Well proportioned, not ugly and not pretty is how one could describe the Maruti Ertigo. Freshly packaged – the Ertigo does not take on the Toyota Innova or the Mahindra Xylo but creates a whole new segment named ‘Life Utility Vehicle’. Aimed at the urban consumer, this car is meant for the middle aged 35 - 45 year old buyer who despite living in a family of 6 - 7 members, is not going to use the 3rd row of seats every day; at best, mostly for weekends and outstation trips. In fact Maruti even refers to the Ertiga as a "5+2" seater, and not a pure 7 seater.
So what makes it tick…
From the Outside
The Ertiga is packaged brilliantly if you consider the compact exterior dimensions. Believe it or not, this Maruti shares its length & width with the Toyota Etios i.e. 4,265 mm X 1,695 mm. This makes it even shorter than most C2-segment sedans, including the Honda City, Sunny, Vento and Verna.
The Ertiga has contemporary looks which will appeal to a vast demographic. The car screams “Maruti" from the front with the long headlamps, front grill and bonnet that closely resemble the Ritz. On the rear the Ertiga has a more conventional tail design, and the small cluster of the tail lamps (much smaller than either that of the Innova's or the Xylo's) adds to the whole car-like feel. It has a clean, uncluttered look with the rear spoiler adding a bit of sportiness.
On the Inside
It's a Swift no it’s the Ertigo! The difference being that you get a brown and beige finish unlike the black interiors of the Swift. And just like the Swift, It's a vehicle that you will slide into rather than having to climb in.
The second row gets a 60:40 split, with the seats capable of sliding (240mm) and reclining, increasing the space available. Access to third row is easily achieved by folding down the second row seat and sliding it forward. Third row passengers also get armrests along the side of the vehicle.
The Ertiga MPV is available in six variants: LXi, VXi, ZXi, LDi, VDi and ZDi. The middle and top end variants get twin AC, 3 spoke tilt-power steering with mounted controls, power windows with auto down on driver’s side, central locking, audio system (USB Compatible, 4+2 speakers), multi information display, keyless entry, etc. In terms of storage space, with all the seats upright, you get 135 litres. You can increase it up to 735 litres by folding the second and third rows. The car is also blessed with various cubby holes such as bottle holders, coin holders, sunglass holders, etc.
Two airbags will adorn the top end models while ABS will be a part of standard equipment in Ertiga sans base model.
Overall, in terms of looks, Maruti have played the familiarity card well. Any customer looking to upgrade from a hatchback will not have any problem adapting to the Ertiga.
Under the Hood
The Ertiga has two engine options: the petrol variant which has the new K14B petrol engine with variable valve timing and the trusted diesel from the SX4, 1.3-litre DDiS with VGT.
The petrol is a 1.4-litre which produces 95PS of maximum power at 6000rpm and 130Nm of maximum torque at 4000rpm while the diesel produces 90PS of maximum power at 4000rpm and 200Nm of maximum torque at 1750rpm.
The diesel engine is one of the best around. Peppy with a good top end, its gearbox is again from the trustworthy Swift with slightly reengineered ratios to meet the larger vehicle's requirements.
Both petrol and diesel versions of the car come coupled with a five speed manual transmission as standard. All variants of the car are compatible with the new generation BS-IV emission norms, thanks to the Maruti’s new age K series engine.
On the Road
The Ertiga feels planted when pushing it around the corners. The suspension is softer than the Swift which means that it absorbs the undulations on the road better. The steering feels direct and weighted. The front ventilated disc brakes and rear drum brakes give it a safe secure feel. Overall the Ertiga feels light and agile, with good visibility, a comfortable driving position, and easy manoeuvrability. It feels more car-like than MUV like…which is what Maruti set out to do and it looks like they have succeeded.
Maruti is working hard to create a new segment – and versatility is its key factor. You can drive it to work daily, take that week-end trip or even take off for a month!
It can do it all, and without the compromises - poor dynamics, poor efficiency, heavy to drive traits - inherent in a MUV. Maruti is claiming an incredible mileage of 16.02kmpl for the petrol and an even better 20.77kmpl for the diesel.
In pricing it will follow the middle ground between a sedan and an MUV. To be produced in Gurgaon, Maruti is planning to sell around 5,000 units of Ertiga every month.
Maruti is a mass volume player and this one looks certain to bring in the numbers.