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!
Coming to the boot space, with all seven passengers, there is enough place for your average shopping bags. There is also a concealed storage bay in the boot which had the tool box but can be used for other small items. For more space, the third row can be folded flat. You also have the option to fold the middle row and the 60:40 split further aids flexibility.
With such cavernous insides, the Ertiga’s air conditioner better be up to the task, especially in peak summers and from what we felt, it pretty much is. The middle and top variants get a separate unit for the rear passengers, pretty much like in the Innova. With both the units on, it got cold enough with just the snow-fall missing.
The only grouse we felt was the quality of plastics in some areas. While overall quality is acceptable, certain knobs and switches felt quite flimsy. On the whole, the Ertiga is a very smartly packaged vehicle and the interiors are far more spacious than the exterior dimensions suggest.
Making space is the easy part, but what is paramount in a good people mover is whether or not it has the heart to haul all those people easily. Powering the Ertiga are two engines, a K-series 1.4 litre petrol and the one we have here, the tried and tested, multifarious, Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre DDiS turbo diesel unit. It's the same engine that powers the Maruti SX4, Fiat Linea and the Tata Manza. While powering these sedans is one thing, carrying seven passengers with a fair bit of luggage is another. But Maruti have done well to tune the engine to suit the Ertiga’s characteristics. Though engine output remains similar to the SX4 and the Manza (Linea is slightly higher) at 90PS @ 4000 rpm and a maximum torque of 200Nm @ 1750 rpm, it’s the short gear ratios that make all the difference in the Ertiga.
So what’s the performance in the real world like? Well, for starters we have turbo lag, not too much of it but it definitely makes its presence felt, however, once you're above 2500 rpm, so does the turbo boost! While acceleration is decent, the midrange is where all the action is and the Ertiga never feels breathless here. Even with seven people on board, the motor does not feel restrained as long as you keep it in the powerband which is not really a difficult task. Uphills with a full load and air-conditioning on, however, does take a toll on the small capacity engine and frequent shifting is required to keep the Ertiga moving at a fair pace.
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