Datsun GO Expert Review

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Introduction

Pros
  • New dashboard setup looks much better.
  • Good boot space, ample enough for a short family trip.
  • The exterior changes, especially the new 14-inch alloy wheels, look good.
  • Dual-airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, rear parking sensors and follow me home headlamps are now part of the standard safety kit.
  • The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system is responsive, has a good resolution and supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Cons
  • Lack of storage space for the second row
  • Disappointing audio quality with just two speakers
  • Underbody noise insulation still lacking as stones hitting the bottom make a sharp noise.

Stand Out Features

  • LED DRLs are bright and add to the aesthetic appeal of the cars.

    LED DRLs are bright and add to the aesthetic appeal of the cars.

  • Dual airbags are offered as standard for better safety.

    Dual airbags are offered as standard for better safety.

  • The new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system feels premium and supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    The new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system feels premium and supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

CarDekho Verdict

The Datsun GO has come a long way since it was introduced back in 2014. The updated model’s revised design, as well as feature list, should help it vie for attention in the over-crowded entry-level hatchback segment. What's more, Datsun has also addressed the concerns customers had regarding the safety of the GO with the addition of a host of standard safety features. It has even managed to improve the overall user experience of the car with sharper looks, a better cabin, new features and improved NVH levels. However, there are still a few odd feature omissions, including the lack of a day/night IRVM, lane change indicators and the lack of substantial underbody insulation.

But if you're looking to buy your first car, the updated Datsun GO should certainly be on your shortlist as it is not only priced competitively, but safer than before as well.

Exterior

The one thing that you immediately notice about the 2018 GO is that the car now looks a whole lot better than before. It's not a distinctive change, but just enough to make you appreciate it a little more. The grille is now bigger than before and, along with the strong creases on the bonnet, the car looks more imposing. The headlamps too have been refreshed but continue to feature conventional bulbs. Complementing this look is the new bumper which features a lot of sharp creases towards the sides. It also houses new vertically stacked LED DRLs, which is further highlighted by the black surrounds.

Datsun GO

From the side, the GO looks almost identical to the previous version. However, there are a few minor changes to make the styling easier on the eyes. The ORVMs now get a body-coloured casing, while the wheels are now dual-tone diamond-cut alloys. Not just that, they are bigger and wider - 165/70 R14 when compared to the older 155/70 R13 wheels - and look even better. 

Datsun GO

The Datsun GO now looks better from the rear as well. The creases on the bumper towards the edges help accentuate the width of the car. The bottom crease of the bumper, which looks like a lip extension, is a neat touch. Additionally, you also get a rear windscreen washer and wiper as well.

Datsun GO

Overall, there is a definite improvement in the way the GO looks. The updates make the car appear more premium and offer more universal appeal. 

Interior

Unlike the exterior, the interiors are brand new. While the overall plastic quality is only slightly better, there is an all-new, all-black dashboard which gets a much cleaner layout. The centre AC vent design has been changed as well and they are now a part of the the top layer of the dashboard. 

Datsun GO

The non-adjustable steering wheel is the same unit as before but now comes in black. There is a brushed aluminium-like plastic cladding, which makes it look more premium. There are no buttons for audio or phone calls here, a feature which would have been a definite value addition. The instrument cluster is now borrowed from the Micra. When compared to the outgoing models, the new version gets an analog tachometer on the left. The small orange backlit MID (multi-info display) at the bottom displays the odometer, trip metre, distance-to-empty, time and fuel level. Strangely, there is no lane change indicator, which is a very basic yet useful feature.

Datsun GO

The biggest change here has to be the centre console, which now features a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This system is responsive to use and features crisp graphics for menus. It also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity apart from the usual USB, Bluetooth and Aux inputs. Datsun will also offer a rear parking camera as an accessory, which sends the video feed to this screen. Sadly, the disappointing audio quality from the two-speaker setup takes away from the experience a bit. Below the touchscreen are knobs for the manual AC. The USB and AUX-in ports are placed a bit oddly on the panel below the gear shifter, away from the line of sight.

