Published on April 4th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair1
Proton Ertiga Review: 6 Seats and a Whole Lot of Quality
Much has been said about Proton over the last decade. Sometimes Malaysians come in their defence, sometimes they’ve got nothing but the worst things to say about the company. Our stance has always been to look at their products. After all, even a company with a shiny reputation can produce things that are irrelevant and compromised.
So with that thought, we take a dive into Proton’s latest product – the Ertiga. Right off the bat, the entire analogy has to come to an abrupt end. Because this product is a Suzuki. It’s engineered by Suzuki. Designed by Suzuki. Tested by Suzuki. Proton’s involvement is pretty minimal. They put it together, but even that’s done under Suzuki’s exact specifications.
The result is a Proton that drives and feels like a Suzuki. The interior is clean and pleasant and nice to be in. The interior parts feel like they’ll last the life of the car. The layout is simple and effective. There’s no fluff. It’s pure function and it’s absolutely delightful.
But of course, we can’t just give it two thumbs up for being very Japanese and end it there. There are legitimate concerns about the Ertiga. First of all, the name. It’s admittedly a little strange. Is ‘Tiga’ a part of the name’s ‘Erti’? We don’t know. We doubt Proton or even Suzuki know. But it’s not enough of a concern to distract you from just how good the package is. 6 seats, 6.0L/100km, 5-year warranty for RM60,000 – they could have named it Proton Notorp and it would still be a great buy.
Ok, on to a more serious concern – what’s with that powertrain? How is a 1.4-litre with just 91hp expected to push around 6 well-fed Malaysians? It may have worked for 7 regular sized Indonesians, but as the most obese nation in Asia, there surely must be some miscalculation here.
Actually, we put this to the test during our drive. The car was filled with 5 fairly large humans and enough luggage for an extended weekend in Malacca. It turned out pretty great considering we got the 4-speed automatic for our trip. On the highway, we didn’t even have to stay below the national speed limit 100% of the time. In fact, despite the small numbers, there’s so little power that goes to waste.
You end up with a compact MPV that can easily handle itself on the highway. It cruises with EASE at 110km/h with power to spare for overtaking and uphill segments. The instruments and ergonomics are also on point here. We especially liked how clear the dials and controls were.
Another thing we appreciated was the sheer amount of storage cavities. Some cars omit these entirely, but the Ertiga has them in spades. There’s room to chuck receipts, spare change, a Touch n Go card, and some sunglasses without even having to use the cup holders.
Our passengers, on the other hand, enjoyed the availability of power sockets and the rear air cond blowers.
Both are standard on the Ertiga.
One thing we did miss was Bluetooth connectivity. In 2017, it’s a little odd to not even have that as an option. But we knew that the Ertiga would have Mp3 playback via USB before even picking it up. So all we had to do was fill a memory stick with our favourite tunes and leave it to play in the background. We’re sure owners will also find this solution to be sufficient.
Safety on the Ertiga is fair considering the price. It’s pretty barebones, but you still get the necessary stuff like 2 SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, and of course ISOFIX anchor points for child seats.
The Proton Ertiga rounds off to be a pretty straightforward and likeable vehicle. It’s not the best product in Proton’s roster, but it’s definitely the one we’d thoroughly recommend for its build quality, size and value.
The pricing is just perfect and the only real choice you have to make is between the 5-speed manual and the 4-speed automatic. The manual will give you more control over the car’s power delivery, but the 4-speed automatic is sold in a ‘Premium’ variant that adds driver seat height adjustment – essential for taller than average Malaysians.
Proton may have its ups and downs, but the Ertiga as a product is spot on in our books.
Proton Ertiga Specifications
Engine: Inline 4 with VVT
Gearbox: 4-speed automatic
Max power: 91bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 130Nm @ 4000Nm