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May 14, 2024

Function Over Form: 2024 Suzuki XL7 Hybrid First Drive

March saw Suzuki unveiling the new XL7 MPV. It now has a mild-hybrid engine, just like the Ertiga before it, along with a few cosmetic and functional touches. Of course, it retained its rugged ready look for a more imposing appeal.

There’s no better way to try out this new XL7 than in an actual drive so Suzuki took select members of the motoring media for a drive from Cavite to Nasugbu, Batangas. Can this MPV steal some spotlight from its rivals? That’s what I sought to answer during this drive.

I’m not one of those guys who want recognition for my new car. If you are, then you’ll be let down with the new XL7. There are only subtle additions aesthetically that differentiate it from the previous model. There’s now additional chrome borders on the grille, a chrome lining on the tailgate protrusion, silver accent on the dashboard, and blue-hue on the gauge cluster. If you look at them side by side, for sure you’ll see the difference but if only with this new model, you’ll have to raise your eyebrows a few times.

What I’m after are functional features and in that regard, Suzuki has a few tricks. As mentioned, the new XL7 now has a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to go with its 1.5L engine. It’s not enough to give additional numbers in the power figures, but it can help in the fuel efficiency of this MPV. Suzuki also fitted the new XL7 with Automatic Headlights with Follow Me Home function, Cruise Control, and Engine Start-Stop function to further aid in the fuel efficiency.

We didn’t get to try the cruise control function since our drive involved rural roads only. But if it’s the same system as the Ertiga (which it probably is) then it’s safe to say that there’s no hiccups for that feature. The Engine Start-Stop is quick to activate whenever you’re stopped and once you want to get going again. The Automatic Headlights are also responsive in tunnels. While some systems are sensitive when the sun is blocked, activating the headlights even when it's bright outside, the XL7 doesn’t have this problem.

On the road, the XL7 is mostly the same as before. The throttle is just a tad more responsive, while the brakes are soft yet bite early. If anything, the transmission is the one that needs an update. I’m not saying it should be a CVT, it’s better than that. But the 4-speed auto in the XL7 needs to be tuned so it can better recognize uphills. It still has the tendency to maintain the third or fourth gear during a climb instead of shifting down, even if you already lifted your foot. It doesn’t have that problem on flat roads and corners though. Some will say it’s why there are low gears on the Ertiga and while that may be true, some of you cannot be bothered moving a hand away from the steering wheel to shift.

In the roads we’ve encountered, almost all of them are a non-issue for Suzuki’s biggest MPV. It's really only on the climbs that it encounters a bit of trouble. It has manageable body roll but that’s at lower speeds of around 40 kph. Try tackling Nasugbu’s corners at 60 and you’ll have bodies swaying from one side to another. It’s the point of this MPV though, it’s not for fast driving but more a cruise. Aside from that, it also has cool aircon despite this immense heat and comfortable seats.

Suzuki has another potential chart topper in the XL7. If you can look past its little shortcoming, the Suzuki XL7 mild-hybrid stands out as a great looking MPV with the capabilities to back up its good look. It will certainly find a home in those who brave the traffic daily.

Words and Photos by Vincent Villa


  1. Traffic ConstableMay 14, 2024 at 8:22 AM

    Suzuki still hyping on the hybrid badge for the XL7 when it is actually a 12V mild hybrid. If Ertiga in not in the list so XL7 is not as well. I pity the guy who will buy XL7 for coding exemption.

  2. It wont shift down if you lift your foot off the gas on uphills at 3rd or 4th gear. Instead, you burry your foot on the accelerator then it will shift down. This is how it works for the tranny to know you are uphill and needs more grunt for it to shift down a gear.


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