Chevrolet Enjoy vs Maruti Ertiga
21st Jun 2013 3:51 pm
Chevrolet has entered the compact MPV space with its spacious and inexpensive Enjoy. Should the Maruti Ertiga be worried?
We are a country of 1.2 billion people with plenty of large families. So, when the need for travel arises, vehicles like the two you see here are best suited to the purpose.
Both these compact MPVs can seat seven in reasonable comfort, are nimble enough for city use and impressively light on the wallet. The Enjoy wins round one off the bat with its astonishing sticker price. Petrol versions start at Rs 5.49 lakh and this top-end diesel LTZ comes in at Rs 7.99 lakh. The popular Ertiga, which starts at Rs 5.98 lakh and goes on to Rs 8.7 lakh for the diesel ZDi, is significantly more expensive. But owners, who will spend long hours with their families in these MPVs, will want more than just a cheap sticker price. Ease of use, a comfortable cabin and loads of practicality are high up on the list too. So which one better suits the one-size-fits-all template that customers expect from these MPVs?
The Enjoy, with its more upright stance, looks more van-like than the Ertiga. Everything aft of the B-pillar is square and upright, and that includes the big windows for the third row, the squared-off edges that drop into an almost vertical tailgate. The Ertiga has a much lower roofline and the squatter stance looks far more appealing. It may not be as practical as the Enjoy – third-row passengers get small windows which don’t open – but its curvier shape looks more sophisticated than the Enjoy’s lines. Up front, the Ertiga’s nose gives it a generic Suzuki look, but it is arguably more attractive than the Enjoy’s simpler design.
As for the exterior dimensions, it’s the Enjoy that’s longer, but the Ertiga is wider and has the longer wheelbase – something that’s noticeable from the sheer length of the rear doors.
Based on a heavily modified Swift platform, the Ertiga is a monocoque design that makes extensive use of lightweight, high-tensile steel in its construction. It’s this that helps keep the Ertiga’s weight in check – despite being over 300mm longer than a Swift, it weighs just 1235kg. The Enjoy, on the other hand, tips the scales at a considerably heavier 1345kg. Like the Ertiga, it too uses monocoque construction, but there’s a difference. The Enjoy’s chassis has an integrated ladder-type frame between the wheels for additional strength, while the Ertiga resorts to sturdy box-section steel around the rear wheel arches for added stiffness.
The Enjoy is 65mm taller than the Ertiga and that makes a big difference inside the cabin. The ample headroom and big, square windows (with butterfly openings) let in plenty of light, which gives the Enjoy a spacious and airy ambience. The Ertiga’s lower ceiling and smaller windows make the cabin feel a lot tighter on space than it really is.
From the driver’s seat, the Enjoy’s slim pillars and low dashboard cowl offer better visibility than the Ertiga’s slightly lower seats and high, broad dashboard cowl, but the Chevy MPV’s ergonomics could be better. The gearlever is placed a bit too far back (to accommodate cup holders ahead of it) and the tight pedal box leaves no place to rest your left foot. Also, the front seats have a bit too much lumbar support and don’t feel very plush. In fact, the overall cabin quality in the Enjoy leaves you wanting.
The Ertiga’s front seats are far more comfortable. The cushioning is superb and thigh support is excellent. The interior ambience is vastly more upmarket than the Enjoy’s, with appealing colours, good fit and finish, smart design and quality plastics. Even small details like the ‘jewel effect’ dials and cloth inserts for the doorpads are in stark contrast to the Enjoy’s old-fashioned blue-lit dials and hard plastic inner panels.
The middle row is where the MPV game begins. The Enjoy comes with captain’s chairs that are a bit narrow, but are set high, have a snug fit and give you a commanding feeling. The Ertiga comes with a single bench, but Maruti has engineered a staggering 240mm of seat travel into the middle row and that gives you huge flexibility when travelling with all seats occupied. So there’s not much difference between the two on middle-row legroom.
To access the third row in the Ertiga, all you need to do is pull a neat lever on the middle bench, which causes it to flip and slide forward. The entry is certainly narrow and you will need some contortion to get to the back, but access is not as bad as in the Enjoy.
The Enjoy clearly has the more spacious third row, with better headroom and decent knee room. The width is pretty decent too and, in a pinch, you can squeeze three people in here, which is saying something. The Ertiga’s third row is much narrower, so two adults are what it will take, at best. However, the lower floor makes the seating position a touch more comfortable, and you don’t have the same ‘knees-up’ posture as in the Enjoy.
