The first-gen Maruti Suzuki Ertiga was a sensible car. It was compact yet could seat seven people. It was priced attractively but never felt made-to-a-budget. It had its fair share of shortcomings too: limited boot space and cramped third row being the most prominent ones. But were these real deal-breakers? Or was it the fact that it looked like a vehicle that a lot of us didn’t want to be seen driving?
Even before we drive it, we can say that the new Ertiga is better than the first generation Ertiga in more than one aspect. It’s longer and wider on the outside and roomier on the inside. It’s got a more powerful and yet a more fuel-efficient petrol engine, and a new platform that’s stiffer which makes it lighter. It’s got more features, too, and is still priced sensibly.
But is it also desirable? Or does it still appeal to the brains and not the hearts? We spend a few hours with it to answer these tricky questions.
Petrol engine: One of the more affordable petrol-powered MPVs. The petrol engine is also quite fuel efficient, rated at over 19kmpl with the manual transmission
Practical: 60:40 split second row, 50:50 split third row allows multiple seating and storage options
Ride quality: Goes over road uncertainties with more confidence and doesn’t crash into potholes
Compact: Only as wide as the Dzire, easy to drive in city
Still not a proper seven seater: Third row seat space has improved. For adults, it’s good over short distances only
No AC vents for third row: Roof-mounted air vents ahead of the second row only, no separate air-con vents for third row
Stand Out Features
Flexible boot storage: Third-row seats are 50:50 split, can recline and fold as well to offer varying luggage space.
SmartPlay infotainment system with navigation: Includes multiple connectivity options like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone pairing.
Flat-bottom steering wheel: The only MPV in the affordable space to get one; looks sporty.
The Maruti Ertiga’s compact proportions and spacious cabin make it an ideal family car. Competitive pricing and Maruti Suzuki’s service backing works as an icing on the cake for this MPV. It’s a no-nonsense 7-seater UV that checks most boxes right.
On the road, the new Ertiga grabs more attention than the first generation model. The heavy usage of chrome on the front grille might not be to everyone’s liking, but it certainly makes the new Ertiga eye-catchy. The busy design of the bumper and headlamps further make the front look striking. Daytime running lights, whether integrated within the headlamps or on the front bumper, would have added a touch of modernity and given it a premium feel. Hopefully, aftermarket kits will be able to cater to these needs.
Unlike the front, which might polarize opinions, the rear will appeal to most. The three-part tail lamps with LED lights climb on to the D-pillar and look stylish. Sharp creases on the boot lid that extend to the bumper make the rear look crisp. The Ertiga has gained 40mm in width, but it isn't noticeable unless both the first- and second-gen models are placed side-by-side.
A thick shoulder line runs from the front fender to the tail lamps and cuts some bulk of the big doors. The floating roofline adds a modern touch to the design. 15-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels look similar to the ones on the Indonesia-spec Ertiga and, in my personal opinion, do not do justice to the otherwise striking front and smart rear. The new Ertiga measures 4395mm in length, which is 99mm more than the outgoing model. And it does look longer, especially when you look past the C-pillar.
New Ertiga’s colour palette has five options to choose from -- Auburn Red (maroon), Oxford Blue (same as the Dzire’s blue), Magma Grey (same as the Dzire’s grey), Silky Silver (same as the Dzire’s silver) and Pearl Arctic White (same as the Dzire’s white). Dark colours like black, brown or even the Swift’s Midnight Blue might have made the Ertiga look more appealing.
Despite being 40mm wider than the first-gen Ertiga, the new version feels compact from the driver’s seat, and that’s not surprising since it’s only as wide as the new Dzire. That makes driving the new Ertiga in the city as easy as the Swift or the Dzire.
It’s heartening to finally see the Ertiga getting a different dashboard design compared to the Swift or the Dzire. Not only does that give the MPV its own identity, but it also puts it in consideration for buyers upgrading within the Maruti family. Previously, a similar dashboard with different colours meant that the interior environment of the Swift, Dzire and the Ertiga was more or less the same.
While the design of the layered dashboard looks upmarket together with the flat-bottom steering wheel, it doesn’t feel a step-up from the older Ertiga as far as quality of plastics is concerned. Add to it the fact that you can identify some parts like power windows being carried over, and you do feel you're sitting in an improved Ertiga but one that hasn’t taken a huge leap forward.
