Suzuki Ertiga (2014) Review

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In an effort to broaden its market appeal, Suzuki South Africa has ventured into mommy-mover territory. We drive the seven-seater Suzuki Ertiga.

The Suzuki Ertiga is the brand's first MPV-type vehicle in South Africa. However the company is keen to point out that it's not an MPV. It's called a Life Utility Vehicle and its aimed at being ultra practical, while retaining the fun-to-drive characteristics of the popular Swift.

Specification

Our test unit came in a bright gold colour, which also happened to be the colour of the interior! All jokes aside, the beige interior may not suit all tastes and I have a suspicion that it'll pick up dirt very quickly. Nothing a set of aftermarket seat covers can't fix...

There's no shortage of standard specification either as the Suzuki Ertiga comes well appointed. We had the 1.4 GLX manual which comes with air con, alloys, radio CD/MP3, USB port, central locking, electric windows, fog lamps, 7 seats and a multi function steering wheel. There's a very clever ventilation unit above the driver's head which ensures the second and third rows of seats receive warm or cool air. Safety specification is also good as the Suzuki Ertiga features ABS brakes with EBD and dual front airbags.

Engine, ride quality and practicality

Much like the Suzuki Swift, the ride is comfortable and pleasant, and the car can absorb bumps from even the worst roads. It also features commendable ground clearance, making this vehicle ideal on our deteriorating road network. The vehicle feels well built too. Power comes from the tried-and-trusted 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated four cylinder found in other Suzuki products. Power is rated 70 kW, while the torque figure is listed at 130 Nm. It didn't do too badly on our fuel test route either, with a figure of 7.9l/100 km appearing on the trip computer.

Thanks to a close-ratio five speed manual gearbox, the vehicle doesn't feel sluggish which was my initial concern. However I was the only person in the vehicle and I never had any passengers. The vehicle claims to seat seven, and I have my reservations about the performance of the Suzuki Ertiga when its fully laden with people. Is 130 Nm enough torque?

Reservations aside, the Suzuki Ertiga is one seriously practical vehicle. With all three rows up, there's only 135 litres of space, which isn't much. You can fold the third row of seats down to increase the carrying capacity to 482 litres, with a total 736 litres becoming available if fold the second row flat. There's an extra 22 litres of storage space under the cargo floor if you're craving more space.

Conclusion and summary

So it drives well, is light on fuel and is comfortable. Suzuki has tried to make its Ertiga family-orientated, but I feel this car's success will come from the taxi/shuttle industry. It gives the Toyota Avanza a serious run for its money in terms of value and quality, but the Suzuki badge doesn't have the same sort of brand trustworthiness. Hopefully consumers can look past this and see the Suzuki Ertiga for what it is.

Another opinion

The Suzuki Ertiga is extremely spacious but also extremely beige. It's good value for money and certainly walks over the Avanza as a seven-seater people shifter.-Ashley Oldfield

Suzuki Ertiga Price in South Africa

Tested here is the Suzuki Ertiga 1.4 GLX manual, which costs R192 900. The range starts from R159 900. Price includes a 36 month / 100 000 km warranty and a four year / 60 000 km service plan. Servicing intervals are every 15 000 km.

2014 Suzuki Ertiga specs

Engine  1.4-litre 4-cylinder
Power  70 kW
Torque  130 Nm
Transmission  Five-speed manual
Wheels  15-inch alloys
0-100km/h  13.0 seconds (estimated)
Fuel economy  6.6l/100 km (claimed)
We like: . Value for money . Practical . Levels of specification

We dislike: . Beige interior . Performance could be inadequate when fully laden at Highveld altitudes

Also consider: . Toyota Avanza . Preowned Honda FR-V

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