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Old 22nd April 2012, 17:29   #1
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Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

The Maruti Ertiga has been launched in India at a price of between 5.89 - 8.45 Lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• A 7-seater MPV at the price of a C segment sedan. The petrol variant, especially, is very well priced
Car-like ride, handling & driving experience. Effortless to drive in the city and on highways
• Flexible seating & luggage options. Cargo capacity runs as high as 735 liters
• Competent petrol & diesel engines. The latter offers outstanding fuel economy
• ABS available on all variants, except the base petrol. Bigger brakes than the Swift & Dzire
• Maruti’s excellent after-sales service & wide dealer network

What you won’t:

• Not a spacious 5 seater if you fold down the 3rd seat row for luggage. Limited width for the 2nd row too
• 3rd row is best suited to adults for short trips, or kids over long trips. Not really a full-size 7 seater car
• Minimal 135 liter luggage capacity with all 3 rows of seats in place
• Diesel engine carries a hefty Rs. ~1.3 lakh premium over the petrol. On-road difference is ~1.5 lakh rupees
• Even the top-end ZXi / ZDi variants don't get climate control
• Long waiting period for deliveries of the diesel Ertiga

NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window

Last edited by GTO : 26th April 2012 at 17:44. Reason: Typo
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Old 22nd April 2012, 17:33   #2
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Who can forget Maruti's first attempt at a compact MPV, the Versa, which turned out to be quite the market dud. Even Amitabh & Abhishek Bachchan couldn't help the Versa's cause as its brand ambassadors. Among other reasons, the Versa only had a petrol engine on offer and was over-priced too. Maruti later corrected that error with the Eeco, a stripped-down commuter version of the Versa, that was launched at a far lower price point.

This time around, Maruti has taken a fresh approach to the compact UV segment, using the modern parts bins of the Swift, Dzire and SX4. The platform is that of a contemporary passenger car (unlike the utilitarian Versa) and yes, there is a diesel engine option. Maruti calls the Ertiga an LUV (Life Utility Vehicle), a new segment targeted at the urban buyer who needs 3 rows of seats in a compact body. The company is even pushing for a separate SIAM classification for the compact MPV. Toyota sells a similar product, the Avanza, in Thailand and rumour mongers insist that the Avanza might be launched in India.

Let's get one thing out of the way. Maruti may not be looking at targeting the Innova or Xylo as much as it is positioning the Ertiga as a sedan-alternative. Those who need the larger 7-seater MUVs will buy those only; the Ertiga isn't a substitute to a spacious UV that can easily accommodate 7 adults. Instead, the target customer is the middle aged 35 - 45 year old buyer who usually opts for a B+ hatch or a C segment sedan. This, despite living in a family of 6 - 7 members. Such a customer isn't going to use the 3rd row of seats everyday; at best, it's once or twice a week...the type that needs a 7 seater mostly for weekends and outstation trips. Maruti even refers to the Ertiga as a "5+2" seater, and not a pure 7 seater. It gives you a car with a compact footprint for city use throughout the week, and also has that 3rd row of seats for when you need it. The Ertiga is car-like to drive too. After all, it's based on the competent Swift platform, with the wheelbase stretched out of course. If you are considering a sedan like the Honda City, SX4, Etios, Manza or Sunny, the Ertiga makes a case for itself by providing an additional row of seats with similar driving dynamics. In fact, the SX4 might face the biggest sibling rivalry since the Ertiga is newer, has the same engine, better space and is priced almost Rs. 70,000 lesser.

Equally, I must add that Toyota & Mahindra might just have their work cut out. The Ertiga gives you 85% of what the Innova and Xylo offer, but at a lower price point and with a car-like experience. Is it perfect? No. The issue with the Ertiga is that, it is neither a spacious 5 seater with loads of luggage space, nor is it a roomy 7 seater. More on that later.

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. It's amazing how Maruti has been able to fit 7 seats within such a small footprint. The Ertiga is even shorter than most C2-segment sedans, including the Honda City, Sunny, Vento and Verna.

Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga-ertiga-specs-comparo-screenshot.png

Undoubtedly, the Ertiga is the smallest UV out there, yet there isn't much of a difference in wheelbase length. So stretched is the Ertiga's wheelbase that it’s within 1 cm of the Toyota Innova, despite the overall length being 32 cm lesser. For the record, the Ertiga's wheelbase is 31 cm longer than that of the Swift.

