualjet has a new head, dual injection ports, dual VVT, and revised internals. The Smart Hybrid system also receives an upgrade, with a higher capacity secondary Li-ion battery providing longer assist during acceleration and improved regeneration off-throttle.
Driving the 1.5L Petrol AT
1.5L DualJet petrol engine produces 102 BHP @ 6,000 rpm and 137 Nm @ 4,400 rpm:
The 2022 XL6 is powered by a 1,462 cc, naturally aspirated K15C DualJet petrol engine that puts out 102 BHP @ 6,000 rpm and 137 Nm @ 4,400 rpm. These figures are slightly lower than the outgoing K15B unit (103 BHP & 138 Nm). The K15C Dualjet has a new head, dual injection ports, dual VVT, and revised internals. The Smart Hybrid system also receives an upgrade, with a higher capacity secondary Li-ion battery providing longer assist during acceleration (more on this later) and improved regeneration off-throttle. The revisions and hardware upgrades seem focused on fuel efficiency and emission management, rather than extracting outright performance. Maruti expect this engine to help it to meet CAFE norms under BS6.2 and future flex fuel requirements. The XL6 also gets an Aisin-sourced 6-speed AT in place of the 4-speed unit of the outgoing car. The 6-speed AT has two modes – Drive (D) & Manual (M). There is no L mode like the old 4-speed AT. Paddle shifters have been provided as well.
The engine is refined at idle, and crawls off from a standstill without throttle input in D. Throttle response is muted, and the engine, surprisingly, doesn’t feel as free-revving as motors of yore. Sedate throttle inputs see the Smart Hybrid’s ISG motor kick in with an assist around 1,400 rpm, which continues up to 2,000 rpm before disengaging and letting the engine take over fully. Notably, battery assist only works in D mode, not in M. The engine feels reasonably quick off the line getting up to ~20 km/h, no doubt aided by a little battery boost, but acceleration tapers off noticeably post the initial eagerness. Both Vid6639 & I noticed that while driving.
In D mode, the engine seems to drop to idle revs as soon as one gets off the gas pedal, essentially freewheeling while the ISG switches to regeneration mode to charge the secondary battery. This disengaging and re-engaging of the drive off & on throttle is perceptible. In practice, D mode is equivalent to a conservative Eco mode.
On the open road, the XL6 is more of a sedate cruiser than an outright performer. Flooring the A-pedal gets it to 6,200 rpm redline, but it’s more noise than progress. Gear ratios 5 and 6 are too tall. The latter, especially, is muted – so much so, that flooring the throttle in 6th gear essentially does nothing. On the highway, especially an undivided one, overtaking will necessitate dropping down a couple of gears. What the gearbox is great for though, is relaxed cruising. Cruising at 80 km/h in 6th gear sees the engine spinning at ~1,750 rpm.
Engage M mode and the only noticeable change is the motor holding the revs at the redline without upshifting. Progress is still sedate, and this car is obviously not getting anywhere in a hurry. M mode is best used for the occasional undivided highway jaunt, or driving up/down a hill where holding a lower gear is necessary for control & safety. Don’t expect peppy throttle response, whichever mode you’re in.
As mentioned earlier, the updates are more FE-focussed. The 1.5L petrol with the 6-speed AT has an ARAI rating of 20.27 km/l, which is a significant improvement over the outgoing car’s 17.99 km/l.
Aisin-sourced 6-speed AT replaces the 4-speed AT:
Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)
Cabin insulation has been improved compared to the outgoing car. Some outside noises still filter in, but you no longer feel like you are a part of the surrounding traffic.
Driving the 1.5L Petrol MT
The K15C motor is also available with a 5-speed manual transmission. The performance of the MT is largely identical to that of the AT though there are a few differences. The MT feels slightly peppier in lower gears, and accelerates better in the mid range. In city traffic where speeds are slower and you don’t need a lot of revs, the MT is very easy to drive with enough pep to keep up in traffic. The transmission does not keep disengaging like that in the AT, which makes it easier to close gaps in the traffic. The MT too has the Smart Hybrid system as before but the ISG assist lasts longer, often staying engaged until higher revs. We saw it still assisting till 3,000 rpm. However, the regeneration is less aggressive in the MT vs the AT.
On the highway, the performance remains blunt with the MT. The XL6 is strictly a relaxed cruiser with nothing in it for the enthusiast. It’s best enjoying cruising at speeds of 80-100 km/h. Try to pull off a sudden overtake and the lack of grunt is apparent, which necessitates aggressive downshifting. Even while climbing steeper bridges at 80 km/h, I found myself shifting from 5th to 4th gear.
Overall, the 5-speed box’s shift quality is acceptable. However, in today’s time and age Maruti should have given it a 6th cog for efficiency and more relaxed cruising. One less cog means the car cruises at a few hundred revs higher. Consequently, engine note is more noticeable in the cabin at cruising speeds.
The ARAI rating for the XL6 MT is 20.97 km/l, which is again, higher than the outgoing car’s 19.01 km/l.
Maruti has tweaked the XL6’s spring damping to accommodate the larger wheel-tyre combo and we’re pleased to report that there’s no noticeable adverse impact on ride quality. The ride is slightly firmer over broken patches at lower speeds, but even sharper bumps aren’t transmitted into the cabin or unsettle the car’s composure.
The handling continues to be acceptable for the segment. The car moves predictably, but quick & sharp changes of direction are best avoided, like any other MUV.
Maruti has improved the steering wheel’s centering action and it’s far more aggressive than previous iterations. The last quarter turn to center is still a bit vague. This combined with the play at dead center, means that the steering needs a soft but firm hand to hold its line.
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