Vans are insanely practical but are marred by their cinematic roles as kidnap-machines. SUVs, on the other hand are good, but generally too big for their purpose, especially in the closed confines of the cities. And that is where the small MPVs come into the picture, blending the practicality of a van into the styling of an SUV, not too small, not too big and always comfortable. So we take the latest iteration of one of the most popular people-movers in India, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, to find out how it is to live with and here is what we found out!
How practical is it?
Practicality is the USP of MPVs and the Ertiga is just that. Though its beige interior might not agree to its doubling up as a van, the new Ertiga is pretty comfortable for seven occupants and that says a lot. Because it is longer and wider than its predecessor, it offers much more cabin space which has been judiciously carved out using some smart techniques like scooped seat backs.
All three rows have their share of bottle holders, cup holders, seat-back pockets, glove boxes, door pockets et al. The doors hold the proper one-litre bottles and so do the bottle holders for the third row. The centre console gets cooled-cup holders where an AC vent makes sure your drink stays cold and should come handy on hot summer afternoons, saving your ice-drink from melting away.
Both the second and the third row fold up to create a bed, opening up a huge cargo area if you need to carry large stuff. It is quite comfortable for a makeshift bed and has enough room for two. Fold up only the last row and it becomes a perfect weekend traveller for your gang of five with all the luggage but we will come to it later. Overall, the Ertiga is all the car you expect it to be, versatile and practical.
What is the fuel efficiency like?
We drove the petrol-automatic version of the Ertiga, the ZXi AT, and it gets the new 1.5-litre petrol engine. With the torque-converter gearbox, the fuel economy is on the southern side and the Ertiga returns 13.76 kmpl on the highway and 10.22 kmpl in the city, as per our testing patterns.
What is on the feature list?
The automatic is offered only on the ZXi trim which is a mid-variant in Maruti’s scheme of things. But being a B+/C segment car, the Ertiga gets a whole lot of features standard. To start with, safety is taken care of by dual front airbags and the ABS along with the rear parking sensors. As an added safety feature, the Ertiga beeps once when you cross 80kmph, twice when you cross 100 and goes non-stop when you decide to go over 120kmph.
Being a ZXi, it doesn’t get the touchscreen display for the infotainment system, but you get almost everything else, like Bluetooth connectivity for the phone as well as music, steering mounted audio controls, power mirrors, height adjustable driving seat, front armrest with storage and cooled cup holders as well.
Projector headlamps, tail lamps with diffused light guides, auto-folding mirrors are all available on the Ertiga along with the distinctive rear AC that comes with a three-speed blower. The middle row is split 60-40 while the last row is split 50-50.
How does it perform on the daily commute?
The Ertiga is ideally not a daily commuter because of its size. Don’t get it wrong here because the Ertiga isn’t unnecessarily big. The new Ertiga is bigger than before but just enough to offer enough space for the third row, but, at the same time, it isn’t too big which makes it rather easy to manage in the city as well. And that is because of the light steering and the automatic gearbox.
For bumper-to-bumper traffic or for quick overtakes, the slush-box does take some time to react to the throttle inputs but it is until the point you get used to the gearbox characteristics. But then, the comfort of not having to ride the clutch scores over these little niggles. Since it is a large car, finding parking will be tough but it will squeeze in thanks to the tight turning radius.
How is it for a weekend?
The Ertiga is a perfect weekend buddy. For a day-trip, you could fill it up with seven or even eight people and it will haul most of you in comfort all along. But if you are out on a grand tour, the Ertiga would be ideal for five and the whole lot of luggage that you will carry for the road-trip. The two-zone climate control system makes sure the cooling is effective throughout the cabin while the reclining seats in the rear rows make it even more comfortable.
The petrol engine feels potent and pulls the Ertiga to highway speeds easily. Cruising in three figures is comfortable as the ride is composed at high speeds but going beyond 120kmph is a no-no thanks to the continued beeping. For an MPV, it also holds well around corners and it feels more car-like than an MPV or an SUV.
What is the deal with warranty?
Maruti Suzuki offers two years of warranty and 40,000kms, whichever comes earlier, across its entire range.