Datsun GO Hatchback Review & Test Drive

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Datsun GO Overview

Datsun, as a corporate brand, was created in 1931, but its actually history goes back 17 more years – to 1914. Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works was founded in 1911, and its first car, DAT, was produced in 1914. The acronym was homage to the company’s partners – Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi. In 1925, the company’s named was changed to DAT Motorcar Co. In 1930, there was a regulation passed by the Japanese government that allowed cars under 500cc to be driven without a licence. DAT started manufacturing 495cc cars that would sell in this newly created market segment and those were called Datson. The name was later changed to Datsun, and that stayed forever after that.

The fact that Datsun is making a comeback after 27 years has been charred by the media, so I’m going to refrain from speaking about that and skip straight to the GO now. The company officials may go to the market saying that the GO is a substantially styled car that’s ticks the ‘attractive’ box on the looks chart. It’s not. The Datsun GO is all about functional design – so it’s basically a fairly ordinary looking car with quite a spacious cabin. Make no mistake, it’s modern, sure, but conventional. Still, it’s a damn side better looking than the hopelessly lackluster Alto. Eon is still the most edgy and modern in the micro-hatch space.

The front end is basically all about announcing the Datsun brand to the people – it’s dominated by a large hexagonal honeycomb grille and the geometric theme is continued in the headlamp cluster too – which is fairly large in itself! There’re a couple of marketable USPs like the speed-sensitive windscreen wipers (it’s a whippletree linkage, so a single unit wipes across), and the follow-me-home headlamp which is a flaunt-item that cars in much higher segments come equipped with. The rear end, too, is fairly straightforward and the ‘boomerang’ profile is used all across the design quite unobtrusively.

The guys who work in the cabin-design department of Nissan / Datsun don’t have a life I’m sure. Their colour palate is extensive – as long as it is grey. That says it, no? The Micra, Sunny and now, the GO, all stand proof of that. I must laud the company here – the bosses surely are compassionate towards this group of design chaps, that’s why they’ve kept them still and they’ve worked their ‘magic’ on the latest global product, too. The overspill of grey notwithstanding, the plastics feel sturdy and I think will serve well over the years. Datsun could, however, work a bit on fit-and-finish as we did encounter some rattling bits in the cabin.

Datsun GO Style

On the outside, though the changes are subtle but the appealing and styling has been increased a notch especially when we look at the new sunstone brown coloured GO Plus. The vehicle seems to be attention grabbing at first glance. And the major reason why it looks more eye-catching is the inclusion of 14-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, replacing the old steel setup. The tyres are also wide that not only provide better grip on road but also enhance the road presence as opposed to the tiny wheels in the previous version.

The ORVMs now gets contrasting body colour which is good move looking at what previous car was offering. However, Datsun has decided to go the conventional way by placing the indicators just above the wheel arches instead of integrating it in the ORVM itself. The dual tone roof rails looks awesome. And yes, what makes the MPV different from the hatchback is the length which remains the same, however, the height has been slightly increased to 1507mm from previous 1490mm. For more info on Datsun GO check Orhdc

Now moving to the front, the alterations are understated. The vehicle features heavy chrome embellishment, a bigger grille and the revised bumper with more noticeable creases. Though the fog lights are still missing in the car but the automaker has compensated that with the daytime running LEDs which does enhances the looks. Besides, the hood is identical and sculpted while the large headlights are carried forward from the previous version.

Coming to the rear profile, it looks a bit serene than the front one. The bumper has been revamped also featuring rear parking sensors, chrome strip at the bottom of the trunk lid, rear wash wiper and a neat spoiler to enhance the appeal. The large tail lights are identical to the previous model. So, the updated MPV is certainly a notch above the earlier model which might pave way for its success in the segment.

Datsun GO Space

The effort of the automaker is really appreciable as it has now seriously paid heed to feedbacks it has been getting all these years. Why? Because the previous model was really a barebones and also lacks quality fit and finish of an MPV. But this has been drastically changed this time around with even the minor things has given due importance. For instance, the twist and pull handbrake in the earlier model has been replaced by traditional setup. Then there is updated three-pod instrument cluster which now integrates a bigger analogue tachometer. It also shows usual info on vehicle journey including tripmeter, digital clock, instant fuel economy, average speed and engine running time.

