Published On: Mon, Aug 13th, 2012

Ertiga, the ideal family car?

Maruti Suzuki’s recently launched Ertiga opens up a new segment. Maruti calls it the LUV or life utility vehicle. A segment where a lot of activity is expected to occur. Renault Duster, Ford Ecospirit and several others will vie for the piece of this cake in this market. But Maruti a frontrunner in Indian Market has got the upper hand with an early launch. Ertiga is made to meet Indian consumers need, while Maruti has got the basics right, some of the luxury you find even in hatchbacks are severely missing in Ertiga. The automatic AC is not given even in the highest variant and Bluetooth controls are not provided. If you point out that to the sales guy, he will definitely ask you to buy a reverse camera system which doubles as a Bluetooth audio device. Keeping aside these facts, this seven seater from Maruti is a promising car for the Indian Market.

The styling in the front is all Suzuki, if you don’t like the styling, you have no choice. There is an unmistaken clue to Ritz, the A pillars look like the new Swift. The back side is quite ordinary except for the wrap around tail lamps. The overall design is ok and there is nothing outstanding. For a layman it will be just another car on the road. The length of the car is 4265mm, shorter than most of the SUV/MUV available in the market like the Innova, Aria and Xylo. The car also sits much lower than other competitors.

The Ertiga is made out of the swift platform and wheelbase is increased to 2740mm. The cabin forward design and the positioning of the wheels give ample space inside the car. The outstanding feature of the car is its overall packaging. Inside the Ertiga, the seats are all very supportive, middle level seats offer great leg room. The thigh support should have been much better. The seats are comfy and armrest is well positioned. There is good amount of legroom. But if you fold the third seat for more boot space, the legroom for the second row will suffer. Reaching the back row is a tad difficult and given the fact that’s it’s the third row, knee room and leg room will not be as good and not suffienct in most cases. With three levels of seat on, there is very little space in the boot, but you can fold the back seats in case you need more space.

The view out of the windscreen is good, but the thick A pillar is bit of problem like in the Sx4, the dashboard is taken straight out of the swift. ABS is provided in all variants except for LXI petrol. No climate control in any model as said early. But top models get twin air conditioners

The Ertiga will get two power trains, one in petrol and diesel. The petrol motor is the much hyped K-series which pumps out 94 bhp and 13.26 kgm torque. The K series motor is rather silent and the drive is smooth. But their no confidence in the mid range same like in all K series motors. The diesel motor is the work horse you find in the SX4, the 90 bhp. Critics have blamed the motor with a serious turbo lag you find in all fiat derived multi jet engines, but the turbo kicks in, it is smooth to drive. But with a full attendance of passengers, the turbo lag will become a nuisance in a city ride.

Even with cabin forward design, the noise levels are comparatively lower. Maruti has used materials to reduce the level of noise coming into the cabin. The price starts at around 6.5 lakhs to base petrol LXI and goes up to 9.5 lakhs for the top end diesel ZDI. Given all these facts will Ertiga make a good family car? Common questions like fuel efficiency and maintancence costs will bring you positive answers given Maruti’s good will and service network. The drivability is good. The suspension is good, a lot of safety measures are provided. Yes Ertiga is set become India’s family car, but how well will competition catch up. Let’s wait and see.

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Ertiga, the ideal family car?