“Do it your way. Make the most of every moment and don’t settle for anything less. The XL7 complements your adventurous attitude with robust styling.” – This is how Suzuki Philippines, Inc. (SPH) markets the Suzuki XL7 multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in their website. I somehow tend to agree with their ad copy about “making the most of every moment” and “not settling for anything less”. I used to drive a Suzuki Ertiga and I felt that it was the appropriate MPV for someone like me – a multi-purpose person.
You see, we are all multi-purpose persons. We are individuals, first and foremost, but we are also fathers or mothers, sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, grandpas or grandmas, uncles or aunts, nephews or nieces, godfathers or godmothers, cousins, relatives and relations, friends or foes, employers or employees. Thus, our vehicles should be as multi-purpose as we are. At the time, I felt that my Ertiga was just right for me. It fitted my purposes perfectly.
My Ertiga’s Modern Sibling
My Ertiga was eventually replaced with a 4-door sedan, a top-of-the-line Suzuki Ciaz, because we had one too many cars in our garage. But not a day goes by that I don’t miss driving an MPV. When SPH lent us a 2021 Suzuki XL7 GLXi A/T, it was déjà vu – it was like I was back with my old Ertiga, only this time, it was bigger, roomier, and chunkier. Its Magma Gray Metallic paint finish was definitely different from the metallic brown finish of my old MPV.
Whereas my old Ertiga looked meek and friendly, the XL7 looked bold, tough and spirited. The front end features a rugged front bumper, LED headlamps and chrome grille accent while the side showcases an aggressive stance, deep shoulder lines, pronounced moldings, and roof rails. It feels like SPH is pushing the XL7 to younger demographics with bolder lifestyles, compared to the Ertiga, which I felt was more family-oriented.
Impressive Tech Features
When it comes to technical features of test drive vehicles, I always turn to my husband, Lester, who’s a licensed (but not practicing) mechanical engineer. He says that XL7 is built around Suzuki’s concept of Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), which is designed to absorb and disperse energy in a collision. The collision force is diverted beneath the engine to minimize damage and keep the occupants safe.
I also learned that the XL7’s hood, front bumper, windshield, wiper area, and other parts are designed to absorb impact forces to prevent or minimize bodily injuries in case of colliding with a pedestrian. Lester added that ultra-high-tensile steel is used to create a rigid yet light body for the XL7’s smooth, long and wide styling, which used computer-aided design (CAD) and wind tunnel testing to improve aerodynamics, performance, and fuel economy.
New Normal Driving
While the XL7 is a modern version of my old Ertiga, it comes at a time when the pandemic changed everyone’s driving habits and schedules. With Work from Home (WFH) and Remote Learning programs along with other health and safety protocols, I no longer need to drive myself to work or drive my children to school five days a week. We schedule our grocery and market runs every two weeks, and we do not go to the malls or drive out-of-town on weekends, opting to stay home instead to avoid catching the deadly Coronavirus or becoming one of its inadvertent spreaders.
But when I do get the chance to drive the XL7, I enjoy being in its comfortable and supportive front bucket seats, facing a sporty cockpit with painted and faux carbon-fiber accents, holding on to a thick-rimmed flat-bottom 3-spoke steering wheel, and glancing at the advanced multi-information color LCD screen on the instrument cluster. I particularly like the vented cup holders in the center console that diverts cold air to cool the drinks. It’s a very convenient feature, especially during hot summer drives.
Easy Access, In and Out
I love the spaciousness of this seven-seat, three-row MPV, where there’s a lot of leg-, elbow-, and headroom. My kids joke that the XL7 has enough space to practice social distancing among three occupants, where they can sit more than one meter apart from each other. I particularly love the easy walk-in mechanism and sliding second row that offers easy access to the third row. My husband jokes that he can stretch his legs in the third row by folding the backrest of the seat in front of him. Of course, he’s implying that I chauffer him around.
With a 60/40 split in the second row and a 50/50 split in the third, I enjoy the versatility and practicality that the XL7 offers. I can carry up to 153 liters of stuff with the third row up, 550 liters with the third row folded, or more than 800 liters with the second and third rows folded. Even better is that the 2nd and 3rd rows fold flat to create a sort of cargo bed for carrying big, bulky items. I was finally able to buy the grotto I wanted for my small garden, and drive it home instead of having it delivered. Having usable space really means freedom to haul stuff and support my lifestyle!
But Wait, There’s More!
I may not be a fast driver but, after driving a lot of different types of vehicles, I know that stability helps create a smooth and comfortable ride while power makes for a responsive drive. I won’t pretend that I know a lot about engines but I know that the 103-horsepower 1.5-liter motor of the XL7 makes enough oomph to keep up with modern traffic and even leave some pretentious drivers behind.
I got lost when Lester explained how the XL7’s front disc and rear drum brakes work with its Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and Electric Brake force Distribution (EBD). All I know is that the brakes work well when I need to stop the XL7 smoothly. I also love the reverse parking sensors and the rear view camera that provides a large display on the screen. I find it so easy to park the XL7 even if it’s longer and wider than my old Ertiga or my Ciaz.
With a Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of P1,073,000, the XL7 strikes me as a great value, considering all the safety, performance, comfort, and convenience features jammed into this good-looking, roomy and surprisingly economical MPV. After averaging 10.4 kilometers per liter during my stress-free weeklong drive, I began praying for the pandemic to end so businesses can resume, and we can afford to get ourselves a brand-new 2021 Suzuki XL7 GLXi A/T to replace my current car, and I can be a multi-purpose person with even improved mobility.
Vehicle Type: Front-engine, FWD, 5-door MPV
Engine: K15B liquid-cooled inline-4 16V VVT
Power: 103hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 138Nm @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 2450 mm
Length: 4550 mm
Width: 1775 mm
Height: 1530 mm
Minimum Ground Clearance: 200 mm
Minimum Turning Radius: 5.2 m
Curb Weight: 1180 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 liters
Front Suspension: Independent, McPherson type
Rear Suspension: Independent, Torsion beam
Front Brakes: Ventilated discs
Rear Brakes: Drums, leading and trailing
Steering System: Rack and pinion
Power Assistance: Electric (EPAS)
Wheels: 16-inch alloys
Best Fuel Mileage: 10.4 km/liter (as tested)
Suzuki Philippines, Inc.
126 Progress Avenue, Carmelray Industrial Park 1,
Carmeltown, Canlubang, Calamba City, 4028
800 Ortigas Avenue, Barangay Ugong, Pasig City, Metro Manila
Tel. No.: (02) 462-5000, (0049) 502-1458, 0917-806-4256