2019 Suzuki Ertiga revealed

2019-04-03 06:00
PHOTO: motorPRESSThe Generation-2 Ertiga has arrived — bigger, more powerful and even better.

PHOTO: motorPRESSThe Generation-2 Ertiga has arrived — bigger, more powerful and even better.

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WHY risk deciding alone on your next car if you believe you’re bound to mess up? It’s usually easier to just follow the herd’s recommendation. They must surely be right because there are so many of them, even if their preference is more expensive and offers less.

Let’s say you’re in the market for a small MPV that’s able to carry seven when needed. It should be spacious, comfortable and not too expensive. A few toys would be nice too.

In a typical month, 463 South African families choose Brand T’s Avanza; a rather noisy machine with few refinements. Prices range from R234 100 for a basic 1 300 to R296 000 for the top 1 500 with alloy wheels. Sixty free spirits, on average, chose Suzuki’s Generation-1 Ertiga.

Its advantages included a modern 1 400 cc engine, superior space, more versatile seats and sophisticated suspension providing greater comfort and better handling. Prices ranged from R204 900 to R247 900.

Equipment and outward appearances of the two makes were very similar.

Avanza offered the psychological advantages of a bigger engine, seven bottle holders rather than six and, of course, the brand. For this they charge extra. That’s about to change — the Generation-2 Ertiga has arrived; bigger, more powerful and even better.

Although the 2 740 mm wheelbase stays the same, its body is 130 mm longer, 50 mm wider and 5 mm lower. It has been strengthened for safety, stiffened for better handling and made quieter — for your physical and mental wellness, and the seats are more supportive. The interior is black, like Avanza’s and thus likely to prove more popular. Its new 1 462 cc engine has similar power numbers to that of the 1.5 Avanza but is smoother and less buzzy.

Extra length and width translate into more people space. The event organisers picked us up from ORT, in groups of six, in new Ertigas. Your 1.85-metre reporter deliberately chose a seat right in the back and was pleasantly surprised — definitely roomier than the previous model. The familiarisation drive, later in the day, through city streets and along Jo’burg area freeways was pleasant, comfortable, satisfyingly energetic and decently quiet for a small family bus.

Suzuki had taken the opportunity to do a little facelifting; new headlights in clear housings with individual driving- and highbeam lamps, new grille and lower air intake, raised bonnet, more smoothly sculpted sheetmetal, reshaped tailgate and rear lights, and darkened “C”-pillars to create the impression of a floating roofline. Interior build quality improved noticeably.

Joining the 21st century was important too; a second USB socket (for charging), a new trip computer, a D-shaped steering wheel with elevation adjustment to make it easier to slide beneath, two temperature-controlled cup holders, a pair of 12-Volt recharging points, folding mirrors, reverse parking sensors, and a touch screen interface for GL models.

Avanza will get that little refinement on SA models next year, apparently.

Buyers have three choices: there’s GA, five-speed manual only but with everything you really need; or GL, with manual or automatic gearboxes, with a touch panel, steering wheel remotes, remote central locking and alarm, electric side mirrors that fold, reverse parking sensors, a 50:50-split luggage board, full plastic wheel trims and the second 12-volt socket. Spare wheels on both are fully sized.

Prices range from R214 900 for GA to R254 900 for GL automatic — still provocatively competitive.

Surely time to stop following the herd and start choosing your own, don’t you think?

THE NUMBERS

Engine: Suzuki K15B, 1 462 cc DOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol

Power: 77 kW at 6 000 rpm

Torque: 138 Nm at 4 400 rpm

Zero to 100 km/h, overseas tests: 13.5 secs (m), 14.0 secs (a)

Maximum speed: 175 km/h (m), 170 km/h (a)

Claimed average fuel consumption, l/100 km: 5.5 (m), 6.0 (a)

Luggage: 199 – 803 litres

Tank: 45 litres

Warranty: Five years / 200 000 km

Service: Four years / 60 000 km

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