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Maruti Suzuki India Limited estd 1982 (MSIL, formerly Maruti Udyog Limited ), a subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan, is India's largest passenger car company.
The Suzuki Ertiga never really stood out clearly in its class. Could the zesty Dreza make-up help?
It's nip and tuck time for the Ertiga, Suzuki's budget-priced MPV that goes into contention with the Honda Mobilio and Toyota Avanza.
While the updates are mostly on the visual side, there's a new model called Dreza (the dark coloured one in the main picture) with an even more pronounced-looking nose to lock horns with the Mobilio RS.
In a bid to improve fuel economy, power of the 1.4-litre petrol engine has dropped from 94hp to 92hp. As well, Suzuki says the Asia-only Ertiga now uses more lightweight bits in the body to cut overall weight by 70kg.
As a result, frugality improves from 14.9kpl to 15.4kpl on the average. Carbon dioxide emissions, meanwhile, drop from 157g/km to 154g/km.
Due to new excise taxation based on the CO2 rules, the Ertiga now faces a higher 35% (over 150g/km) from the 25% it used to enjoy under old rules (E20 compatibility which doesn't exist anymore).
Suzuki says achieving the 150g/km level for a 5% saving would have been too costly to develop, but then you wonder why they went through that effort of cutting just 3g/km of CO2. Suzuki's official answer: to make the Ertiga more frugal on fuel for customers.
The Ertiga in GL form costs 655,000 baht (16,000 baht more than before) and 715,000 in Dreza spec (26,000 baht more than the old GLX). The 10% tax hike might have meant larger increases in prices, but Suzuki has tried to cushion the impact as much as possible.
The Mobilio costs between 659,000-755,000 baht, while the Avanza goes for 640,000-729,000 baht when both are specified with an automatic gearbox.
Considering its competition, chassis setup is decent.
For those who have found the Ertiga -- and its rivals -- too bland in appearance should find the Dreza version a remedy. The pronounced grille, more garish wheel design and two-tone interior help lift the visual appeal.
Although two ponies have run away from the Ertiga's bonnet, you don't feel any drop in power. Maybe Suzuki's weight-saving measures are genuine and help compensate for the small loss in power.
The Ertiga was never a great car to drive, but its chassis setup is still decent, particularly when you put its two key opponents into perspective. Nothing seems to be exaggerated or lacking in the Ertiga's handling and ride factors.
The brand's latest Suzuki Smart Connect infotainment hasn't made it into the Ertiga.
A number of other people may find the Dreza too comical in looks, so there's the regular model which has a more natural-looking face. But it's when you opt to save 60,000 baht for the GL trim that disappoints slightly.
Of course, those visual add-ons in the Dreza package are just for show, but one safety feature has been pathetically left out in the GL: anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.
And while the brand's latest Suzuki Smart Connect infotainment has already appeared in the Ciaz RS saloon, it hasn't made it into any of the Ertigas.
Buy or bye?
Suzuki seemingly has tried its best to make the Ertiga attractive in monetary terms for its potential customers. The Dreza, for one, is cheaper than both the Mobilio and Avanza in range-topping forms.
But if you need more than just visual zest, then the Ertiga falls behind in some areas. The Mobilio, for one, has a stronger 117hp 1.5-litre petrol engine and smoother CVT automatic transmission.
Very much like before, the Ertiga is neither an outstanding nor lousy MPV (that latter title arguably goes to the Avanza). Perhaps the Dreza outfit could help attract buyers looking for a different taste from the Mobilio RS to the Ertiga.
Ertiga's seven-seat cabin has just enough space and versatility to stay competitive against rivals.
Two ponies have disappeared but you won't feel it.
Dreza is merely a dressed-up Ertiga.
On Nut Rd., Prawet, Bangkok 10250 Thailand