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With the small crossover enjoying great popularity, is there still space in the market for a budget MPV?

Not too long ago, if the average motorist wanted a practical family car, the options were limited mainly to sedans. Times have quite obviously changed, however, with the conventional notchback sidelined by a raft of SUVs and crossovers. Lately, there is plenty of choice for a family of five on a budget when in the market for a safe and dependable car, but what about larger families?

Toyota has enjoyed much success with the Avanza MPV, with the compact seven-seater becoming a staple on our roads. Suzuki, too, realised the success of this vehicle and launched the first-generation Ertiga in 2012. Tested in November 2014, the CAR team praised its comfort, packaging and value for money. This new model, noticeably larger than before, retains those traits but offers various welcome improvements over its predecessor.

From the outside, the Ertiga looks more like the MPV it is, rather than retaining the “overgrown hatchback” aesthetic of its predecessor. Longer by 130 mm and wider by 40 mm, the bigger body gives the small seven-seater a van-like appearance, similar to the Avanza. Styling wise, it now sports Suzuki’s cross-cut grille, like the one on the facelifted Ciaz sedan. While the Ertiga is not particularly concerned with cutting a stylish figure, some of our testers couldn’t help but notice the taillamps bear a striking resemblance to those of the Volvo XC60.

The larger body pays dividends where it counts most: the interior. Much like its rivals, the Ertiga uses a two-plus-three-plus-two layout. Seated in the front and middle rows (with a sliding and reclining function), passengers enjoy generous amounts of head- and kneeroom, with the third row sporting a surprising amount of space for the vehicle’s size. It must be noted, however, the front seats aren’t height adjustable, nor does the steering column adjust for reach, so the driving position might not suit all people.

The seats fold down with ease, a great benefit to someone carrying groceries or a child in one arm. With all pews raised, the boot measures an acceptable 152 litres. This is aided by a nifty storage compartment underneath the boot board, which is great for hiding valuables from prying eyes. With the 50:50-split back row of seats folded flat, the luggage capacity increases to a respectable 408 litres. This is on par with its competitors, but where the Ertiga shines is with its utility-carrying capabilities. With the back and middle (60:40) rows folded down, it can house an impressive 1 568 litres, besting its predecessor by 72 litres.

Interior space isn’t the only thing that’s improved, with a generous dose of standard features thrown in the mix, too. The GL model tested here comes equipped with electric windows all-round, electrically adjustable side mirrors, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and some rather nifty touches such as ventilated front cupholders and air-conditioning outlets for the rear passengers. The black-hued interior with firm but robust plastics will come as a relief, hiding dirt and scuff marks better than the cream finishes of the previous model.

Turn the old-fashioned key and the 1,5-litre engine zings into life, with a smooth idle hinting at impressive drivetrain-refinement levels. Suzuki’s K15B engine produces 77 kW and 138 N.m of torque, and moves the MPV along willingly. While those figures may not sound overly generous, the motor revs eagerly and works well with the slick five-speed manual transmission. The steering is a touch vague but is decently weighted, allowing for brilliant manoeuvrability round town. This is further emphasised by its turning circle of just 10,4 metres, tight for a car of this size.

It’s not all positive news, however. An irksome trait in normal driving is easily induced wheelspin, whether pulling away from junctions or during mild cornering. This could be due to the Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 tyres fitted to this test car, which favour economy over outright grip.

Speaking of fuel economy, the Ertiga managed 6,4 L/100 km on our fuel route, which is an impressive result for a petrol-powered MPV. Using our fuel-index figure of 6,6 L/100 km, on its 45-litre fuel tank the Ertiga will sail past the pumps with a fuel range of 682 km.
JOHANNESBURG – The second-generation Ertiga is introduced into a "different world" than its predecessor, Suzuki says. Fair enough, considering the automotive landscape has changed somewhat since the first iteration of the seven-seater was launched back in 2010. 

Locally, for example, the market has shifted towards vehicles offering increased ride height, ample safety equipment as standard and, especially with rising fuel prices, exemplary fuel consumption. According to the Japanese automaker, another requirement is space, with the firm claiming extended families are now more common than before. 

On the launch, we had the chance to sample the top-spec Ertiga 1,5 GL (in manual guise) around Gauteng. Sporting a distinctive new design, more interior space, an array of standard features and a fresh 1,5-litre petrol engine (used across the range), how well has Suzuki's people-mover adapted to contemporary times? Let’s find out...