Maruti showcased the RIII MPV concept at the 2010 Delhi Auto Expo, and it's hard to imagine that the Ertiga is the production version of the RIII (Link to RIII concept). There are absolutely no similarities between the 2, except for the MPV body style. Team-BHP was the first to show you scoop pictures of the Maruti Ertiga's production version on this thread. The Ertiga is a well-proportioned car. It won't turn heads on the road, yet no one will call it ugly either. It's unmistakably "Maruti" from the front with the long headlamps, front grill and bonnet that closely resemble the Ritz. Thankfully, the rear isn't lifted from the Ritz . The Ertiga has a more conventional tail design, with the rear lamps bearing a stark resemblance to that of the Honda Jazz. In fact, from some angles, the Ertiga looks like a taller, stretched version of the Jazz.

Build quality is par for the course. It feels slightly better built than the Swift & Dzire due to the larger, heavier doors, but has the typical Japanese feel to it nevertheless. No, don't even expect the solid "thud" here. The Ertiga has lighter sheet metal than other UVs. The kerb weight is 1,160 kg for the petrol Ertiga and 1,235 for the diesel variant. That's ~200 kilos heftier than the Maruti Dzire.

Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga-ertiga_features.jpg

Maruti has done well in the features department. Unlike the Swift & Dzire, the V variants are not bare basic. All diesel variants, base Ertiga LDi included, are equipped with ABS as standard equipment. This is a hugely welcome move. On the flip side, the petrol LXi doesn't get ABS, while it's an option on the VXi. Features wise, the L variant is strictly for taxi & commercial owners. I don't recommend it to you as the LXi / LDi don't even get rear A/C vents, central locking or power windows. The V variant makes for the most value-for-money choice with ABS, keyless entry, electric mirrors, front & rear fog lamps and an audio system. I was hoping that Maruti would add parking sensors or a rear camera to distinguish it from the Swift / Dzire, but the Z variant's feature list is nearly identical to the hatchback & sedan siblings.

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A Maruti with a diesel engine & 7 seats is sure to make everyone stand up and notice. Get this, variant for variant, the pricing of the Ertiga is within 30K of the Toyota Etios. One wonders how Maruti have gotten a 7 seater with acceptable levels of quality, features and performance, whereas Toyota has had to cut so many corners with the Etios. Obviously, the Innova is nowhere close when it comes to pricing. The lowest Innova "E" variant, devoid of necessary features, is Rs. 70,000 over the fully loaded Ertiga ZDi. With a 1.4L petrol engine on offer, the Ertiga is also the only other option to the Innova when it comes to petrol UVs. The Xylo, Grande MKII and Tavera do come close to the pricing of the Ertiga. While the lower and mid-variants are within a 30K range, the Xylo top-end version with the mHawk engine & far more features is priced ~2 lakhs higher. The Xylo E8 still remains the best VFM 7 seater MPV to buy.

You'd never guess that it's an MPV from the dead front view. Looks just like a regular Maruti hatchback. Notice the vertical intercooler:

Boring rear with small tail-lamps and minimal design elements. Again, looks more hatch than MPV:

From the side, many will say that the Ertiga resembles a stretched Honda Jazz:

Beefed-up front wheel arches help in reducing that "van" effect:

Rear wheel arches are also flared, though not as dramatically as the ones at the front:

Front 3-quarter shows the true MPV stance, upward sloping roofline included:

Long, wide headlamps are well integrated with the wheel arch:

With such a large bumper, the plastic surround for the fog lamps is placed vertically. Small fog lamps offer average illumination and look out of place:

Tail lamps resemble that of the Honda Jazz:

All variants get 15" wheels with 185/65 tyres. The ZXi & ZDi are equipped with alloy wheels:

ORVM with integrated blinkers. Fairly sturdy units:

Ertiga badging. Tiga means "three" in the Indonesian language:

Rear quarter-glass makes things airy for 3rd row passengers. Also offers good visibility to the driver, when reversing the vehicle:

Ribbed roof for better rigidity:

Smart looking rear wiper looks far better than the metal-framed unit of the Innova. Available only on the Z variants:

Tail-gate goes a long way up. You'll have to be careful in basements with a low ceiling height:

The only way to open the rear hatch in the higher V and Z variants is via this mechanical door handle (not electric, as in the Swift). The lowest L variant, *strangely*, gets a remote boot opener!

