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Which is better between Enjoy and Ertiga basis car experts from Autocar

Ertiga the current darling of compact MPV buyers in India gets its match from Chevrolet Enjoy. Ertiga after having a near monopolistic control of the MPV sub 10 lacs segment, now in Enjoy from Chevrolet gets a competent competitor. Indian car buyers rejoice, as they finally get a worthy choice.  


Chevrolet Enjoy LTZ Diesel vs Maruti Ertiga ZDI

Chevrolet Enjoy LTZ Diesel vs Maruti Ertiga ZDI

We are a country of 1.2 billion people with plenty of large families. So, when the need for travel arises, vehicles like the two you see here are best suited to the purpose. Allow us to elaborate.

The public at large aspires to own an SUV or a saloon, but the fact is the former is usually expensive and doesn’t always have decent seating for seven, and the letter can’t seat seven, full stop. MPVs makes more sense as people carriers, but most of them are on the pricier side and a bit too big to easily double up as city runabouts. Is there a sweet spot somewhere? Maruti was the first to find one with the Ertiga and pioneered the compact MPV segment. The Ertiga has gone on to become a huge success unchallenged, but it now has a rival on its hands in the form of the Chevrolet Enjoy.

Both these compact MPVs can seat seven in reasonably comfort, are nimble enough for city use and impressively light on the wallet. The Enjoy wins round one of the bat with its astonishing sticker price. Petrol versions start at Rs 5.49 lakh and this top-end diesel LTZ comes in at Rs 7.99 lakh (which, incidentally, is the price of the Polo GT tested elsewhere in this issue). The popular Ertiga, which starts at Rs 5.98 lakh and goes on to Rs 8.7 lakh for the diesel ZDi, is significantly more expensive. But owners, who will spend long hours with their families in these MPVs, will want more than just a cheap sticker price. Ease of use, a comfortable cabin and load of practicality are high up on the list too. So which one better suits the one-size-fits-all template that customers expect from these MPVs?

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

The Enjoy, with its more upright stance, looks more van-like than the Ertiga. Everything aft of the B-pillar is square and upright, and that includes the big windows for the third row, the squared-off- edges that drop into an almost vertical tailgate. The Ertiga has a much lower roofline and the squatter stance looks far more appealing. It may not be as practical as the Enjoy – third-row passengers get small windows which don’t open – but its curvier shape looks more sophisticated than the Enjoy’s lines. Up front the Ertiga’s nose give it a generic Suzuki look, but it is arguably more attractive than the Enjoy’s simpler design.

As for the exterior dimensions, it’s the Enjoy that’s longer, but the Ertiga is wider and has the longer wheelbase – something that’s noticeable from the sheer length of the rear doors.

Under the skin, the Ertiga has the advantage of being based on a far more modern platform than the Enjoy. Based on a heavily modified Swift platform, the Ertiga is a monocoque design that makes extensive use of lightweight, high-tensile steel in its construction. It’s this that helps keep the Ertiga’s weight in check – despite being over 300mm longer than a swift, it weighs just 1235kg. The Enjoy, on the other hand, tips the scales at a considerably heavier 1345kg. Like the Ertiga, it too uses monocoque construction, but there’s a difference. The Enjoy’s chassis has an integrated ladder-type frame between the wheels for additional strength, while the Ertiga resorts to sturdy box-section steel around the rear wheel arches for added stiffness.

Other notable differences – the Ertiga has a transverse-engine, front-wheel-drive layout, while the Enjoy’ s motor is longitudinally placed to drive the rear wheels. Both use independent MacPherson struts up front, but while the Ertiga has a coil-sprung, dead axle at the rear, the Enjoy uses a non-independent, live axle by coil springs. Both have their spare wheels mounted under the body, aft of the rear wheels.

INTERIORS

The Enjoy is 65mm taller than the Ertiga and that makes a big difference inside the cabin. The ample headroom and big, square windows (with butterfly openings) let in plenty of light, which gives the Enjoy a spacious and airy ambience. The Ertiga’s lower ceiling and smaller windows make the cabin feel a lot tighter on space than it really is.

From the driver’s seat, the Enjoy’s slim pillars and low dashboard cowl offer better visibility than the Ertiga’s slightly lower seats and high, broad dashboard cowl, but the Chevy MPV’s ergonomics could be better. The gearlever is placed a bit too far back (to accommodate cup holders ahead of it) and the tight pedal box leaves no place to rest your left foot. Also the front seats have a bit too much lumbar support and don’t feel very plush. In fact, the overall cabin quality in the Enjoy leaves you wanting. The interior plastics feel hard and cheap, some parts likes the door handles feel flimsy, and the overall fit and finish is quite patchy and several notches below the Ertiga.

