New Suzuki Ertiga: Compact MPV redefined

By Ardie O. Lopez Philippine Daily Inquirer January 30,2019

Suzuki executives echo the public’s sentiment with a thumbs up. From left, SPH president Hiroshi Suzuki, SPH director and general manager for Automobile Keiichi Suzuki, SMC Ertiga chief engineer Satoshi Kasahara, and SPH managing director Norminio Mojica

The Marriott Grand Ballroom was packed to the brim last Jan. 23 with over 600 Suzuki dealers, banking partners, Club Ertiga members, motoring media, and other friends of the Japanese brand in attendance.

It was no secret that the much-awaited all-new iteration of Suzuki’s best-selling nameplate was finally about to be officially launched.

A single file of the all new Suzuki Ertigas seemed to link the three halls that led to the huge stage where the symbolically shrouded Ertiga was positioned.

Finally with a dazzling laser light display, an impressive dance number replete with aerial maneuvers by daring dancers suspended several feet up, the evening’s hero car was uncovered amid loud applause.

Director and Automobile Division general manager Keichi Suzuki took to the podium and excitedly explained: “With the increasingly diversified demands of the local auto industry and needs of end users, we cannot be complacent when we’ve done well, and to stop innovating.

A great example of a well thought-out interior, the new Ertiga continues to impress with its pleasing design and essential amenities.

“We want to make sure that our customers get more than they deserve, which is why we decided to further improve the best-selling Ertiga.

“With its new features and enhanced functions, the upgraded MPV will definitely enable more Filipinos to live the Suzuki way of life, and drive Suzuki Philippines forward.”

Indeed, even on a visual level, the latest iteration of its mighty but compact MPV seemed already indicative of what Suzuki-san spoke of.

To say the new Ertiga is an upgrade compared to the last is an understatement. To begin with, its aesthetics have been hiked to a totally new level.

The previous Ertiga’s playful fascia has given way to a sophisticated and masculine front, with the grille positioned higher and seamlessly flanked by a pair of sleek wraparound headlight clusters.

Its profile emphasizes an uninterrupted shoulder line from front to rear, with prominent creases that add to the dynamism of its sportier stance.

The well-designed high-mounted LED rear combination lamps are beyond functional, completing the Ertiga’s cohesive “in the now” cutting edge look.

The new K15B 1.5-liter gasoline engine boasts of a better power output than its predecessor, available in both M/T and A/T.

Beyond the sculpted sheet metal, it’s what’s inside the all new Ertiga that’ll appease those who’ve been clamoring for a much better compact MPV.

The Ertiga’s lower roof sides increased the headroom, as well as expanded legroom all around.

The third row seats of this compact 7-seater even recline with a tilt-down feature for even better tandem space. The second row seats have a slide function, for easier ingress and egress of third-row passengers.

For enhanced comfort, the new Ertiga now has a rear air conditioner. Depending on the variant (there are three), it’s either an 8-inch or a 10-inch capacitive touch screen display that serves as the main interface of the three-tier dashboard tastefully accentuated with a wood-design trim.

Smart is the way a whole host of specialized compartments are built in on the Ertiga, and these include ventilated cup holders at the center console to keep your drinks chilled, coin and bank note slots, as well as more cup holders and side pockets all around.

Yes, looks could thrill, and that’s what the all-new Ertiga has accomplished. With a more dynamic and stylish look that’s apparent from any angle, it certainly is an invitation to step inside.

With much improved space and interior amenities packaged in a handsome body, what else can move a more discerning compact MPV market, especially now that competition in the category has become tougher?

The new Ertiga now offers a more powerful 1.5-liter 4-cylinder K15B gasoline engine, available with either a 5-speed MT or 4-speed AT.

A dual SRS airbag system comes standard, as does ABS with EBD. A lighter yet more rigid body provides better handling, and improves its occupants’ safety as well.

I’ve had substantial seat time with the previous Suzuki Ertiga, both as driver and passenger on various tight streets and expansive highways in India on a media trip a few years back.

While it was a pleasant and enjoyable experience, just looking at its replacement tells me it’s definitely a far cry in every respect, inside and out, and I can’t wait to drive it—especially with very competitive prices (GA variant at P728,000, GL MT at P848,000, GL AT at P888,000).

The all new Suzuki Ertiga will surely create a stir in the market, by redefining what a compact MPV should be.

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