As you’ll read elsewhere in this feature, after spending the better part of a year with the Jeep Compass, I now have a brand-new long-term car. If you look at the history of the Indian market, the only other MUV – or people carrier, if you want to call it that – that has been consistently successful in India, other than the Toyota Innova, is the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. In a market famous for its repulsion to people carriers, the Ertiga and the Innova have managed to break the stereotype.
With the brand new second-generation Ertiga, it’s easy to see why that is the case. First, I think that the design team at Maruti Suzuki has done quite a nice job with the redesign of the car. While it retains basic lines of the older-gen car, this generation has enough design details and proportional enhancements to give it a much more handsome look. The strong shoulder line flowing along the sides, the very interesting D-pillar design and the excellently integrated tail lights make the car look quite handsome. And the front end, with its large headlamps and the shiny grille, looks quite good too.
However, the main highlight of the Ertiga is the space utilisation inside the car. It easily seats seven people, and there is ample head and shoulder room. The last row might be a tad cramped for full-size adults, but at a length of just under 4.4-metre, its spaciousness is definitely a highlight. Also, I find the seats of the Ertiga to be very comfortable even during my long journeys in the car.
Biggest surprise for me, however, is the 1.5-litre Maruti Suzuki petrol hybrid engine. With its hybrid credentials, the fuel economy for a car of Ertiga’s size is quite stellar – I’m consistently getting over 15km/l in urban traffic, according to the on-board display. And it’s simply fantastic. Secondly, the refinement of the engine is quite superb, and with the stereo on, I can hardly ever hear any engine noise inside the car. And as with all good petrol engines, hardly any vibrations or harshness get transmitted inside the cabin.
However, with the Ertiga’s large interior cabin and big glasshouse, it’ll be interesting to see how it copes with our brutal summer. Basically, it’s the first time that I’m going to use a people carrier for an extended period, and over the next few months it’ll be fun to see how my life progresses with the Ertiga.
When it came: January 2019
Current Odo reading: 2,780kms
Mileage this month: 567kms
Fuel efficiency: 15km/l
What’s good: Fantastic fuel efficiency
What’s not: Not an SUV