2021 Suzuki Ertiga vs. the competition: Your other MPV options

·11 min read

With the release of the second generation in 2019, it looks like the Ertiga’s role as Suzuki’s bestselling car is practically assured. Indeed, it’s certainly growing in stature and popularity, with more and more car buyers discovering that it’s a decent and reliable vehicle to own.

While the first generation Ertiga possessed a largely bland interior design, the new Ertiga evolves into a vehicle with more exciting design cues, such as a tasteful D-shape steering wheel, dashing three-tone look, and audio control buttons that allow the driver to operate the 10-inch infotainment system with ease. Topping it all off, Suzuki also put in some faux wood grain accents placed in smart, strategic locations, giving the cabin of the top-ranging GLX 4AT a convincingly premium feel.

Suzuki ertiga GX
Suzuki ertiga GX

Exterior-wise, a lot has changed in the 2020 Ertiga as far as appearances are concerned. The restyled grille, head and tail lamps--all made larger--introduce the Ertiga's sharper looks. The roofline appears immediately taller at first glance, but more than the 5mm addition to the height, it's the upward slope that makes the improvement more obvious, giving the vehicle a sportier silhouette.

While the old Ertiga was fitted with a lackluster 1.4-liter 4-cylinder 95hp engine, the new one comes with a slightly higher displacement, and more power. A 1.5-liter 4-cylinder K15B power mill now sits in the Ertiga engine bay, capable of delivering 103hp and 138Nm of torque. Low trims have a five-speed manual, while upper specs come with a four-speed automatic.

suzuki ertiga
suzuki ertiga

Dimension-wise, the new Ertiga measures 4395mm long, 1735mm wide, and 1690mm tall across all four variants. And yet, it’s lighter and sturdier than ever before. Now built on the HEARTECT platform, which also underpins the modish good looks of the new generation Swift, the latest Ertiga is now lighter by 20kg despite being much larger than the older car. This not only improves handling, but also aids in the vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency.

suzuki ertiga
suzuki ertiga

As for the Ertiga’s other dimensional attributes, wheelbase is at 2740mm, while minimum ground clearance is at 180mm. Those interested in snapping up the latest Suzuki Ertiga can expect a price range of PHP743,000 to PHP1.08 million and six different trims to choose from. Should this popular multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) from the popular Japanese car and bike maker prove to be insufficient for your needs, budget and lifestyle, here are other MPVs to consider for your car shopping excursions.

Suzuki APV (PHP593,000 to PHP813,000)

suzuki-apv
suzuki-apv

Suzuki has another MPV in its stable, and with the ability to wear many hats (is it a multi-purpose vehicle? A minivan? Or a light commercial unit?), the APV moniker—short for All-Purpose Vehicle—is certainly apt. So perhaps it’s best not to question what category the Suzuki APV falls in and just accept it for what it is—an affordable workhorse that can virtually take on any role you want it to. Available in two trims, the APV can seat a total of eight persons, including driver.

Under the APV’s hood is a 1.6-liter SOHC gas mill that yields a max output of 91hp and 127Nm of torque. This engine courses its power through a 5-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. The APV chassis is especially one to marvel at, described by its maker as “engineered and proven to withstand punishing conditions as well as offer smooth, stable handling in expectation of its potential uses.” The vehicle’s long wheelbase and tracks help deliver above-average handling, natural steering feel, and more precise suspension performance.

Suffice to say, you’ll be hard pressed to find a car under a mil that has an 8-person seating capacity such as the Suzuki APV. Sure, there are light commercial vehicles with more seats at that price, but they don’t have the APV’s creature comforts such as power windows, adjustable seats, and touchscreen infotainment system, to name a few.

Toyota Avanza (PHP743,000 to PHP1.08 million)

toyota avanza
toyota avanza

The current Toyota Avanza, a 2019 model, was given a sort-of major exterior overhaul, now sporting a brand new fascia gives the vehicle a sportier, more streamlined face. The facelift introduces new split-type LED headlamps which blend with the character lines of the hood's sheet metal better. The front fog lamps are also a new look alongside the blacked-out lower front grille. A new set of alloy wheels, mildly tweaked rear, and the fin-type antenna complete the new Toyota Avanza's outer shell.

