It has a spanking new design, a potent powertrain and drives like a dream. The Datsun Go has everything it takes to change the dynamics of the entry-level small
The Datsun Go hatchback is the first product from the Nissan- owned and recently resurrected Datsun brand, which aims at the high volume small car segment. But does this low-cost warrior have the goods to get the dominant players in the segment worried?
Design and appearance
Tight lines, squat stance and an athletic, peppy appeal radiate from the Go’s exterior. The sharply forward sloping rear windscreen, along with a low roofline, a long bonnet, tight shoulder lines, pronounced haunches and small overhangs endow the Go with a lively, energetic character.
The dashboard isn’t too fancy looking, but is sturdy and neat. Use of light colours enhances the feeling of space and airiness. Note the position of the handbrake to the right of the gear lever
The rear hatch door has a high loading lip and bears the Datsun logo in a mildly elevated trough shape chiseled surface just below the rear windscreen.
The space in the backseat is sufficient. Front seats are split in a 60:40 ratio, with a thin backrest to enhance rear knee-room
Engine and transmission
The Datsun Go is powered with a three-pot 1.2 litre petrol unit. The engine is wobbly at idling. But the unit smoothens as the rev needle moves upwards of 1,500 rpm.
The three-pot engine delivers decidedly more power, torque, performance and drivability than its rivals-to-be
On the move, the engine is responsive and torquey at low to mid revs. The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has given the Datsun Go a 20.6 kmpl rating. The three-pot engine on the Datsun Go is mated to a five speed manual gearbox.
The responsive engine, along with the light kerb weight of the car, makes the Datsun Go a peppy machine to drive around the city. At higher speeds, the Go feels comfortable to drive. Cruising above 100 kmph in fourth or fifth gear is a breeze, and overtaking without having to downshift is no big deal either. Top speed can be stretched to nigh 160 kmph, though the Go has to make some effort to build pace beyond 140kmph.
Cabin quality and space
The grey-coloured three-spoke steering wheel looks decent and is nice to hold. The wheel-base of the car at 2,450mm is longer than the Maruti Suzuki Swift. Its boot space, at 265 litres is a full 60 litre more than the Swift’s 205 litre, and just 30 litre short of the cavernous 295 litre boot space of the Hyundai i20.
The front bench-like seat is a two piece assembly, and each of the front seats are adjustable for fore and aft movement and recline angle. There are other crevices across the cabin to accommodate medium-sized items. The glovebox on the front passenger’s side is an open unit with no lid.
Leg space becomes a bit of an issue with tall passengers, but overall the Go leads the category when it comes to space.
Features and convenience
Despite the Go targetting a rumoured sub R4 lakh on the road price tag for the top-end T variant, some of its features are amazing. The instrument cluster features a digital tachometer and an MID, which features twin trip-meters, odometer, average and instantaneous fuel efficiency and distance to dry. The car also features follow- me-home headlamps.
There is no CD player on the Datsun Go, but it is available as an accessory. The conventional A/C controls are simple to use, with a black plastic background, silver finish knobs and white markings.
Ride and handling
At 769kg, the Datsun Go is a light car. It showed great poise when we drove it deliberately faster than required over some small, but steeply raked speed breakers and deeper potholes.
Backseat comfort, too, is good, with the ride feeling like that of a bigger car. The energy saving electric power steering firms up nicely and offers great feedback and precision as the speed builds up. the car holds its line with confidence while going straight, even in the upper extreme of its speed range.
The Datsun Go is a well-executed product. It’s a striking, energetic design, has loads of space inside and drives like a dream. Sure, some equipment is missing, but it’s not a deal breaker. For a first time entrant in the Indian market, Datsun must be congratulated for having come up with a product which seems capable to exceed the expectations of the entry level car buyer. Now all that the Go needs is an aggressive price tag.
Engine — 1198cc, Three-cylinder, Petrol
power — 68 bhp @ 5000 rpm
torque — 104 Nm @ 4000 rpm
fuel efficiency — 20.6 kmpl