Range and specification

Like its predecessor, the new Ertiga line-up comprises three derivatives: a base-spec manual-only GA and two GL variants, equipped with either a five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed self-shifter.

GL models are equipped with a infotainment system (no touchscreen here), which features Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and an auxiliary jack. My only gripes with this unit are the screen can be hard to read in direct sunlight, and that the gloss-black touch-sensitive buttons surrounding it have to be pressed with gusto. Luckily, on this version, the volume and track number can be altered via the multifunction steering wheel.

A neat addition to the cabin is a pair of ventilated cup-holders found fore of the gear lever. On a sunny Johannesburg afternoon, they worked well to keep our drinks cold. However, it seems this item is not linked to the main air-conditioning and it would be best to close the vents if warm beverages are to remain just so.

Behind the front seats, roof-mounted vents provide ample circulation of air to occupants in the rear. The interior is filled with hard plastics and what on first impressions seems to be hard-wearing black cloth trim. 

Safety equipment, such as ABS with EBD, two airbags (driver and front passenger) and Isofix child-seat anchors are standard across the range. This GL model furthermore includes rear parking sensors.

Bold new design

The revised front apron, complete with a chrome-effect grille (standard fitment on GL models) and redesigned headlamps, lends the new Ertiga a sharper look. At the rear, updated LED taillamps extend to a "floating roof" (a design-cue inherited from the Swift). In short, the Ertiga looks more distinctive than before and less like a bulkier version of the firm's hatchbacks. 

Based on the Heartect platform, the Ertiga shares its underpinnings with the Swift, Ignis and Baleno. The wheelbase has remained unchanged but the body is now 130 mm longer (for a total of 4 395 mm) and 40 mm wider, providing occupants with more interior space. 

The 180 mm ground clearance is sufficient, with the elevated ride height and large windows (electric all round) providing excellent outward visibility for the driver.  

Room for seven

The Hamamatsu-based manufacturer says the latest iteration of its people-mover has been developed to transport seven occupants “in comfort”. So, I pulled the lever on the 60:40-split middle-bench and hopped into the rearmost pews, which on this model can be split 50:50. My 1,70-metre frame fits comfortably, with a little room to spare.

Although legroom has increased all round, back here it varies, and depends on the courteousness of the passengers seated in the sliding second row. Up-front, headroom for the driver and passenger have increased by 25 mm and 15 mm, respectively. 

New powertrain

A naturally aspirated 1,5-litre, four-cylinder engine has replaced the previous model's 1,4-litre unit, which produced 70 kW and 130 N.m of torque. The new K15B mill is punchier, albeit only slightly, and sends 77 kW and 138 N.m to the front wheels, while the five-speed manual transmission allows for easy gear changes.

The free-revving powerplant reached 120 km/h with surprising ease while driving on the highways in the Highveld. However, foot-to-the-floor driving was often required when overtaking traffic or traversing steep inclines.


Compared with the previous model, the new Ertiga is an obviously more appealing, distinct package. If you're looking for a bang-for-your-buck seven-seater, be it for ferrying around the family or use in a business fleet, Suzuki offers an honest alternative with the latest iteration of its MPV.

2019 Suzuki ERTIGA 1.5 GL

Ref No: 1564304

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 7
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front + rear
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 2
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + rear
  • Central locking: remote
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: petrol
  • Fuel range average: 726 km
  • Driven wheels: front
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 5
  • Gearshift: manual
  • Transmission type: manual
  • Front tyres: 185/65 R15
  • Reartyres: 185/65 R15
  • Spare wheel size full: Standard
  • Length: 4395 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1735 mm
  • Height: 1690 mm
  • Wheel base: 2740 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 180 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 10.4 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 153-550-803 L
  • Load volume / capacity: 803 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1130 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 1740 kg
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 45l
  • Fuel consumption average: 6.2 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 146g/km
  • Power maximum: 77 kW
  • Power maximum total: 77 kW
  • Power peak revs: 6000 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 68.1 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 138 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 4400 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 138 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 122 Nm/ton
  • Maximum top speed: 175 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 1462 cc
  • Engine size: 1.5l
  • enginedetailshort: 1.5
  • Engine + detail: 1.5
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Variable camvalve timing: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 3
  • Warranty distance (km): 100000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 4
  • Service plan time (distance): 60000 km
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Service interval (time): 1
  • Brand: Suzuki
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 59036121
  • MMVariant: ERTIGA 1.5 GL
  • MMintrodat: 2019-02-26
  • Introdate: 2019-03-07
  • DuoportarecordID: SuzuErti2e2

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