Twice a year, my family of four expands to six, when my parents visit us from Goa. At that time, aside from getting the house ready, I also begin thinking about which car I should keep. And since Autocar India just received the Ertiga with seven seats, and the fact that it was still low on miles, made it the one I picked.
The second-generation Ertiga is larger in every dimension and this translates to more space inside, thankfully in the third row too. The third row is where my kids usually sit, and with my son now 14 years old, legroom is a bit important and the increased space proved to be more than adequate for him. What my kids also liked was the fact that each of them had an armrest with a bottle holder as well. Plus, the windows are also nice and large, and offer a good view outside; quite important because my daughter suffers from car sickness at times. The middle row slides and reclines, and my dad, who usually prefers sitting in the front, said he was very comfy in the second row.
A STEP UP: With large windows and reclining backrests, the third row is much improved now.
Knowing I’d be spending a lot of time in Mumbai’s crazy traffic, I was hoping to get an automatic. Our Ertiga, however, is the manual-petrol, but it wasn’t much of a bother as the clutch is noticeably lighter than the diesel’s and the gear shifts are light and easy too. What I did find annoying though were the AC vents. Placed slightly behind the touchscreen housing, it is difficult to direct the airflow away from you; the vent doesn’t shut, so all you can do is move the louvres, but the rear curvature of the touchscreen directs some of the air back to you. I know it sounds trivial and, in a way, it is, but in these cooler months the slow and steady air stream does get irritating.
Another irritant is the touchscreen. It is the older SmartPlay system but that’s not the problem here; the trouble is with the reflective surface of the screen. In almost any direction of travel, and for most parts of the day, you will see the outside reflected on a large part of the screen, making it quite difficult to see what’s on it.
CATCHING GLARE: The screen catches reflections, making it difficult to read it.
The rest of the car is great and travelling around Mumbai was very comfy with two people in each row, the cabin feels nice and airy, the ride quality is really good and the seats are comfortable. On the long drive back home, my parents were fast asleep, and that’s a real achievement considering how much of a back seat driver my mum is. The Ertiga also came in handy for the airport run. Being a Sunday, all of us decided to head out to drop my folks off at the airport, and the Ertiga could seat all of us and hold all the luggage quite easily. One cabin suitcase and my mum’s oversized bag fit in behind the third row, but the other cabin suitcase had to be placed on the middle seat of the second row. So an airport run with six people in the car is possible, assuming you travel light.
It’s got more space on the inside now. And that meant the family and luggage fit in comfortably.
I kept the Ertiga with me as I needed to bring home a new cycle for my daughter, and with the third row folded and the second slid forward, the bike – which is of a medium size – fit in quite easily. I’ll be switching to another car soon, though, as I’ve no use for the extra seats and, to be honest, I’d prefer a keener drive. But come cargo transport requirements or visiting relatives, and I’ll be reaching for its keys again.
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