Why go for 5 seater when you get a 7 seater at similar price
I bought Ertiga ZDI+SHVS in May-2016 and have driven little over 13K kms till now.Let me tell u why I bought this car and how it compares with others.
It is not the best, but best economic choice for middle to upper middle class in India who want a 7 seater -
1. The first impression about a 7 seater is that it is lengthy. It is not at all so with Ertiga. It is shorter in length than any sedan cars like City, Ciaz, Verna, Sunny, Scala, Verito, Rapid. It is just compact enough for proper leg room in all 3 rows. This makes it quite suitable for city driving and in congested areas.
2. It has 1.3 ltr diesel engine which is today one of the most reliable engines in India. Plus it is an engine with a high power to engine size ratio. This helps reduce the bonnet size and overall length of the car.
3. When used as a 5 seater (collapsed last row), it becomes a lavish car, with large boot and with leg room comparable to that in Innova. Note that no other MPV (Innova, BR-V, Lodgy, Mobilio) or SUV can collapse the last row like Ertiga does. The last row when collapsed, reduces in height and when raised back increases in height. This gives a good thigh support for the last row. Also note that, this does not mean it will accomodate tall people. But then this car is meant for average Indian family where ladies height is around 5 feet and there are bound to be kids with you when travelling with family. So the last row is for shorter females and kids. At one time, I had 2 kids and a lady seated in last row without complaints. We were total 6 adults and 3 kids in the car for 450 kms drive on NH4.
4. The on road price of top end Ertiga ZDI+ was 11.57Lacs for me. Compare that with BR-V top end price of 16.4Lacs, Lodgy 85PS RXZ Stepaway price of 13.52Lacs (not considering 110PS Lodgy, it is even more). Cannot even think of Innova Crysta, it starts from 17.71Lacs. In top end Ertiga we get reverse parking camera, touch screen, GPS, button start, steering mounted controls, bluetooth connectivity to phone and smart phone connectivity, rear wiper when compared with VDI. The other important features are 2 airbags, driver seat height adjust, steering height adjust, rear AC (rear AC has condenser pipe and not just a blower), sliding first and second row seats, 2nd row is with 60-40 split, adjustable head rest for 6, arm rest in 2nd row when used as 4 seater, 12V socket in front and rear, all power windows and power OVRMs, gear indicator and gear shift indicator, average fuel consumption and instantaneous fuel consumption, distance to empty.
One of the main reasons for going for top end was integrated Reverse parking camera which is a boon in tight parking conditions. I have had many scratches in rear bumper of my previous car in the absence of reverse camera.
Rear viper becomes very important, when driving in rainy season and water droplets block rear vision through OVRMs.
5. To overcome the limited luggage space, I fitted my Ertiga with a Carrier similar to Rouf Rails (just google and see), which aesthetically blends with the car design seamlessly. I had it planned before booking Ertiga. So limited luggage space was overcome. Now note that even Innova's luggage space is not that great. Lodgy and BR-V are better in this regard.
6. With pothole ridden roads and speed breakers which defy even SC directives, ground clearance becomes one of the biggest factors and highly ignored criteria when buying car in India. Ertiga's ground clearance is 185m, which is just about optimum. Compare that with 175mm of earlier Innova, 185mm of Crysta, 170mm of Lodgy, 161mm of Enjoy, 174mm of Lodgy. Increasing ground clearance tends to imbalance the car on turns at high speeds, thats why I said 185mm is just about optimum.
7. Why go for 5 seater when u get 7 seater in the same price range or even lesser in many cases. I am comparing it with price of sedans liks City, Ciaz, Verna, Rapid, Scala, Sunny, Etios. It is even less than SUVs like Brezza, Duster, Terrano, Ecosport, S-Cross, though we cannot compare sedans and SUVs with MPVs. The point is if you can afford to stretch 1-2 lacs above economy sedans like DZire, Amaze, Xcent, then go for 7 seater instead of 5 seater. Even hatchbacks like Jazz and Elitei20 cost around 11lacs which is only slightly less than cost of my Ertiga.
8. The acceleration on highways at above 1700 RPM is quite good when we have to overtake slow moving vehicles like trucks, not only on highways, but also in city traffic. The 1.3 ltr engine is quite powerful. It may not be as powerful as Innova or 110PS Lodgy, but I felt, the pulling power of Ertiga is very good even when it is fully loaded. Above 1700 rpm, you will feel a sudden push and it will easily achieve high speeds quickly. So any impression that the engine is low powered is totally misplaced. This is true even on steep inclines that I have experienced during couple of drives to Mallapuram district, Kerala which goes through the Western Ghats.
9. Multi combination of seat folding. This one is the best plus point of Ertiga -
We were 7 people - 5 adults and 2 kids. travelling for around 350kms one way. We collapsed the 2nd row. We put 2 big luggage and couple of small bags in the gap between 2nd row and front seats. Last row was not collapsed. Made a bedding in the area for 3 adults and 2 kids. They enjoyed the journey playing cards all along. It was even possible for the 2 yr old kid to be fed and make sleep in this position. No other MPV gives this kind of flat area when seats are collapsed. Just take a look at collapsed seat photos of any MPV.
We also had last row collapsed in another long drive and it gave even larger space, but was not comfortable for back support when seated. But this also is a good option, if you take along lot of cushions with you for back support.
10. The car is a compromise in many aspects like power, space, features, which are not disadvantages but advantages when viewed in perspective to Indian road conditions and middle to upper middle class financial status.
Now some of these disadvantages of Ertiga for which I have counter arguments for -
1. Remember, Ertiga has a tall boy design, plus a 7 seater, and not like a sedan. So the driving dynamics are not same as that of sedan. It is not recommended to drive above 80-100kmph on Indian roads. Also, why would you drive above that kind of speed on Indian roads? how many highways (forget about city roads) in India are suitable for that kind of speed? Are you sure no buffalo or kid will suddenly come in front from nowhere? Are you sure of no speed humps or pot holes or gravels along the highway?
2. No automatic climate control.
There is temperature control knob which is a convenient low price option for auto climate control.
3. No cruise control.
I have never experienced cruise control. But on Indian roads, is it really worthy? Using it only 5% of times is waste of the feature and waste of money.
4. No luggage space when used as 7 seater.
I have my Ertiga fitted with Rouf Rails like carrier on top. It compensates for the absence for rear luggage space. Also, how many times will 7 people be travelling in a family? May be around 15-20% of times.
5. I felt the AC performance is just about adequate in most of the conditions
but may not be sufficient for 45 degrees outside temperature and 7 people seated in car. I am saying "may not" because I have not tested in that kind of temperature. I have tested till around 38-39 and it is quite pleasant inside, not chilling cold though.
6. Not enough leg room when 7 seated -
If there are shorter persons and kids then let them site on last row. This way the leg room is comfortable for all. Tall people should be made to sit in middle row and not in front. Dont expect a 20lacs Innova in 11.5Lacs Ertiga :).
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