Maruti Suzuki Ertiga Review

10 things you ought to know about the hottest new MPV in town!

Although Maruti Suzuki calls it, err... LUV (Life Utility Vehicle) – how they came up with such an acronym is beyond me – but fact remains, the Ertiga is in essence a mini-MPV that is designed for the sort of families who are looking to buy a small and economical people-carrier that promises to be easy on the pocket.

It all sounds good on paper; however, is it any good on the road, in the company of bumps, potholes, other motorists and cows? We think yes. Here’s why!

- The Ertiga is here to compete with not only out-and-out MPVs like the Toyota Innova or Mahindra’s Xylo, but also with an array of cars ranging from Honda Jazz to Hyundai Verna. It really is an all-around choice that appeals to a lot of buyers.  

- I don’t need to tell you guys this, but when it comes to the looks, this mini-MPV is a mixed-bag of Suzuki’s design cues. The Ertiga shares the look with its hatchback siblings; the swept-back headlamps come from the Swift while the rest of the design is similar to the Ritz. Move over to the back and you will find a very bland design thanks to the flat tailgate (similar to the one in Ritz) and those tiny set of taillights. 

- At 4.26m length, the Ertiga is remarkably compact though its much longer than the Swift (it is based on the new Swift’s platform) the benefit of extended wheelbase means you also get third row of seats – the MPV comes with seating for 7 passengers in a 2+3+2 layout.

- Unlike Innova or the Xylo, the Ertiga is a front-wheel drive vehicle built around a monocoque construction, which makes it very much car like to drive. There is a fair amount of body-roll when you push it hard but since you sit fairly lower than a typical MPV, the Ertiga feels predictable and safe. The steering itself is quite light and comes in handy when driving in heavy traffic. As for the gearbox, the shifter feels slick and the cogs slot in smoothly without much fuss.

- The other interesting bit is that the Ertiga is powered by a pair of small capacity engines as compared to typical MPVs. The diesel-powered version comes with a 1.3-litre DDiS engine. However, unlike the Swift, the Ertiga gets variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) which ups the power to 90hp and 200 Nm of torque. 

The petrol version comes with an all-new 1.4-litre KB14 engine churning out a decent 95hp and 130 Nm of torque.

- Maruti Suzuki is well-known for making economical cars, the Ertiga is no different. In the city, the diesel version trots around well and promises a decent fuel economy of over 15 kmpl. Highway runs should return an even better 16-18 kmpl even with air-con on. Meanwhile, the Ertiga petrol is claimed to return close to 12kmpl and 15kmpl in city and highway respectively.

- The interior is a typical Maruti affair. The well laid-out dashboard, for instance, is lifted off the new Swift. However, the interior plastics have been given a beige treatment, which make them look a lot more desirable compared to the Swift’s all-black interior. The space in the middle row is very impressive, further aided by the softly cushioned seats that add to the comfortable ride that this car offers. With folding individual seats on the middle and last row to give away more boot space; the whole cabin itself is spacious and quite flexible. The last row of seats though is best reserved for kids. There isn’t much room to be found back there. If both the second and third rows are folded flat, you get a whopping 735 litres of boot space. Overall, the Ertiga scores high on practicality and allows for a number of combinations to create space, depending on the number of people onboard.  

- Feature list includes - steering-mounted audio controls, dual air-conditioning, keyless entry, MID (multi-information display), central locking, alloy wheels, cup holders for even last-row passengers, stereo with USB compatibility and much more. However, even top-of-the line versions do not get climate control.

- The Ertiga is currently offered in the usual Lxi/Vxi/Zxi and Ldi/Vdi/Zdi levels of trim for petrol and diesel respectively with prices starting from Rs 5.89 Lakh to Rs 7.30 Lakh for the petrol versions. The diesel, on the other hand, starts at a rather high Rs 7.30 Lakh to Rs 8.45 Lakh for the top-end version with all the bells and whistles. 

Do note that these are introductory prices and will go up in coming months.

- The bottom line here is that the Ertiga isn’t just another model wearing a Maruti Suzuki badge; it’s a new type of car in itself. It drives pretty much like a big hatchback whereas offering MPV level of space yet being much more compact, better looking and almost as practical as hatchbacks that you and I drive.