Rear door is massive! Watch out for cyclists & traffic before opening:

Another view of the front:

Spare is an alloy wheel as well. The tyre comes down via a winding mechanism in the boot:

Size comparison with the Xylo shows the Ertiga's compact dimensions. Surprisingly, the wheelbase is only 20mm shorter than the Mahindra's. The difference in overall length is ~10" though. Notice the difference in the height and rear overhang:

Comparo with Kpzen's Getz. His Getz goes like stink, even after 100,000 kms on the odo:

Last edited by GTO : 26th April 2012 at 17:47. Reason: Correcting specs sheet
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Old 22nd April 2012, 17:38   #3
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It's all too familiar on the inside. The dashboard is identical to the Swift & Dzire, albeit the Ertiga gets a different colour palette. There is beige & brown here, instead of the black & beige combination of the Dzire. Personally, I didn't like this combo too much. The steering wheel and gear knob are full beige, and will be a pain to keep clean. Moreover, the insides appear to wear a sea of beige, as the seats and carpets are beige coloured too! The cloth on the driver's door pad was already soiled in the media vehicle that I drove. In my opinion, the Dzire's black and beige combination would have worked best. I presume the reason behind such liberal use of a light colour is making the interiors feel bright, airy and spacious.

The Ertiga's interior packaging is its USP. Getting in and out from the 1st or 2nd row of seats is a breeze, as the seats are placed much higher than in the Swift / Dzire. The driver's seat gets height adjustment on the Z variants and is a very comfortable place to be in. Under-thigh support is good, while the seat has a long fore-aft travel range. The 3-spoke steering is great to hold, my only complaint being the horn pad that doesn't extend to the sides. The foot well area has reasonable space. Although no dead pedal is provided, there is sufficient space to rest your left leg next to the clutch pedal. Thanks to the raised seating height, I didn't face any issues with my left shin or knee hitting the dashboard when pressing the clutch. You will remember GTO commenting on the same in his Swift & Dzire reviews; it could be dependent on the individual seating position and you may or may not face the same problem. Frontal visibility is fantastic due to the higher seating position. Rearward visibility is decent with the 3rd row of seats folded down, but restricted with the last row in place. The front passenger seat is especially spacious. I found that, even with the seat pulled to the front, an average-sized adult would be able to sit comfortably without his knees jammed into the dash. Again, this is down to the tall seating position.

Legroom in the 2nd row of seats is a hit or miss. With the 3rd row of seats up, the 2nd row can slide all the way back, liberating substantial legroom. The fore & aft adjustment range is a whopping 240 mm for the middle row! The backrest is adjustable for recline too. You can set the seat up for comfort, and truly lie back & relax in here. On the other hand, if you have luggage and need to fold down the 3rd row, then the 2nd row needs to slide (nearly) all the way forward. This seriously hampers legroom for middle-row passengers and makes it almost unusable for 6 footers like me. This is a serious oversight from Maruti, a solution for which is available to Maruti engineers. The 3rd row backrest has a curve on top, over which the adjustable headrests are mounted. Doing away with this curve and letting the protruding headrests sink into the seat back would release more space (when the 3rd row is folded down). This would, in turn, allow the 2nd row to slide a good 2 - 3 inches further back. Middle-row legroom would have substantially improved in this situation. The seats themselves are comfortable and on the softer side (but not as soft as the Dzire's). Under-thigh support is satisfactory as well, due to the higher placement of the seat. Headroom is not sacrificed, and I didn't face any issues in my short ride at the back. On the flip side, seat width is noticeably lesser than that of an Innova or Xylo; 3 abreast is a definite squeeze. Seat width is as limited as it is in a Swift or Ritz. With the way things stands as of now, the Ertiga is neither an average 7 seater nor a spacious 5 seater with luggage in the boot area.

Getting in & out of the 3rd seat row is an exercise for acrobats or kids, your mother will never be willing to sit on the last row. Once seated, the legroom is limited, unless you move the 2nd row forward, but then the middle-row passengers will lose out on space. If the middle row has occupants who are 5'8" tall, then those of the same height might just about fit in on the 3rd row. Still, this row of seats is best suited to adults over short distances, or children for the long journeys. Headroom is restricted as well. The 3rd row seat back angle is fixed and cannot be adjusted (like in the Innova). A noteworthy option that Maruti missed out on is a 50:50 seat split for the last row. The 3rd row of seats is a single piece unit. If a 50:50 split feature were provided, you could keep one side of the 3rd row folded down (for luggage) and the other side up (for the 6th passenger). Innova owners frequently travel in this manner. If you have a 6th occupant in the Ertiga, there is no luggage space to speak of.

