Suzuki Philippines has recently launched the all-new Ertiga last January 23, 2019, and now, Suzuki has invited us to take the all-new Ertiga for a spin. With an all-new exterior and interior design, as well as a brand-new HEARTECT platform from that also underpins the all-new Swift hatchback and DZire sedan, how does it compared to the old model? A lot better than you expect, actually.
The exterior design gives a stylish first impression. The slightly upright fascia, slim grille, projector headlights, and those Volvo-esque tail lights give it a modern look. Unlike most cars in this segment, the Ertiga does not look frumpy, and instead looks well proportioned. The rear doors are still longer than the front doors, which may seem odd in some angles, but apart from that, the all-new Ertiga is a class act.
Inside, the all-new Ertiga has a somewhat spacious vibe thanks to the light colors and minimalist details. The floating touch screen display looks great, though fuctionality-wise, it is still far off from the Honda Mobilio’s infotainment system. There are also some nifty details in the interior like the air vents integrated into the horizontal dashboard lines, as well as the cup holders with ventilation to keep your drinks cool. There’s of course the now obligatory passive entry and push button start in this top trim GLX variant.
There’s ample space on all seats, even the third rows. Even with the third row seats in place, there’s still plenty of space for a weekend’s worth of goods. Flexibility is enhanced by the movable false floor, which can lower for more trunk space when the third row seats are up, or provide a flat loading area with a hidden underfloor storage when the third rows are folded down.
But the real reason why where here in Tagaytay Highlands is to know how much better it drives compared to its predecessor, and with that aspect, it’s so much better.
I usually am one of the few people that find it hard to like cars in this class. Achieving a low price whilst being able to seat seven means that a lot of compromises have to be made, but in the Ertiga’s case, driving dynamics is not one of them. This all-new Ertiga is one of the nicest to drive in its segment.
The all-new Ertiga’s HEARTECT platform gives it solid driving dynamics and a composed ride in most situations. Handling is secure and it isn’t as wallowy as most of the cars competing in this segment. The steering is also top notch. It has the right amount of weight and resistance whilst still providing precision and accuracy that not only makes it feel dynamic on its feet but also stable out in the highway. This car can even be described as almost if not as sporty as the Honda Mobilio. Overtaking power is quite good thanks to the 4-speed automatic’s willingness to downshift.
Refinement is also one thing that Suzuki’s engineers have improved in this all-new Ertiga. Whereas most cars in this class feel so tinny that a Big Bad Wolf could huff and puff and blow it all down, this Ertiga is quiet and stable out in the open highway. Road and wind noise is better suppressed than most in this segment. Suspension tuning is also excellent, providing a nice balance between comfort and sport. It’s not too soft that the car rolls all over the place, but it isn’t too firm that the ride becomes choppy. The all-new Ertiga is quite a relaxing long distance cruiser. Engine noise suppression could be better though, since it can be quite vocal when overtaking.
The 1.5-liter K15B is certainly more powerful than the 1.4-liter engine it replaces, producing 104 hp and 138 Nm of torque, but it still struggles at inclines. Especially when fully loaded with seven people, the engine becomes vocal in these situations. But again, that’s to be expected in this class.
Other negatives, well, I do hope that Suzuki has followed Toyota’s footsteps of making electronic stability control as standard on all variants, since we at Go Flat Out believe that this basic electronic safety feature should never be optional. Seven airbags might be too much, given its relatively low price compared to its competitors. Also, the steering does not telescope, unlike the Mitsubishi Xpander, which means finding your ideal driving position can be awkward for some people.
Overall, the Suzuki Ertiga is a much improved small entry-level MPV that people should take note of. While the amount of standard safety features can be improved, the rest of the package more than makes up for it. Its stable and refined driving dynamics are exceptional for a class of cars that often feel tinny to drive, especially given Its very low price.