Maruti Suzuki Ertiga : Road Test
People movers or MPVs not only have a huge following here in India but also do big numbers. Maruti initiated this segment way back in the Eighties with the ubiquitous Omni and followed it up with the not so successful Versa, the recent Eeco and now the Ertiga. We loaded it up to tell you how it was!
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It’s easy to see why the MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) segment is one of the most successful here in India. With large families predominant here, the average sedan is just not enough. The MPV, however, not only seats 5 or 7 in comfort but also carries everyone’s luggage with room to spare. And to top it all, it drives just as well as your everyday sedan. The Toyota Innova has been leading this scene ever since its inception, and Maruti Suzuki’s all-new Ertiga (Read : Maruti Suzuki Ertiga First Drive), though not the same size, aims to offer almost the same at a lot less. Has Maruti succeeded? Let’s find out…
There is no mistaking the Ertiga as anything but Japanese. Right from the large swept back headlights, the sporty bumper with the massive air dam and minimal overhangs, the Ertiga reeks of Japanese lines all over. Look at it from any angle but the side and the Ertiga manages to hide its length very well. Its only when you look at it side on that you realise how long the car really is.
The bold wheel arches add a lot of character and blend quite well with the overall design, however, they also highlight the small wheels which don’t really gel well with snazzy design. Bigger wheels would not only have filled the wheel wells better but would have added more character to the overall design. The doors are quite large; in fact quite noticeably so to allow easy ingress and egress. The blacked-out B and C pillars add contrast and really make the car stand out. The rear follows suit with smart crystal-shaped taillights and a well-designed integrated spoiler. Overall, the Ertiga comes across as the smartest looking people mover we have. Chic, modern and very well proportioned.
The smart seater
When it comes to MPVs, it’s not the outsides that matter, it’s the insides and Maruti Suzuki has done a pretty good job here. Opening the wide opening doors, the Ertiga welcomes you into very familiar looking insides. The donor here is the Swift/D’zire from which most of the Ertiga’s insides have taken shape. It’s a roomy car already and the beige-grey combo make it look roomier. Getting behind the wheel makes you feel pretty comfortable with a nice all-round view of the road with no blind spots. There are plenty of storage places and cubby holes and as a result one finds a place to store any and everything. Two days with the car and every other crevice in the car was crammed with wafer packets, chocolate wrappers and then some. It really spoils you, the Ertiga.
While I never left the driving seat, my colleagues who were entrusted with the rear seat testing of the Ertiga looked comfortable. With the seniors, Vikram and Muntaser, claiming the middle bench, the juniors, Ravi and Rahul, had no choice but to get into the third row. If you can notice in the picture, the middle row is quite wide and even though both the passengers are a little on the healthier side (I might get walloped for this), there is still adequate space for a slightly less healthier third passenger. The legroom is pretty impressive too with the little-above-6-feet Vikram not scraping his knees at all. The occupants in the last bench weren’t complaining either. There is adequate knee room but what is lacking is sufficient under thigh support which makes the last bench good for short commutes at best.
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