Boot space with all 3 seat rows up is non-existent (135 liters only). You'll probably get a small bag or two in, but a cabin-size suitcase will be a tight fit. Expect after-market roof carriers to emerge as an immensely popular accessory for the Ertiga. The rectangular storage compartment - below the boot floor - can prove useful to store the knick knacks. There is another small storage cubicle on the right; the wheel jack, a car cover, tools and cleaning cloth fit perfectly there. With the 3rd row folded down, luggage space is far better and beats most hatchbacks and sedans. If you fold down the 2nd & 3rd seat rows, it's easy to move home.

All doors get bottle holders and some additional space for parking the miscellaneous items. The driver's cup-holder is placed ahead of the gear lever, whereas the front passenger gets a pop out cup-holder below the A/C vent (to keep that Pepsi cool). The glove box is medium sized. I'm surprised that Maruti has wasted the space around the handbrake area. For long journeys, a central armrest cum storage would have been good to have. Both front seats get seat-back pockets. 3rd row passengers get armrests integrated into the wheel arches, and cup holders too.

We have confirmed that the Ertiga gets a larger air-con compressor than the Swift or Dzire. I take back what I said on the earlier launch thread about the rear A/C vents being mere blowers. After taking a close look, I could very clearly see the condenser & cooling coils inside the ceiling unit. The rear A/C vents get a separate blower control with 3 air-volume settings. Overall cooling of the Ertiga's air-conditioner wasn't too bad in the Delhi summer, but it wasn't exceptional either. Also, it does take a while to cool the large cabin of the Ertiga. I would rate the air-conditioner as above average and not an outright chiller. With such a large greenhouse, high quality sun film is highly recommended.

Beige steering wheel gets soiled & dirty in no time. Steering wheel is nice to hold and light to use. Too bad that the horn pad isn't wide enough. You'll have to stretch your thumb to honk:

Classy dial arrangement. Similarities with that of Honda are evident. I love the silver outlines, and the fact that the Ertiga retains an engine temperature gauge (unlike some other recent launches):

Waterfall-type centre console:

Standard fare Maruti gearknob. The diesel's gear shift had a notchy side to it:

Driver's seat height adjustment of the ZXi / ZDi variants. Has a very good adjustment range:

Foot well has sufficient width. No dead pedal, yet enough room to the left of the clutch, to rest your foot on long drives:

Budget quality stalks are rock hard to the touch. The RHS stalk controls the rear foglamps (but not the front):

Power window switches (from the previous gen Dzire) look awfully out of place in this vehicle. The ORVM adjustment knob feels fragile and won't last the distance. Driver window gets the one-touch-down function:

Beige fabric lining on the door pads get soiled easily. Will be a pain to keep clean. Maruti shouldn't have used beige excessively on areas with frequent human touch:

Medium-sized glove box:

Small recess, above the glove box, is useful to hold knick knacks:

Pop-out can holder is a novel touch. Air-con vent on top should keep your cold Pepsi....well, cold:

Front door pockets are accommodating, and can hold a 1 liter bottle too:

Dzire's ICE offers good bass & treble in the sedan, but sounds only above average in the large Ertiga cabin. Black head unit colour should have continued onto the air-conditioning panel below; one of the rare times you'll see one in full beige. Considering how often you'll use these controls, expect the panel to get soiled and fast:

ZXi / ZDi variants get steering-mounted audio controls:

Tweeters are placed on top of the dashboard:

USB / AUX ports and a 12V power socket:

Nice! Audio system comes with a remote control for rear passengers:

Surprisingly, no storage area around the hand brake lever. There used to be a fold-out cup holder in the old Swift, which is missing in the new Swift / Dzire / Ertiga:

Uneven gaps on the door pads observed for all 4 doors:

Last edited by GTO : 26th April 2012 at 18:03.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 17:39   #4
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Passenger & Cargo Combinations:

The rear doors are absolutely massive in size. Door pockets can hold 500 ml bottles and some oddities:

Thanks to the taller stance, ingress / egress is superb. You don't "climb in" as much as you "walk in":

Seen here is the maximum & minimum legroom for 2nd row occupants, with the 3rd row up. Respectable legroom, even with the front seat pushed all the way back:

Centre armrest is perfectly positioned for comfort:

Comparison picture : 2nd row legroom with the 3rd row up (left) and folded down (right). The driver's seat is set up for a tall driver. This is the biggest problem; with the 3rd row folded down, middle-row legroom is severely compromised:

Another picture showing the limited legroom (with the 3rd row folded down):

3rd row headrests prevent the middle row from sliding back, while the design of the 3rd row backrest only accentuates the problem further:

Rear Air-Conditioner:

A/C vents for rear passengers. 3 speed blower control too:

