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Reader review: Is the latest Suzuki Ertiga a great family transporter?

2019-08-19 11:00

Warren Wilson

suzuki ertiga

Image: Warren Wilson

In the late 80s and 90s there was always that one family member who owned a big transporter, or people mover.  You know, vehicles like the original Volkswagen Kombi or Volksiebus.

Many of us have fond memories of vehicles such as these, but they've unfortunately become too expensive for many South Africans. And to be honest, it’s become somewhat of a luxury item.

Today there a few affordable vehicles that satisfy the need for a big family transporter. One that comes to mind is the second-generation Suzuki Ertiga. Some say, it’s the ‘perfect Uber XL’ car. In fact, when I recently test-drove it, I had this urge to move people. I wanted to be an Uber driver!

REVIEW: Here's why the Suzuki Ertiga 1.5 GL is such a great people-mover

That void (the seats) needed to be filled! Unfortunately, for some reason no one in my family or circle of friends needed a lift, or had anything for me to transport. Not even for fun. Perhaps it is the perception some have towards cars like the Suzuki Ertiga, but folks didn’t seem too impressed.

suzuki ertiga

                                               Image: Warren Wilson

Pricing is key

It’s rare that a car feels so empty and quiet. The Ertiga needs people in it; it’s just that kind of car. Empty, because most of the journeys I undertook missed the vocal point it’s built around: people. Bad on the one side, but good on the other because it makes it clear why cars like the Ertiga exists. There’s an abundance of space, roominess and practicality.

Practicality that’s underlined by an impressive 803 litres of boot space when the second, and third rows of seats are folded flat. At this price not many cars can boast with a figure like that!

The model on test is the Ertiga 1.5 GL manual (R 239 900). Suzuki SA opted to give our local market this particular model, as well as the simpler, more stripped down version (the GA). I’m already seeing Uber, Security companies and local government departments making use of the GA model in the range. A fleet of these cars do not break bank and like any other Suzuki in our market it’s an honest vehicle.

suzuki ertiga

                                                Image: Warren Wilson

About the drive

The 1.5-litre ,four-cylinder petrol engine does well to propel the people-mover forward, at least when there’s no one else but the driver in the car. It’s quite a nippy vehicle too when empty, to be honest, but when you factor in a kerb weight of 1720kg you almost wish there was more power at the end of the throttle than ‘just’ 77kW and 138Nm of torque. A five-speed manual gearbox sends power to the front wheels.

With people loaded, it did more than just fine. In fact, it exceeded expectations. Passengers in the second row have a ridiculous amount of leg room and the second row of seats have a recline function. This came in especially handy when, after numerous failed attempts to put the people carrier to the test, an expecting mother fell asleep in the comfort of the Ertiga. And according to her, the smooth ride and the reclining seats made her feel at ease.

The Ertiga GL is fitted with a shiny chrome grill, plastic wheel covers, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, aircon, parking sensors and power windows are a few of the standard features. Suzuki contemplated bringing the slightly better equipped GLX to the South African market, but it would have been a costly affair and something the consumer would have had to bear.

suzuki ertiga

                                                  Image: Warren Wilson

Nostalgia in the air?

With its #AllIn tagline the Ertiga is squarely aimed at larger families and transporting more than five passengers. It’s a basic vehicle with enough to get around, and it offers enough comfort for those extended drives with a bunch of people.

It reminds me again of when we’d all get in that one uncle’s Kombi; everyone excited to get the journey underway. And who knows, maybe a few years down the line, maybe nostalgia creeps in again when you see the Ertiga that played such a big part in your earlier days.

suzuki ertiga

                                                Image: Warren Wilson


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