For large families wanting a well-built, slightly upmarket people mover, the Innova has always been the de-facto choice. It is car-like to drive, is very comfortable, has a diesel engine and comes with Toyota’s legendary reputation for reliability. It’s why it has beaten off all comers to the MPV crown over the years.
The only thing we Indians like more than legendary reliability is a tiny price tag. Maruti knows this well and is a master at making good cars for less. It’s the same with the new Ertiga diesel. At Rs 8.45 lakh for the ZDi model it is Rs 5 lakh cheaper than a similarly specced Innova. It has space for seven, a small, fuel-efficient diesel motor, proven mechanicals based on the Swift and, being a Maruti, it will be easy on the pocket. So, is it better than the Innova? We load them up and head out of town to find out.
There’s no masking the fact that they both look like vans, but the Ertiga, with its compact dimensions and aggressive nose, looks more dynamic and is more attractive than the all-too-familiar Innova. But while the front looks sporty, the rear isn’t. It’s a little plain and the tiny wraparound lamps don’t help matters either.
Toyota, on the other hand, has just launched the face-lifted Innova with a new grille and front bumper that sport Corolla styling elements. Built on a C-in-C ladder frame (as opposed to the Ertiga’s monocoque construction), the Innova looks more van-like than the Maruti, and its sloping roof and curved D-pillar don’t do much to hide it. It does have a big advantage though, and that’s with its 4.6-metre length – that’s 320mm longer than the Ertiga. The Innova is also a fair bit wider than the Maruti.
Space for more?
The Ertiga is based on a stretched Swift platform, which means you sit much lower than in the Innova. This makes getting in and out much easier. The front seats from the Swift are big and accommodating andfeel more comfortable than the Innova’s too.
Thanks to the longer wheelbase, the Innova has a much better middle row in terms of space. The wide rear seat can sit three passengers with ease and seats are comfortable too. There is loads of legroom and if we were to nitpick, it would be about the seat squab, which is a tad short. However, the optional ‘Captain’ seats are supremely plush and offer a level of comfort the Ertiga can’t match. The Innova also has a second, dedicated air-con compressor for the rear passengers while the Ertiga makes do with a single one for the whole cabin. Still, the Ertiga’s middle row has good legroom and the soft seats are quite comfy, but the narrower cabin means three-abreast seating is more of a squeeze.
The Innova has the bigger cabin, but the flexible seating and clever packaging of the Ertiga’s cabin mean its third row is more usable than the Innova’s. The Ertiga’s sliding middle row helps generate more room at the back, and unless you’re travelling with a quartet of six-footers, the last row, for most practical purposes, is actually the comfier of the two. The Innova’s middle seat doesn’t slide as much but with all three rows up, it has more boot space. The Ertiga shares its dashboard with the Swift, so quality is quite good and the design is more appealing than the Innova’s dash. Still, quality is not as consistent as in the Innova.
Watch video here
Issue: 166 | June 2013
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