Look carefully and you'll see the condenser & cooling coil. This is not merely a blower:

3rd Row of Seats:

The 3rd row can seat 2 adults, though legroom and headroom are in short supply. Best suited to kids or short adults only. Make a healthy, well-fed adult sit here and you've made an enemy for life:

I could only fit in after pushing the middle row seat all the way forward:

Even 3rd row passengers get 3-point seat belts. Nice:

Ingress & Egress from the 3rd row of seats:

The easiest way to get in or out from the 3rd row is to pull the lever that folds the middle row backrest down, as well as slides the seat all the way forward till it touches the front seat. This gives you just enough space to hop out:

Pull the lever up to fold the middle row down. The backrest will not go down fully:

Middle row folded flat, using the bottom lever:

Note drawing no.2. The lever on the backrest allows the seat to fold only upto a certain angle. To fold it completely flat, you need to use the other lever at the bottom:

Luggage & Cargo:

Luggage space with the 3rd seat up is a mere 135 liters. You could probably fit in a few shopping bags or at best, a duffle bag. BTW, things are still better than in the XUV500 (Link to XUV's luggage space):

Neat storage compartment below the boot area. Can hold quite a few small items. Also notice the small cover titled "Spare Tire". Remove this cover to access the winding mechanism that releases the spare tyre:

Luggage space with the 3rd row folded down is excellent:

Middle row has a 60:40 split and folds flat. Humongous 735 liters of cargo space after both seat rows are folded:

3rd row gets a roof light that doubles up as the boot lamp as well:

Last edited by GTO : 2nd May 2012 at 12:22. Reason: edited the 3rd row ingress and egress.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 17:40   #5
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

The Ertiga gets 2 engine options; the tried & tested 1.3L turbo-diesel which is popularly known as India's national engine due to the many cars that its powers, and a brand new K14 petrol motor. Since the Ertiga's length is above 4 meters, thus falling into the higher excise duty bracket, Maruti made a smart move by plonking in a 1.4L petrol. The smaller 1.2L petrol engine of the Swift & Dzire wouldn't have been able to cope up with the additional vehicle & passenger weight.

The Maruti Ertiga has a front-wheel-drive layout.

The 1.3L Diesel:

The Ertiga's 1.3L diesel is not running the same state of tune as the Dzire. Rather, it's similar to the SX4 and gets a variable geometry turbo instead (the Swift & Dzire get a fixed geometry turbo). The engine develops 89 BHP (@ 4,000 rpm) and 200 Nm of torque (@ 1,750 rpm) in this higher state of tune.

Fire her up and the powerplant settles down into a very refined idle, with hardly any diesel clatter being audible. I usually take a video showing the diesel clatter on engine start-up in my reviews, but that isn't necessary with the Ertiga (my camera was barely picking up any clatter at all!). Refinement levels are better than most C segment sedans, and the Innova or Xylo aren't even in contention here. The diesel does get fairly loud when revved hard, but it's never as intrusive as the Innova's engine on the highway. In 5th gear, the Ertiga sees 120 kph at a relaxed 2,600'll be hard pressed to tell that there is a diesel engine under the hood when cruising on the expressway.

As the Ertiga will be lugging around 7 people, Maruti has allocated shorter ratios to the initial set of gears. The short gearing conceals turbo-lag to an extent, and you don't feel it as much when driving alone. You almost never have to shift down to 1st gear around town, except for the times that you come to an absolute stop. On the other hand, the turbo-lag is a lot more evident when you have 5 - 6 occupants onboard. In this situation, the engine feels weak at lower rpms. On inclines, you have to generously slip the clutch when starting off. The Innova, which can pull in a higher gear at any speed, is in a different league altogether in terms of driveability. The Ertiga's progress is slow below 1,800 rpm, yet you can keep up with city traffic. Mid-range is where all the action is. Once the rpm needle crosses 1,800 rpm, there is immediate response from the engine, and acceleration is brisk. The Ertiga feels very sprightly in the 2,000 - 3,000 rpm range and, depending on the speed, you could use 2nd or 3rd gear like an automatic in the city. The 4th & 5th gears have taller ratios for highway driving. Where the Innova feels noisy & strained above 100 kph, the Ertiga's 1.3L diesel is lazily spinning over at 2,600 rpm @ 120 kph. Even when you need to overtake a slow moving truck at 80 - 90 kph, a downshift is seldom required. Unless of course, you are carrying a full load of passengers. In terms of outright acceleration, the Ertiga feels similar to the Swift. The diesel motor is revv happy and comfortably hits the redline, although there's no point in frequently doing so with a diesel.

