Maruti Suzuki Ertiga was the first vehicle to establish the compact MPV segment in India and went on to become a successful vehicle. It proved that despite trying to achieve multiple things at one time it is possible to deliver decent performance in key areas and cater to customer requirements. Since its launch in 2012, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has found more than 400,000 homes but the previous model was getting a bit boring and blunt in terms of competitiveness. Hence, Maruti Suzuki has launched the all-new Ertiga, which is based on the HEARTECT platform and comes with a range of new features, more space and a fresh design. The question that needs to be answered then is that is the new Ertiga just another boring MPV or is it any different and does it make a good buy or not at its price. Read on to find out.
The all-new 2018 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has a fresh design and it only takes a short glance to realise this. The highlight is the front, which looks straight out of a car and looks good. The chrome studded grille is a first for this price-segment and has been done tastefully to give the vehicle a premium look. Flanking the grille on either sides are sleek headlamp units with projectors that not only bring some sharpness to the design but provide good illumination as well. Tie all these up with a new hood and smart looking bumper and what you get is a front that is no longer boring to look at but has some desirable elements too.
From the side, the new Maruti Ertiga leaves a long impression on your eyes and that's because it is longer than its predecessor. However, the strong shoulder line running from the tail lamp up to the front accentuates the length and the new alloy wheels also play a considerable part in offsetting the visual fatigue of length. Similar to the front, the rear is completely new and it's the vertically-stacked tail lamps that take the center stage here. Yes, they are similar to Volvo SUVs but that's only a good thing on a Maruti. The sharp lines on the boot lid and the bumper compliment the overall design further and make the new Ertiga a good vehicle to look at from the front and rear.
Overall, the biggest change for me in terms of design in the new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is the fact that it no longer is a bland-looking MPV. Instead, it looks younger, smart and appealing, which should make it appealing to young buyers, something the previous Ertiga wasn't good at.
The cabin of the new Ertiga is, like you would expect it – all new. The dashboard has a beige lower part and a darker top, intersected by a good-looking wood finish. AC vents too have been given an effect of running across the dashboard, creating visual differences from other Maruti vehicles. The fact that the material quality and fitment quality is good speaks a lot about the manufacturing progress made by the company in recent years.
The Smartplay infotainment system is the same as we've seen in other Maruti cars and the touchscreen is easy to use and responsive. The bezel or the border around the screen though is quite thick and having a slimmer profile would have added more elegance and premium appeal. The flat-bottom steering wheel is also a first for the Ertiga and comes with audio and phone controls. It would've been nice to have had cruise control on the top variants considering many buyers of the Ertiga will use it frequently on the highway.
Storage space has been integrated smartly throughout the cabin, adding to convenience of front and rear passengers. Seats too are quite good for its segment upfront and even tall occupants will find themselves to be comfortable on longer drives.
In the middle-row, the legroom is the same as the older model but what has changed is the width of the bench. Hence, the occupants will now have more shoulder space and the low transmission tunnel hump means that three people can actually sit in decent comfort. Headroom too is generous and adding further to the comfort and convenience at the rear is the overhead air conditioning vent with a regulator. Even in the rear door pockets, you can place one-litre water bottle and there's an armrest also for added convenience. An almost flat floor means that a third occupant can sit with decent comfort in the new Ertiga.
Now if you are buying a seven-seater the third-row could mean a lot to you but for most of the MPV's this is a weak point but things are somewhat better in the Ertiga. The best thing here is that folding the middle row and pushing it forward just takes the flip of one lever. With relatively easy ingress I had my knees pressing against the front seat so this is not a place to be in for a long time. However, because middle-row seat travel is adjustable you can push it forward to liberate more space. Under thigh support is not adequate but it's better than some other MPVs in the market. Overall, a decent job with the third row but best-suited for a brief period and not long drives. Also, please do not seat your children in the last row. It's wrong, unsafe and children below 12 years should only sit in the middle row in a child car seat. Unlike the front, the rear doesn't have enough crumple zones, translating into greater risk for children.
Another benefit you get from the extra length of new Ertiga is increased boot space and with the third row up the boot volume has gone up by about 50 per cent so what you get is about 209 litres with all seats up but if you fold both rows completely down what you get is 803 litres of boot space.
Engine & Gearbox
In terms of engine and gearbox, the biggest change in the new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is the inclusion of a new 1.5 litre petrol engine, which we saw making its debut in new Ciaz. In is in similar state of tune it develops 104 hp and 138 Nm of torque. This engine also comes with the updated SHVS technology, which we saw in Ciaz and this comes with lithium-ion battery, resulting in higher output and efficiency. The system stores braking energy and it uses it back at the time of acceleration which Maruti Suzuki terms as a Torque Assist. This results in improved fuel-efficiency. This was a short drive but we'll soon do a detailed test of the car to find its real-world efficiency.
The motor is quite smooth to start with and has adequate power to move around the vehicle with ease. Even on the highways while overtaking the long trailers there is enough power on tap. The other engine option is the tried and tested 1.3 litre diesel engine with a manual gearbox only. In terms of noise vibration and harshness levels the insulation isn't exceptionally good and it isn't bad as well so it is at a point where sound that filters into the cabin will not bother you but a slight improvement could have been made as far as the decibel levels are concerned.
The 5-speed manual gearbox works well it is paired well to the engine and the automatic transmission also does a good job but is primarily aimed at someone looking at urban use. Gearshifts happen at a reasonably good pace but the lack of any option to shift manually is a miss.
Watch out video review of 2018 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
In terms of ride and handling there are lot of changes that have been done to the suspension and a lot of components at the rear have been added. As the result of all these changes the ride quality is quite nice going over bad surfaces and minor undulations is dealt with in a very good manner the cabin stays is largely insulated from these shocks. At high speed also the ride quality is quite impressive and while the handling is pretty much neutral. The Ertiga is not aimed at driving enthusiasts and it isn’t made to go around comers fast so if you are talking about daily and practical uses triple digit speed stability is good and braking too is good. So being aimed at family and adventure usage the Ertiga checks all the right boxes in pretty much all the departments.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga comes out as a winner when looked at from an overall perspective and has a lot of good things going for it. It's got a good looking design, spacious cabin, good features, a smart infotainment system and it drives and rides well too. The new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is priced between Rs 7.44 lakh to Rs 10.90 lakh and is nicely feature packed across the variant range. Right now the vehicle has no direct competition although it is being compared to the Mahindra Marazzo. However, keep in mind Marazzo is not a direct rival to Ertiga. It is a vehicle from different segment a slightly more premium vehicle and till the time the new Ertiga has no direct rival it is going to enjoy good sales and will build further on the success of the older model.