Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila
IT appears there are three value propositions Suzuki Philippines unanimously convey about the latest iteration of the Suzuki Ertiga MPV: “strong,” “elegant” and “stylish.”
But people familiar with the nameplate will be best served with knowing one thing: That the second-generation stands, at least at first blush, heads and shoulders above its predecessor in terms of looks, space and engine output.
Which is saying a lot, given that its older sibling was Suzuki’s bestseller in a segment full of contenders. There’s also a notion that second only to entry-level small cars, bang-for-the-buck people movers loudly resonate with the capacity-conscious auto buyers. MPVs score high in per-capita frugality — moving more for less. The Ertiga’s nomenclature is reportedly an adaptation of “R-Tiga,” with “Tiga” standing for “three” in Indonesian, and “R” standing for rows.
Upgraded throughout, the MPV touts a taller nose and wider front grille. Underneath it is a black-lined air dam with fog lamps, giving more character to this version compared to the outgoing Ertiga. New creases on the hood also provide the same effect; as with the deeper curves on the side and shoulder.
Suzuki Motor Corporation’s Satoshi Kasahara, chief engineer of the Ertiga who was in town for the model’s local launch, underscored that MPVs “tend to be boxy,” so he had cut the edge of the Ertiga’s roof to “make it more stylish.” He also harped on the “bold character lines” and “iconic vertical LED lights” — the latter already a hallmark of Suzuki vehicles.
Meanwhile, the interior has been decidedly rendered “more comfortable and elegant,” according to the executive. A horizontal-flowing dashboard with wood accent lends sophistication, while a flat-bottomed steering wheel suggests sportiness. The GLX variant features audio controls on the steering wheel. A 10-inch capacitive touch screen pillars the Ertiga’s infotainment system, offering offline navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.
Perhaps most importantly, the Mr. Kasahara’s new Ertiga boasts more space. Luggage room is up 40 liters versus the previous model. In a previous BusinessWorld review, this writer observed that “while Suzuki touts the Ertiga as a seven-seater, taller passengers may have a bit of a squeeze ahead of them should they venture to sit in the third row.” The all-new version now adds 70 millimeters to the distance between the second row and the third-row hip, among other enlargements. The two passengers in the backseat will also benefit from an additional five inches of headroom. Additional air-conditioning vents with control are provided to the GLX and GL variants for enhanced comfort.
Other thoughtful accoutrements have been added all around, such as small storage spaces like a coin holder, ventilated cup holder, center console and door pockets.
Suzuki promises that the model’s NVH, or noise, vibration and harshness levels, have been improved through sound-absorbent and insulation materials. “The body’s higher rigidity is achieved without increasing vehicle weight, which also lowers noise-generating vibration,” added a company literature.
Supplanting the outgoing Ertiga’s 1.4-liter engine serving up 95hp and 130Nm is the 1.5-liter KB15B mill that’s good for a higher 103hp and 138Nm. In manual versions, it’s mated to a five-speed; automatic variants receive four-speed transmission.
Said Suzuki Philippines managing director Norminio C. Mojica in a speech: “We are positive that the upgrades we made on the new Ertiga will sustain, and even strengthen, its position as our bestselling vehicle in the country.”
The new Ertiga is priced at P728,000 (GA M/T); P848,000 (GL M/T); P888,000 (GL A/T); and P978,000 (GLX). It comes in seven colors, namely: Pearl Glorious Brown, Metallic Magma Gray, Pearl Burgundy Red, Prime Cool Black, Metallic Sky Silver, Pearl Radiant Red and Pearl Snow White.