The Ertiga is powered by the same 89bhp, Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre diesel engine you now universally find in cars like the Linea, SX4 and Manza. The Innova, on the other hand, uses a much bigger 2.5-litre unit that produces 100bhp and a healthy 20.40kgm torque.
It doesn’t take long to realise that the Ertiga is not the most comfortable car to drive in traffic. There is massive turbo lag below 2000rpm and you need to keep changing gears to extract respectable performance at low speeds. A full complement of seven passengers on-board further accentuates this drawback. Once past 2000rpm, the turbo spools up and there is a sudden burst of acceleration, which is typical of this engine. It gets better on the highway though, and displays enough grunt for reasonably rapid progress. This is also thanks to the 1.3-litre engine’s strong midrange.
The Innova engine, meanwhile, has loads of torque as soon as you get off the clutch and power delivery is very linear. This makes it extremely easy to drive in town. On the highway things are fine as long as you keep the speedo needle below three digits. Pass 100kph and the engine feels strained and is quite frenzied, even near the 120kph mark.
The Ertiga, thanks to its huge weight advantage (it’s nearly half a tonne lighter than the Innova!) is far more fleet-footed. Its punchy mid-range and strong top end also help. The 0-100kph takes a scant 13.89sec, which makes it nearly four seconds quicker than the Innova. In-gear times of 12.68sec for 20-80kph in third and 13.55sec for 40-100kph in fourth are much quicker too.
Ride and handling
Sharing the Swift platform, the Ertiga uses a modern monocoque chassis. This means its ride and handling are pretty impressive. The soft suspension means irregularities are kept out of the cabin at low speeds. However, it doesn’t feel as settled as the Innova, and at high speeds the soft setup means the car bobs about – driving on uneven roads can be unsettling. It is not particularly uncomfortable, it’s just that the Innova is better. Even in corners there is a fair bit of body roll, but after the initial lean the Ertiga settles down and has predictable road manners.
The Innova, on the other hand, has a stiffer suspension setup and, despite its bulk, feels very car-like to drive. The low-speed ride though is not as good as the Ertiga and big bumps and potholes filter through to the cabin. But as the going gets faster, the Innova feels much better and straight-line stability is very impressive.