As fuel prices reach record levels, there has been increased demand for factory-fitted CNG cars. While the earlier approach was to offer CNG option with base-spec variants, users are now looking for CNG option in higher-spec trims as well. To cater to this segment of buyers, Maruti will soon introduce new CNG variants for Ertiga.
As of now, CNG option is available with VXI and ZXI variants of Ertiga. In case of Tour M, the commercial version of Ertiga meant for fleet operators, there is a single CNG variant. As per Type Approval certificate, Ertiga will get two new CNG variants, VXI (O) and ZXI (O). Tour M will also get an additional CNG variant.
New (O) CNG variants of Ertiga will provide more freedom to users to choose the features they want for their car. It is possible that some of the premium features may be offered as an option with new (O) Ertiga CNG variants. Some possibilities include leather wrapped steering wheel with metallic teak-wood finish, key operated retractable ORVMs, cruise control, auto headlamps with follow me home function and 7-inch SmartPlay Pro touchscreen infotainment system.
In terms of safety, the options could include front seat side airbags and rear parking camera. As of now, anyone wanting these features has to choose ZXI+ variant that does not have a CNG option. Upon launch, these new variants could also be known as Ertiga CNG VXI+, Ertiga CNG ZXI+ and Tour M+.
Ertiga new CNG variants will continue using the 1.5-litre, K15C petrol motor. When running on CNG, the motor generates 87 PS of max power and 121.5 Nm of peak torque. When running on gasoline, the output is 100 PS / 136 Nm. All CNG variants are offered with 5-speed manual transmission. Ertiga petrol variants utilize a hybrid powertrain with output of 102 PS and 136.8 Nm. Transmission options include 5-speed manual and 6-speed automatic.
While it was Maruti that first started offering CNG cars in India, the current situation has prompted other carmakers to boost their CNG portfolio. India’s second largest carmaker Hyundai currently offers CNG option with Santro, Grand i10 Nios and Aura. In the future, Creta and Alcazar will also get CNG option. The latter was recently spotted on road test wearing ARAI emission testing kit. Creta CNG option is likely to debut in 2023.
In the sub-compact SUV segment, most models are expected to get the CNG option. It includes Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet and Maruti Brezza. Nexon CNG could also be under development. Talking about Kia, cars like Seltos and Carens will be getting a CNG option. A Carens test mule with CNG fuel tank was recently spotted on road tests. It was the 1.4 litre turbo petrol variant with 6-speed manual transmission.
Maruti will also be adding CNG option with more of its cars. It could extend to its Nexa range that has cars like Baleno, Ciaz and XL6. Earlier this year, Maruti had launched Celerio CNG and Dzire CNG at a starting price of Rs 6.58 lakh and Rs 8.14 lakh, respectively.