Maruti Suzuki pulled out a rabbit of the hat with the Ertiga. This is the first compact-sized MUV, and is built on the platform of a Swift. It has sufficient space in the first two rows and the fit and finish could have been a tad better for the price you pay, and most of the bits are a direct pick form the Swift.
Ertiga is based on the Swift platform and so are its interiors. These are a direct pick from the Swift. Except for difference in the colour, it resembles the Swift interiors. It seems that Maruti Suzuki wants to standardise the interior styling of its products. The quality of the plastics is decent; we do wish it were a bit better for the price it comes for.
The first two rows of the Ertiga are spacious and there isn’t much of an issue for headroom. The second row seats have decent kneeroom, while the third row is tight on space. It is meant for children. The front row seats are large and supportive, while the second row seats have decent support for the thighs. The boot is also decently sized.
LXi/LDi: This is the base variant of the Ertiga in petrol and diesel engine. Since it is the entry-level model, it is not loaded with too many features but power stee ring, body colour bumpers, manually folding OVRMs (outside rear view mirrors), multi trip meters, AC with heater, etc. come as standard.
VXi/VDi: This variant is placed above the LXi/LDi and it sports features like central locking, electrically folding OVRMs, keyless entry, adjustable headrests and body coloured OVRMs, door handles and many more. In the petrol you also have an ABS version that comes at an extra cost for safer braking.
ZXi/ZDi: Like other Maruti Suzuki’s other models, the ZXi and ZDi are the range topping models for Ertiga as well. This variant gets a number of premium features, which are not offered in the starting and mid-range models. These include Airbags, alloy wheels, outside temperature gauge on information display integrated into meter cluster, front seat belt with pretension and force limiter for driver and co-driver, steering wheel mounted audio controls, etc.
Petrol and diesel options are available on the Ertiga. The 1.4-litre petrol is efficient and also has sufficient torque to potter around in city. The 1.3-litre multijet has some amount of turbo lag, but once within the torque range, the power is sufficient.
The diesel version of the Ertiga is powered by a 1.3-litre multijet, which also propels the Maruti Suzuki SX4, Fiat Linea, Tata Manza and Fiat Grande Punto 90HP. This engine has the variable geometric turbocharger that helps it to produce 89bhp of power at 4000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 1750rpm. This is one the largest seeling engines in the country and is one of the most tried and tested one. The engine’s NVH levels are moderate and there is some typical diesel clatter on cranking the engine. But it sort of settles down, once the engine warms up.
There is some amount of lag in this engine and it performs well only if the revs are kept above 2000rpm for best performance. One has to downshift to make those overtaking moves. The engine comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission that is slick with positive and short throws.
The Ertiga is also offered with a 1.4-litre petrol engine that produces a maximum power of 95bhp at 6000rpm and also a peak torque of 130Nm at 4000rpm. Most of the buyers are likely to buy the diesel version, but the petrol is a good option for those who will scarcely use their cars. This is a K-Series petrol engine with variable valve timing and also refinement levels are high.
This engine has good torque at low rpm despite being a petrol mill. This means that you can lug it into a higher cog and potter around, even in city traffic. The five-speed manual transmission on the Ertiga is slick like the diesel version and doesn’t feel rubbery. Overtaking isn’t a difficult ask in the Ertiga, whether in city or on the highway.
Ride and handling, both aren’t a problem on the Ertiga. Both are good enough and nothing to worry about in the Ertiga, as it handles like a hatchback despite its size.
The ride of the Ertiga is fairly composed and smooth at low and high speeds. The suspension does a good job of soaking up all the road shocks without affecting the ride. The Ertiga glides through potholes with a muted thud.
The handling of the Ertiga is good enough for its size. The Ertiga is based on the Swift platform and its driving dynamics are good despite the stretch. There is some amount of body roll, and you won’t loose control unless something stupid is done. The steering wheel is also light at low speeds and it weighs up nicely as the car gathers speed.
It is only the interiors of the Duster that failed to appeal us. The plastic quality isn’t up to the mark, even though the fit and finish is decent. The space in the Duster is just phenomenal, with large and supportive seats.
