Suzuki moving the people with the Ertiga
GLOBAL economic pressures mean that cheaper and well-priced vehicles are becoming common practice. We’ve already seen it from Suzuki, where the Japanese brand has opted to bring in a value-driven Swift, built in India.
Offering good value for money the Swift and Swift Dzire have transported in a new era for Suzuki, where the new Ertiga (a compact Life Utility Vehicle (LUV) as Suzuki dubs it), will try help build on the brand’s model line-up.
It’s built on the same platform as the Swift, so it shares many of the same styling characteristics as its hatch sibling. However, the stretch platform means the Ertiga loses some of its looks as it’s transformed into a practical MPV.
Capable of seating up to seven people and fitted with three seating rows, it offers versatility on a budget. The build quality and interior finish, leaves you wanting, particularly in the interior, where the colours used are difficult to palate. But the usable space is top-notch.
The driver and passenger seat is spacious and rear seat occupants can also sit comfortably in this 4 265mm long vehicle. Admittedly, those in the last row will find themselves rather cramped.
In fact, the third row of seats is best left for short trips and when the third row is folded flat, the luggage space increases to 482 litres from 135 litres. For a panel van-type vehicle and to ease loading, the second row of seats can also be folded flat to increase the cargo carrying capacity to 736 litres.
In terms of performance, the car retains the now renowned 1.4-litre powertrain (producing 70kW and 130Nm) that is also found in the Swift. It’s by no means a bag of bones and offers good grunt given the vehicle’s hefty size; however, it does need a good stomping on the pedal to get going, particularly when fully laden.
Heading out onto the streets, the Ertiga might have Swift-like styling cues, especially in its front fascia, but the sporty characteristics we’ve grown to love from the Swift are severely diluted in the Ertiga, thanks to its increased ride height and bulky stance.
Comprising five-models, spanning a choice of three spec levels - the entry-level GA, which boasts simple niceties like aircon and is more focused towards fleet companies; the GL, which enjoys a host of additional tech like FM/AM CD tuner compatible with MP3 and WMA music files. The four-speaker system incorporates a USB port, allowing compatible music files to be played from memory sticks and devices such as iPhones and iPods to name a few. The GL can be ordered with either a five-speed manual, or a four-speed automatic gearbox.
Topping the range is the Ertiga GLX model which includes all the standard features of the GL, but gains additional equipment. The spoked 15-inch alloy wheels and fog lamps are the most noticeable from an exterior perspective. While inside, the steering wheel is equipped with controls for the audio system.
As is the case with the GL models, the GLX is offered in both manual and automatic transmission versions.
Ultimately, the Ertigo is ready to go after its competitors - like the Avanza - with a vengeance. With good value and versatility, it’s difficult to ignore. But there’s something missing… it lacks that personality or wow factor we loved with the Swift. And the Toyota is a firm favourite in SA, so Suzuki has its work cut out.
All five models in the Suzuki Ertiga range are supported by a three-year/100 000km warranty and a four-year/60 000km service plan.
Ertiga 1.4 GA MT R159 900
Ertiga 1.4 GL MT R179 900
Ertiga 1.4 GL AT R194 900
Ertiga 1.4 GLX MT R192 900
Ertiga 1.4 GLX AT R207 900