With all three rows up, boot space is negligible in both cars. Not enough luggage space is liberated when you fold the Enjoy’s third-row bench. The Ertiga’s rear seats, on the other hand, fold forward neatly to form a flat loading area.
Both these MPVs are going to have approximately half a tonne of humanity on board when driven full up, and hence power, torque and driveability are important factors. Both have the same 1.3-litre diesel developed jointly by GM and Fiat under their snouts so performance shouldn’t be too different, right? Wrong.
The performance characteristics of these two MPVs are quite different thanks to different bits of hardware and tuning. The Ertiga uses a bigger, variable-geometry turbo that helps it make its peak power and torque of 89bhp and 20.39kgm respectively. The Enjoy uses a fixed-geometry turbo that results in a lower 76.4bhp and 19.1kgm of torque.
The Enjoy has plenty of bottom-end grunt – it pulls well as soon as you get off the clutch and power delivery is linear. This makes it easier to drive, especially in town, and the nice flow of torque never leaves you wanting for power when you’re ambling along, even with a full load. However, if you’re in a hurry, the Enjoy won’t share your sense of urgency. Top-end performance is quite weak and the engine struggles beyond 4,500rpm. The dash from 0-100kph takes a painfully long 21.36 seconds, but pulling in gear from low engine speeds, the Enjoy doesn’t feel slower than the Etriga. Under load, however, there’s a fair bit of vibration from the drivetrain, especially when you pull from low revs. But the weakest point in the driveline is the gearbox, which has a wide gate and sloppy feel.
Driving the Ertiga after the Enjoy points out how much more sophisticated the Maruti’s drivetrain is. It is far smoother and quieter with a lot less clatter even when you rev it to its lofty 5200rpm redline. However, the Ertiga is plagued with a big dose of turbo lag, which is an inherent weakness of this particular state of tune of the Multijet engine. The engine only starts pulling when it is spinning beyond 2,300rpm, below which it feels terribly gutless.
For sheer pace, the Ertiga is in a different league, hitting 100kph from rest seven seconds earlier than the Enjoy. On the highway, it’s the Ertiga with its much taller fifth gear that feels more relaxed at triple-digit speeds – 120kph equates to 3000rpm, compared to the Enjoy’s rather noisy 3400rpm.
Ride & handling
There really isn’t much separating the ride quality of these two MPVs. The Enjoy’s suspension is pretty soft and pliant, save for a tiny bit of kick from the live rear axle over sharper bumps. GM’s engineers have done a great job by providing a comfortable ride over most surfaces, despite the handicap of small 14-inch wheels. At higher speeds, the Enjoy sways a bit and does get affected by crosswinds due to its tall proportions, but overall it feels pretty planted. The Ertiga’sride is pretty impressive as well and, over the same piece of road, the difference between the two isn’t very perceptible; both MPVs absorb bumps quite competently.
The difference lies in the way they drive. The Enjoy, with its low-geared, hydraulically assisted steering, is a bit reluctant to change direction at higher speeds, and though it is a stable and secure handler, you are always aware that you are behind the wheel of an MPV. The Ertiga, on the other hand, has a quick and direct, electrically assisted steering, aided by a lower stance (and thereby lower centre of gravity), and feels a lot more agile. Hustle an Ertiga along and it feels not too different from a Swift, and this easy handling makes it the more entertaining of the two.
Around town, the Enjoy’s superb all-round visibility and taller stance means it’s easy to park and drive. The Ertiga’s more stylish shape makes for some blind spots, especially around the D-pillar.
So what will either of these cost on a trip? The Ertiga’s 12.8kpl in the city and 16.8kpl on the highway are better than the Enjoy’s 12.3kpl and 16kpl, respectively. The Maruti achieves this thanks to its lighter kerbweight, it’s more efficient drivetrain and its taller fifth gear, which allows the engine to spin at a less frantic pace on the highway.
What GM India has achieved with the Enjoy is very impressive. It has re-engineered the Chinese Hong Guang MPV to make it very practical, better riding and easy to drive. The best bit is that it has launched it at a fantastic price, one that is substantially lower than the Ertiga’s. This is sure to tempt a lot of people looking for the most seats in a compact package.
The Ertiga, on the other hand, is more soundly engineered and offers a far more sophisticated package.
It looks better, has a more inviting cabin and is much nicer to drive. Sure, the turbo lag is an issue in slow traffic and it doesn’t have as much outright cabin space as the Enjoy, but these flaws are not so damaging to the Ertiga’s scorecard to seriously mark it down. It is practical in its own right and, for a personal car, has plenty of feel-good factor, which makes it worth the steeper price tag.
Detailed tech specs on next page