Ertiga is a joint family car but it won’t fit the family luggageThe seven-seater smart hybrid car is long, tall and its large doors open up to a spacious cabin with good legroom and generous views.
Suzuki’s Ertiga ZXi+, at first glance, looks like a premium sports utility vehicle that has it all—a bold grille, projector headlamps with an attitude and its raised bonnet which sports a stylish crease.
The styling flows seamlessly from all sides towards the rear end where the LED tail lamps add to the exterior swag of this multi-purpose seven-seater vehicle that you could mistake for a Toyota Innova, as I did at first glance.
Instinctively, the boot space was the first thing I checked before I took the car for a spin, and boy did I smirk because unless you fold the last row in the car, there is not enough storage for even a small family to take this car somewhere for a weekend. But when you do fold the last two rows, Ertiga begs you to load it up as if it were a wagon.
To visualise how massively the cargo space opens up after the last two rows are folded, here’s an example: four or five mountain bikes could easily fit in and you’d still have space to store some more accessories and luggage. But for a seven-seater, it kind of defeats the purpose if seven people can’t fit in the car with all of their luggage.
But Ertiga is long, tall and its large doors open up to a spacious cabin with good legroom. Its large windows also offer generous views in the second and third row. The view is wide and big from the driver’s seat and there is enough headroom for the first two rows but adults would probably want to avoid the third row where the design of the car descends towards the rear and kills the headroom.
Upfront, the dashboard has a wooden finish which spreads to the door panels and even on its flat steering wheel. While this could please some, the plyboard lamination like treatment is a big disappointment for my taste. The distaste continues with the instrument panel which uses flashy colours and a consistent animation to show how fuel powers the battery in the smart hybrid system of Ertiga.
The infotainment touchscreen comes standard and offers both Apple and Android integration but it just doesn’t sync with the wooden finish of the dashboard. At the console, however, is a summer delight: two cup holders where beverages can be chilled using two air conditioner outlets. There is also enough space in all four doors for a tall bottle.
What follows the cup holders is a standard console which also offers an armrest that could be adjusted back and forth, but I had to lean back a little to the left to rest my arm. The armrest when pulled forward also makes it a little uneasy to use the handbrake lever and is something that could have gotten more attention or just done away with.
Handling the wheel is easy, light and precise. There is a good response on the pedals, which have been placed spaciously but when I glanced downwards and noticed the bright fleece-like upholstery of Ertiga for the first time, the first thought that crossed was ‘Muddymandu’—cleaning the interiors is not going to be easy at all.
But Ertiga rides like a breeze. It feels powerful and stable in the city and cruises on the Ring Road. Will it do the same with seven people aboard or loaded with goods remains to be tested but the car will surprise you with its power and manoeuvrability from the very first hit the gas and the torque it generates, even at low revs. How Ertiga achieves this is with a motor powered by a lithium-ion battery which drives the front wheels before the engine’s torque kicks in at high revs.
In front of potholes and speed breakers, however, the car just doesn’t instil confidence although its suspensions perform fairly well. With the garden variety speed breakers that we have in town, handling the Ertiga requires mental gymnastics with good hand-eye coordination or you will have to brace yourself for a bump and body noise.
All this for Rs44,99,000. The latest smart hybrid car in town is made for joint families.