Two engines are on offer for the new Avanza—the first is a 1.5-liter engine for the Veloz and G variants (103hp, 136Nm), and the second is a 1.3-liter engine for the E and J trims (95hp, 121Nm). Drivers can choose between a four-speed automatic and a five-speed manual for all trims except the Veloz, which is solely available in automatic.

The latest Toyota Avanza makes sure that every occupant is comfortable for the long drive with its seven-seater cabin, quality seating materials, and spacious luggage space for everything needed for the trip. Storage expands with the help of 50:50 folding seats on the second and third rows. Infotainment on the other hand, is supplied by a 6.8-inch capacitive touchscreen display infotainment system that also comes with T-Link Mirroring that allows Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. This multimedia console is enhanced with high-resolution K2 Technology audio that enables music streaming and hands-free operation.

Toyota Innova (PHP1.04 to PHP1.69 Million)

innova crysta
innova crysta

The Avanza’s bigger sibling is also its superior in many ways, but all of it comes at a higher price tag. Perhaps the most impressive change to the latest version of the Toyota Innova is the introduction of captain seats at the second row, ushering a more upmarket path for once humble replacement to the Revo. Speaking of upmarket, other such features include automatic climate control, interior ambient lights, two driving modes (ECP and Power), Smart Entry and Push Start, and a TFT touchscreen infotainment with navigation, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary input, to name a few.

The second-gen Toyota Innova—to which the latest version belongs to—is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the lighter yet stiffer underpinning that also supports the current generations of the Hilux pickup and Fortuner SUV. The latest version offers a choice between a 2.0-liter 1TR-FE Dual Variable-Valve Timing-Intelligent (Dual VVT-i) gasoline engine (134hp, 183Nm) and 2.8-liter 1GD-FTV Direct Injection Four-Stroke Common Rail Diesel (169hp, 360Nm). Transmission options vary between a 6-Speed AT with Sequential Control and 5-speed M/T.

Honda Mobilio (PHP895,000 to PHP1.08 million)

Honda Mobilio
Honda Mobilio

Whether you want it to transport cargo, ferry seven people, or a little bit of both, this mini-MUV (multi-utility vehicle) is a ready, willing, and able machine. The locally available Honda Mobilio—a 2019 carryover—is powered by a Euro-4 compliant 1.5-liter, four-cylinder Chain Drive SOHC i-VTEC engine that puts out 118hp and 145Nm. The same one used in the current City and Jazz, this engine is paired with a five-speed manual in the E trim and an Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in the V and RS Navi, with the latter coming with paddle shifters. Ground clearance is an impressive 189 mm.

Updates to the Mobilio include multi-reflecting projector headlights with LED daytime running lights. Design-wise, the front apron, sideskirts, and rear bumper receive a new look. Each variant comes with a different wheel design. A roof spoiler adds a bit of sportiness to the RS Navi as well, as does smoked taillights unique to the trim. Side turn signal lights are mirror-mounted on the two upper trims.

As one of the more stylish MPV options out there, a 'wow' factor radiates in the Mobilio's cabin, especially the top spec RS Navi. The black-centric trim looks surprisingly warm and welcoming, thanks to the great mix of fine textures overall from the panels and seats, and even the carpet. The passenger features offer upscale convenience, with plenty of storage spaces including five cupholders and four bottleholders. Aside from style, the Mobilio cabin is also big on flexibility: there's a one-touch fold-to-tumble 2nd row, multiple seating configurations, and tumbling 2nd- and 3rd- row seats that provide maximum cargo space. For 2019, the RS Navi gets a new touchscreen and a nifty push-start button.

