DRIVEN: Suzuki Ertiga

Suzuki has released no fewer than three new cars since the year began – and that’s no mean feat for a company that is better known for its two-wheelers than its passenger models. The latest of these is the Ertiga.

What is it?
The Suzuki Ertiga is the first MPV that the Japanese marque has launched in South Africa. Suzuki would prefer you call its people carrier an LUV for Lifestyle Utility Vehicle (and a convenient social media campaign), however.

The exterior design, especially that frontal aspect, has been designed to give the Ertiga a familial Suzuki look. It’s not a surprise that this people carrier is based on the same platform as the Swift hatchback. In profile it has the inescapable slab-sidedness of all MPVs. The rear styling is neat, with wraparound taillamps.

At 4 265 mm long, 1 695 mm wide and 1 685 mm high, the Ertiga may seem compact, and it is, but it also happens to offer seven seats. The rearmost items fold flat and the second row can slide forward by 240 mm to enable a large loading area of 482 dm³. With the rea most pair in use there is a meagre 135 available. The second row backrest is also split 60:40 and folds independently for more versatility.

As the Ertiga was initially aimed at the South East Asian market – it is built in India – the choice of interior trim colour, light beige, reflects the preference of those markets, rather than what the more conservative South African motorists would prefer. Those familiar with Toyota’s Avanza and FAW’s Sirius should have a good idea of the kind of cabin the Ertiga offers.

How does it go?
From the captain’s chair there is a commanding view of the road ahead, similar to that offered by some soft-roaders, and good all round visibility. As mentioned there are two transmission options available, but on the launch event we only sampled the five-speed version.

This is mated with a 1,4-litre inline four that develops 70 kW and 130 N.m of torque at a high-ish 4 000 r/min; though it must be said that the motor does feature variable valve timing.

Those outputs may not seem stellar and are perhaps on the low side for a vehicle aimed at carrying seven people. For the bulk of the launch the Ertiga seemed to cope well with the undulating landscape of the Eastern Cape. Gearchanges are seldom needed except when trying to effect an overtake, but then you really need to give it some stick to make a safe and quick pass.

Far more impressive than the power delivery is the ride quality. The roads traversed along the media ride and drive were in good, but not great, condition. Whenever taxed to cope with potholes, ruts or tramlines the MacPherson front/torsion beam rear suspension handled undulations well with minimal discomfort to occupants. More importantly than that, the Ertiga feels more passenger car-like than its main rival.

How much does it cost?
The Ertiga model line-up comprises five models, stemming from three specification levels – GA, GL, and GLX – and either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission. Unlike its most direct competition, the Toyota Avanza, power is delivered to the front wheels, which results in more usable cabin room.

The GA model is the most basic, aimed at the fleet market and in particular taxi/shuttle/B&B owners. As such it rides on steel wheels, eschews an audio system and a rear screen wiper.

One level up is the GL, which adds those latter creature comforts, along with wheel caps and electric windows all round. Unlike the manual-only GA the GL offers both transmissions. The GLX builds on the GL and also offers alloy wheels and front foglamps. All models feature air-conditioning as standard. The prices of Toyota’s smallest MPV range from R188 200 to R224 700, which the Suzuki Ertiga’s range undercuts significantly.

Ertiga pricing:

               Manual                  Automatic

GA          R159 900

GL          R179 900                 R194 900

GLX          R192 900                 R207 900

Included in the list price is a four-year/60 000 km service plan.


Model: Suzuki Ertiga GLX
Engine: 1,4-litre, four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: five-speed manual
Power: 70 kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque: 130 N.m at 4 000 r/min
0-100 km/h: n/a
Fuel consumption: 6,6 L/100 km
CO2: 153 g/km
Top speed: n/a
Price: from R207 900
Service plan: 4 years/60 000 km
*According to Suzuki

Fast facts

Model: Suzuki Ertiga GLX
Price: from R207 900
Engine: 1,4-litre, four-cylinder petrol
Power: 70 kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque: 130 N.m at 4 000 r/min
0-100 km/h: n/a
Top Speed: n/a
Fuel Consumption: 6,6 L/100 km
CO2: 153 g/km
Transmission: five-speed manual
Maintenance Plan: 4 years/60 000 km

*According to Suzuki

  • B-carman

    I will choose the Ertiga any day of the week over the Toyota Avanza.

  • teofli

    It is beautiful, practical and well priced.

  • Marc Wegkamp

    Had mine for a week and love it!!!

    Massive packing space for such a compact style car.

  • Frodo

    No need for hysterics. The market for these vehicles is minute and for years the only player in this part of the market was the Avanza. Although his is a vast improvement on that, chances that our roads will be flooded by them is extremely thin.