Coming to the quality, though the plastics across the vehicle has been bettered yet it is not great either. But looking at the price range the car falls in, we can’t nit-pick. The dual tone black and beige cabin does evoke a sense of richness and is a good move towards enhancing the ergonomics inside. The star of the cabin has to be definitely the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment unit that is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The unit also gives access to Google Map navigation, Bluetooth, Aux-In, USB, voice recognition and all the necessary stuff that comes with Android and Apple OS for automobiles such as SMS/Email/WhatsApp. What may be disappointing for many is the less than average audio quality as the infotainment is offered by Blaupunkt.

But on the other hand, the comfort factor is that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is still not available even in cars in the same family such as Terrano and high end Captur. So for the first time buyers, this feature can prove to be a unique selling point. The touch response of the infotainment is slick and although there isn’t any rear camera in the car, one can get it added at a dealership and it will work perfectly. The AC vents have been given horizontal shape while the rotary controls for air conditioner have been integrated in the same console featuring the touchscreen infotainment. Another important change is the addition of power windows at the rear as well as electrical adjustment of the outside rear view mirror. And of course, the carmaker has added a rear wash wipe, an important feature often ignored by many manufacturers.

But there are some things which you have to still compromise in the car. The driver seat can’t be height adjusted and you don’t even get a day/night mirror. Now moving to the most important factor and i.e. comfort and space, here the carmaker misses on headrest adjustability. If you are sitting at the front, you won’t be facing any trouble; however, the lack of headrests could create problems for the rear occupants. And if it comes to taller occupants, the same headrests will come at par with the shoulder level, which would be useless in terms of practicality. The second row can absorb two adult passengers with ease, however if you add the third passenger in the row, the lack of legroom will make him uncomfortable.

The GO Plus give you additional row at the back but don’t mistaken the third row for adult passengers. The space out there is strictly limited to kids and they would find it comfortable there. The boot space stands at 265L but folding the third row will extend it to 347L but unfortunately the third row won’t fall flat which limits its usability. However, it is still bigger and adapting as compared to normal hatchbacks. Another area where the carmaker could have improved is the storage spaces. This means a large bag with a couple of small bags can be placed there. While there is a lot for the front passengers as they get shelf above the deep glovebox and stowage at door pads and cubbies at the central floor console, the rear passengers gets only single bottle holder at the center. Bottle holders at the door pads could have been a nice addition. Overall, the carmaker has worked hard to improve the inner quality.

Datsun GO Gearbox

Let’s get directly into the biggest change. The transmission. The first question that we had for Datsun officials was, “Why a CVT when you have the more affordable AMT?” The answer was very interesting. Because of the higher power output (we will come to that in a bit), the CVT was found to be more suitable. Moreover, the head-nods that are usually associated with AMTs was something Datsun didn’t want the Go and Go+ customers to experience. We think this is a fair enough reason though the fact that alliance partner Renault has clearly said that the Triber will come with an AMT is on another tangent.

Right now, one can buy the Go and Go+ with a 66hp/104Nm, 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine and a manual transmission. This is a detuned version of what one will ideally get in the Nissan Micra in India. However, for the CVT versions, Datsun has got the higher strung 75hp/104Nm from the Micra. Speaking of the transmission, there is the L mode that doesn’t let the engine shift to a higher point. It can be used in situations like going uphill or even while driving through flooded areas. You also get reverse, neutral, park and drive gates. The gear lever will only move if your foot is on the brake.

Fire up the engine and you will immediately notice the enhanced refinement on offer. There are three cylinder vibrations that do creep in and we wish Datsun could have done something about it. However, given the price point, it is fair to hand it over to the company that they have done a fairly decent job. The transmission shifts without any hiccups and a newbie driver (the target customer) will not be hassled in any way. Slot into D and the car moves ahead. Part throttle responses are good and the added pep from the motor shows.

