When it was launched four years ago, the Ertiga created a new segment of compact, family-oriented MPVs in India. We did have MPVs – multipurpose vehicles such as Toyota Innova and Mahindra Xylo – but these were bulky. Agreed, an Innova moves people in comfort, but how practical is an Innova for a nuclear family that needs a seven-seater for that once-in-a-month trip out of town? Moreover, an Innova costs in the range of Rs 10-15 lakh.
So, four years ago, Maruti did what it does best – make a vehicle small and relatively affordable, in this case an MPV. Since then, the Ertiga has enjoyed a ‘sweet spot’ in the Indian market. We spend a few weeks with the Ertiga and here’s what we feel about this compact MPV.
Is an MPV, drives like a hatchback
In other words, the Ertiga is so easy to manoeuvre in city traffic that you don’t really feel you are driving a seven-seater MPV. Unlike bigger MPVs, there’s minimal body roll even if you take sharp turns. And like hatchback cars, the Ertiga is easy to park and drive around in narrow streets.
A seven-seater, or a 5+2 seater?
For tall adults, the third-row seating space is cramped, but for children, the third row has enough space. In case there are five people travelling, the third row makes for excellent luggage space. (There’s a reason Maruti calls the Ertiga a 5+2 seater, not a seven-seater.)
In the first two rows, the Ertiga has the best usable space for any Maruti vehicle. For long trips, it is a better choice than a sedan, because unlike in a sedan, in the Ertiga you can recline the second-row seats for maximum comfort. The second-row AC cools the cabin efficiently and quickly. Arguably, the headroom and legroom is better than any car available in India under Rs 10 lakh.
The spare tyre is located under the body. So, mounting and unmounting it is difficult compared to that in a sedan or a hatchback, where the spare tyre is kept in the boot, under the carpet.
Efficient engines, good transmission
There are two engine options: 1373cc petrol and 1248cc diesel. The petrol is available in both manual and a 4-speed automatic transmission gearbox. The claimed fuel-efficiency is 17.5kpl (petrol manual), 17.03kpl (petrol automatic) and 24.52kpl (diesel smart hybrid). We drove the petrol automatic extensively, for weeks, and got a fuel-efficiency of 15kpl in mixed driving conditions.
It’s a lot of car for little money
The Ertiga is the most urban-friendly MPV in the Indian market right now. It is not exactly a seven-seater in the league of the Innova, but is a versatile family car that can be used to seat seven people if needed. The petrol is priced from Rs 6.18 lakh to Rs 8.71 lakh. The diesel is priced from Rs 7.13 lakh to Rs 8.71 lakh. At such prices, the Ertiga, in our opinion, is a lot of car for little money.