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DRIVEN: Suzuki launches new 7-seat Ertiga in SA

2019-03-08 13:00

Charlen Raymond

suzuki,suzuki ertiga,new cars,ertiga

Image: Charlen Raymond

Suzuki South Africa launched the latest version of its seven-seater MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), the Ertiga, in South Africa.

The vehicle, purposed to offer good value to budding families wanting to save a few bucks, is slightly bigger than the outgoing model and also boasts a new engine.

Regarding price, Suzuki South Africa managed to keep pricing competitive whilst at the same time fitting the MPV with a new multimedia system and revised interior.

The Ertiga is one of ten passenger cars Suzuki has in South Africa and one of four MPVs/SUVs the automaker has to offer.

Bigger proposition

The Ertiga was first launched in South Africa in 2010 and has, for the past decade, solidified itself as an important model in Suzuki’s stable. But as fate would have it, the Ertiga was in dire need for a makeover and did the Japanese automaker do just that.

At 4395mm the Ertiga is 130mm longer than the previous model, as well as 5mm higher (now 1690mm). In addition, the width also increased by 40mm. These might seem like small numbers, but the MPV does offer plenty of space for its occupants and is there more leg- and headroom all-round.

READ: Suzuki upgrades the 2019 Vitara SUV with new looks and loads more creature comforts

The increase in size also made its way to the third row of seats where two additional passengers can squeeze in. Suzuki says that although the two seats in the rear are normally associated with fitting small kids, passengers of up to 1.75m can squeeze into the space. Thanks in part to the extra 70mm of leg room.

When the two most-rear seats are in use, luggage space is an unexpectedly shallow 199 litres. But, when the two rows of seats are folded flat, the depth of the loading area increases to 1.9m. That’s deep enough to fit a surfboard. Flatten the front passenger seat and loading space increases to a massive 2.8m.

suzuki,suzuki ertiga,new cars,ertiga

                                                        Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

Engine and drive

The new Suzuki Ertiga does away with the 1.4-litre engine that did duty in the previous model and will, from 2019 onwards, use an updated version of the Jimny’s naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre engine. This revised unit, code-named K15B, delivers 77kW and 138Nm. Suzuki mated the engine to either a four-speed automatic gearbox or a five-speed manual -box. The latter was available at launch.

As is customary with Suzuki’s manual gearboxes, the five-speeder cogs over very nicely and does the mechanical feel of the ‘box give an assurance to the driver. The clutch is a bit light when pressed and can some slippage occur if you’re not modulating it with care. But once you have the feel for it, it becomes second nature.

Getting the Ertiga up to speed was not much of an issue and given the segment it competes in, it was never designed to be a sprinter. However, the engine and gearbox have to be worked to get any performance out of it and can one not skip the thought that the MPV might struggle when it has to carry a passengers and luggage. We will only be able to prove the last point when we get the Ertiga on test in the near future.

There is adequate feedback from the steering wheel, too. In traffic, the Ertiga’s short overhang at the front means that you can navigate through the city bustle with confidence and not be too worried that the big vehicle will struggle like a Golden Arrow bus. To further assist maneuverability is a turning circle of only 5.2m.

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                                                       Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

Strong features list

One thing Suzuki can proud themselves on is the strong list of standard equipment fitted to its vehicles. While some manufacturers try and milk customers for every cent possible, Suzuki has always aimed to send vehicles to market that feature most things from the Suzuki parts bin as standard. And the Ertiga is no different.

Depending on specification - GA or GL - there is a strong list of standard equipment fitted to the Ertiga and is the only option left for customers to choose the exterior colour they want. On the Ertiga GA buyers will find electric windows front and rear, LED tail lamps, a 12V accessory socket up front, halogen projector headlamps, two airbags for the front passengers and ventilated front cup holders.

On top of the GA, GL models offer a touchscreen from which to operate media devices (Bluetooth, USB, AUX) and radio, audio controls on the steering wheel, electrically adjustable side mirrors, air con for rear passengers, a 12V accessory socket for rear passengers (two in total), and reverse parking sensors.

In summary

The 2019 Suzuki Ertiga features a new face and a raft of alterations to make it relevant within the market again. Against rivals such as the Toyota Avanza and Mahindra TUV300 (both budget-beating seven-seat MPVs), the Ertiga has to impress the masses if it’s going to make any impact. And first impressions are that Suzuki has once again launched a good, honest product in South Africa.

Though the engine needs to be worked a bit in order to get performance out of it, the MPV will do little wrong to deter interested parties. Suzuki plays the beat-the-budget game and its vehicles, including the new Ertiga, attest to that.

Price:

  • Suzuki Ertiga 1.5 GA - R214 900
  • Suzuki Ertiga 1.5 GL - R239 900
  • Suzuki Ertiga 1.5 GL AT - R254 900
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                                                    Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

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