The Ertiga’s front seats are far more comfortable. The cushioning is superb and thigh support is excellent. The interior ambience is vastly more upmarket than the Enjoy’s, with appealing colours, good fit and finish, smart design and quality plastics. Even small details like the ‘jewel effect’ dials and cloth inserts for the doorpads are in stark contrast to the Enjoy’s old-fashioned blue-lit dials and hard plastic inner panels. The middle row is where the MPV game begins. The Enjoy comes with captain’s chairs that are a bit narrow, but are set high, have a snug fit and give you a commanding feeling. The Ertiga comes with a single bench, but Maruti has engineered a staggering 240mm of seat travel into the middle row and that gives you huge flexibility when travelling with all seats occupied. So there’s not much difference between the two on middle-row legroom.

To access the third row in the Ertiga, all you need to do is pull a neat lever on the middle bench, which causes it to flip and slide forward. The entry is certainly narrow and you will need some contortion to get to the back, but access is not as bad as in the Enjoy. The Captain’s seats don’t fold and you have to walk between the two buckets to wiggle your way to the rear of the Chevy.

The Enjoy clearly has the more spacious third row, with better headroom and decent knee room. The width is pretty decent too and, in a pinch, you can squeeze three people in here, which is saying something. The Ertiga’s third row is much narrower, so two adults are what it will take, at best, However, the lower floor makes the seating position a touch more comfortable, and you don’t have the same ‘knees-up’ posture as in the Enjoy.

With all three rows up, boot space is negligible in both cars. Not enough luggage space is liberated when you fold the Enjoy’s third-row bench. The Ertiga’s rear seats, on the other hand, fold forward neatly to form a flat loading area.

As for creature comforts, both are pretty evenly matched. Both top-end variants come with ABS, two airbags and audio systems with CD players, and USB and aux-in ports (the Ertiga has a two-DIN system while the Enjoy has just a single-DIN unit). Both have electric mirrors, driver’s seat height adjustment and rear air con vents as well. Neither offers climate control nor Bluetooth, but the Ertiga comes with steering-mounted audio controls.

ENGINE, GEARBOX & PERFORMANCE

Both these MPVs are going to have approximately half a tonne of humanity on board when driven full up, and hence power, torque and drive ability are important factors. Both have the same 1.3-litre diesel developed jointly by GM and Fiat under their snouts so performance shouldn’t be too different, right? Wrong.

The performance characteristics of these two MPVs are quite different thanks to different bits o hardware, and tuning. The Ertiga uses a bigger, variable-geometry turbo that helps it make its peak power and torque of 89bhp and 20.39kgm respectively. The Enjoy uses a fixed-geometry turbo that results in a lower 76.4bhp and 19.1kgm of torque. Of course, both Maruti and GM have tuned the ECUs to what they each feel is best, and the gearing on both MPVs is different as well.

The Enjoy has plenty of bottom-end grunt-it pulls well as soon as you get off the clutch and power delivery is linear. This makes it easier to drive, especially in town, and the nice flow of torque never leaves you wanting for power when you’re ambling along, even with a full load. However, if you’re in a hurry, the Enjoy won’t share your sense of urgency. Top-end performance is quite weak and the engine struggles beyond 4500rpm. The dash from 0-100kph takes a painfully long 21.36 seconds, but pulling in gear from low engine speeds, the Enjoy doesn’t feel slower than the Ertiga. Under load, however, there’s a fair bit of vibration from the drive train, especially when you pull from low revs. But the weakest point in the driveline is the gearbox, which has a wide gate and sloppy feel.

Driving the Ertiga after the Enjoy points out how much more sophisticated the Maruti’s drivetrain is. It is far smoother and quieter with a lot less clatter even when you rev it to its lofty 5200rpm redline. However, the Ertiga is plagued with a big dose of turbo lag, which is an inherent weakness of this particular state of tune of the Multijet engine. The Engine only starts pulling when it is spinning beyond 2,300rpm, below which it feels terribly gutless.

