The ZODIAC XL was introduced in 2001 and was Zenith's first entry for the Sport Pilot / Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category. The ZODIAC CH 601 XL model introduced a new airfoil and larger wing area than its predecessors. With new wing flaps, stall speed was kept low for recreational pilots.
The ZODIAC XL was configured to take full advantage of its increased useful load, with larger wing tanks and baggage areas. The new ZODIAC CH 650 was introduced in July 2008, replacing the ZODIAC XL model.