Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
A bigger and more powerful new petrol engine, a spacious cabin with new features, and a more appealing design. Could the new-generation Maruti Suzuki Ertiga get any better?
The new Ertiga is bigger, more powerful, and comes loaded with features
“Aspirational Design, Enhanced Comfort and Superior Performance” — this is how Maruti Suzuki describe the recently launched Ertiga, their last and, perhaps, the most important launch of 2018. Let us see if it truly stands up to that description.
The first-generation Ertiga was introduced in India in 2012 and the compact MPV created a new segment, called LUV (life utility vehicle). Having completed its life cycle, the family car has now been given a makeover. Not just a facelift, but a major revamp which includes a new Heartect platform that underpins the Swift, the Baleno, and the Dzire. With abundant use of high-tensile steel, the Ertiga is 20 kilograms lighter than before and safer too. It’s also larger now. While the suspension set-up has been improved further, the 2018 model gets a larger capacity K15 petrol engine equipped with a 48-volt electrical system.
Besides, it looks a lot better than the older Ertiga and definitely more premium and upmarket now. The front design is taller and flatter and the higher variants also get a chromium-plate grille. The headlamp is sharp and come with projector units. A sportier looking front bumper has a stylish fog-lamp housing, while the prominent creases on the bonnet complete the aggressive front design.
The new Ertiga looks more stylish from the side as well, thanks to the smart floating roof design and the prominent shoulder- and belt-lines. The wheels are larger than before and the higher variants get goodlooking alloys with Bridgestone tyres. The tail-lamps are positioned high and overlap the boot-lid, while the chrome strip adds a dash of bling. The overall rear design language, however, seems to be inspired by some models from other car-makers.
The Ertiga has grown in size; it is wider, taller and, more importantly, longer as well. This gives it a big-car like appeal and also liberates more knee-room in all the three rows of seating. When you get inside, you’re welcomed by a familiar Maruti cabin which uses plenty of parts from other cars based on this platform. Bits such as the steering wheel, door-handles, power window switches, gear lever, and the handbrake have been borrowed from them. The fit-and-finish is also on a par with the Swift and Dzire and doesn’t really stand out as an MPV segment benchmark.
The big update is the new dashboard. It gets flatter and more upright now and also dons an interesting set of slats to match the a-c vents. Like many luxury cars, there isn’t a large centre console, which makes the cabin look pretty premium. Higher variants get a floating-type seveninch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation system, and a rear camera. The infotainment comes with four speakers and two tweeters, although the audio quality doesn’t sound very rich.
The top-end petrol ZXi we drove comes with a 4.2inch colour driver’s information display which shows average fuel economy, power and torque output, and the power-flow from the hybrid system, apart from individual door-ajar warning and an analogue clock. The diesel variants just get a basic Multi-information Display (MID) for the driver. You also get audio and calling controls on the steering wheel, which is adjustable only for tilt and not for reach.
As for safety features, the Ertiga gets dual airbags, ABS with EBD, and the newly implemented (and rather annoying) 80 km/h and 120 km/h alerts. I got my hands on the manual version, but top automatic variants also get Hill-Hold and ESP. Other features include a couple of USB ports in front and charging outlets for the second- and third-row seats. The good bit here are the roof-mounted a-c vents for the rear www.carindia.in
passengers, while the top two variants also get automatic climate control. All three rows get cup- and bottle-holders and the ones at the front come with cooling vents.
The seats have become roomier and offer greater flexibility. There’s clearly more all-around shoulder-room. The front seats are supportive yet soft enough and remain comfortable even during long hours of driving. The second row gets a convenient single-touch slide function and is 60:40 split to improve third-row knee-room and storage space. This bench-type seat isn’t as supportive but offers decent comfort. The last row is not just 50:50 split but also gets reclining backrest. It is flat and very low, making it the least accommodative here. Thankfully, the larger windows and the big quarter glass between the C- and D-pillars make the cabin more airy and roomy. Most importantly for a seven-seater, the large opening doors and sliding middle row make getting in and out of the Ertiga fairly convenient.
The increase in the length of the car has also created more room for luggage. With the third row in place, you get 209 litres of storage that can accommodate a couple of suitcases. Toppling the third row makes 550 litres of luggage space available and it can be increased further to 803 litres if you fold down the second row of seats. There’s plenty of utility space in the car, such as a split luggage board which can be used for extra storage.
