Maruti Suzuki Ertiga : First Impression
After a long and agonising wait of 4 months since Maruti Suzuki unveiled it, Ertiga, the manufacturer's first Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV), has finally arrived. This model, which has been inspired by the RIII concept of the car maker, is based on the platform of the Swift, which holds the distinction of being the most popular premium hatchback of the country. It was showcased for the first time at the 2012 New Delhi Auto Expo, where we were impressed that Maruti had taken care of Indian sensibilities while designing a MPV for the first time.
We recently got our hands on the Ertiga VDi, the middle variant of the model. It is placed between the base LDi and top end ZDi variants with a price tag of Rs. 7.9 lacs. Since it is an all-new model and is counted among the most highly anticipated launches of 2012, we were intrigued by the kind of package we would get. The VDi variant of the car has ample features for the suburban family residing in India, the target audience of Ertiga. It is equally suited for a spin in the city and for a long trip, which again makes it perfect for its key demographic.
On first look, Ertiga VDi comes off as an elongated version of the Swift, though closer inspection proves otherwise. The front and side profile of the two cars are quite similar, though the headlamps of the new MPV move towards the rear, whereas Swift's largely stay put. On the other hand, the grille remains unchanged; we even got the impression that the hood of Ertiga was similar to that of Ritz in some ways.
Moving towards the rear of Ertiga VDi, we feel that the car has been heavily inspired by the Honda Jazz, with angular shape being the highlight. Fog lamps in the front as well as the rear, which is a functional utilitarian feature, add to the looks of the car. Overall the car looks quite attractive, though it would not hold water against the likes of Mahindra XUV 500, but then, it is not competing with M&M's flagship anyway.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga stands 4265 mm in length, 1480 mm in width and 1685 mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2740 mm. These figures may make some people doubt the model's capabilities as a family car, but we were not fooled. The largest car manufacturer of India has done well by designing a car that has compact proportions but still ensures sufficient space.
In terms of exterior features, Ertiga VDi does not disappoint, but it has nothing special to offer either. The seemingly-standard portfolio of exterior features of this model includes body coloured bumpers, outside door handles and electric Outside Rear View Mirrors (ORVMs) and chrome front grille. Tinted windows and windshield, full wheel covers, front and rear mud flaps and front wiper are also present in the car, but how Maruti Suzuki expects to beat Mahindra Xylo and Toyota Innova with this package is a mystery to us.
Do not expect something extraordinary while stepping inside the Ertiga VDi, since it offers the interiors of the good old Swift, though the dual tone interiors do seem pleasing to the eyes. The interiors are still plush, but do not have anything new to offer, which is something nobody wants in a newly launched vehicle. However, we were still excited about the extra space and two rear seats, but then the third row was barely had any seating space. These two seats can only accommodate two children at best, which will be a huge disappoint for families that have grown up kids. The air conditioner with heater of the Ertiga VDi will keep the temperature regulated, though the passengers in the third row will miss the vents, since they are present only in the first two rows.
In spite of its restricted dimensions, Ertiga VDi ensures that it can provide more-than-sufficient space for the occupants seated in the first two rows. While sitting, the passengers will never feel cramped or shortchanged in terms of space since the legroom, headroom and knee room are ample. Indeed, the 2+3+2 seating arrangement has been made keeping in mind the requirements of the large Indian suburban family. We feel that Head restraints are present in the two rear rows of the car as well as the fabric upholstery are suitable features at this price range.
The set of interior features that the all new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga VDi has to offer is good, just like the Swift's. It consists of glove box, folding assistant grips (on all doors except driver's), sun visor on passenger's side, driver side ticket holder, front door trim pocket, Inside Rear View Mirror (IRVM) with anti-glare coating. The instrument cluster of the car has a host of accessories, such as tachometer, driver-side seatbelt and door ajar reminder lamps and retractable cup holder in dashboard. Apart from these, the instrument panel also has cup holder in front console, accessory socket, low fuel warning lamp and light on and key on reminder with buzzer.
The entertainment package of Ertiga VDi seems to be good, but not overtly so. It consists of a CD and FM/AM player with USB compatibility and 4 speakers (2 mounted in the front and 2 in the rear). Other notable features of the car are back door handle, manually adjustable driver and front passenger seats, front seat armrest, dual trip meter and digital fuel indicator.
Ertiga VDi comes with a number of features that added to the comfort and convenience factor throughout our drive. Power steering with rake tiltable steering wheel column, power windows for front and rear doors, and auto down feature in driver-side window are some of the convenience features that we thoroughly enjoyed in the car. Along with these, the car also has shoulder height adjuster for front row seat belts, co-driver side seat back pocket, central door lock, keyless entry and chrome interior door handles.
Safety and security parcel of Ertiga VDi includes 3-point ELR seatbelt for driver and co-driver seats, door and hood sensing security alarm system and immobiliser. The second row of the vehicle comes with 3-point ELR seatbelts on either sides and a 2-point lap belt in the centre. These same 3-point ELR seatbelts are present with both the rear seats for passenger safety.
As always with a Maruti Suzuki car, we were happy by the overall driving experience of Ertiga VDi. The 1248 cc DDiS diesel engine of the car with 4 cylinders, 16 valves and Common Rail Direct injection (CRDi) technology produces 88 bhp of power at 4000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm. This BS IV OBD-2 compliant engine has 69.6 mm x 82 mm bore x stroke ratio and is assisted by a 5 speed manual transmission system for smooth gear shifts.