The gear lever is no longer a ‘floating’ unit as there is centre console compartment going all the way to the bottom. The 12V socket has been retained, but the cap is still not attached or connected to the socket, making it easy to misplace. And following customer feedback, the dash-mounted handbrake lever has been removed and has been replaced with a conventional lever between the seats. 

Datsun GO

Speaking of seats, Datsun has reworked them and they are now called ‘Anti-Fatigue Seats’ These feel well cushioned and supports your backs even on longer journeys. However, there is no height adjustment for the driver's seat, while the steering wheel continues to be non adjustable. This can make finding a comfortable driving position a bit tricky. Nevertheless, you now get electrically adjustable ORVMs, which is an added convenience. 

Although the rear seat offers adequate headroom and legroom, you sit a bit low with the knees pointing upwards, which gives you the impression that the seats lack under-thigh support. Shoulder room feels wider than cars in its category and is just enough to squeeze three average-sized adults, albeit for shorter journeys. Sadly, there are a few things missing here as well, including adjustable headrests, rear centre armrest and lack of storage options as you only have one centre bottle holder and seat back pockets.

At 265 litres, boot space in the GO remains the same as before and is enough to accommodate the family’s weekend luggage.

Performance

The Datsun GO is powered by the same engine as before i.e. the 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol unit which produces 68PS and 104Nm of torque. However, Datsun’s engineers have made revisions to the gear ratios of the 5-speed manual box, which could have been done to manage the higher kerb weight. As a result, the car still feels peppy, with the engine pulling strongly from 2000rpm onwards. Datsun claims the GO can complete the 0-100kmph run in just 13.3 seconds. Rest assured, we’ll soon put the car through a thorough road test and verify these figures. 

Datsun GO

However, what’s been affected by the few extra kilos is the drivability. While it’ll still pick up from 30kmph in fourth gear without the engine knocking, you will have to wait a bit for the speeds to climb. This becomes apparent when the car is running on a full load, forcing you to provide a heavy throttle input to get going. Out on the highway, the car settles at triple speeds with ease but runs out of breath soon after, asking you to plan your overtakes in advance. At 19.83kmpl, the claimed fuel efficiency is now slightly lower than before.

Ride and Handling

The Datsun GO gets a 10mm bump in ground clearance (now 180mm) thanks to the larger 14-inch wheels. This has also lead to a slightly different suspension setup, which, in this case, is better than before. The suspension takes on speed breakers and undulations with ease, cushions you well. This characteristic is even retained at higher speeds, as the car remains stable over broken roads and bad patches. What's even more impressive is that the car is quick to settle down after hitting a pothole or bump. At triple digit speeds, though, it does feel a bit bouncy, but that's something which is common across this category of cars. 

Datsun GO

Although engine noise is better insulated than before, the floorboard insulation still feels lacking as even the smallest pebble hit makes a sharp noise inside the cabin. Overall, the NVH levels have been improved to a point where it is now acceptable. 

As far as handling is concerned, it’s a car best suited for city use. The steering is light and lets you make quick turns or u-turns in traffic. However, the feedback from the unit feels a bit vague at high speeds and sudden lane changes doesn't inspire much confidence. A slightly heavier steering would have gone a long way to help with that.

Safety

Safety has been a major concern for buyers looking at the Datsun GO. After receiving dismal scores in crash tests, Global NCAP had deemed the structure of both cars unstable and unfit for further loading. However, Datsun seems to have pulled up its socks and has worked on improving the structural strength of the car, adding about 150kg of weight in the process. As a result, the updated model now meets the upcoming crash test norms in India. You even get dual front airbags, ABS (anti-lock brakes) with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), BA (brake assist), rear parking sensors and follow-me-home headlamps as standard throughout the range.

 

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