Maruti Ertiga 2nd gen
You don’t need a very big car to carry around your family in the urban jungle, says Maruti. That compact and user friendly nature is what made the first gen Ertiga quite popular. It wasn’t the full size MPV like an Innova, but you could still fit 5+2 people inside. And for those times when you didn’t have seven people on board, the middle row slides back and it became a very comfortable five seater. Outside, it was still smaller than most midsize sedans, so it was easy to drive around town and easy to park. Everyone tried their hand at the family MPV, to take on the Ertiga – but they couldn’t keep up with how quickly it made to nearly 4.2 lakh households. Enter the version 2.0 of the Ertiga which is even better as a people carrier.
The new Ertiga’s styling is more mature and there are no carried over elements from the Swift/Dzire. The proportions are spot on, the front end has a wider, bolder look. Projector headlamps are standard across the range and the new chrome grille is neatly integrated. The sides have more design flair than before and the roof has a floating look like in the Swift, with L shaped tail lamps built into the D pillar. The rear design bears a family resemblance, as if it is hiding a Ciaz in there. The wheels are 15 inch and look small, but you can’t argue with the requirements of ride quality and lower running costs in this segment. The Ertiga, although it has a similar 2740mm wheelbase as before, has grown 99mm in length, 40mm in width and 5mm in overall height. It is still around 10 cm smaller than a Ciaz and for most people those compact dimensions are just as important as the space inside.
All that dimensions, translate to more room inside. The cabin is wider with 50mm, 21mm and 34mm extra shoulder room in the first, second and third rows. The third row gets 70mm more legroom. You can get in easier and the seats recline to give a more comfortable seating position. The second row seats are extremely comfortable and offer great comfort when slid all the way back. The large glass area, the tall roof, the flat floor and light colour scheme – all add to airiness of the cabin.
You get an all new dashboard design with an upmarket meter console. It has the same MID with colour TFT screen as in the Baleno. The upper part of the dashboard is designed to not break the continuity of the AC vents like in most modern Audis. The flat bottomed steering is similar to that on the Dzire and there is the familiar touch screen unit from other Marutis here, but the controls for the climate control are new. The new wood trim may polarize opinion but the overall feel of the cabin is far better now. There are two cup holders lower down in the centre console and they have an AC vent with flow control to keep your beverages cool. Boot space has also been improved with 209 litres with all three rows in place, 550 litres with the last row folded and 803 litres with both rows down.
The new Ertiga gets the same 105bhp and 138Nm, 1.5 litre petrol engine as the facelifted Ciaz. It also gets the additional Li-ion battery pack for the hybrid system, although in real life, you can’t tell when it is providing any assistance to the engine. The engine also gets a stop-start system which, coupled with the refinement of the engine, works like a treat. The engine does offer good tractability and low end. It is very easy to drive around town and you can maintain a decent cruising speed on the highway. It labours its way to 6200rpm and overtaking calls for a quick downshift or two. Fortunately, the clutch is very light and the gearshifts are snappy. The Ertiga petrol also gets a 4 speed torque convertor automatic option as before and the diesel engine continues to be the tried and tested 1.3 Multijet with 90bhp and 200Nm.
The previous generation Ertiga was good to drive and the new one doesn’t disappoint either. The steering could do with a bit more feel, but it grips better than before and is very sure footed through the corners. Yes it rolls a little but you can drive it fast for an MPV and have fun, while at it. And this isn’t at the expense of ride quality either. The suspension irons out most vertical movements and the cabin feels very well insulated from the surface underneath. You can drive it fast over broken roads without discomfort. Brakes are confidence inspiring as well.
The new Ertiga is a marked improvement over its predecessor. It offers more space, comfort, practicality, features etc while retaining the core values that made the first one so good. With prices ranging from Rs.7.44 to Rs.10.90 lakhs, it isn’t that much more expensive than before. That is the still the best bang for your buck in the seven seater class.
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