I’ve been really fond of almost all of the new Suzukis that have been launched in South Africa since the company relaunched the brand here a few years ago. It has given the local market another strong Japanese offering and, from what current owners are saying, pretty decent after-sales service too.
The company hasn’t, however, really played in the budget segment. The Alto was its offering up until not too long ago, but at under 4 metres in length, it’s not exactly a family car, is it? And the recently launched Celerio wouldn’t be my first choice for a family either. So, when I was offered the chance to experience the pocket-friendly Ertiga MPV, I was curious to say the least. Here was a vehicle that could fit all the kids (my boyfriend’s three) plus the puppy (not that much of a puppy anymore) plus some, at a very decent R160 600 as the starting price, it could also match the budgets of many local families.
Let’s start with the styling. At the front, the Etriga looks like family with a Suzuki face with angled headlamps and a black grille. It’s boxy in shape, as most MPV’s are, but it’s not staid. At the back, the wraparound taillamps and roof spoiler give the Ertiga a bit of a sporty look to it. Based on the Swift’s platform, the Eritga measures in at 4 265 mm long, 1 695 mm wide and 1 685 mm high. It doesn’t sound like much, but there is a definite feeling of space to the interior, thanks in part to the light upholstery used on the seats. There are seven seats in total and a luggage capacity of 482 dm3 if the rear bench is folded away. With this in place, there isn’t much at 135 dm3. As much as I don’t like the colour of the seats, I didn’t mind the overall cabin. It felt solid and well put together.
The 70 kw and 130 N.m from the 1,4 litre petrol unit may seem modest, but power delivery is smooth and there is amply shove to get the car going. The five-speed manual ‘box is slick and easy to shift (there is also a four-speed auto). The ride quality of the Ertiga felt excellent with the MPV absorbing any road imperfections with ease. It felt very car-like in its ride quality.
There are five spec levels that make up the range – 1,4 GA, 1,4 GL manual, 1,4 GL AT, 1,4 GLX manual and a 1,4 GLX AT. In the base GA model you get power steering, steel wheels, air-conditioning and a rear screen wiper. Moving up a level, you get an audio system with MP3 compatibility and a USB port, central locking and electric windows, while the GLX gets a multi-function steering wheel and fog lights thrown in too. ABS, EBD and dual airbags is part of the price for all vehicles across the range.
Overall, I think this vehicle is great value and that it offers really good space and creature comforts for the whole family.
1,4 GA – R 160 600
1,4 GL – R180 600
1,4 GL AT – R195 600
1,4 GLX – R193 600
1,4 GLX AT – R208 600
Included in the list price is a four-year/60 000 km service plan.
Written by Kelly Lodewyks