What’s also impressive about the Ertiga is how easy it is to drive. It is based on the Swift platform, just the like the Dzire, but sits on a longer wheelbase - the reason it can have three rows of seating. The mechanicals are almost identical too, especially the basic architecture of the underpinnings and the steering assembly.
So when you get behind the wheel and put it through a series of bends, the Ertiga actually surprises you with its handling prowess. It’s not as sharp or chuckable or even as planted as say the Swift, but the body roll isn’t excessive, and unless you do something really stupid, things never get out of hand. It also manages quick direction changes very well. The added length doesn’t play spoilsport with the rear managing to keep up with the front’s every move. So in that sense, the Ertiga is totally carlike.
There’s nothing utility vehicle about its engines either. It comes with one petrol and one diesel option. The 1.4-litre K-series petrol is essentially the same as the Swift’s 1.2-litre engine but with a longer stroke. The end result is more power at 95bhp that also a higher peak torque. But being more undersquare in its layout, the torque spread is stronger lower down in the rpm range on the 1.4 giving the Ertiga acceptable levels of driveability particularly in the city.
It’s also a refined engine with a slick shifting gearbox and a light and progressive clutch. However, the Ertiga does feel wanting on the highway especially in 4th and 5th gear. The engine refuses to dial up the revs in a hurry and it takes forever for it to get past an indicated 100kmph. Obviously overtaking and high cruising speeds is not something the 1.4-litre petrol Ertiga manages well.
The diesel though is a delight. It has better top end performance and once the turbo has spooled up (past 1800rpm), it is more drivable in the city compared to the petrol too. It uses the same VGT equipped, 90bhp 1.3-litre diesel from the SX4. It is noisy at higher revs but overall (also considering higher fuel economy), it is the better version.
As far spending time in the Ertiga goes, it could have been more comfortable. The ride quality for instance isn’t the most plush. The occupants can feel the road below quite clearly be it courtesy the muted thuds or the accompanied jiggle from the suspension. We are not saying it’s uncomfortable but it could have been better. The same holds true for the seats as well. The ones at the front are decent, a little soft but supportive. The last two rows though are flat and will cause uneasiness to the occupants over longer drives.