Bigger & Broader With A Focus On Technology

New Vehicle December 2018 Review First Drive Maruti Suzuki Ertiga MPV
Bigger & Broader With A Focus On Technology

Maruti Suzuki has finally introduced the next generation Ertiga MPV for the Indian market. It may be worth recalling that the first generation Ertiga presented a practical and spacious family transporter that was always a value-for-money product. The first-gen model missed out on a few key functions and features, and was also powered by a smaller petrol engine that appeared underpowered. With the next generation Ertiga, the company seems to have taken a few big leaps. Let’s find out.

INTRODUCTION

The second generation Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has been offered with a brand new K15 1.5 l petrol mill, with which the company hopes to set aside customer concerns related to engine power. On the diesel side, the new Ertiga continues to be powered by the earlier DDiS 200 1.3 l engine sourced from Fiat. Maruti Suzuki has also offered the new Ertiga on a brand new Heartect platform, which was first introduced on the Baleno hatchback. As the country moves closer to electrification, Maruti Suzuki has also aimed at bringing its vehicles closer to conforming norms. The new Ertiga is equipped with a smart hybrid system, which features a lithium-ion battery that will facilitate idle start/stop technology. All this and a lot more have gone a long way in bolstering Ertiga’s image as an ideal family MPV for Indian customers.

From the rear, the new Ertiga looks bigger and bulkier

NEW PLATFORM

The new Ertiga has been built on Suzuki’s fifth generation Heartect platform that boasts of a lightweight construction with focus on improving environmental and driving performance. The platform uses high tensile steel that ensures a stronger, safer and sturdier frame capable of effective crash energy absorption and dispersion. The new platform has also made the next generation Ertiga compliant to frontal offset impact, side impact and pedestrian protection regulations. The weight-saving technology also benefits the MPV by reducing the load on the engine, chassis, suspension and other parts that has also directly led to a bump up in fuel efficiency figures. Stopping and cornering performance on the new Ertiga has also improved.

Ensuring excellent structural rigidity along with lightweight construction, the Heartect platform has enabled Maruti Suzuki to bring about excellent driving dynamics on the new Ertiga. The new platform has also aided in an increase in dimensions. The length of the new Ertiga measures 4,395 mm, which is 99 mm longer than the old model. The width of Maruti’s newest offering has increased by 40 mm standing at 1,735 mm, while the height now measures 1,690 mm – an increase of 5 mm. The overall increase in dimensions has led to increased shoulder room and head room. The new Ertiga despite longer dimensions has the same wheelbase, which measures 2,740 mm.

A cavernous boot with smart storage spaces offers more than average space; the seating is comfortable and the cabin made roomy with large windows

While the Ertiga’s previous generation model offered a fuel efficiency of 16.02 km/l for the petrol and 20.77 km/l for the diesel manual, the new model built on the Heartect platform has an ARAI-rated fuel efficiency of 19.34 km/l for the petrol manual and 25.47 km/l for the diesel manual. This effectively means an overall increase of 3.32 km/l for the petrol variant and an increase of 4.7 km/l on the diesel manual variants.

Despite the dimensions of the new Ertiga being larger than the previous model, Maruti Suzuki has been able to reduce the weight on the petrol variant by around 30 kg, and the diesel variant by 45 kg. The new platform has also led to an increase in boot space. The previous generation model offered consumers 135 l of space with all three rows up and 735 l with two rows folded down. The new second generation model offers 209 l with all rows up, 550 l with the third row folded down and 803 l with two rows folded down. This ideally means an increase of almost 55 % with three rows up and about 9 % with two rows folded down.

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

The new generation Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has been enveloped with bundles of new technology; a highlight being Suzuki’s Progressive Smart Hybrid Technology. The Smart Hybrid system, though a mild hybrid set-up, provides the driver with a few functions that aides driving performance and improves the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. The vehicle offers an idle start/stop function; this for the most part, will only be beneficial in stop and go traffic, which we encounter during daily metropolitan road conditions. The system features brake energy recuperation that is stored in a new lithium-ion battery pack and now will also provide drivers with a torque assist function that aides better acceleration, while ensuring less fuel consumption.