Mitsubishi Xpander (PHP1.01 to PHP1.13 Million)

Mitsubishi Xpander
Mitsubishi Xpander

The Mitsubishi Xpander complements its sharply shaped sheetmetal with some attractive modern touches, making it a viable people carrier for the contemporary Filipino family. From its Dynamic Shield front fascia to its futuristic character lines, the all-new Xpander certainly looks more attractive than many other vehicles in its class. The LED position lights and combination tail lamps are easy on the eyes, and the 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels make a great introduction to the sleek and tasteful exterior.

With four variants available, all Xpanders are equipped with a 1.5-liter inline-four 16-valve DOHC MIVEC engine that delivers 103hp and 141Nm of torque. A modern dashboard welcomes the Xpander’s occupants, placing great emphasis on ergonomics for everyone—the driver most especially. The high user-friendliness is matched by the use of high-quality plastic and fabric materials that help the cabin look particularly upscale for the price point.

Speaking of the cabin, the Mitsubishi Xpander welcomes occupants to a modern dashboard that places great emphasis on ergonomics. Key interior features include USB and 12-volt power outlets, Keyless Operation system, and a touchscreen six-speaker infotainment system equipped with GPS navigation (upper trims only). Combine these with front passenger seat undertray, flat-folding rear seats, underfloor luggage storage, plus pockets and beverage holders all around, and you get a car that gives you all the storage options you'll ever need.

Maxus G50 (PHP1.09 to PHP1.29 million)

G50
G50

The Maxus G50 comes in three variants, all powered by a 167hp 1.5 liter turbocharged gasoline engine mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Exterior-wise, the G50 shows off bold lines highlight the length of the vehicle as it sweeps across its wheelbase. The wide grille sports chrome horizontal lines across its fascia, which complements the pair of faux air vents on both ends of the front bumper, giving the façade a wider stance. The Maxus G50 sits on 17-inch alloys for the middle and high-end variant, while the base model wears 16-inch rubbers.

On the inside is a futuristic, passenger centric overall design. The dark leatherette interior provides an elegant touch. Further, the Maxus G50 is also heavy on technological advancements such as electronic stability program, electronic park brake/autohold, park distance control, reverse camera, as well as keyless entry and push start, which comes as standard. Such features are usually seen on the bigger AUV and SUVs.

Exclusive to the top variants, the Maxus G50 has mobile wireless charging, panoramic sunroof, 360-view camera, power tailgate and additional side airbags.

As for infotainment, the base model has an 8-inch touchscreen and four speakers to play with, while a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity sits on the dash of the mid- and top-range variants, blasting music through six speakers.

Foton Gratour iM6 (PHP698,000)

Foton Gratour iM6
Foton Gratour iM6

Those who are on a truly tight budget will be glad to know that there’s an MPV out there that doesn’t even break the PHP700,000 barrier. Foton is a popular commercial vehicle brand who has recently ventured into passenger car category, and if their sturdy buses and trucks are anything to go by, you’re assured that you’re getting a workhorse vehicle in the Foton Gratour iM6. Powered by a 1.5-liter DAM15D inline-four DVVT gasoline engine mated to a 5-speed manual and capable of delivering 112hp and 150Nm, this Chinese-made MPV possesses some nifty features, including leather seats, rearview camera, and a large 10.1-inch infotainment system.

Haima V70 (PHP849,000 to PHP1.1 million)

haima v70
haima v70

Launched in 2016, the Haima V70 marked the entry of the Chinese carmaker in the local MPV segment. In terms of styling, the V70 features a premium design highlighted by a bold fan-shaped chrome grille on the front and small roof-mounted spoiler with rectangular tail lights on the rear. The interior of this MPV boasts upscale materials while ensuring plenty of storage space for all vehicle occupants. Two gasoline engines are offered for the V70 – a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated mill that makes 152hp of power and 220 Nm of torque and a 1.5-liter turbocharged unit that makes 156hp of power and 220Nm of torque. Each is controlled by a 6-speed transmission available in manual or automatic, depending on trim.

Photos from Suzuki, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, Maxus, Foton, Haima

Also read:

2021 Suzuki XL7: The pros and cons

2021 Suzuki APV: The pros and cons

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