Datsun unveiled their first Indian product a hatchback which they christened as GO couple of months ago.The Sketches which were revealed earlier clearly showed that the new hatchback looks aggressive and stylish as well, and when it was finally unveiled it looked almost same as it was highlighted in the sketch. Datsun is all set to launch the GO on 19th March to compete against the other small car manufacturers of India like the Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai which are already present in the Indian market for quite some now. The Datsun GO hatchback is presently being developed by Nissan India at its Chennai technical facility.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;
Similar is the case with the Indian car market. The sub 4-metre and the small size engine duty have made the business a bit too complicated for car manufacturers. Compact-size sedans and even SUVs are making their way, with some compromise. However, Datsun has introduced a larger hatch called as the Datsun GO+. It is being marketed as a compact utility vehicle and does it do that? We take it for a weekend camping trip and find out how much of the addition exists.
The PLUS stands for the larger boot and additional third row of seating. The Datsun GO+ is based on the GO, and it shows the striking resemblance. The fascia’s of both are the same and the body design is the same till the rear door. After which the belt line rises as you move towards the rear and even the wheel haunches are protuberant. The blacked-out door pillar after the rear door (C-pillar) has a lesser glass area and this makes it very prominent. The roof also gently slopes downwards towards the rear. The boot lid of the Datsun GO+ is a new body part and the tail lamps are the same as the GO. The rear bumper looks stylish and does look muscular.
The length of the Datsun GO+ is under 4 metres, so it is as long as the Honda Amaze and Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire. However, what this offers is extra flexibility with another row of seating or a humongous boot, when compared to the compact sedans and SUVs. As the ground clearance is the same, it drives like any other compact car and is easy to manoeuvre through tight city lanes with a turning radius of 4.6 metres.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
Get inside this new hatch and you will like what you find inside, definitely Hyundai has set a new benchmark when it comes to interiors with their budget hatch Eon and when you compare Go’s interior the later looks and feels pretty basic and bland.The front dashboard looks boring with the round air vents which has once again been borrowed from Nissan Micra what is interesting though is that you won’t be getting any audio player with this new hatch instead Datsun has provided a holder which can hold any mobile audio device such as an I-pod or your mobile and it also has been provided with a aux in audio input jack so your phone or I-pod becomes in car entertainment system. The rest of the instrument cluster and dials looks pretty basic too but the small digital display provides lot of useful information such as rev counter, trip computer for average fuel consumption and fuel gauge.
Let me mention one more interesting thing about the dashboard here the gear lever has been fitted along with the dashboard in order to save space in the front seats. The dashborad does not have a glovebox instead it has a parcel tray just beneath the dashboard.The front seat or it would sound appropriate if I call it a bench because just between the two front bucket seats there is an additional cushion which joins both the driver and passenger seats and it can easily fit a third passenger but Datsun in particular has made it clear that this small space is strictly for a small children. Another disappointing thing is that although it has been provided with a cushioning there are no seat belts provided for the third passenger at the front.
The designers have given this new hatch a wider shape and thus have pushed the doors and wheels at the front and rear end of the car to create more space in its interiors moreover it also has been provides with a 265 liters of boot space where you can store some luggage easily which too is impressive for a entry level hatch of this size.The Go hatch interiors are definitely not luxurious but has ample of space inside although the interiors looks bit dull and boring with grey plastics and seat fabrics but this is only an entry level hatch and so expecting anything more will be bit silly.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;
With a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol motor already doing duty in the Micra and Micra Active, Nissan didn’t have to look too far for an engine. In brief, it’s an all-aluminium unit that produces 67bhp at 5,000rpm. And with just 788kg to hurl around, it does a rather impressive job of giving the Go some real go. A bit of hesitation at low revs apart, the Datsun feels very peppy at typical city speeds and it responds well to light throttle inputs. You can also pull away from low engine speeds in higher gears with ease, which means fewer gearshifts. Part of the credit for this goes to the smartly chosen (if slightly tall) gear ratios. Interestingly, the Go doesn’t use the Micra’s Renault-sourced gearbox (code: JH), because it was too expensive. Instead, Nissan has dusted off an older five-speed unit (code: FY) and pressed it into service here. This is not the most modern of gearboxes and there’s a noticeable whine at all times. The gearshift is slightly notchy too, but doesn’t require much effort. Neither does the clutch, which is light and progressive.
The mid range and top end of this motor are the best bits, with power flowing seamlessly and never leaving you wanting for more. There’s a delightful little surge every time you floor the throttle in the meat of the revband. The engine does get noisy after 4,000rpm, but never to point of feeling strained or harsh. That’s probably because Nissan has fixed the rev limiter at a rather low 5,250rpm in the interest of fuel economy, so you’ll often find yourself maxing the car in each gear earlier than you’d expect.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The Datsun Go handles almost all the irregularities of the Indian roads pretty well with only the large pot holes giving it the wobble. The suspension does a nice job of absorbing them but the absence of any kind of insulation means even though you won’t feel the smallest of the disturbances of the roads, you will hear them.The light steering is good for the city driving and gains good weight on the highways at higher speeds. Straight line stability is good but an upgrade for the tyres is strictly recommended. Braking is satisfactory but without ABS, sudden braking made both the car and us nervous.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
The Datsun GO features a speed-sensitive electronic power steering system, which is well weighed. It isn’t as light as a Hyundai, but is convenient for both city as well as highway duties. The gearbox has precise throws but feels a tad notchy.The downside for the Datsun GO is lack of enough safety features. Unlike the Alto 800, the GO doesn’t get airbags on any of its variants. While it runs disc brakes up front, it doesn’t get anti-lock brakes. Wheel lock-ups are therefore, evident under hard braking
Our initial stint with the Datsun GO has impressed us. The car has a lot going for it. While most vehicles in this segment offer a compromised product, Nissan has given first time car buyers a genuinely good alternative although cost cutting is glaringly evident in many places. The GO not only ticks the right boxes when it comes to important criterias like space, comfort, ride quality, efficiency and affordability, it is also appealing and not obnoxiously shaped like some of its rivals. The 2-year/unlimited mileage warranty is just the cherry on the GO (no pun intended) and as ironic as it may sound, the GO’s chief rival has its name in its tagline. Nissan is serious about the Indian market and with its solo journey commenced for sales and service, the Datsun GO is undoubtedly one of the best cars for the first time car buyer.