Maruti has incorporated many new features on the second generation Ertiga such as automatic climate control, electrically operated and folded ORVMs, a new multi information display (MID) with a digital graphical display for door ajar, gear shift indicator, 12 V power sockets for all three rows, bottle holders with cooling vents on the front centre floor console, keyless entry with push button start/ stop, 17.8 cm touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Mirror Link and navigation. Maruti Suzuki is also offering features like Bluetooth telephony with a voice commands function that can play or change music, find navigation destination, call and reply to messages.

Maruti Suzuki has also improved the NVH characteristics of the new generation Ertiga; the cabin is quieter than before. On the safety front, Maruti Suzuki is offering a dual airbag set-up as standard fitment. Apart from this, the automatic transmission variant has been loaded with features like hill hold control and electronic stability programme (ESP).

Maruti is offering a new 1.5 litre petrol engine which is smooth, the old 1.3 diesel engine continues to be a punchy unit

DRIVE & PERFORMANCE

Bolstering performance on the new Ertiga, Maruti Suzuki will be offering the MPV with a new 1.5 l petrol engine that made its debut on the Ciaz facelift. The new K15 engine has a higher power and torque output – it is more refined and has reduced any woes related to power lag, when more than six people are seated in the car. Another addition to the Ertiga is that of an automatic transmission, which comes in the form of a four speed torque converter mated only to the petrol engine option. The company has also offered the new Ertiga with a 1.3 l DDiS diesel mill that has been mated to a five speed transmission.

The new K15 petrol engine is a naturally aspirated, four cylinder unit, which offers around 13 % more power and
6 % more torque. The engine is a high revving unit; it offers a smooth pickup and a linear power build-up. The mid-range of the new engine is strong with peak power coming high up in the rev band. Fuel efficiency for the petrol engine stands at 19.34 km/l when mated to the five-speed manual transmission. With the automatic four-speed unit, Maruti has published a claimed figure of 18.69 km/l. The traditional torque converter is quick to respond to driver input and gear shifts come in fast. That said, it is not the smoothest transmissions around, but is definitely a bonus to have. Other than the Ertiga, in the MPV segment, Honda is offering an automatic CVT on its BR-V model.

The diesel engine is efficient and punchy. The turbocharged mill produces the same 88.5 hp of power and 200 Nm of torque. With improved NVH characteristics, both the petrol and diesel powertrains offer a relatively silent ride, but as the revs build-up the noise from the diesel does seep into the cabin. Forced induction on the diesel begins roughly above the 1,700 rpm mark and the engine has enough punch to send the MPV hurtling forward. With a reasonably well engineered turning radius of 5.2 m, the Ertiga is fairly convenient to drive and negotiate around turns. The addition of rear parking sensors and a camera, helps parking this MPV into tight spaces a modestly easy exercise.

The suspension set-up on the new Ertiga has also been revisited. The set-up, featuring a Mac Pherson Strut with coil springs and a torsion beam with coil springs offers good resistance to most undulations and potholes. The MPV rides well on bad and broken roads and the shockers absorb most bumps and jolts well. Braking on the MPV comes through a disc and drum type layouts. The MPV also gets ABS with EBD as standard fitment, facilitating better control and braking performance.

The Interiors have been adorned with wood finish that looks premium; A new MID console features an LED display; The 4-speed automatic is only offered on the petrol powered variants

VERDICT

Maruti Suzuki has done an excellent job in designing the package of the new Ertiga. With the right focus on technology and performance, the new Ertiga is equipped with enough to set it apart in the segment. Prices for the MPV start at Rs 7.44 lakh (ex-showroom) for the petrol powered variants; the diesel options start from a price of Rs 8.84 lakh (ex-showroom). As a family car, the Ertiga offers oodles of space and comfort; seating on all three rows is good and the added reclining function on the third row makes long distance journeys a comfortable affair.

TEXT: Joshua David Luther

PHOTO: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay