2012 was when the first generation Ertiga was launched. A category they came to dominate with 4.20 in sales over the last 6 years. Having spent lots of time with the previous model, I had come to like the easy-going driving nature of the Ertiga.

Maruti is one of the most innovative auto companies in India. They have a brilliant understanding of their target audience and are extremely receptive to the feedback they garner. One sees that in all the cars they have launched in the last few years. The level of evolution with each model in terms of design, driving characteristics, cabin comfort is very apparent.

COLLAGE 1.jpgNow in 2018 comes the #NextGenErtiga. Everything sees an improvement to the previous model from dimensions, fuel efficiency and the premium feel on offer. Maruti is known for its aggressive and smart pricing. That stays the same with the #NextGenErtiga which is priced around the same, as the previous model.

The first thing you notice with the new #NextGenErtiga is how contemporary the styling has become. The swept back projector headlights, good-looking chrome grille, chrome door handles, multi spoke wheels, blacked out D-pillar, stretched out LED Lamps at the rear add to the appeal.COLLAGE 4.jpgThe #NextGenErtiga is built on the fifth-generation Heartect Platform. Kerb weight goes down by 15-20 kgs, but not in the petrol version. That stays almost the same, due to the larger engine size and additional battery pack. The #NextGenErtiga is now 99mm longer, 40mm wider and 5mm taller than the older model.

Step inside the car and you are greeted with the touchscreen, flat bottom steering and instrument cluster in the petrol version which is the same as the new Ciaz. The dashboard is split by artificial wood panelling on the Z and Z+ variants. The front seats are large and comfortable. The #NextGenErtiga now come with a new sliding front armrest.COLLAGE 6.jpgCOLLAGE 3.jpgThere is lots of improvement in terms of space management within the cabin. The second row gets recline and fore-aft adjustment in a 40:60 ratio. The window is huge along with a tall ceiling. When I spoke to C. V. Raman – Head of Engineering, Maruti Suzuki, he mentioned how the layout in Maruti cars is designed to provide lot more space within the cabin. Having a flat floor helps specially when there are 3 passengers in the second row in terms of shoulder room. The roof-mounted blower with four fan speeds carries on here from the outgoing model.

Maruti has added a one-touch mechanism to slide the second row forward. This makes life very easy which getting in and out from the third row. The third row is very impressive in the sense that a 6-footer can easily sit behind without feeling stifled or stuck for space. The third row comes with a recline feature for more comfort. This row is extremely important, as most of the customers for the #NextGenErtiga will be large families which are usually made up of 6 people. The other new features one finds in the #NextGenErtiga are front armrest console, cooled cup holders, bottle holders in each door, and charging points in each row.

Boot space is 209 litres, but can be expanded to 550 litres and 803 litres by folding the seats. Maruti has added a storage area beneath the boot floor to store items as well.

I drove the petrol manual and diesel manual on the media drive. The petrol manual is powered by the same K15 1462cc petrol engine that is found in the new Ciaz. This engine features a mild-hybrid system which gets support from two batteries. There is one lithium-ion pack placed under the passenger seat, which provides a small amount of additional boost to the petrol engine. The energy recouped when the car decelerates, is used to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The engine start-stop system is another feature of this mild hybrid system. Only issue with this system is that the air-conditioner cuts off leaving the blower on. Most of the year we live in hot and humid conditions, so I expect most drivers to turn this feature off.

The diesel #NextGenErtiga gets the same 1.3-litre Fiat-sourced engine that produces 90hp and 200Nm. Fuel efficiency goes up by 0.95kpl to 25.47kpl

How does it drive?

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The #NextGenErtiga is easy to drive with a sense of familiarity from the moment you start the car. The petrol engine is responsive, clutch is light, gear shifts are smooth and refined, handling is good, and one feels planted all the time despite the tall stance.  The all new suspension handles bad roads, potholes, speed breakers with ease and the steering feels adequately weighted. I always have felt the Ertiga is one of the easiest cars to drive in the city. That remains the same with the #NextGenErtiga. The boost in power to 105hp and 138Nm Torque helps while overtaking and driving on the highway.

The diesel #NextGenErtiga shares most of the same characteristics as the petrol version. Only difference one experiences while driving this, is a turbo lag below 2000 rpm which makes the engine feel dull. Get past that up to 5000 rpm and the engine is freewheeling and responsive.

The 100 odd kilometres I drove the petrol and diesel versions of the #NextGenErtiga, gave me an inkling of how good this MPV is.

Maruti has once again designed a winner, a reflection of how well they know their target audience. They make cars for our roads and offer exactly the features the Indian customer is looking for in cars i.e. space, comfort, value and premium feel.

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The #NextGenErtiga starts Rs 8.52 lakhs on-road Delhi for the Petrol Manual, Rs 9.92 lakhs for the Diesel Manual and Rs 10.25 lakhs for the Petrol Automatic.

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sanjeev joshi

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