Multipurpose Vehicles or MPVs as they’re called, bring the goodness of people carriers – space – but without losing the goodness of cars – handling and high speed stability. The good part about owning an MPV is that even if you don’t have seven-member family, you can utilise the added luggage space and the legroom in the second row. With that said, we look at the current crop of MPVs to find out which one offers the most car-like feel in terms of driving but without overlooking the main USP of an MPV, which is the ability to carry a lot of people in comfort.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
Recently facelifted, the Ertiga offers the most car-like feel in terms of handling, fit and finish, and seating. The 1.4-litre petrol might not be as much fun to drive as the 1.5-litre unit of the Mobilio, but the 1.3-litre diesel has enough grunt and doesn’t disappoint in terms of fuel economy. The latter now gets a mild hybrid system, which helps it offer better fuel economy than earlier. The gearbox too is a pleasure to work with.
The steering is light and the car stays balanced even in succession of corners, as long as you aren’t pushing it a lot. In terms of ride, it feels like a grown up Swift (a tad more comfortable) but not as comfortable as an Innova.
Cheapest of the lot, the Go+ boasts a sub 4-metre overall length (hence the low price) but the rear seats are pretty much useless. Fold them down and you get an inexpensive 5-seater with a really large boot.
The 1.2-litre engine is okay for occasional highway runs but the lack of ABS and airbags (latter’s only available for the driver, and that too as an option) don’t make its case any stronger. In terms of feel, the Go+ doesn’t feel as taut as other hatchbacks but the car-like (albeit loose) feeling is still there. And that’s surely a good thing.
The Honda Mobilio is the third product based on the Brio’s platform, but it’s not bound by the 4-metre limitation, and its engine range consists of the relatively new 1.5-litre diesel engine and the tried and tested 1.5-litre petrol unit, both of which are borrowed from the City.
The Mobilio feels a little better than the City to drive, and offers more space on the inside. The petrol engine likes to be revved, and offers a good amount of power, while the diesel (albeit noisy) makes the Mobilio a decent long distance tourer. It stays well in shape at high speeds, too.
The ones which couldn’t make it to the list:
Like the Innova, the Enjoy too is rear-wheel drive, which means the front wheels remain free from the disturbances caused by power delivery. It’s well balanced, but the interior quality is a big letdown. Also, the engines need to be more powerful.
It’s evident that it is based on the Duster, because it is as nice to drive. Sadly, Duster is no car, so the Lodgy doesn’t make it to our list. It’s one of the most spacious and stable vehicles this side of the Innova, and the 110PS model has enough poke, too.