Long Term Review. 3 months and 5500+ kms with the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga ZDI+

September 2019: When we got the new Ertiga for a long term review, we weren’t exactly brimming with optimism. An MPV after all, just doesn’t excite – either on paper or in the way it drives. And the prospect of driving a people carrier day in and day out over the next few months seemed a bit drab, to say the least.

December 2019: After spending 3 months+ with the Ertiga ZDI+, and transitioning from a ‘review’ mode to ‘user’ mode, we were absolutely convinced about why this one was the fastest flying MPV in the market. Because in terms of versatility and practicality, the Ertiga is an unbeatable proposition. Add to it, the low cost of ownership and high fuel efficiency – it makes a strong case for itself.

Period of Review: 03+ months 
Distance covered: 5524 kms
Fuel Efficiency: 18.0 km/l
Driving Conditions: City/ Urban/ Mixed

If you have browsed through our Month 1 Review, you can tell that we were pleasantly surprised with what Maruti Suzuki has done with the Ertiga’s design. While the earlier version looked insipid, Ertiga 2.0 has an edgy and modestly flamboyant character. With the chrome studded grille and swept back projector headlamps giving it a contemporary flair, and the L-shaped rear tail lamps lending some enhanced character. The angular design is quite appealing and proportions are on point. The new Ertiga is 99 mm longer, 40 mm wider and 5 mm taller than its predecessor, which not only results in additional space, but better road presence as well. The small 15″ alloys are the only sore point, as they don’t sit very well both in terms of aesthetics or drivability. Overall though, the design is quite adventurous for an MPV, and it is a pretty well spruced up workhorse in an otherwise boring automobile category.

The more time we spent with the new Ertiga, the more it grew on us. The sheer space that the cabin offers and the flexibility to adapt from passenger to small cargo mover allowed us to tick off daily to-do lists in a single commute. The Ertiga’s 5.2 metre turning radius, ability to wriggle in and out of crowded spaces and park in tight spots (thanks to a short nose) defies its size and makes it easy to get around. We drove into market places where one wouldn’t dare venture with a big car otherwise. This one is, without a doubt, the most city friendly MPV around.

While the interior isn’t the most inspiring, its ‘form follows function’ mantra certainly helps in the long term. The cabin offers loads of storage for daily essentials and a slim laptop bag easily slips into the giant front door pocket – something we struggle with, in every other vehicle. Head room, leg room and shoulder room in the front and middle row is more than adequate, and the third row is actually usable for adults, albeit for short trips. It gets an additional 70 mm legroom and 34 mm shoulder room, which makes quite a bit of difference. Ingress & egress is excellent and general passenger comfort is very good. It’s a great vehicle to have if you have elderly folks at home. The 40:60 split middle row and the 3rd row can slide and recline, and that allows flexibility and improved passenger comfort during long drives. The wide windows and all round visibility makes the cabin feel even more spacious and airy. Even the 3rd row has larger windows and one doesn’t feel claustrophobic even when packed to capacity, unlike other seven seaters. The boot space at 209 litres (with all seats up) can be expanded to 550 litres by dropping the 3rd row, and a mammoth 803 litres by folding the middle row. We used it for transporting small furniture, hardware, fixtures, baggage and a lot more, and each time had some spare room to accommodate more.

Our test Ertiga came with the 1.3L DDiS Diesel engine (Fiat sourced) with figures of 89 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, with power going to the front wheels. This particular engine is a bit underpowered for its size. Even though the vehicle is lighter than its predecessor, the strain is evident on a full load or while driving uphill. However, for a city run-around, the Ertiga is a sweet deal. The transmission is pretty smooth, and combined with a light clutch, slots itself in place without too much of an effort. Makes for an easy everyday drive in stop & go city traffic.

On the highway, the Ertiga is quite stable, although there is considerable body roll when you pull through the corners. A fair bit of road and wind noise creeps into the cabin at high speeds, which could do with better insulation. NVH levels are strictly average. There is room for improvement in the ride quality and the suspension needs a bit of work to make way for a pliant and comfortable ride. Till they damp out the motions, middle and 3rd row passengers will have to get used to some bounce at the back.

After spending over 3 months with the Ertiga a few noticeable niggles included a pronounced diesel clatter at idle inside the cabin, and a bit of play in the front passenger side power window regulator. While the build quality of the Ertiga is strictly VFM and doesn’t quite make the cut in terms of sturdiness, its long term durability in urban scenarios cannot be doubted. Having driven over 5,500 kms. we clocked efficiency figures of over 18 km/l. Considering that our driving was often in less than ideal conditions (crowded markets, stop & go traffic, etc.) this was quite remarkable.

During our time with the vehicle, we didn’t encounter any mechanical trouble whatsoever. The MPV pulled it off with aplomb wherever it went – be it the luxurious environs of The Oberoi or the bustling by-lanes of Old Delhi.

At the end of our time with the Ertiga, what impressed us the most was its versatility and practicality. That it is spacious and comfortable is a given; but with some added style and class leading efficiency, it gets an aspirational step up without compromising on the value for money proposition. Best suited for self employed entrepreneurs & professionals who need to get a lot done while on the move, small business owners and large families, the Ertiga switches between work and family mode with considerable ease. And embodies the high standards of reliability that Maruti Suzuki vehicles stands for.

At a starting price of INR 7.44 lacs and topping out at INR 10.90 lacs (ex-showroom), the new Ertiga has petrol, diesel and CNG options to choose from. With the petrol offering an automatic transmission variant as well. It’s a purposeful all-rounder built to cater to the aspirational mass market needs – be it personal and professional. And as a user, we were more than convinced.

Finally, all good things come to an end. But sometimes they get better.

While we were sad to see the Ertiga go, we were happy to welcome another premium MPV in our garage for a long term review. This time from Maruti Suzuki’s Nexa stable.

Goodbye Ertiga. Hello XL6.

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