Maruti's all-new mini-MPV known until now by its codename R III will be called the Ertiga. Our latest spy pictures of the Ertiga clearly show the badging which confirms the name.
Designed to appeal to big Indian families looking for an ideal blend of everyday usability and space, the Ertiga, however isn’t just a practical mono-volume with three rows of seats like the much more utilitarian Eeco. This front-wheel-drive, car-based mini-MPV has been designed to drive like a car and features quality interiors, making it an appealing family car.
The Ertiga’s design is immediately recognisable as a Suzuki. The nose looks very similar to that of the Ritz, with its slot-like grille and bulbous bonnet. The chin of the Ertiga is quite different. Much wider and bulkier than the hatchback. The air inlet under the bumper is larger and so are the enclosures that house the fog lights.
A corrugated roof has been used to increase strength, the rear windscreen wraps itself around the back for that ‘pillar-less’ look and the tiny tail-lamps seem to have been designed with cost rather than visibility in mind. This is a people-mover, and that means additional space, so Maruti has stretched the wheelbase to 2740mm, up by 380mm on the Ritz, and the roof is higher.
The interiors, although beige in colour, are almost identical to the new Swift. Bits like the steering wheel and dashboard are in fact shared with the hatch. However, there is no electronic climate control in the Ertiga, not even on the top-end ZDi and ZXi variants. Nonetheless, there is a roof-mounted blower to cool the second and third rows.
The stretched wheelbase and the additional third row seats have pushed the length of the Ertiga to 4265mm, well over the critical four-metre length. This has resulted in the Ertiga not qualifying for the lower excise duty benefit for small cars.
The pictures show that the Ertiga will also get a top-end diesel variant with all the bells and whistles. The big surprise is an all-new K14 petrol engine which makes its debut in the Ertiga. This is the largest version of the K-series yet and as a result, the power and torque figures are much higher. The 1372cc VVT motor makes a decent 95bhp and torque should be as high as 13kgm. Also on the cards is a diesel engine, the same Fiat-designed, 1.3-litre Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT)-equipped 89bhp DDiS motor from the SX4.
The Ertiga promises to drive and feel like a modern car rather than a transformed commercial vehicle. Plus, the addition of a modern diesel engine will only add to the appeal. Maruti’s mini-MPV will be competitively priced within a Rs 6-9 lakh range. Maruti will unveil the Ertiga at the Auto-Expo in January next year.
Also read: Maruti Ertiga preview
Issue: 180 | August 2014
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