Packed with passengers and luggage, our long-termer takes on some ghat roads.
Last week I borrowed our long-term Ertiga to carry five passengers and their luggage from Mumbai to Aamby Valley in Lonavla. Our stay would be brief and I would be driving back alone, but I still thought the Ertiga would be the perfect car for the job... not too big not too small. And not having to have the passengers sit three abreast on the second row would be much nicer too. So with the seventh seat folded for luggage, rear-facing Chicco child seat strapped in, and air pressure bumped up to handle the extra load, off we went.
GOOD PUSH: The engine delivers a nice slug of power in the mid-range, and the small electric boost helps.
As late afternoon traffic wasn’t too bad, initial progress was good. And yes, while a loaded Ertiga isn’t as light on its feet as an empty one, Maruti’s seven-seater handled the load quite nicely. That crisp throttle response, the addition of torque from the electric motor between 2,000 and 3,000rpm, the strong midrange – it’s all actually quite nice. Even nicer still is the fact that this engine loves to rev, getting stronger and stronger the higher up you go on the powerband. Have to say, I also love the leather-lined flat-bottom steering wheel and how it is put together, and then there’s the light and precise gearbox that’s an absolute joy to use.
WHERE'S THE SIXTH?: The gearbox is smooth and super-slick but you need another gear on the highway.
Out on the expressway, the Ertiga cruised quite nicely at 120kph and I seemed to have more than sufficient power to overtake. I did miss having a sixth gear and a more relaxed lower engine rpm. Also, I didn’t care much for how the loaded Ertiga thudded and thumped its way through some of the rain-ravaged sections of ghat road near Aamby Valley, something an Innova would have breezed through.
Passengers sat on the third row (we did swap places), however, were quite happy with the legroom, shoulder-room and headroom here. And even ingress and egress were quite easy.
SMALL WHEELS: Not only do they look small but they also struggle when the roads get bad.
The drive back down the ghat – this time with no passengers in the back – was a more enjoyable affair. Now lighter on its feet and with a bit more suspension travel at its disposal, the Ertiga felt a bit more comfortable over the bumps. And since there was no one to complain, I could wind that wonderful naturally aspirated engine to the redline with abandon; I even enjoyed carving up some corners on the way down to the expressway. In fact, driving it was so enjoyable, I even held onto it for a week or so after I got back. Only if our Autocar Car of the Year was easier to park.
2019 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga long term review, second report
2019 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga long term review, first report