I was expecting the Swift's slick-shifting gearbox before my review. However, with the Ertiga, I felt that the gearbox has a slight notchiness to it, and the shifts didn't feel as smooth as in the Swift. Mind you, it's nowhere near as vague as the Nissan Sunny's, yet it doesn't compare as well with the Swift or Dzire. The clutch pedal is light in operation.

The 1.4L Petrol:

The K14, Maruti’s new 1.4L petrol engine, makes its debut in the Ertiga. This 1,373cc engine is rated at 94 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 130 Nm of torque (@ 4,000 rpm). The 1.4L has variable valve timing on the intake side only. On the go, it feels like a bigger version of the Swift’s 1.2L K series engine (which it is).

Start the Ertiga petrol & the engine settles into a super-refined idle. This is perhaps the smoothest 7 seater vehicle in the market. The Ertiga petrol is tuned for low-end power delivery, a good thing to have when you have passengers and / or cargo onboard. Shorter ratios have been chosen for the initial set of gears for exactly this purpose. Engine pep when moving off from 0 kph is very good. The 1.4L petrol has superior low rpm response to the diesel. The petrol is the engine you want in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Of course, once the diesel’s turbo charger “wakes up”, it’s a different situation and the diesel is clearly the superior.

Throttle response at low rpms, typical of our daily city drives, is satisfactory. Where you have to contend with turbo-lag in the Ertiga diesel, the petrol offers you the power delivery you want. On the flip side, mid-range performance is nothing to write home about. The 1.4L K-series feels flat in the mid-rpm range and you will frequently have to downshift to make progress. This situation was amplified with 5 occupants onboard. Indeed, the petrol is best at low rpm, and only mediocre between 2,500 – 4,000 rpm. In terms of outright acceleration, the Ertiga petrol will easily match the C1 segment sedans. That said, highway performance is strictly average. The tall 4th & 5th gears mean progress is slow after 100 – 120 kph. The Ertiga petrol is no expressway scorcher, and can run out of breath if you try to keep up with equal-price 100 BHP sedans. Expect frequent downshifting on the highway when you encounter traffic and road inclines.

Just like its smaller 1.2L sibling, the Ertiga’s 1.4L is extremely revv-happy and willingly crosses 6,000 rpm. Vibrations are well-controlled throughout the revv range, although the motor gets fairly audible when nearing the redline. The Ertiga petrol's gearshift is similar to the Swift's smooth unit. The clutch pedal is light & effortless to use too; this coupled with the light steering, good frontal visibility and low-end torque make the Ertiga easy to drive in the city. Maruti has scope to improve the mid-range and high speed performance though.

The Toyota Innova has always been the benchmark when it comes to ride and handling amongst 7-seater vehicles. It is known to be the most "car like" MPV to drive too. Well, I can safely say that the Ertiga takes over the mantle now. No surprise as the Ertiga is based on a contemporary passenger car platform, and isn't a body-on-frame UV (like most other 7-seaters in our market). Not only is the Ertiga the most car-like to drive of all the MPVs, the ride and handling setup is nearly perfect as well. The Ertiga has impeccable ride quality at low speed and it absorbs the worst of roads with aplomb. Even as the speeds increase to moderate cruising levels, the Ertiga flattens out bad roads without throwing passengers around. When Kpzen was driving over broken roads without slowing down, I wasn't uncomfortable on the back seat. At high speed on uneven roads though, as GTO had pointed out in his Dzire review, the soft suspension leads to a certain amount of unnecessary bounciness & vertical movement. The rear end of the car lacks that planted feeling over undulating stretches of tarmac. This can lead to passenger discomfort, unless you slow down.

Despite the soft suspension tune, the handling isn't all over the place (by MUV standards). Sure, it's no "Swift" around corners, yet you can rate the Ertiga on par with some softly-sprung sedans. Unlike other MPV's that require you to slow down for every corner above 70 kph, the Ertiga allows you to take them with more confidence. Body roll is there, yet it's far better controlled than the 7-seater competitors. For instance, taking ghat sections at speed is nowhere as alarming an experience as in the Xylo or Grande MKII. The long wheelbase is a significant contributor to the good stability of the Ertiga. You can comfortably cruise at 120 kph on the expressway, with the steering weighing up sufficiently at triple digit speeds.