However, if its a quick overtake, stomping on the accelerator will introduce you to the rubber band effect. There is no corresponding increment in power though you see the engine revs climbing. City driveability is a no worries affair and you will not feel shortchanged at all. Maintaining highway speeds (100kmph) though will be a bit of a task as the engine became a bit noisy to our liking. Fuel efficiency wise, Datsun claims that the Go CVT will give you 20.07kmpl while the manual version with a lower power output gives 19.72kmpl. The Go+ returns a slightly lower mileage at 19.41 in the CVT version while the manual will give 19.72kmpl.

Datsun GO Driving

The ride quality of the Go seemed a bit stiff. It is exactly the way we remember it always was. You do feel bumps in the cabin, at low speeds. The good part though is the handling is decent. The Go+ though has a bit of body roll to it, a tad more than the Go. First time buyers will appreciate the light steering wheel while the seasoned ones will want a bit more feedback. A new or seasoned driver will also appreciate the disc-drum brakes combination that is available with the Go. They are predictable and sharp. This being said, the brake pads could be subjected to higher wear, given that one has to depend on them entirely to stop the vehicle as there is very less engine braking available on offer.

As for the stability, the Go could do with a bit more. We felt confidence a bit lacking with respect to high speed stability. However, the new cars were a bit better than the manuals we experienced last year as there is a weight increase of around 40kg. This is due to the added amount of steel for side impact as well as pedestrian protection bumpers; the norms that will be standard for every new car from October 2019. Speaking of which, dual airbags with ABS, EBD as well as switchable traction control are standard on the Go and Go+ CVT trims. As it is, except for traction control, Datsun offers all the other safety features along with rear parking sensors as standard even for manual versions. The Datsun Go and Go+ specifications look neat on paper. A rear parking camera is missing though and would have added to the convenience factor even more. Taller drivers might also want a broader IRVM.

Datsun GO Safety

The braking system comprising of front disc and rear drum is average and the pedal lacks sharp bite as opposed to the other MPVs. But inclusion of ABS instils confidence in the driver. The Japanese automaker has really upped the ante this time by drastically updating the safety department.The new Datsun GO Plus now comes loaded with standard safety kit which includes dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, rear parking sensors and follow me headlamps. This has really changed the game altogether for the car.

Datsun GO Price in Bangalore

Datsun Go On Road Price is 4,06,445/- and Ex-showroom Price is 3,32,000/- in Bangalore. Datsun Go comes in 6 colours, namely Ruby,Sky,Silver,Grey,White,Blue. Datsun Go comes with FWD with 1198 CC Displacement and 3 Cylinders with Maximum Power 67 bhp@5000 rpm and Peak Torque 104 Nm@4000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at 13.3 seconds . Datsun Go comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Datsun GO Final Thought

We are pleasantly surprised with Datsun’s thoughts. They thought of getting a CVT when everyone else is looking at AMTs. This might have cost implications but then the Datsuns were always known to be very affordable. We believe the expected cost increase will be around Rs 50,000-55,000. So, the Go (T) CVT should be priced around Rs 5.40 lakh while the Go+ (T) will be for Rs 6.25 lakh, ex-showroom. At this price point, you will not get any other CVT-equipped vehicle. Bookings begin on September 27 while the launch will be in the first week of October.

Should you buy one? If spending Rs 20,000 (approximately) more than an AMT-equipped competitor isn’t a bother, the Datsuns make sense. Moreover, the Go+ is the only 7-seater in the budget segment that comes with an automatic transmission, at the moment.Datsun GO Plus MPV is available in five different variant they are D, A, A (O), T and T (O). Taking a quick glance on the pricing details, 2018 Datsun GO Plus despite of major update is available in the competitive price range. Its base model GO Plus D is tagged at Rs. 3.83 lakh, GO Plus A is available at the price tag of Rs. 4.53 lakh. The mid-range trim GO Plus A option is offered at Rs. 5.05 lakh. Datsun GO Plus T model is available at the price range of Rs. 5.3 lakh while its top of the line trim Datsun GO Plus T Option is priced at Rs. 5.69 lakh. Though the car does not have any immediate rivals, it has the needed ingredients to create problems for Maruti Ertiga and Mahindra Marazzo.