Suzuki has launched the new second-generation Ertiga 7-seater MPV in South Africa. Is the Ertiga still the sensible choice in the budget MPV segment? Gero Lilleike took it for a whirl in Johannesburg this week.
Suzuki's sales, both locally and globally, have surged in recent times and the first-generation Ertiga has amassed over 758 000 sales worldwide since going on sale in 2010.
Now, Suzuki has introduced an all-new 7-seat Ertiga to market. It goes up against the likes of the Toyota Avanza, Honda BR-V and Mahindra Xylo and it's built on Suzuki's new Heartect platform. The Ertiga is now longer, wider, taller and lighter than the model it replaces and features a new, more powerful, naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engine that offers 77 kW and 138 Nm of torque with a choice of either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. There are 3 Ertiga derivatives on offer, the base GA manual, full-fat GL manual and the GL automatic.
How does it drive?
Comfortable, spacious and practical, the new Ertiga has a lot going for it.
We sampled the new Ertiga GL manual at altitude with a mix of city and highway driving in and around the bustling city of Johannesburg.
There are no fireworks under the bonnet and the Ertiga's performance is best described as average. The Ertiga has sufficient shove to get along at an acceptable pace, but acceleration is sluggish if you dwell for too long in higher gears and you have to gear down regularly to keep the engine ticking over in its sweet spot. The performance will likely diminish further with a full complement of passengers and luggage onboard. It is effective, however, as an A to B people mover within city limits.
With that said, overtaking on the highway requires some forethought as acceleration is not as punchy as you might hope it to be.
Suzuki claims a fuel consumption figure of 5.5 L/100km for the manual and 6.0 L/100km for the automatic derivative. The manual gearbox is a highlight as it shifts in a positive and direct manner without being notchy or vague.
Like the outgoing generation, another highlight is the Ertiga's ride quality. It's comfortable to drive and manages to deliver a smooth and pleasant ride. The engine is refined and the steering is nicely-weighted, providing ample feedback through the tiller. Due to its boxy stance, a fair degree of body roll is experienced through corners, however.
What's the interior like?
Interior appeal has improved considerably in this new generation Ertiga and build quality is good.
The interior, in our opinion, is a big leap forward over the previous generation Ertiga. The outgoing Ertiga was offered with a rather, dare I say, ugly beige interior. Thankfully, Suzuki has come to its senses and now offers the Ertiga with a black cabin which is more aesthetically appealing. Perceived build quality appears to have improved too.
At first glance, you might think that the central screen is a touchscreen infotainment system, but you would be mistaken. It's actually, as Suzuki calls it, a touch panel, housing a rather basic radio system with Bluetooth functionality. It looks fancy, but it's not really. Nice try, Suzuki...
The driver has mounted audio and Bluetooth controls as well as a neat space to store a smartphone along with a USB/Aux input close at hand. Two ventilated cupholders and ample in-door storage are available to passengers and a front and rear 12V socket is also useful.
Space for second and third-row passengers is generous. Even adults can sit comfortably in the third row.
In terms of practicality, the Ertiga shines brightly indeed. Second-row passengers are afforded generous space in all directions, and for added comfort, the seats can recline, which is a boon for long distance travelling. There are also dedicated rear air conditioning vents mounted in the roof for those seated in the rear.
The third row of seats are easily accessed by flicking a latch on top of the second-row seat, which then slides forward to allow passengers easy access. Surprisingly, space in the third row is ample, even for adults, which is mightily impressive.
With all the seats in place, the luggage bay offers 153-litres of space but it has a 2-part removable floor which, when removed, makes the load floor deeper, taking the load capacity up to 199-litres.
Obviously, load space for larger luggage increases substantially when you fold the third and second-row seats down.
In terms of safety, the Ertiga only offers 2 airbags for the driver and front passenger which could be seen as an oversight for a vehicle designed to carry up to 7 people. ABS with EBD is also standard as is rear parking sensors on the GL derivative.
All-in-all, the Ertiga is a very practical vehicle that is bound to serve both private and fleet owners well.
Should you consider buying the Ertiga?
If you are in the market for a 7-seater people mover then the Ertiga should definitely be on your shortlist.
The short answer is, yes! As you would expect with most new-generation cars, prices go up and this too is the case for the new Ertiga. It is, however, good to know that the new Ertiga has improved appreciably overall which helps to justify its new asking price. The Ertiga is attractively priced against the Toyota Avanza and Honda BR-V (both of which are ageing) and in our opinion, this new Ertiga makes a very strong case for itself in this segment. The Ertiga represents good value as buyers are getting a whole lot of car for their money. Our pick of the range is the Ertiga 1.5 GL manual priced at R239 900.
We will have the new Ertiga on test soon so look out for our thorough evaluation soon.
Suzuki Ertiga - Price in South Africa
Ertiga GA manual - R214 900
Ertiga GL manual - R239 900
Ertiga GL auto - R254 900
The Ertiga is sold with Suzuki's promotional 5-year/200 000km warranty and a 4-year/60 000km service plan.