It is quite a pain to start off on a slope thanks to this, and even in the city, overtaking and quick bursts into gaps are difficult, as you have to wait for the turbo to spool up. You have to keep the engine in the meat of its power band for better response and that means ending up in a gear lower than is necessary. Aslo, the Ertiga’s clutch action isn’t as crisp as the Enjoy’s, but the gearshift is a couple of generations better.

For sheer pace, the Ertiga is in a different league, hitting 100kph from rest seven seconds earlier than the Enjoy. On the highway, it’s the Ertiga with its much taller fifth gear that feels more relaxed at triple-digit speeds – 120kph equates to 3000rpm, compared to the Enjoy’s rather noisy 3400rpm.

RIDE & HANDLING

There really isn’t much separating the ride quality of these two MPVs. The Enjoy’s suspension is pretty soft and pliant, save for a tiny bit of kick from the live rear axle over sharper bumps. GM’s engineers have done a great job by providing a comfortable ride over most surfaces, despite the handicap of small 14-inch wheels. At higher speeds, the Enjoy sways a bit and does get affected by crosswinds due to its tall proportions, but overall it feels pretty planted. The Ertiga’s ride is pretty impressive as well and, over the same piece of road, the difference between the two isn’t very perceptible; both MPVs absorb bumps quite competently.

The difference lies in the way they drive. The Enjoy, with its low-geared, hydraulically assisted steering, is a bit reluctant to change direction at higher speeds, and though it is a stable and secure handler, you are always aware that you are behind the wheel` of an MPV. The Ertiga, on the other hand, has a quick and direct, electrically assisted steering, aided by a lower stance (and thereby lower centre of gravity), and feels a lot more agile. Hustle an Ertiga along and it feels not too different from a swift, and this easy handling makes it the more entertaining of the two.

Around town, the Enjoy’s superb all-round visibility and taller stance means it’s easy to park and drive. The Ertiga’s more stylish shape makes for some blind spots, especially around the D-pillar. Still, it is a bit more manoeuvrable than the Enjoy thanks to its marginally tighter turning circle.

FUEL EFFICIENCY

So what will either of these cost on a trip? The Ertiga’s 12.8kpl in the city and 16.8kpl on the highway are better than the Enjoy’s 12.3kpl and 16kpl, respectively. The Maruti achieves this thanks to its lighter kerb weight, it’s more efficient drivetrain and its taller fifth gear, which allows the engine to spin at a less frantic pace on the highway.

VERDICT

Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                7/10

Maruti Ertiga                                                                     8/10

What GM India has achieved with the Enjoy is very impressive. It has re-engineered the Chinese Hong Guang MPV to make it very practical, better riding and easy to drive. The best bit is that it has launched it at a fantastic price, one that is substantially lower than the Ertiga’s. This is sure to tempt a lot of people looking for the most seats in a compact package. There are a few crucial bits missing though – the Enjoy feels nowhere near as well built and the boxy looks further mark down its appeal.

The Ertiga, on the other hand, is more soundly engineered and offers a far more sophisticated package. It looks better, has a more inviting cabin and is much nicer to drive. Sure, the turbo lag is an issue in slow traffic and it doesn’t have as much outright cabin space as the Enjoy, but these flaws are not so damaging to the Ertiga’s scorecard to seriously mark it down. It is practical in its own right and, for a personal car, has plenty of feel-good factor, which makes it worth the steeper price tag.

TEST SCORECARD

COMFORT


Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                                7/10


Maruti Ertiga                                                                          7/10


Ertiga’s seats plusher and more comfortable, Enjoy has slightly more interior space.

PERFORMANCE


Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                                6/10


Maruti Ertiga                                                                        8/10


Ertiga’s engine quieter and smoother. Enjoy’s engine is more audible right through the rev range.

VALUE


Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                                8/10


Maruti Ertiga                                                                                    7/10


Both are well equipped but the Enjoy is substantially cheaper.


SAFETY


Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                6/10


Maruti Ertiga                                                                      6/10


Both cars come standard with two airbangs and ABS.


RIDE


Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                              7/10


Maruti Ertiga                                                                                   7/10


Both are closely matched but the Ertiga feels more stale and doesn’t get unsettled easily.


HANDLING


Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                              6/10


Maruti Ertiga                                                                                  7/10


Ertiga the more sure-footed one and feels car like. Enjoy’s handling is safe and predictable.


BUILD STRENGTH & QUALITY


Chevrolet Enjoy                                                                               6/10


Maruti Ertiga                                                                                   8/10


Enjoy’s build and finish not a good as the Ertiga’s.

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