Suzuki Ertiga ups the ante
Second-generation seven-seater will strike a chord with buyers seeking versatility and keen pricing
There is a trio of choices for those seeking a new seven-seater with a starting price below R250,000. Consumers can pick from the Toyota Avanza, a staple of the public transport industry or between relative newcomers such as the Honda BR-V and Suzuki Ertiga.
The second-generation version of the latter offering was launched in SA last week and TimesLive Motoring were in attendance. Suzuki is enjoying an upward trajectory, not only from a sales perspective, but in the brand equity metric too — especially on the back of numerous accolades in notable consumer awards competitions.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Ertiga is longer and wider. From a styling perspective, the second-generation Ertiga appears to have sharpened its identity, straying from the nondescript template of before.
It has a more confident presence, with its bullish grille, larger, squarer headlamps and character lines down the side. By their own admission, the folks at the brand acknowledged the similarity between the rear sections of its vehicle and the Volvo XC40.
On the inside, you will find that black is the new beige: the latest Ertiga foregoes the default, light upholstery of before for the hard-wearing hue of coal. It's far more conducive to disguising juice spills, paw prints and grimy fingers. The horizontal, rectangular fascia template appears tidier than before.
Mirroring the additional generosity of its exterior proportions is a correspondingly larger interior. The brand claims that passengers in all three rows will relish the extra shoulder room on offer.
Access to the third row has been made easier, since the second seating row tilts and slides further forward. With the fourth-generation Jimny last year, Suzuki debuted a new 1,462cc, four-cylinder, normally-aspirated petrol engine. This has been adopted by the Ertiga, producing 77kW and 138Nm in this application. Buyers can either have a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
Overall, we came away pleased with the on-road persona of the multipurpose vehicle. It's steady at freeway speeds and happy trundling through the city – albeit requiring constant shifter work to keep the momentum up.
For brisk momentum in the cut-and-thrust of Johannesburg traffic, the Ertiga required vim from the right foot – with the tachometer needle receiving a full workout. Granted, we were chasing time as part of an interactive challenge set up by the launch organisers. And driven more gently, the registered consumption of 7l/100km would have likely improved. There are reservations, however, as to how it is likely to perform fully-laden.
The entry-level GA version was not available to sample at launch and we spent our time with the middle-grade GL. This offers reverse parking sensors, air conditioning (for the second row too), electric windows and an audio system comprising Bluetooth as well as controls mounted on the steering wheel. A variant with an even greater level of specification is on the cards for later this year.
The engineers were more liberal in their usage of insulation materials: thicker door seals and damping material in the roof and floor are more effective at hushing the din. On the safety front, dual frontal airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution are standard even on the entry-level GA version.
Suzuki has ensured its relevance with a product onslaught that is defined by affordability, frugality and durability. The Ertiga will strike a chord with buyers with versatility and keen pricing at the top of their list. It is a sensible seven-seater that will not leave thrift-seekers feeling shortchanged.
1.5 GA MT: R214, 900
1.5 GL MT: R239,900
1.5 GL AT: R254,900