Some things are just best left unchanged. And Suzuki seemed to have followed that mantra to a certain extent, particularly on one of their best-selling models in the country.
Just last week, Suzuki Philippines (SPH) officially unveiled the 2019 Ertiga for the local market. Bigger, bolder and slightly more powerful than its predecessor, the Ertiga is poised to be a standout in the cutthroat seven-seater segment not just in terms of features and power, but in price as well.
But there was one thing that left us scratching our heads when Suzuki finally pulled the covers off the new MPV, it still comes with a four-speed automatic transmission on the range-topping GLX, as well as some of the mid-range GL variants.
First launched at the 2018 Indonesian International Motor Show (IIMS) last year, we were expecting it to come with a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) since it also sits on Suzuki’s new Heartect platform (which is also seeing use in both the Swift and Dzire).
Puzzled, we asked SPH Senior Product Supervisor for Automobiles Kennedy Adia, as to why Suzuki stuck with a four-speed automatic for the 2019 Ertiga during the company’s media test drive of the MPV.
According to Adia, the four-speed automatic has long been Suzuki’s choice for vehicles that need to carry heavy loads if needed.
“Suzuki wanted to maintain the four-speed automatic for the 2019 Ertiga as it was designed to meet the company’s requirements for heavy-duty hauling besides the five-speed manual. It’s a reliable and capable transmission that has proven its worth,” said Adia.
As to why the 2019 Ertiga did not get a CVT option, Adia simply stated that the CVT was engineered specifically for the Swift in order to deliver better efficiency.
But does that mean the Ertiga will forever be stuck with a four-speed automatic for those that prefer a self-shifting gearbox? Not to worry as Adia also mentioned that there is a possibility of a six-speed automatic in the Ertiga’s future. As a reminder, the all-new Vitara currently has a six-speed automatic transmission. However, the company is still studying as to how they will fit a six-speed auto onto the Heartect platform for the Ertiga.
“We already have the capability of making six-speed automatics since the Vitara already has it. It’s just the matter of developing it, and making it fit onto the Heartect platform on the Ertiga,” added Adia.
Hopefully, Suzuki will be able to introduce a new transmission with additional gears for the Ertiga in the not too distant future.