A capable family car now gets even more capable with Ertiga.
Lets start with the obvious first. The new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is now based on the Heartec platform that also underpins the likes of the Swift and the Baleno. The new car is larger as compared to its predecessor in terms of length, width and height, and it shows. But more importantly, the typical van like design language has been dropped for something more upright and more aggressive. Yes, there are several design elements that remind us of the larger Toyota Innova Crysta, and they do seem to work. The flat face has a new chrome embedded grill that fuses into the headlamps rather well. The headlamps themselves are dual barrel and have a projector setup for the low beam and a standard reflector for the high beam. There is no LED daytime running light or LED bulb for the headlamps itself. The first thing that comes to mind when the new Ertiga is viewed in profile is that window line and the distinct design feature on the C-Pillar. Move to the back and the large boomerang inspired tail lamps like quite cool but remember, it is only a selective section that actually lights up and not the whole tail lamp. In fact, if given an option, the only thing I would really change are those tiny 15-inch alloy wheels. A set of nicer 16 or even 17-inch wheels would have done wonders.
The first thing that strikes you is just how upmarket the new Ertiga looks on the inside. A faux wood theme extends across the stepped design dashboard and to be honest even though it is plastic at the end of the day, it does look quite nice. The new Ertiga gets a beige and darker brown two-tone combination across the dashboard and the seats and with a slightly printed pattern on the seats, the overall effect is quite satisfactory. The new Ertiga also gets a flat bottom steering wheel that is wrapped in leather and behind that, an all-new instrument cluster too.The central console houses the large touchscreen, which has its own inbuilt navigation but also supports smartphone integration options like Apple Carplay and Android Auto. All of us are now pretty used to this particular infotainment setup and honestly, it is one of the better ones offered on a model today. The top spec models get climate control and a start stop button too. Another cool feature - literally - are the cooled or rather ventilated bottle/zup holders (as seen below). That said, all this is well and good but what is most important in the new Ertiga is interior space and this being a new platform brings in a whole lot more space in it than before. The new Ertiga is longer and wider on the outside and that gives it more space on the inside too. Even though the wheelbase stays the same, the new Ertiga gets more space in the back as the engine compartment has moved slightly forward. The centre row seats are also much more comfortable as compared to the previous generation and as with the last gen car, there is a roof mounted air conditioner unit.The new Ertiga now also gets a larger boot. In fact, it is twice as large as compared to the previous model and that is an important feat. You get 209 litres of boot space with the seats in place and fold the seats down and that space jumps up to a whopping 803 litres. But even with the rows of seats in play, the new Ertiga can easily swallow up large full sized airline bags - something that the older car could only dream of. The Ertiga's boot also has two panels that can be manually removed and stowed away in the car to give even more depth to the boot. All in all, this is a big big improvement.
The new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga gets a brand new petrol engine. It is the same 1.5-litre motor that debuted a few months ago on the Ciaz facelift and makes the same 103 bhp of peak power and 138 Nm of peak torque. The petrol engine is mated to a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic, which is a torque convertor or traditional automatic and not an AMT like on some other Maruti cars. The diesel on the other hand is a 1.3-litre DDIS 200 spec motor making 89 bhp of peak power and 200 Nm of peak torque.Now the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is not the kind of car you take corner carving. It is meant to take people from point A to point B and back in relative comfort. And coming straight to the point, it does that rather well. Ride quality is noticably better than before and while there is some body roll due to the higher centre of gravity, it never really feels unsafe. While a set of larger wheels and tyres would have looked better, it would have also made the Ertiga a better handler overall. But again, for an MPV or Van, the sole purpose of which is to move people, the new lighter Heartec platform, which in any case is inherently stiffer, is quite impressive in terms of that crucial ride quality vs handling prowess balance.And while there are some cars that have scored higher or lower in NCAP tests, India's largest automaker has put in a ton of effort into making its cars safer. The new Ertiga's platform uses a high percentage of tensile steel and that, combined with the standard airbags on all models means that the car will meet the upcoming crash regulations, according to the automaker. Apart from the two airbags as standard, the new Ertiga also gets ABS as standard on all models and the automatic even gets ESC or Electronic Stability Control as standard. The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is available with both, a petrol and a diesel engine. The petrol, as mentioned earlier, also gets both the manual and automatic while the diesel gets only the manual option. The manual Ertiga is available in four variants, L, V, Z and Z+ with the VI or DI for petrol or diesel respectively, while the auto gets the VXI and ZXI variants only.
The petrol Ertiga in both the manual and automatic avatar and considering the fact that a good 60-70 percent of all bookings on the new Ertiga are for the petrol engine, it was only apt. The new Ertiga petrol drives well. The 1.5-litre engine works well and although it might be a little rougher than the 1.4-litre K14 that it replaces, overall, it does offer a very good package in terms of both overall drivability and performance and of course, fuel economy. You don't struggle to get the Ertiga going even if you are in a slightly higher gear at a slightly lower speed as there is enough torque and at higher revs, the Ertiga's petrol engine does not feel stressed either. The 4-speed automatic which is rather impressive too. Now while this is an older gearbox in general and yes, it does have an actual overdrive selector button, the gearbox actually seems to go really well with the Ertiga. It does what it is meant to do - shift gears smoothly and without any jerks while still managing to put down the power from the engine without the need for a kickdown all the time. And that means fuel economy figures are quite good too. While the diesel offers a totally bonkers fuel economy of 25.47 kmpl, the petrol manual gets 19.34 kmpl and the petrol automatic gets 18.69 kmpl.