Datsun Go Review: 1.2L hatchback’s big promise

Focusing on emerging markets across the globe, Nissan re-introduced Datsun brand in 2013, about 27 years after it was discontinued. With an aim to penetrate deeper into the mass segment of auto industry, 2014 will see Datsun launch cars in four countries – India, Indonesia, South Africa and Russia. Of these, India will be the first country that will receive a Datsun, in the form of Go hatchback. We recently got a chance to test drive this car, and here is our review of Datsun Go.

datsun go review images hi res (96)Introduction: In the early 1900s, when the Datsun brand was first introduced, it was known as the DAT Motor Company, named after the three financiers who were supporting the company – Den, Aoyama, and Takeuchi. So why DAT, and not ADT, TDA,TAD or any other combination? It’s because DAT in Japanese means lightening-fast. DAT is also promoted as Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy.

datsun go review images hi res (21)Today, with the revived Datsun brand, Nissan aims to increase their sales and market share in emerging markets. Go hatchback is the first step in that direction. India, an important market for Datsun, became the first country last month when Renault-Nissan’s Chennai facility rolled out the world’s first Datsun car.

datsun go review images hi res (114)Body and Styling: Datsun Go brings a fresh look in the segment with its clever design. In their words, the inspiration behind its design is to see a family travelling with happiness and pride. Datsun Go is designed to give a feel of the real car. Not only the car looks stylish, it also has an attractive road presence which makes it stand out from the crowd – WagonR’s, Santro’s, i10′s, Eon’s, and the Alto’s.

datsun go review images hi res (19)Built on the same platform as that of Nissan Micra, Datsun Go is completely different to look at. The impressive front design is complemented with the diamond shaped grille, which is the largest in this segment. The front bumper, gives the car a muscular look and gives spirit to the overall design of the car. It also houses three air intakes.

datsun go review images hi res (110)Keeping in tune with the overall design, Datsun Go’s three dimensional headlight structure flows on to the side and merges with the shoulder line which runs through to C pillar and effortlessly merges into the tail lights, giving birth to the rear design cue. Speaking of its rear, the rear of Datsun Go reminds of Toyota Etios Liva hatchback.

datsun go review images hi res (100)Datsun Go is 3,785 mm long, 1,635 mm wide and 1,485 mm tall. It also has the longest wheelbase in the segment at 2,450 mm. Longer than Maruti Celerio by 25 mm, the new Datsun Go is available with 13 inch wheels with 155/70 section tubeless tyres. For a car of this size, the tyres do look puny, but are good enough for your normal use. Ground clearance stands at 170 mm which easily tackles all kinds of roads in India. Colour options include White, Light Blue, Silver and Red.

datsun go review images hi res (42)Interiors and Comfort: Interiors of Datsun Go are simple, and at the same time offers utmost practicality. The striking feature inside Go, is the dashboard mounted gear lever. This is designed to give extra space in the front which can be used to keep your belongings. The downside of this space is it might be used to seat a child and this poses as a safety hazard.

datsun go review images hi res (109)Datsun Go interiors features a comfortable seating with ample space. Its seats are designed using technology from Nissan’s luxury brand – Infiniti. The front seats offer enough support to your back, but misses out on neck support, while the rear seats offer great legroom, it misses out on thigh support. The seats are designed to offer more support to your spinal cord, and Datsun says this provides better blood circulation.

datsun go review images hi res (104)Position of the gear lever too can pose a problem for few as it is not at the usual place, and it is a little higher. People with long hands might find it difficult to adjust. Steering wheel too is not adjustable and is placed a little higher to accommodate the umbrella styled handbrake. While driving, the lever of handbrake is constantly in touch with your knee, which is a little irritating.

datsun go review images hi res (102)The three spoke not-so-chunky steering wheel is as simple as it can get and so is the instrument cluster and the centre console. The IC displays all the needed information – speed, engine rpm, fuel level, trip computer, real time fuel efficiency, distance to empty and gear shift indicator.

