A new Suzuki Ertiga was introduced into the SA new car market last week. Double Apex attended the ride and drive event in Johannesburg.
The SA new car market does not lack for variety or a surfeit of derivatives from various manufacturers. You can buy everything from Chinese pick-ups to the latest Rolls Royce and just about everything in between. However, if you wish to buy a small, seven-seat MPV there are just three options: the Toyota Avanza, the Datsun Go+ and the car featured here, the Suzuki Ertiga.
Click here to read our Suzuki DZire driving review.
The Suzuki Ertiga launched last week is the second generation of this nameplate to be offered locally. Suzuki designers gave the newest Ertiga a fresh look that helps distance the model from appearing like an airport shuttle. This newer version is visibly larger than its predecessor in keeping with its aim of offering more to buyers. Generations 2 is 130 mm longer, 40 mm wider and 5 mm higher than V1.
The distinctive face is dominated by clear covers over projector-style headlamps. A silver finish grille hosts a large Suzuki “S” badge and the lower air intake on the bumper feature a sort of “X” motif. Crisp crease lines along the flanks help break up the unavoidable slab-sidedness of this type of vehicle. Colour-coded mirror caps, which house side repeaters, also help to create a more premium appearance. Based on looks alone the Ertiga has its competition beat.
… and interior
Those aforementioned outer dimensions translate to more interior room. Suzuki says that shoulder room has been increased for passengers seat in each row. A ceiling-mounted air-conditioning unit creates better airflow to the rear of the cabin.
In keeping with the “MP” part of MPV, the second and third rows of chairs can be folded flat to make for a cavernous, van-like load bay. Suzuki obviously took notes from owners of the earlier Ertiga and added metal plates to the seat backs of the folding chairs to make them hardier when carting hefty items – smart.
To make the Ertiga more attractive to young families Suzuki has made the interior a comfy place to spend time. On top of air-conditioning, there is also an integrated radio, with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, myriad storage areas and cupholders. Speaking of which, in the lower section of the centre console are two air-conditioned cup holders and a 12V charging socket. A second charging socket is located behind the front seats for the middle row of passengers.
Suzuki also ditched the light-coloured interior of the older model and replaced it with a darker, more pleasing and kid-friendly hue.
Suzuki SA laid out a circuitous route from the arty Rosebank area, through the centre of the CBD and on to the famous cooling towers in Orlando. During this drive we got to use the Ertiga’s
new 1,5 litre petrol engine in the very same manner as most owners/buyers would. In the grind of Johannesburg traffic, the engine’s 77 kW and 138 N.m of torque was enough to navigate the busy urban jungle and motorway sections of roads on the launch route. Incidentally, we drove the five-speed manual version, four-speed automatic transmission is also offered.
I must admit that it has been some time since I ventured through the roads we experienced on the launch and I was quite surprised at how badly most have deteriorated. Thankfully the Ertiga has a soft ride, ideal for a family car, and high-profile tyres as I think some of the potholes we drove over can easily damage a wheel.
As I started off by saying, there is very little choice in this segment of the new car market. Pressed to buy a small MPV from the rival set, the Suzuki Ertiga would be the choice, with very little debate. It has a high level of standard equipment, rides well, is priced competitively and looks better than its rivals, what more can one ask for?
Suzuki Ertiga 1,5 GA MT R214 900
Suzuki Ertiga 1,5 GL MT R239 900
Suzuki Ertiga 1,5 GL AT R254 900
All three models are sold with Suzuki’s promotional 200 000 km/five-year mechanical warranty and a four-year/60 000 km service plan.