Comparison: Honda Mobilio vs Suzuki Ertiga

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Comparing a Honda Mobilio MPV to a Suzuki Ertiga MPV isn’t the most exciting, adrenalin infused shootout I’ve ever had to put together. The usual cornerstones of speed, handling and fun factor don’t really make for relative indicators in an MPV test. Things like practicality, space, durability and value for money were thrown into the mix as we got down to determining exactly what you should buy instead of a Toyota Avanza.

Practicality

There isn’t much to separate the Mobilio and Ertiga size wise, the Mobilio is a bit longer, the Ertiga a touch taller. They both have three rows of seating, but the Mobilio has a slightly bigger boot with all the seats upright. The deciding factor in loading capability though comes down to what happens when you start folding the seats down. The Ertiga’s back row of seats fold flat neatly providing a flat, larger load bay, the Mobilio’s have to be folded and then lifted in order to get the flat boot section.

If you tend to load long and large items into your car like a bike or surfboards then the Ertiga makes life easier as the whole rear section can folded flat. The Mobilio’s seats when folded don’t provide a flat load bay as the seats stick out in their half-folded position. Both rows in the Mobilio can be tilted forwards but that reduces the overall loading length.

If you just want to use the seats to sit on then both vehicles are extremely flexible. The middle row of seats on both cars can slide forwards and back and recline to provide a more comfortable seating position. Access to the back row is a simple one lever pull and the seats will either fold or tilt in the Mobilio, or half fold and slide forward in the Ertiga. The systems both work well, but the Mobilio’s is the easier to access the rear seats. Comfort wise it’s the Suzuki’s last row with the cinema-style seating that’s the most comfortable, the Mobilio’s rear row is not best suited for larger people as your knees tend to line up with your ears while in the back.

Engine

If you are looking for a technologically advanced engine then this is not the segment for you. The Mobilio uses a naturally aspirated 1.5-Litre petrol with 88 kW and 145 Nm of torque while the Suzuki uses a petrol 1.4-Litre with 70 kW and 130 Nm. They also both make use of a standard five-speed manual gearbox.

The Honda obviously feels the better when loaded due to its torque and power advantage, it’s also a bit more fuel economic, claiming 6.1L/100km to the Suzuki’s 6.6L/100km. The Ertiga’s downfall though lies in its freeway cruising rpm, it sits at 4000 rpm at 120kph and that makes it a bit noisy in the cabin, by contrast the Mobilio sits at about 3200 rpm, which most likely means it uses less fuel on the freeway sprint to the airport.

Interior

From a solidly built point of view the Ertiga feels a lot better put together, the dashboard running gear is straight from the Suzuki Swift, albeit in a disappointing beige colour. The seats too are coloured in the beige and seem to be decorated with gold tinsel strips as a throwback to its Indian heritage. It is well specced though, complete with a USB port, 12V port and air conditioning both for the front and the rear passengers.

The Mobilio doesn’t feel as well assembled as the Ertiga, the shut lines are a bit iffy and the glove box closinging gap is so large it looks like the whole unit is open. It also rattles badly on uneven roads. It is equally as well specced as the Ertiga and as a major plus, the dashboard comes in black as do the cloth seats.

Ride and Drive

Out in the traffic where these two are likely to spend much of their time, the Mobilio has a more comfortable ride, its lower overall height also helps it to sit better in the corners meaning passengers won’t have to brace themselves against the windows every time you make a turn.

The Ertiga is by no means bad, it feels a bit bigger and top heavy out on the road, especially on the freeway where you’re changing lanes and avoiding slower traffic. They both ride reasonably well too for their size, bumps or holes in the road don’t really crash through to the cabin and you feel confident as you hustle around town that the passengers won’t be in any discomfort. Both do a better job here than a Toyota Avanza.

Verdict

The Mobilio and the Ertiga are both extremely practical MPVs, they also hit the market with value-oriented pricing making them easy sells to public in the market for seven seats on a budget. The Mobilio has the better engine and copes better fully loaded than the Ertiga, but the Ertiga takes top honours in the practicality department as well as vastly superior build quality. The downside is the beige interior.

Factor in the pricing difference between the Mobilio 1.5 Comfort and this Ertiga 1.4 GLX we have here and the Ertiga is R10 300 cheaper than the Honda. That’s probably going to be more than enough to convince me into an Ertiga. The Mobilio despite being more expensive, still does enough to coax me away from a Toyota Avanza.

Second Opinion

It's a super close competition this. Both of these vehicles are vying for a share of the market and both offer great elements of practicality. However, based on the fact that it's cheaper, feels more solid and better built, I'm going for the Suzuki Ertiga.

Perhaps more importantly, the Ertiga comes with a better after sales plan: 3 year/100 000km, 6 year corrosion, 3 year road assistance, 4 year/60 000km service plan, as opposed to Honda's: 3 year/100 000km, 2 year/300 00km service plan. - David Taylor

Comparison Specs: Honda Mobilio 1.5 Comfort vs Suzuki Ertiga 1.4 GLX

See a full side-by-side comparison between the Mobilio and Ertiga here
Honda Mobilio 1.5 Comfort Suzuki Ertiga 1.4 GLX
Price R203 900 R193 600
Engine 1.5-Litre petrol 1.4-Litre petrol
Power 88 kW 70 kW
Torque 145 Nm 130 Nm
Acceleration 0-100kph in 10.8s 0-100kph N/A
Top Speed 140kph N/A
Fuel consumption 6.1L/100km 6.6L/100km

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