We started our drive in the new K15, 1.5-litre petrol which was recently introduced with the new Ciaz. This four-cylinder engine makes 105 PS at 6,000 rpm and 138 Nm of torque which comes at 4,400 rpm. The engine isn’t the most refined petrol in its class nor the most spirited but comes equipped with interesting bits of technology. It gets a mild-hybrid system with dual battery set-up, where one acts as a usual power supply while the second battery, located under codriver seat, uses brake energy regeneration to assist the engine. The petrol comes with either a five-speed manual, which we drove, or the four-speed automatic which we hope to drive soon. The manual shifts have precise, short throws which, with a light clutch, make living with it nice and easy.
For the urban life, the engine offers effortless power delivery and remains composed as it goes about its duty. Drive it hard and the engine takes a few seconds to spool up and needs a little more low-end power. The mid-range is much better and from there the flow of power is linear all the way to the red-line. However, at high revs, the engine does begin to sound strained.
As you demand more power, the hybrid torque assist can be felt kicking in around 4,500 rpm which can be seen on the MID graphics. And when the car decelerates, the energy recouped is used to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The hybrid system is also useful in the stop-go city traffic. The engine start-stop system helps it achieve a claimed 19.34 km/l.
Once I was done driving the petrol version, I also took the DDIS 200 version for a quick spin. This is the same 1.3-litre diesel engine that was seen in the outgoing model and it continues to churn out 90 PS at 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm at 1,750 rpm. It’s a tried and tested unit which has proved its mettle over the years and there’s nothing different here either. It comes in combination with a start-stop hybrid system which aims to conserve fuel and claims to return a slightly improved fuel economy of 25.47 km/l.
As before, this oil-burner is a noisy unit with evident diesel clatter right from idling. And so is the turbo-lag. One has to negotiate steep inclines or a speed-breaker in first gear as the puny engine takes a while to gather speed, especially with a full complement on board. Being 70 kg heavier than the petrol version doesn’t help matters either. But once it gets over the initial lag, www.carindia.in
there’s ample torque on demand and the Ertiga cruises ahead briskly.
The rev-happy diesel offers strong mid-range performance and darts ahead once past the 2,000-rpm barrier and it keeps going confidently past the 5,000-rpm mark. As in the petrol, the easy to slot five-speed manual gearbox and light clutch combination make the diesel variant equally easy to drive around. Speaking of which, the Ertiga suspension has been improved and tuned for stability and comfort and now the ride feels more plush than before. Thanks to the good rebound damping, it remains impressively composed over bad roads. Even while driving fast over long stretches of undulating surface, the occupants hardly feel much of the harshness as the sevenseater soaks in most of it.
In fact, the Ertiga drives more like a tall hatchback than a long MPV. There’s barely any trace of wallowing or pitching and, surprisingly, it doesn’t have the usual body-roll that’s common to big seven-seaters while darting through fast bends. The composed, car-like handling not just makes this Maruti easy to manage but also results in fatigue-free long-distance driving. The dependable Bridgestone tyres also have a role to play here. They ensure a solid grip and never screech in protest. The only scope for improvement here would be a bit more steering feedback that would make the Ertiga a more engaging car to drive.
The biggest attraction of the Ertiga is its affordable price. This Maruti undercuts competition such as the much larger Toyota Innova Crysta and even the recently introduced Mahindra Marazzo by quite a margin. If you look closely, the base petrol manual LXi variant costs Rs 7.44 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) which falls in the price bracket of an average hatchback. The topspec petrol ZXi+ we drove is priced at Rs 9.50 lakh and the diesel ZDi+ has a sticker of Rs 10.90 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi). That’s stunning value.
The MPV body-type, in general, may not be as appealing as an SUV, but the Ertiga as a product has become far more desirable. Add to the mix Maruti’s dependability and very usable seven seats and it makes for an unrivalled combination.
( Top) The new dashboard with a floating touchscreen looks premium ( Above) The infotainment comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation system, and a rear camera ( Right) The petrol ZXi comes with a colour driver’s information console, ( Belowright) While the diesel ZDi offers a basic MID for the driver
( Left) The second row seats gets a convenient single-touch slide function
( Above) The cup-holders for the front seats come with cooling vents
( Above) The chrome grille and projector headlamps add to the big car appeal
( Below) The powerful new 1.5-litre petrol makes 105 PS and 138 Nm
( Left) The rear styling seems to be inspired by that of other car-makers
( Above) Plenty of storage space and flexible seats make it a practical MPV
( Above) Roof-mounted a-c vents for the rear passengers, while top variants also get automatic climate control
( Below) The split third row gets reclining backrest along with a cupholder and a charging point