On the flip side, the electric power steering is completely lacking in feedback. Thanks to the higher kerb weight, the steering is not feather-light at low speeds, but its still light enough to suit the tastes of the mass market. The steering feels effortless when driving around in the city. In fact, the Ertiga feels like more of a tall boy hatchback than MUV around town. We ended up taking quite a few U-turns on narrow roads, and the relatively smaller 5.2 meter turning radius definitely helps. Moreover, the taller seating and large greenhouse result in fantastic frontal visibility.

In a welcome move, Maruti equips all 3 diesel Ertiga variants with ABS & EBD braking systems. Further, ABS is even available as an option on the petrol VXi variant, making the base petrol Ertiga LXi the only one without ABS & EBD brakes. That's Maruti acknowledging the poor brakes of the Swift and Dzire non-ABS variants! We have confirmed with Maruti that the Ertiga indeed gets larger disc & drum brakes than the Swift or Dzire. That's also why all Ertiga variants get 15" wheels, instead of 14" for the lower variants. Larger diameter discs / drums would require a minimum 15" wheel size. As a result, the braking is excellent. Even under hard braking conditions, the Ertiga remains composed with absolutely no drama. The brake pedal is very easy to modulate, and progress is satisfactorily linear.

Last edited by GTO : 26th April 2012 at 18:02.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 17:41   #6
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Other Points:

• A big shoutout to Kpzen for accompanying me on this drive, and for shooting some of the pictures. Thanks to Jalsa777 for processing the images.

• The Ertiga has ~96% localization from the day of launch itself.

• To avoid the "commercial" image, and to minimise waiting periods for private owners, the Ertiga will not be sold to fleet owners during the initial period of sale.

• Exports to Indonesia will commence in May 2012.

• In a week of launch, the Ertiga garnered 10,000+ bookings. Unfortunately, the waiting period is already running over 4 months in some metros.

• Service intervals : 1000 kms / 1 month, 5000 kms / 6 months and 10000 kms / 12 months. Thereafter, at every 10000 kms.

• The keyless entry system locks / unlocks the car with an audible confirmation. The current crop of cars usually has silent locking / unlocking.

• Maruti should now launch the Swift Sports with this readily available K14 petrol engine. It would make for one heck of a fun hatchback. Simple stage 1 mods would easily take the K14 to over 100 BHP.

• ARAI fuel efficiency ratings : 16.02 kpl (petrol) and 20.77 kpl (diesel).

• The fuel tank is positioned below the 2nd row of seats and has a capacity of only 45 litres. That might be acceptable in a hatchback or sedan, but certainly not in a 7-seater MPV expected to cover long highway distances. In terms of diesel tank range though, the Ertiga can match its competitors, due to the higher fuel efficiency. The Ertiga petrol might not have a satisfactory touring range.

• Vanity mirror only for the passenger side sunvisor. Driver side visor gets a ticket holder.

• The ground clearance is rated at 185 mm. We'll wait for Ertiga owners to confirm if the vehicle can cross Bangalore's giant speed-breakers, with 7 onboard, without scraping.

• The Ertiga is OBD2 compliant (Related Thread link).

• Nifty feature for India : The doors auto-lock once you get moving. And unlock when you remove the key from the ignition. Also, the doors will auto-unlock in case of a major shunt.

• If you unlock the driver's door, the other doors still remain locked. A good thing when you have valuables (e.g. a laptop) on the back seat. The separate central locking button has to be used for unlocking all 4 doors.

• Indicator stalk gets a "one-touch" lane change indicator function. Nice.

• Instrument cluster gets 7-step adjustment for illumination (brightness). Note that the 7th step keeps the meters at the same level as at 6; only the MID gets brighter on the 7th level.

• Has an interesting colour palette, including a metallic maroon and brown. However, there is no black colour option.

• Stereo has inverted controls. Head-units universally have the volume knob on the left-hand-side. Not so in the Ertiga.

• Head-unit gets speed-sensitive volume adjustment.

• Maruti spent 410 crores on developing the Ertiga. It's because of the shared platform (i.e. with the Swift) that the costs were relatively lower. Profit margins on UVs are F-A-T and this car will be a significant contributor to Maruti's bottom line. Also, remember that UVs are poised to overtake sedans very soon. This is the category-wise breakup from March 2012:

Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga-nfbnl.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 26th April 2012 at 18:01.
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Old 24th April 2012, 14:26   #7
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

The Smaller & Significant things:

Windscreen washer nozzles have a triple-jet spray:

Long antenna is placed towards the front of the car. Could be a problem in basements with a low ceiling height. The Dzire's smaller antenna would have suited the Ertiga better:

Small Hella horn placed behind the radiator grill:

Needles always stay illuminated. Looks wicked, wot?