The interior quality on the Duster is decent. It isn’t phenomenal for its price, but it is good enough. The overall fit and finish of the plastics is good, but it is the feel that doesn’t impress. Even the inside has been designed ergonomically. The black and beige interiors look good and feel premium, as most of the Indians consider beige to be superior over black or grey.
There is loads of space in the front row and the Duster doesn’t feel cramped. The seating is a bit low, but the view is good as the overall visibility of the car is good. The support offered by the seats is good for the back and the thigh. Move into the second row and there will be no disappointment with the space for your knee and head. The space is immense and so is the thigh support. Even the boot is large for 4 people’s luggage. The Duster comes with a dealer fitment option of two additional seats forming the third row.
The Duster comes in three variants, RxE, RxL and RxZ. The latter two come with option packs as well. The RxE is the base model and it comes with basic features like black interiors, keyless entry, power windows. It misses out on airbags and also on ABS.
The RxL is the mid-model and it gets additional features like rear defogger and wiper, front fog lamps, trendy beige fabric seats, the centre console becomes glossy black instead of the charcoal black, electrically adjustable ORVMs, integrated music system with four speakers and USB connectivity, on board computer, glove box lamp and reading lamps being the major upgrades.
The RxZ is the top of the line version and it comes fully loaded with various bells and whistles like dual airbags, ABS, reverse parking sensor, driver seat reminder, body coloured door mirrors with satin, rear AC blower, leather wrapped steering wheel. These are the major add-ons, except for those that were already mentioned in the RxL.
With the Duster being a compact SUV, most of the buyers will prefer the 85bhp 1.5litre diesel engine. This engine has good drivability and sufficient torque to potter around in the city. There is no turbo lag either and it does make its case for a good buy.
The Duster comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine that produces 102bhp of power at 5850rpm and a torque of 145Nm at 3750rpm. This is a four-cylinder that earlier powered the Logan. It comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The NVH levels are fairly refined and the engine isn’t noisy. The power delivery is linear and the shifts on the box are also good. For quick overtaking one has to downshift as the power is most available in the higher rev range. The ARAI mileage for the petrol version of the Duster is 13.4kmpl.
Duster comes with two power ratings in the diesel variant. One is 85bhp and the other is 108bhp. The 84bhp is available on the RxE and RxL trim levels. This is the same engine that powers the Nissan Sunny as well. The NVH (noise vibration and harshness) levels on the diesel Duster are quiet low and Renault has done a fabulous job on reducing the clatter. This version of the Duster produces 84 bhp at 3750rpm of power and 200Nm of torque at 1900rpm. The power delivery is good enough and the engine is fairly drivable even when in the city. Overtaking in the city is easy and most of the time a downshift is required. The 5-speed transmission is good enough and the shifts are positive. The ARAI claimed fuel efficiency of the 84bhp Duster is 20.64kmpl.
The 108bhp of the Duster is available only with RxL and RxZ trim levels. This engine produces 108bhp of power at 3900rpm and a maximum torque of 248Nm at an engine speed of 2250rpm. The refinement level of the engine is the same, as the lower powered diesel engine, and there is no clatter drama. Once you pass 1800rpm, there is sufficient power to lug around the town. For better utilization of power, this engine comes mated to a 6-speed manual box than a 5-speed that powers the de-tuned version of this K9K engine. The shifts on this 6-speed manual box are also smooth and positive. However, there is a drop in fuel economy by ARAI standards to 19.1kmpl. On the highway, the sixth-gear will help to increase the fuel efficiency.
The Duster excels in the ride and handling department. It doesn’t just have a well sorted ride, but even the handling is good for its size and ground clearance. So, the Duster is makes a strong case for itself.
The Duster is based on the Logan platform and so it gets independent McPherson strut with coil springs & anti-roll bar at its front and torsion beam axle with coil springs & anti-roll bar at its rear. The ride of the Duster is fairly supple. All the road shocks are absorbed by the utility vehicle and the occupants get a smooth ride. The ride is similar even at higher speeds.
The handling of the Duster is similar to that of a sedan. It can be chucked around corners and its chassis responds well. Despite the high ground clearance the handling characteristics of the Duster are good. The steering wheel also is light at low speeds and weighs up well as the vehicle gathers speed.
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