Exactly how far can you take the Ertiga on a tank full of CNG? Dhruv finds out as he goes on a joyride in and around Delhi.
The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is the latest CNG car to come to the market. Now, the problem with CNG is range. A tank full of gas is often not enough, and even the performance takes a hit on CNG. So, when I got a chance to spend some time with the Ertiga CNG, I thought that it would be better to find out what it’s like to actually live with it, instead of simply reviewing it. My task was simple – to see how far one can go in the Ertiga CNG with a full tank and find out how different it is to drive on CNG, versus petrol.
Our day with the Ertiga CNG began with us tanking up at a pump and resetting the trip meter. We wanted to drive the car in a mix of different conditions, so we first decided to head towards the Yamuna Expressway. Out on the highway, the Ertiga CNG did not feel out of place at all. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that if you didn’t already know that you’re driving a CNG car, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Accelerating to highway speeds was no problem – the Ertiga CNG was responsive and in its element, even while overtaking at speeds north of 100km/h. It did not show any signs of fatigue or give me any indication that it was out of its comfort zone. Frankly, I was a bit surprised to learn that it can cruise at triple-digit speeds without hassle.
Now, one of the things that I love about the 1.5-litre petrol engine from Maruti, which powers so many cars, is how easily it revs to the redline. And I was afraid that it won’t be possible with CNG, but I was in for another surprise. In fact, the engine continued to rev so smoothly and responded to throttle inputs so instantly that while downshifting, I was able to rev-match! It is also supremely refined.
We were now approaching the end of our highway stint and had clocked 90kms on the odometer. The instrument cluster indicated that we were left with half a tank of CNG.
In city traffic too, the Ertiga CNG behaved as if it was running on petrol. In choc-a-bloc conditions, it offers enough grunt at the lower end of the rev range to dart forward into a gap when needed. The rest of the driving experience too was very similar to the highway experience, which is a good thing. We drove for a full 40kms in the city.
I do have a few gripes with the Ertiga CNG though. First, you can see the status of the tank at two places on the instrument cluster – one analogue and one digital. Frankly, it’s nothing but a redundancy. Instead, a digital readout to check the range would have been more helpful. Second, the Ertiga CNG doesn’t start on CNG. Now, I know very well that I could be accused of nitpicking, but here is the thing – since other carmakers offer this feature, it’s not unreasonable to expect Maruti to offer it as well.
'The CNG tank takes up a considerable amount of space, but there is a cover to keep it hidden for the most part'
Now, it was time to fill the tank again and find out the fuel efficiency of the car. And surprisingly, after an entire day – which also included taking pictures and shooting videos, with the AC running pretty much the entire time – the Ertiga CNG managed to return 22.9km/kg. That’s damn impressive! Even if I reduce the total number a bit, considering the fact that the amount of CNG you can fill in the tank depends on the pressure at the pump, a mileage of 20km/kg is still pretty good, especially considering that we didn’t treat the Ertiga kindly at all.
So, if you want a vehicle to travel with your family in comfort, without being too hard on your pocket, you should have the Ertiga CNG at the top of your wish list. And the reason is simple – no other MPV matches the levels of all-around convenience offered by the Ertiga CNG.
- Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG
Engine: 1,462cc / 4-Cylinder / DualJet
Fuel: CNG & Petrol
Transmission: 5-Speed MT / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 86.6bhp @ 5,500rpm (CNG Mode)
Torque: 121.5Nm @ 4,200rpm (CNG Mode)
Price: ₹10.44 – 11.54 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)