The diesel's fuel efficiency after 100+ kms of hard driving:

MID throws out data on distance to empty, instantaneous FE and average FE:

Chrome door handles look & feel solid:

Flippy key would have been preferred. Key buttons are made of economy grade material:

Wide ORVMs offer a good field of view:

As does the internal rear-view-mirror:

Rearward visibility, with the 3rd seat row in place, is restricted:

Car-like driving position:

Fuel tank is placed below the 2nd row of seats:

If the middle row is pushed all the way back, the raised floor (due to the fuel tank being right below) is visible:

The seat fabric is of good quality but gets dirty very, very easily:

Even though the rear door and window are massive, the window goes all the way down:

Passenger view from the 3rd row of seats:

Long, plastic scuff plates to take the abuse from people getting in and out:

Driver's side sun-visor gets a ticket holder, whereas the front passenger gets a vanity mirror:

3rd row has fixed grab handles, while the 2nd row has the foldable type:

Jack & tools are neatly stored in a compartment on the right side of the boot:

Fuel filler cap has no plastic cladding around the inlet. Looks bare and basic:

Kpzen liked my sticker placement. What do you think?

A parting shot:

Last edited by GTO : 25th April 2012 at 21:55.
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Old 25th April 2012, 22:46   #8
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Official Reviews Section!

Viddy, THANK YOU for sharing the much-awaited Ertiga review with us. Your attention to detail is simply outstanding. Rating your review a well deserved 5 stars.

Personally, I'd just throw away the 3rd row seat and use the Ertiga as a spacious 4 / 5 seater, with unbeatable legroom, comfort and luggage space. Hope it's easy to remove.
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Old 25th April 2012, 22:54   #9
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga


Thanks Vid6639 for the fantastic review! rating it the well deserver 5-stars.

@GTO: This makes sense for someone with our family requirement. A family car for 7 within the city and a long distance commuter of 4-5 with adequate luggage space. Not to mention the fantastic A.S.S and fuel efficiency to match, coupled with the best part - price!

P.S.: Have been eagerly waiting for this for so looonnngg.

Last edited by vinjosep : 25th April 2012 at 22:58.
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Old 25th April 2012, 23:02   #10
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Thanks for the amazing review! Covered all the aspects of the car really well. The competition is heating up & many more launches in the compact SUV/MUV market, every company is trying to give the best to their customers! The best thing about this car its a maruti with space for 7 passengers at a price of a sedan!

Last edited by Y@SH : 25th April 2012 at 23:04.
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Old 25th April 2012, 23:04   #11
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Thanks Vid6639 for the awesome review.
I have booked Dzire Vdi but after the launch of Ertiga, i am in Confused state of mind.
I went to showroom to have a look in real.
The car look much better in real,as compared to pictures,i was impressed by the second row legroom,middle seats can be adjusted and believe me in does look impressing to me.Will visit again to the showroom for TD.
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Old 25th April 2012, 23:07   #12
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Originally Posted by GTO
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Official Reviews Section!

Viddy, THANK YOU for sharing the much-awaited Ertiga review with us. Your attention to detail is simply outstanding. Rating your review a well deserved 5 stars.

Personally, I'd just throw away the 3rd row seat and use the Ertiga as a spacious 4 / 5 seater, with unbeatable legroom, comfort and luggage space. Hope it's easy to remove.
+1. I would use this as a spacious 4/5 seater than using it as a 7 seater. It's no way comfortable 7 seater for long distance rides.

Since the day I saw this car on Auto Expo thread, I have been saying that this will be more of a competition to hatchbacks and sedans rather than competing directly with Innova and Xylo. Let's see what sales chart proves.

By the way, another excellent review.
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Old 25th April 2012, 23:16   #13
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Great to see the official review out, though a bit late!
Not only Ms has created a segment, but will have a repeat success of the Swift in the Ertiga.

Thanks Vid6639 for the fantastic review!
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Old 25th April 2012, 23:26   #14
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Thanks Vid for the awesome review.

I had a chance to test drive the diesel variant and really like the way it moves. Its a nice car but still i won't consider buying it, it just doesn't give me that feeling.

My friend have booked ZDI and the waiting period is 3months.

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Old 25th April 2012, 23:29   #15
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re: Review: 1st-gen Maruti Ertiga

Excellent review VID. A Five star review.
Only a few negative points for ERTIGA.
-- 1.3 Ltr engine.
-- No ACC
-- Long waiting period for deliveries of the diesel Ertiga

May be not a drivers car.
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