The Ertiga, even in its first generation, offered one of the better back seats (middle row) in the price range. There was ample legroom and headroom and the positioning of air vents on the roof was also perfect. With Maruti Suzuki not lengthening the wheelbase, the feel in the second row of the new and old Ertiga is very similar, the only minor difference being a larger storage space in the door handle on each door that can stow a modern smartphone.
Head into the third row and you immediately notice that there’s more legroom on offer. Maruti Suzuki claims that legroom in the third row is 70mm more when compared to the older version. Push the middle row all the way back and there’s some space between the third and second row for your legs; this was not the case before. More importantly, adjusting the middle row (slide and recline) appropriately would mean that even an adult would be relatively comfortable in the third row in intercity commute.
Additionally, the third row gets three levels of backrest recline, helping make the boot more usable. The maximum recline position is the most comfortable for rear seat passengers, but switching to the most upright position gives you a bit more luggage space, which can be particularly useful when cramming bags or just making enough space for the boot to close with a trolley bag at the back. The most upright position means a near-perpendicular seatback.
The new Ertiga is based on Suzuki’s Heartect platform, which Maruti says is more rigid yet lightweight than the previous platform. The new platform is the same one that underpins the current Dzire and Swift. There is a noticeable improvement in the way the Ertiga maintains a straight line on highways at higher speeds, and one of the reasons for it could be the new chassis. Since we managed to drive it mostly on straight roads, we’re not sure how good or bad the body roll is when compared to the older version, or how much feedback the steering offers.
The other noticeable improvement is in the way it dismisses road uncertainties. There is a firmness in the suspension setup compared to the older version, but it’s just enough to not make the ride bumpy. The car settles down quickly after negotiating a bad patch and that should keep third-row occupants more happy in the new Ertiga than in the older model. It’s also good to see the suspension (front) not crashing when hitting a big pothole the way it did in the first-gen model.
Apart from the new platform, the Ertiga also benefits from a new petrol engine - a 1.5-litre unit that’s also accompanied with SHVS mild-hybrid technology. The engine is more powerful than the outgoing 1.4-litre unit by 13PS and makes 8Nm more torque. The increase in torque is not substantial on paper, but on the road it showcases a positive intent to lunge forward as soon as you leave your foot off the clutch. The availability of more torque throughout the range is also noticeable and that should make it better at lugging a full-house when compared to the older engine, which felt underpowered when going uphill with a full load of passengers. The in-gear acceleration appears to have improved as well, though we’ll rely on our test data to claim that with more certainty.
The engine feels more lively with the 5-speed manual transmission than with the 4-speed automatic unit, which is a torque converter. The automatic transmission is more suited for relaxed and not spirited driving. It takes its own sweet time to respond (change gears) to accelerator inputs, so overtaking manoeuvres will require a bit of planning. Claimed fuel efficiency for the more powerful petrol engine is more than the 1.4-litre, 92PS engine, and that could be down to the mild-hybrid technology.
92PS @ 6000rpm
105PS @ 6000rpm (+13PS)
130Nm @ 4000rpm
138Nm @ 4400rpm (+8Nm)
17.50kmpl / 17.03kmpl
19.34kmpl / 18.69kmpl
90PS @ 4000rpm
90PS @ 4000rpm
200Nm @ 1750
200Nm @ 1750
The 1.3-litre, 90PS diesel engine is the same unit that powered the new Ertiga’s predecessor. It’s been carried over unchanged but the claimed fuel efficiency for the diesel-manual powertrain has also gone up by almost a kilometre to a litre but that could be due to the fact that the newer version is lighter by about 20kg.
The new Ertiga is available with dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, Isofix child seat mounts and front seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters as standard. With those features ticked, it meets the minimum requirement for us to recommend it to buyers in any variant. Features like speed-sensitive auto door lock and central locking are also standard. The variants with automatic transmission get ESP and hill hold feature.
[ In adition to VDI ]
Dual Front Airbags,
Multifunction Steering Wheel,
[ Variant VDI price ] + 83,000
The new Ertiga is available in four variants (L, V, Z and Z) with both petrol and diesel engines with a manual transmission. An automatic transmission is also on offer, but with the 1.5-litre petrol engine only. The petrol-automatic powertrain can be had in V and Z variants only. For all the features that it gets, the new Ertiga’s base variant appears to be priced sensibly, although we would have liked the prices to be closer to the Rs 7 lakh mark for the LXi variant (it was launched at Rs 7.44 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi). Other than the L variant, it’s the Z variant that offers good value for money.