datsun go review images hi res (103)Considering that everyone today owns a smartphone, Datsun has not installed a music system in the Go. Instead, it comes with AUX IN and USB outlet (only for charging). In order to listen to music, you will need to connect the AUX cable to your smartphone. Two stereo speakers are located on the front doors, while there are no speakers at the rear which gives a not so pleasant experience when listening to music.

datsun go review images hi res (111)There is ample space on offer in the Datsun Go. Be it in the dashboard or on the door, you will always find a pocket to store your belongings in the Go. Datsun offers the biggest boot in the segment (265 liters), which also houses a spare tyre. Front door house the power window switch. Rear windows does not have power windows.

datsun go review images hi res (62)You also have a 12V charging point in the Datsun Go. The rear view mirror is attached to the wind screen is another example of the clever architecture of the Datsun Go. The car jack is located under the driver seat. Other important aspect of the interior is that the entire car is carpeted.

datsun go review images hi res (105)Cost Saving: Cost saving is evident in design as well. You might have noticed in the image above, Datsun Go has a single wiper blade on its front windscreen, while there is no wiper on the rear windscreen. Datsun says that their engineers have designed the car in such a way that the water or dust will not be able to gather itself on the rear windscreen when the car is in motion.

datsun go review images hi res (108)A look at the under body of the car also reveals the effective cost cutting.¬†Another area where cost saving is evident is the part-sharing. You can clearly notice Renault-Nissan branding in the engine bay, and the Nissan name on the rear, at the back of Go’s tail light. Outside rear view mirrors don’t have adjustor on the inside, and you will have to set them by rolling the windows down.

datsun go review images hi res (106)Fit and Finish: Datsun Go has a decent finish, both on the inside and outside. But, the plastic interiors do open up the gaps when a little force is applied. Though this is not a problem, we are not sure how they will perform in the long run. We can report more on this once we have the car for a longer period.

datsun go review images hi res (113)Driving and Performance: Datsun Go is easily the best driver’s car in the segment. With a 1.2l three cylinder petrol that delivers 68 PS power and 104 Nm of best in class torque, Go does 0-100 in just 13.3 seconds. Thanks to its lightweight of just 769 kgs, and a very responsive steering, easy clutch and smooth 5 speed manual transmission, Datsun Go is perfect for your daily stop-go traffic condition.

datsun go review images hi res (11)On the highway, the Datsun Go performs equally well. Though official top speed is yet to be revealed, Go can easily cruise at 160 kmph (and beyond), and that too without making you realize about it. Even at high speeds, the car is surprisingly stable.

datsun go review images hi res (28)Body-roll is evident when travelling on ghats, or doing a swift manoeuvre. But this is not a problem while changing lanes on highways at higher speeds. Brakes are effective, but they do tend to lock-up, making you wish for ABS, which is not on offer, even as an option. ARAI certified mileage of Datsun Go stands at 20.6 kmpl, which too is one of the best in the segment. You can expect Go to deliver 15 kmpl from your normal everyday use.

Tech specs of Datsun Godatsun go techspecs (1)

datsun go techspecs (2)

Verdict: Tailor-made for India, new Datsun Go ticks all the right boxes. It is good looking, offers decent mileage, spacious interiors, good pick-up, pleasant firing sound, has surprisingly good top speed, big boot which can swallow big luggage bags with ease, 2 years unlimited warranty and last but not the least, an affordable price tag.

On the downside, there is the missing safety features, which are not even offered as an option. But overall, compared to the competition, Datsun GO is undoubtedly more value for money. Expected to be offered in a range of Rs 3.25 -3.8 lakh, the new Datsun Go looks set to go big in the Indian auto industry.

UPDATE: Datsun Go India launch price Rs 3,69,999 lakh ( top end T variant)

datsun go review images hi res (107)

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