It seemed just like yesterday when we picked up our brand-new 2014 Suzuki Ertiga 1.4GLXi A/T multi-purpose vehicle directly from the Suzuki Philippines, Inc. factory in Canlubang, Laguna.
After we did a cover story on it for Power Wheels Magazine, we fell in love with the first-generation Ertiga Life Utility Vehicle (LUV), as SPH was marketing it then. On November 18, 2014, we got one for a series of long-term tests to determine if it could be the ideal 7-seat MPV for the average Filipino family. Our tests, which ended in June 2016, concluded with this phrase: “We expect more Filipinos to fall in love with this Suzuki LUV. We look at it as the right-sized LUV for the Philippine road conditions.” With the number of Ertigas sold from 2014 to 2018, we guess we had it right.
Fast forward to the present day and we got our hands on the new second-generation 2019 Suzuki Ertiga 1.5GLXi A/T for a short week-long test drive. It still looks like an Ertiga, which is a good thing because the previous one was well-loved and popular with Filipino families. But, like everything else in the Suzuki Auto model line-up, it has grown in size both inside and out, got new features, and jazzed up its styling. With new competition from other Japanese brands, and more rivals from European, American and Chinese brands, Suzuki saw it fit to equip the Ertiga with a longer body, a new engine, and new amenities.
Longer, Wider, Taller
With an overall length of 4,395 millimeters, a width of 1,735 millimeters and a height of 1,690 millimeters, the 2019 Ertiga is 130mm longer, 40mm wider and 5mm taller than our 2014 long-term test unit. But it wears those bigger dimensions quite well. The Suzuki designers gave the new Ertiga a sharper and bolder exterior that does not detract from the familiar look of the previous model. They factored in a touch of elegance with the new front grill and the new headlight assembly, and then added a dash of sportiness with the new front bumper, fog lights, and aggressive vent design.
New headlight assembly adds to the aggressive facade.
The side profiles are no longer simple slab-sided affairs but are now endowed with character lines that add some rigidity to the metal panels. Even the doors sound less tinny when you close them. The wheels, at least on this 1.5 GLXi A/T, are still 15-inch multi-spoke aluminum alloys wrapped with Dunlop Enasave EC300+ tires measuring 185/65R-15. At the rear, a pair of modern taillights that look like they belong on a Swedish car take this Suzuki MPV decidedly up-market. The tail gate opening is also slightly bigger than our old Ertiga, which increases its overall utility.
The larger exterior dimensions translate to increased interior space even though the wheelbase remains the same at 2,740 millimeters. A quick visual inspection confirms factory claims that the legroom for the third row seat has increased by 70mm and that the cargo space at the back with the third row upright is now 90mm bigger. The second row legroom and headroom are still spacious and so are the front seats’, just like the previous model. The split third- and second-row seats fold down to massively increase this MPV’s carrying capacity, with a new removable panel behind the third row to accommodate taller cargo. Numerically, cargo space is 153 liters with all seats up; 199 liters with the bottom storage panel removed; 550 liters with the third-row seats folded; and 803 liters with the second row folded flat.
But the Ertiga won’t be multi-purpose (hence the MPV moniker) if it only accommodates cargo. It also carries people very well with its new, classier interior that features faux wood trim surround the dashboard and door panels, comfortable fabric trim, a flat-bottomed leather steering with remote controls for the infotainment system, and a large 10-inch touchscreen display monitor at the center of the dash. The infotainment system includes AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, AUX, USB, Smartphone Mirrorlink, video playback and navigation functions. The two cup holders in the center console functions as a cooler when the air-conditioning is on. Rear passengers are cooled by an overhead A/C with four vents. We can honestly say that we loved the interior of our old Ertiga but we love the new one even better.
One of the bigger surprises we got from the 2019 Ertiga is its improved acceleration with improved fuel economy. The power of our old Ertiga is “adequate”, considering its design as a small MPV, but the new Ertiga is “more than adequate”. Suzuki engineers installed a bigger 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder K15B engine that churns out 103 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 138 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. That’s about 12 hp and 8 Nm more than the K14B of our old Ertiga, but in an MPV weighing just 1,135 kilograms, that’s more than enough.
With improved convenience, safety and security features like push button start/stop, anti-lock (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), ISOFIX rear anchors, reverse camera, keyless entry and alarm with engine immobilizer, the 2019 Suzuki Ertiga GLXi A/T that we tested came with a sticker price of P978,000, which is below the P1M price point of its competitors, but above the P888,000 of our 2014 Ertiga. We sold our Ertiga when we got our 2016 Suzuki Ciaz and regretted selling it. We’d buy the new Ertiga in a heartbeat. I guess you can say that we’re ready to fall in LUV again!
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