2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG review, road test - the best CNG car you can buy?
For the longest time, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has been the default choice if you've wanted an affordable but still useful family MPV. But that hasn't been the case lately with a flurry of new options like the Renault Triber at one end and the Kia Carens at the other. So to cover off the newer competition, Maruti Suzuki has given the Ertiga an upgrade. A focus has been to shore up the CNG variants, now also available in a better-equipped ZXi variant. So how has this 2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG turned out?
2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG facelift exterior changes
Now you'll need a keen eye to tell the facelifted Maruti Suzuki Ertiga from the previous version. The most noticeable change is the new grille with the more striking chrome blades. You get two new paint shades - Splendid Silver and Dignity Brown - as well as a new set of dual-tone alloy wheels. There's a chrome band to the boot but most of the important changes aren't immediately visible.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG facelift driving impressions, CNG specifications, mileage
A more significant change is that the 2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga facelift now gets the updated 1.5-litre K15C four-cylinder petrol. This motor comes equipped with the DualJet tech which improves overall efficiency and driveability although power figures have dropped marginally by 2PS and 1 Nm to 103PS and 136.8 Nm from the K15B.
In this CNG variant, the outputs drop slightly more to 100PS and 136 Nm in the petrol mode while in the CNG mode this drops further to 88PS and 121.5 Nm. The petrol Ertiga facelift can be had with a five-speed manual or a new six-speed automatic with paddle shifters while the CNG is manual only. You also lose out on the mild-hybrid tech with the Ertiga CNG.
The Ertiga is fitted with a 60 kg water equivalent CNG tank, the segment norm, which should accommodate 8 to 10 kgs of gas per tank up. Being factory fitted, it's well-integrated too. You fill the tank through the nozzle in the fuel filler cap and there are twin fuel gauges in the instrument cluster. You also get a useful graph in the MID that shows you your fuel usage ratio between petrol and CNG. As with most CNG cars, you miss out on consumption and range data.
You can't start the Ertiga in CNG power alone, which is a bit of a miss considering you will need to have some amount of petrol in the system but Maruti Suzuki says this has been done to reduce engine wear and improve lubrication.
But Maruti Suzuki has ensured the switchover is quite seamless. As you would expect, this new motor has taken to this CNG conversion well. Below 2,000 rpm, the 12PS and 15 Nm deficit in the CNG mode isn't too apparent. You notice a slight deficit in harder, full bore acceleration but commendably, in either fuel mode, there is still a fairly flat, usable supply of performance even with the mild hybrid assistance missing here. Usefully, Maruti Suzuki has been able to retain that crisp, low-end peppiness that makes their cars so city-friendly. Of course, this feeling may be slightly diluted with a full load of passengers, as an Ertiga is regularly used.
In a pleasant surprise, the Ertiga is actually marginally quicker in the CNG mode in certain situations as our in-gear acceleration times show(see below). At low revs in higher gears, Maruti Suzuki's work to ensure consistent fueling in the CNG system seems to have been effective. Impressive, considering the gap in outputs.
Now we couldn't put the Ertiga CNG through our full mileage test but the 26.08 km/kg CNG efficiency figure should make it, possibly, the most efficient and the most economical to run three-row car in the country. Expect real-world CNG-only range to be about 180 to 220km.
The sense that the Ertiga CNG makes no excuses for its efficiency focus becomes more apparent when you consider the progressive clutch and precise gear shifts. Either way, you don't need to change gears too often when you are just trundling along with the wide power band. Of course that changes when you need to pull an overtake considering the Ertiga CNG isn't the fastest car on our roads, given the lesser performance and upto 100 kgs of added kerb weight. The lack of a sixth gear is also apparent here.
The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG gets retuned suspension to handle the added weight of the CNG componentry. So the MPV has retained its plush ride quality. Very little of our broken roads or obstacles like rumbler strips disturb the Ertiga's demeanour, and much of it is kept away from occupants. Despite its large, boxy footprint, the Ertiga feels light on its feet in traffic or on the open road. As you would expect, there is noticeable body roll and we also wish Maruti Suzuki had reworked the steering to re-centre effectively and be more direct.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG facelift interior, features
The changes to the inside of the facelifted Ertiga are again subtle, so you get new beige/light grey upholstery and darker wood trim. This has spruced up the cabin slightly and there are more features too like connected car tech but with the CNG variant not being available with the top trim, you miss out on the new Smartplay Pro system.
This isn't too much of a loss considering this older infotainment is still a fairly intuitive one but with competitors now offering CNG fuel options on their top trims, the lack of features like a reversing camera, cruise control and auto headlamps feels stark in a car priced over Rs 13 lakh on-road. You do get keyless entry and start, a height-adjustable driver's seat, climate control and projector headlamps though.
As before there's quite a bit of space in the cabin, helped by the larger windows and high roof. The second row is adjustable for recline and fore-aft movement, so finding a compromise for all three rows of passengers isn't a problem. The dedicated roof-mounted blowers are a boon as always. The third row too is spacious enough for children or small adults with the large windows and reclining seatbacks, although you do end up sitting in a knees-up position as with most such arrangements.
However, the smart space management that endears cars like the Triber and Carens to us is lacking to an extent in the Ertiga's cabin. Entering the third row takes some contorting, there are only 12V power outlets in the last two rows and cubby holes are limited to the door pockets.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga facelift CNG, overall safety
Being a factory-fitted CNG system, Maruti Suzuki has put in quite a few fail-safes. The Ertiga CNG can't be refuelled with the engine on and the piping is stainless steel and corrosion-resistant. The nozzle is also leakproof, and in case there is a leak, the system can shut off the fuel supply and release CNG directly into the atmosphere.
In terms of other safety equipment, again the lack of a fully-equipped variant has put the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG at a disadvantage. You don't get the four airbags and ESC from the ZX Plus, this variant is limited to the government-mandated two airbags and airbags. There are also no rear disc brakes. In unladen panic braking situations, the MPV's rear can step out of line although the outright stopping distance and the feel from the pedals are par for the course.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG facelift prices, verdict
Now the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga can't match newer competition in the features, safety and practicality it offers, largely solvable with the addition of a top-spec ZXi Plus variant in CNG guise. But it is the only three-row CNG car you can buy in the country now. That's an immense advantage in an MPV that is fundamentally efficient, easy to drive, spacious and perfectly attuned to the needs of a value-seeking buyer.
The 2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is priced at Rs 11.97 lakh for the base VXi while this ZXi variant costs Rs 13.17 lakh, both on-road Mumbai.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG facelift real-world performance
Performance petrol mode
0 to 100 kmph - 12.9s
30 to 50 kmph(3rd) - 4.0s
50 to 70 kmph(4th) - 5.6s
60 to 80 kmph (5th) - 8.9s
100 to 0 kmph - 46.4m, 3.3s
Performance CNG mode
0 to 100 kmph - 14.3s
30 to 50 kmph(3rd) - 4.1s
50 to 70 kmph(4th) - 5.5s
60 to 80 kmph (5th) - 8.6s
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Starts Rs 8.35 Lakhs