Maruti Ertiga Review: A mixed Bag

Maruti Ertiga, the latest release from the Maruti Camp did have an impressive launch and the initial response for the car seems to be good. Lets get into the detailed revew to get to know more about this car.

Background:

Maruti has always been the biggest car maker in India with a market share of  40% but has never been successful in making luxury car. Leave alone luxury, Maruti has never made an impact on the other side of Rs.8 lakhs. Be it the Kizashi or the Vitara, they failed to make an impact. This time Maruti has decided to play it safe with the Ertiga. They put in their most successful diesel engine from the Swift in this one and it also shares some similarities with the Swift, more on that in the design section. This time Maruti sure seems to have a winner in hands or is it just another dud? Lets see

Design & Appearance :

The car shares its platform with the New Maruti Swift, of course it is more stretched. Not only the platform, the front seems to be a mix of the design elements of both the Swift and the Ritz and believe me the Ertiga doesn’t look like an MUV at all from the front. You would be convinced that it is a Sedan or a Hatchback. Come to the side and you can notice the long wheel base immediately. There is very little overhand of the body after the rear tires and the overall length of the car is no where near  the Innova or even a Xylo.

The rear again gives the look of a hatchback and it seems to be inspired from the Honda Jazz or is it only me who finds it so? Check out the pic. Overall, as I mentioned earlier, Maruti decided to play it safe with the Ertiga and the appearance shows it. It isn’t a killer nor does it disappoint, it just gels along with the middle class families. It is without any doubt, the shortest MUV.

Interiors:

Maruti has done a very good job with the interiors and you will wonder how such a small car is fitted with seven seats. Although the rear space is limited, Maruti has managed the ergonomics quite well and deserve an applause. The 2nd row of seats have almost equal leg room to that of a Dzire and the 3rd row is seriously for kids or short adults. You can make an enemy for life if you throw some one of my height 5’10 into the 3rd row of seats on a long drive. That said, the interiors are almost identical to that of the new Swift Dzire and t does look classy. The only difference you will notice is that this one has a lot of chrome and Indians are obsessed with chrome. The top variant does get the steering mounted audio controls. If you own a Swift, you will feel at home in the Ertiga.

Engine & Performance:

The Ertiga is available in both petrol and diesel. The 1.4 litre K14 engine powers the petrol variant and the Diesel is powered by the famous 1.3 litre Fiat Engine which powers the Swift but with a different state of tune. The Petrol engine develops 94bhp @ 6000rpm and the diesel 89 bhp@ 4000 rpm. The petrol variant does do a good job, feels very refined, has adequate power and delivers a decent fuel efficiency. But, diesel is the flavor of the season so lets leave aside the petrol and get into the diesel version. The engine is in a different state of tune from the Swift and in the Ertiga it feels even more refined. One feels hard to tell if it is a petrol engine or a diesel under the hood, the NVH levels are excellent. The power delivery is linear and the Ertiga can cruise all day long at 120kmph on the highways. Now what differentiates the Ertiga from the other MUV’s is not only its size, it’s terrific fuel efficiency. The ARAI certified figures are 20.77 kmpl for the diesel and 16.02kmpl for the diesel. Now that’s the deal maker.More on this in the next section. On a whole, both the variants of Ertiga in now way feel underpowered and can compete with it’s competitors, the Innova and the Xylo.

Why buy the Ertiga?

So, this is it, the Ertiga is more like a sedan than an MUV but can seat 7 people and give terrific fuel efficiency. It handles like a sedan, it looks like a sedan, priced like a sedan but still is an MUV. The Ertiga is targeted at people of the middle class who can’t afford an MUV. The Ertiga is infact the poor man’s Innova but still in no way does it look CHEAP.Also, it’s priced well. The Ertiga is priced between 5.89- 8.45 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). That’s the Unique Selling Point of the Ertiga, an MUV with all the practicality of a Sedan.

Why stay away from the Ertiga?

So, people looking for a full fledged 7 seater may keep away from the Ertiga because of the lack of space. Even the 2nd row of seats offer limited space and the 3rd row as said above is only suited for kids or short adults. Also, the car doesn’t have a big road presence like, say, an Innova.

Verdict:

I see that this car would attract people looking for a C-segment sedan rather than an MUV. It most probably would eat into the sales of the Maruti’s own SX4, Toyota Etios, Nissan Sunny rather than that of other MUV’s like the Innova or the Xylo. Why i’m comparing this with the Innova and the Xylo is because the Safari, Scorpio and the XUV500 are in an different league altogether and the Ertiga is no competitor to them. Finally, what I want to say is, Ertiga is a mixed bag of fortunes, if you are a  family of 5 to 7 people and looking for a sedan then you would most  would be most tempted towards the Ertiga whereas people who want a 7 seater will go for the other MUV’s available.

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