The rise of the 7-seater category in the country has been on a constant up-trend. Whether MPVs or SUVs, making use of the 3rd row for passengers is something many manufacturers have adopted into their vehicle lineups. Some even released two vehicles in the same segment, maybe for variety’s sake.
Suzuki has done the same with the release of the Ertiga and just recently the newer XL7. The notion of some people is that newer models may eat into the sales of the older models, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. The Ertiga seems to have maintained a following of sorts, and Suzuki saw fit to spruce things up.
The Black Edition does away with the usual beige interior associated with top-spec models and instead uses, well, black as the interior’s primary color. Aside from the darker interior aesthetic, what else does the Black Edition offer? Let’s have a look-see.
After getting to review the XL7, it’s clear that the Ertiga has its unique selling points. For one, the older of the two 7-seaters looks more mature, more refined. You don’t get any blacked-out exterior pieces because the idea is to make the Ertiga’s lines and curves stand out with just one cohesive color scheme, and it works.
The high beltline and the sizeable greenhouse stand out more given the singular body-color, with chrome door handles serving as the central accent pieces to break the monotony of color on the side. Upfront, you see the same headlight units and the same chrome grill. As it is, it’s a great leap forward compared to its previous generation. It still looks good, though, and doesn’t look outdated in any way.
What we have to remember is that the Black Edition is essentially the top-spec GLX model and that the exterior didn't get any aesthetic changes. The Black Edition is more of an interior update anyway, and that’s what we’ll get to now.
We did mention that Suzuki did away with the brown interior pieces for the Black Ed. We also mentioned that compared to the younger XL7, the Ertiga still maintains its appeal for the more straightforward audience. How so? The beige plastic bits are gone, yes, but the glossy faux wood trim is still there. Most top-spec models from different manufacturers do come with a garnish of this sort, and it seems Suzuki still believes in it. While it doesn’t look that unattractive, a similar black piece is on the XL7. Given the Black Edition monicker, perhaps they can put that into the next iteration of the Black Ed Ertiga.
The upholstery also got a total makeover. The black fabric is now the material of choice, which adds to a more simplistic motif. From the seats to the door sidings, all you’ll see is black, and that does well for people who get worried about keeping the lighter-colored materials spotless. Again, you are looking at something that is primarily a family car, and a light-colored interior doesn’t bode well against food or beverage spills.
Another thing we did notice is that the pillars and headliner are the same as the non-Black Ed units. This is perhaps the only facet that deserves some nitpicking since it’s something that could have been included in the aesthetic update. Continuity would have been nice, so we hope that this is something that can be remedied with a possible future release, yes, Suzuki?
Moving away from the looks department, let’s move to people space – something that the Ertiga can leave you wanting for a little bit more. The first row provides ample space and comfort. The seats are well-cushioned, and while there is a lack of side bolsters, you won’t slip and slide every which way.
The second row, though, seems a better fit for two adults plus one child (or a smaller adult) in the middle. It does get the same comfortable cushions, plus pretty good head- and legroom, but shoulder space could be better. Much like its other 7-seater brother, though, the 3rd row holds a bit of a surprise.
Typically this space is best for children, but in the Ertiga, we didn’t have a problem fitting two adults in the rear. The headroom is as impressive as the 2nd row, and while the occupants’ legs may be near the 2nd row’s backrest, they aren’t touching at all. In this aspect, we could say that the Ertiga is more a 6.5-seater than a full-fledged 7-seater, but that notwithstanding, you’re still getting more than decent space.
As for the trunk space, you get a decent amount with the 3rd row up (153 liters worth, if you’re big on the numbers and figures). Fold if flat, though, and you have a lot more to work with and store your wares in. There’s also a false floor that provides a recess to stow smaller objects away from prying eyes. If you want even more space, you can fold the middle row, too. Believe us when you say that if your Ertiga isn’t busy ferrying people, there are no doubts it can handle a whole lot of cargo wherever you go.
But how does the Ertiga perform? Starting with its ride quality, it noticeably leans towards the stiffer side. Driving with one or two people gives you a real good feel of the road – too good a feeling of the road. Now, if you have maybe one or two more in the middle row, the ride evens out quite nicely. Not a day and night difference in the rather bouncy ride, but it is more comfortable. The Ertiga is billed as a 7-seater, so it feels stiffer with fewer occupants.
Despite the, err, “robust” ride feel, the shining star of the Ertiga remains to be its efficient engine. Despite going through morning and evening traffic jams, it was still able to return a consumption of 10.5 kilometers per liter. When we say traffic jams, what we mean is being stuck in a 21-kilometer drive for about an hour on average, and that’s just one-way.
If we were to find points for improvement, it would be for just two things, and they are to improve the sometimes spongy brake pedal feel and what feels to be a slight delay in throttle response. For the former, we aren’t saying that the brakes of the Ertiga are weak. We are strictly referring to the brake pedal’s feedback itself as it can sometimes be off-putting. As for the latter, it sometimes needs a progressive step rather than a gentle tap on the throttle to get the Ertiga going.
The Ertiga Black Edition is exactly what Suzuki has billed it to be: a special edition that takes the best features of its top-spec variant, plus a little bit of subdued class. We can’t really look for anything more than that now, can we? The Ertiga GLX is already a formidable platform and vehicle as a whole, and with the added aesthetic draw of black upholstery and trim pieces, it can only widen its reach and clientele even more.
At PHP 988,000, the Ertiga Black Edition gets your money’s worth and is a solid contender for your consideration in the 7-seater MPV market.