The Ertiga gets all the MPV basics right. It has three rows of seats, can seat seven and it comes with a small, efficient diesel engine. Also, its monocoque construction promises much in terms of car-like comfort and driving manners. The cabin design is similar to the Swiftís, which means quality is good, and the small dimensions mean it will be easy to park and punt around town.
Its mouth-watering price of R8.45 lakh makes it all the more desirable and, combined with Marutiís wide service network, itís a package thatís hard to beat.
The Ertiga is powered by a very small 1.3-litre diesel engine. It does make a healthy 89bhp though, and this is the same engine that does duty in cars like the Linea, SX4 and Manza. The Xylo, on the other hand, uses a much bigger 2.2-litre unit that produces 120bhp, a massive 31bhp more than the Ertiga, and it also makes 8kgm more pulling power.
It doesnít take long to realise that the Ertiga is not the easiest car to drive in the city. There is quite a lot of throttle lag below 2,000rpm and you need to keep changing gears to dart around in traffic. A full complement of seven passengers on board further accentuates this drawback. Once past 2000rpm though, the turbo kicks in and there is a sudden burst of acceleration, and this also makes it quite tricky to drive. It gets better on the highway though, and displays enough grunt for reasonably rapid progress. This is also thanks to the 1.3-litre engineís strong midrange. The Xyloís engine, meanwhile, has loads of pull as soon as you get off the clutch and power delivery is very linear. This makes it extremely easy to drive in townóthereís more than adequate power and its low- and mid-range responses are particularly strong. The Xylo cruises well on the highway too and, thanks to the flexible motor, gearshifts can be kept to a minimum.
When it comes to engine refinement, the Ertigaís motor does a better job than the Xyloís. It is much smoother, and even when worked hard it doesnít sound harsh. The key advantage the Ertiga has though is its weight. At 1,235kg, it weighs a full 565kg less than the Xylo, so though it has a massive power deficit, the lack of weight means it never feels underpowered. The Ertigaís lighter clutch and slicker gearbox