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Datsun Go: Review


The first car from the revived Datsun brand is here. And we have driven it. Here's how the Go fared

 

Datsun Go front action shot

 

 

The focus for Datsun is clear. It only wants to focus on first time buyers. And to do that it needed cars that would be easy to drive, easy to service and easy to buy. The latter was established with a price cap of Rs 4 lakh. And though Datsun hasn't officially launched the Go hatchback yet, it will most certainly cost under Rs 4 lakh on the road.

 

As for the easy to service bit, all Datsun is saying at the moment is that the service costs for its cars will be competitive. It won't be offering any special service related schemes or service holiday package, but it is showing confidence in its product by offering a 2 year/ unlimited kilometres warranty. The warranty is currently the best in its class. And this class includes the hot selling Maruti Suzuki Alto and the not as hot selling, Hyundai Eon. Now, before we get to the easy to drive bit, here's a bit more about the car itself. Also Read: 10 facts about Datsun Go

 

 

Datsun Go side static shot

 

 

The Dastun Go is based on the same platform as the Nissan Micra. But, it has been completely redesigned inside and out. The styling of the Go isn't going to take your breath away, but it certainly looks larger, more upmarket and newer than the Alto. It might be an entry-level car, but its design doesn't reflect that. It's not as jazzy as the Hyundai Eon, but the prominent lines on its hood and those on the side and the ones that define its haunches give it a modern air. It has a particularly bold front with a dominant chrome grille and well defined front bumper. The rear in comparison is a bit bland but not one that can be dismissed completely. We don't however like the 13-inch wheels; these look completely out of place on a car that boasts of some muscle as well.

 

 

 

Datsun Go interiors

 

 

It's the interior of the Go that truly impresses. Yes, there's no getting away from the fact that Datsun has built the Go with a stiff price target in mind; things like not having a lid for the glovebox, or not having passenger side power window operation on the driver's side make this quite obvious. As does the fact that there's no internal adjustment for the ORVMs even in the top of the line variant or the fact that the rear seat belts don't use an inertia reel. The latter, by the way, is very inconvenient.

 

But, the fit and finish in the cabin, the quality of plastic and the operability of switches and dials be it for the light or wiper stalks or the air conditioning or even the windows, is well executed. In these areas, the Datsun Go just doesn't feel like a car built to such a tight price target. The cabin feels airy as well thanks to the light coloured plastic and large glass area. It's got decent storage areas too, does the Go. The door pockets can hold a bottle and a few thinner items, the open glovebox has usable space as well and then there's storage under and to the right of the steering wheel. What the Datsun Go doesn't get are cup holders, which to us is an oversight. Also Read: 10 facts about Datsun Go

 

 

Datsun Go rear seat pace

 

 

The seats meanwhile are a mixed bag. The ones at the front offer good thigh support but the backrest is just too thin; so thin in fact that if one were to lean on the backrest a bit too much, the  seat's internals will be felt. The driving position meanwhile could have been fantastic, if it wasn't for that backrest again. The steering and gear shifter location feels natural, the floor pedals are well spaced and the seat bottom is a good length and is well located in terms of height as well. But, no matter how one positions the backrest, it's near impossible to find a truly comfortable driving position.

 

And a good driving position contributes significantly towards making a car easy to drive. As does visibility. And on the Datsun Go, thankfully, the visibility isn't a cause for concern, especially over the hood or via the ORVMs. Shorter people might still find it difficult to see the car's edges but overall the Go doesn't make for a taxing drive. The light steering and clutch operation help too, as does the progressive travel of the latter. The brakes for first time users is set up well too; these have potent bite, but the bite is progressive and feel from the brakes, positive.

 

 

Datsun Go engine pic

 

 

Most first time car users will find the engine of the Go agreeable too. The engine, a three-cylinder, 1.2-litre petrol, is the same as on the Micra. But at 68PS, it is less powerful. The upside here, of course, is higher fuel economy as tested by ARAI. But, the Go doesn't feel slow or underpowered. The initial throttle response is well calibrated and gives the driver the impression of Go being a peppy car. And with a 0-100kmph time of 13.3 seconds, it clearly doesn't lose steam up the rev band either. But, the engine when revved, sounds harsh. It also has that jiggly three cylinder feel to it at idle. The gearbox meanwhile - a 5-speed unit borrowed from the Nissan Micra as well - has short shift throws but is notchy.

 

As far as ride and handling goes, the Datsun is a mixed bag. It feels comfortable cruising at about 110kmph but then on, it begins to feel flighty. The steering response and feel also takes a turn for the worse as speeds continue to rise. Handling wise, with those skinny 155 section tyres and body roll, the Go doesn't score too highly, but then, as Nissan Datsun argue, the go is a city car. And in the city besides its light controls that make it an easy car to live with, it has an acceptable ride too. It rides well at slower speeds and over mild bumps and potholes, but at speed the suspension gets noisy and it also crashes into pronounced bumps. There's also a hint of vibration constantly accompanying the ride.

 

 

Datsun Go static image

 

 

Overall then, the Datsun Go as an entry-level car does very well. But, then it had too. Taking on the most successful brand in the country is no easy task. The Go is more spacious, more comfortable and more upmarket in look and feel. And, it's not far behind in the fuel efficiency or price stakes either. Now, the challenge is to build customer confidence to actually draw them away from a well entrenched, house-hold brand that is Maruti Suzuki. Also Read: 10 facts about Datsun Go