Maruti Suzuki has included independent McPherson struts with torsion beam as the suspension of choice in its Ertiga VDi. Safety features like Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) ensured we could control the vehicle even at top speed (160 kmph). Its turning radius of 5.2 metre seems tight and we could manoeuvre the car easily in city traffic. Ground clearance of 185 mm seemed sufficient, though we did not encounter any major speed-breakers and potholes throughout the drive.
The company has leveraged on its expertise of almost 3 decades of developing family cars in ensuring that the Ertiga performs extremely well. We felt the ride quality was splendid for a vehicle of this segment and the handling was impressive. The steering wheel of Ertiga VDi is well positioned and does not weigh too much, such that driver of any height can easily control the vehicle without difficulties. Though the body roll of the car remains regulated most of times, we could feel the drag of the rear mainly due to the length at tight corners, which may be a concern for those who are not confident of their driving skills.
|Variant||1.4L K-Series petrol engine|
|Power in PS/RPM||95/6000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||130/4000|
|Transmisson||Manual 5 speed|
|Dimesions in mm|
|Tyre rating||185/65 R15|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||45|
|Average Mileage in KMPL||16.02|
|Gross Vehicle weight kgs||1760|
|Electronic Power steering||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Driver seat height adjust||No||No||Yes|
|Front Power windows||No||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Power windows||No||No||Yes|
|AC with heater||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2nd row A/C||No||Yes||Yes|
|Integrated audio system||No||Yes||Yes|
|Steering mounted audio controls||No||No||Yes|
|2nd row arm rest||No||Yes||Yes|
|Body coloured door mirrors||No||Yes||Yes|
|Front Fog lamps||No||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Fog lamps||No||Yes||Yes|
|Key less entry||No||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD(PETROL)||No||Optional||Yes|
|ABS with EBD(Diesel)||No||Optional||Yes|
Competition All Specs
Sumo Grande MKII
|Cubic capacity||1373/4 CYL||2179/4 CYL||2179/4 CYL||2179/4 CYL||2494/4 CYL|
|Power in PS/RPM||90/4000||120/4000||120BHP/4000||120/4000||102/3600|
|Torque in NM/RPPM||200/1750||280/2400||290/2400||250/3000||200/3400|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||45||55||60||65||55|
|Seating||7 seater||8 seater||8 seater||8 Seater||8 Seater|
|Rear Wash and wiper||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Flat bed seat||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Arm rest for driver and co driver||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Height adjustable driver seat||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Genuine Italian Leather seats||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Leather wrapped steering wheel||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|2-DIN Audio system||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ex showroom price Bangalore in lac||872140||1042279||1180191||892027||1364517|
The chief competitor of Maruti Suzuki Ertiga VDi is the mid-range D4 variant of the class-leading Mahindra Xylo. Though the Xylo enjoys the first mover advantage with a huge market share already in place, Ertiga fares quite well in a one-on-one comparison. Mahindra Xylo is equipped with a huge 2489 cc diesel engine that deliver 95 bhp of power and 220 Nm of torque. Though the difference between the capacities of the engines of the two cars is tremendous, there is very less disparity between their power and torque generation capabilities, which makes Ertiga the winner.
Rest of the specifications remain almost the same, though Xylo D4 has a slightly bigger turning radius of 5.5 metre. Independent coil spring front suspension, multi-link coil spring rear suspension and 15 inch wheels of the latter also set the two cars apart. Xylo D4 is 4520 mm long, 1850 mm wide and 185 mm high, with a 2760 mm wheelbase, which makes it larger than Ertiga VDi in terms of size. However, the former's wheelbase is lesser than that of the latter's, which helps Maruti Suzuki score another point. However, if we are talking about dimensions, then it must be noted that 7/8 seater Xylo D4 has more space to offer to the occupants. Moreover, its bigger fuel tank, with capacity of 55 litre as compared to Ertiga VDi's 45 litre also gives it the edge, since we would have to stop for refuelling lesser.
Ertiga VDi gains an edge over Xylo D4 in the interiors as well as comfort and convenience departments. The latter lacks body coloured outside door handles, chrome finish on the front grille, air conditioning vents in the rear, power windows, adjustable driver and front passenger seats, armrests and in-car audio system. Even some safety features are missing from the model, such as fog lamps and collapsible steering column. However, it does have puddle lamps on front door and tilt adjustable steering, which is a small consolation. Overall, we felt that Ertiga VDi will be a great option against the Xylo D4, though pricing may be a concern for some. Presently, the latter costs Rs. 7.88 lacs, which is already lower than introductory price of Ertiga VDi's 7.9 lacs that will certainly rise in the future.
We feel that the Ertiga VDi variant is a decent car for the modern family, with sufficient seating space but not overtly so. It will be a good option against any similarly priced sedan present in the Indian market now, as well as the Mahindra Xylo and Toyota Innova. However, the pricing will be one of the deciding factors in the country's cost conscious market. We were more than satisfied with the features of the car as well as its performance, which will count for a lot when the comfort of the whole family is considered. Moreover, it has given the perfect response to detractors who doubted Maruti Suzuki's ability to make a Utility Vehicle.