Automakers can be good at identifying and filling up niche markets, and Suzuki Philippines—the country’s subcompact vehicle king—does this very well. Offering only compact and subcompact models, the Japanese automaker ended its 2019 calendar with a phenomenal 21.17 percent increase in vehicle sales.
The year 2020, however, poses a different challenge for Suzuki Philippines. As the COVID-19 pandemic turned the local economy upside down with the automotive and mobility industries, among the hardest hit, Suzuki Philippines still closed the nine months of this pandemic year selling 10,500 units, enabling the company to maintain entry to the elite Top 5 circle in the industry.
Helping Suzuki Philippines achieve this feat is its flagship model, the Ertiga subcompact multipurpose vehicle that contributed to 34 percent of the company’s total vehicle sales in 2019.
This year’s sales performance for the Ertiga should be no different. Remaining as an inexpensive yet classy family hauler, the Ertiga has been getting lots of attention, especially from those looking for a family ride or company service vehicle that would enable the household or office staff minimize their chance of exposure to the virus.
The Ertiga fits the bill perfectly: Measuring 4.395m long, 1.735m wide, 1.69m tall and with a wheelbase of 2.74m long, the Ertiga allows seven occupants to ride comfortably. Moreover, the Ertiga’s seats in all three rows could be configured to accommodate all sorts of cargo (grocery bags, luggage, relief items and even a mountain bike).
The Ertiga’s design is more about understated elegance. It features a taller and wider nose, a dynamic shoulder line, deeper curves, an aerodynamic body and refined chrome accents. The GLX variant even boasts of a Woodgrain design on interior panels, adding a touch of luxurious style.
Serving as Ertiga’s centerpiece is a 10-inch infotainment system available in the range-topping GLX (8-inch in the GL variant). It could be paired easily to any smartphone via Bluetooth or USB to take advantage of the mobile phone’s apps. The Ertiga also comes in Black Edition that gives a classy if not upscale vibe on the interior and elegant exterior accents including black claddings fitted on the front bumper. The GL and GLX are fitted with 15-inch wheels.
Powered by a 1.5-liter K15B that generates maximum 103 horsepower and 138 Nm of torque, the Ertiga is paired to either a smooth shifting 4-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission for more spirited response.
Thanks to computer-aided engineering and wind-tunnel testing, the Ertiga’s improved aerodynamics contributes to better performance as well as fuel economy.
But what elevate the Ertiga from its peers are its host of safety features including a body—Suzuki’s advanced TECT (Total Effective Control Technology)—that extensively employs ultra-high-tensile steel to increase rigidity, lower weight despite larger overall dimensions, and more efficiently absorb and disperse impact energy in the event of a collision. New load paths beneath the engine compartment further mitigate damage in the event of a frontal collision at high speed.
Apart from standard SRS airbag system and reverse parking sensor, the Ertiga is also equipped with Anti-lock Brake System, Electric Brake force Distribution, as well as child seat anchorage.
Suzuki PH made sure the Ertiga is available in different price points to cater to different budgets and needs: Ertiga 1.5 GA M/T (Upgrade) at P743,000; Ertiga 1.5 GL M/T (Upgrade) at P863,000; Ertiga 1.5 GL A/T (Upgrade) P903,000; and Ertiga 1.5 GLX A/T (Upgrade) at P993,000. On the other hand, the Ertiga GA M/T (Black Edition) is priced at P738,000; Ertiga GL M/T (Black Edition) at P858,000; Ertiga GL A/T (Black Edition) at P898,000; and Ertiga GLX A/T (Black Edition) at P988,000.
Another affordable personal ride
For those needing a reliable and safe personal ride, Suzuki PH offers the Dzire subcompact sedan. It’s perfect for those who are first time car buyers, those who prefer a highly maneuverable compact vehicle, millennials who seek a ride for a weekend trip with select friends, those who are price sensitive in terms of fuel expenses, those who like to go for a quick getaway, as well as business owners who are looking for vehicle options for their company/business requirements.
Design-wise, the new Suzuki Dzire brings so much more than its predecessor, the Swift Dzire. It levelled up in terms of what it offer—a new “Heartect” continuous underbody platform that made it lighter, more firm and safer should there be an accident. It is also equipped with multi reflector headlamps, fog lamps (GL+), rear combination lamps with LED as well as 15-inch alloy wheel.
Also standard are air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, airbags for the driver and front passenger. the Dzire even comes with ISOFIX anchor points to accommodate rear-fitted child seats, making it even more safer and convenient for a young family.
The subcompact sedan is available in three choices to cater to different needs of the market: the Dzire AGS, which is equipped with a special type of transmission called Auto Gear Shift (combines all the good characteristics of both manual and automatic gearboxes). The AGS is equipped with an Intelligent Shift Control Actuator that is responsible for clutch operation, gear shifting and selection based on vehicle speed. According to Suzuki Philippines, the AGS can cater to those who are used to automatic driving yet would still want to have the control of a manual transmission in such drives that call for it.
With AGS and Dzire’s 1.2-liter, four-cylinder K12M gasoline engine (featuring Suzuki’s Intake Direct Action VVT valve technology), this subcompact sedan attains a maximum 82 hp and 113 Nm of torque.
Of course, there are also other variants: the Dzire GL M/T (5-speed), which is perfect for first time car owners as well as the Dzire GA M/T, which is designed for those clients that need fleet vehicles (sales, TNVS, taxi or even for those businesses requiring basic personal transport for their staff). On the other hand, the Dzire GA 1.2L M/T is priced at 549,900 while the Dzire GL 1.2L M/T at P638,000. The AGS equipped Dzire GL+ 1.2L is priced at P698,000.
With this price range, the Dzire can be an excellent option for many companies and businesses looking for a spectacular value for money—proving that one really can spend a little but get a lot.
Charles E. Buban is an old timer in the Philippine automotive journalism scene. He first started covering the automotive beat in 2003, writing news and reviews of new models and car tech, among other car-related stuff. When not writing about cars, he could often be seen riding his mountain bike or doing long walks in the hope of catching a couple of legendary Pokemons.