Datsun GO Expert Review

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Introduction

Nissan as a brand is known world-wide for making cheap and cheerful small cars. However, in India; which happens to be amongst the world’s largest small car markets, the Japanese brand hasn’t quite gained as much traction as they were hoping to. To fix this and further their reach, they decided to move lower down the price chain. They brought back the iconic century old brand Datsun from retirement as a budget brand for developing countries such as India. India was the first country to get the taste of the new Datsun car, the Go. The hatch is based on the same platform as the Nissan Micra but built to a cost. There are many expectations as to whether the Datsun will turn the tide for Nissan and will the Go dethrone the Alto?

Pros
  • Mature ride quality, doesn’t get upset by the bumps and potholes easily.
  • Segment leading power and performance. The 1.2 litre motor is super peppy!
  • Generous dimensions. Liberates a lot of space on the interior.
Cons
  • Noise insulation is non-existent. You will hear the tyres, the engine and everything that is around the car on the move.
  • Interiors look boring, outdated and not to mention cheap!
  • Obvious cost-cutting shines through non-retractable rear seat belts, glove box lid etc.

Stand Out Features

  • Segment-best boot space.

    Segment-best boot space.

  • First-in-segment features like follow-me headlamps.

    First-in-segment features like follow-me headlamps.

CarDekho Verdict

As a car, the Datsun Go offers great design, amazing space, big engine and good driveability. If you need nothing more, the Go deserves a spot on your driveway.

"But as a package, it lacks features (some most basic ones) and the competition offers much more."

But as a package, it lacks features (some most basic ones) and the competition offers much more. You need to offer more especially when you want customers to opt for a completely new brand.

Exterior

When we said Nissan wanted to go down through Datsun that doesn’t clearly mean smaller. The Datsun Go fits better in the larger B segment rather than the A segment it’s destined for judging by the size. The overall design of the exterior of the Datsun Go is follows a ‘please-everyone-offend-no-one’ theme.

The front of the Go is where it looks the best thanks to the large headlamps, the dab of chrome on the grille, muscular front bumper and the sculpted bonnet.

The sculpted bonnet neatly integrates into the front bumper, which does have space for hosting fog lamps but are given a miss to keep the costs in check.

To the side, three character lines run the length of the car. One starts from the headlamps and flows under the windows onto the tail lamps, where it gets a slight twitch. While another line runs in the middle of the car, a third line connects the wheels at the bottom.

The outside rear view mirrors (ORVMs) are not even body coloured even in the top variant and there is no stalks to manually adjust the ORVMs from inside. Get ready to roll down the windows every time.

The rear of the Datsun Go looks simple but good with large tail lamps and the rear bumper gets a neat cut for the number plate.

While the wheel arches are mammoth, the 13-inch 155/70 profile look puny under them, leaving wide gaps between the tyres and the arches.

Exterior Comparison

Datsun GO Maruti Alto K10 Renault KWID Hyundai EON
Length (mm) 3785 3545 3679 3515
Width (mm) 1635 1490 1579 1550
Height (mm) 1490 1475 1478 1510
Ground Clearance (mm) 170 160 - 170
Wheel Base (mm) 2450 2360 2422 2380
Kerb Weight (kg) - 742 - -

Boot Space Comparison

Datsun GO Maruti Alto K10 Renault KWID Hyundai EON
Volume 265-litres 177-liters 300-litres 215-litres

Interior

All that size of the Go translates to a spacious cabin. But of course you will have to overcome the cheapness you will feel as soon as you enter. Don’t get us wrong, the build quality and the way things are put together are on par with the segment but the Hyundai Eon feels Eons better, pun intended. Apart from that, things like the non-retractable rear seat belts, thin seats and uncovered glove box open up the question of how much cost-cutting went in the car.

The interiors get a grey layout with a lighter shade of grey for the bottom of the dashboard. The over design of the dashboard is very simple and many things like the indicator stalks, AC vents etc are borrowed from Nissan Micra.

A very simple instrument cluster comprises of a very large speedometer (no tachometer) and a MID. The MID offers a wide range of information like tachometer, odometer, tripmeter, distance to empty and average fuel economy.

Though simple, the steering wheel is of nice size and feels light. The horn pad is big but the horn itself is a poor sounding single unit. The gear lever and the handbrake find their place on the dashboard instead of the conventional in-between the seats one. Though the gear lever is ergonomic once you get used to it, many will not like the placement of the gear lever and the old style pull and twist handbrake.

The centre console gets two AC vents, an unusual audio setup and HVAC controls below. The switches and knobs are of good size and quality. The glove box is deep but comes without a closing lid. The same thing happened with the Nissan Evalia, which later got one, but the Go comes open only. Other storage spaces include smaller cubby holes under the steering wheel (none of them are closed) and bottle holders on the front doors.

Coming to the seat setup, the Datsun gets a connected seat, which is almost bench type seats you get in old HM Ambassadors. You can’t seat another person as there is neither the space nor any seatbelt. Datsun has said that this space can be used for storage space which sort of defeats the purpose of having a ‘seat’ and not usable cubby holes.

Though the seats are thin, they offer good support. Having the longest wheelbase in its segment (longer than some in a segment above too), the Go offers excellent space, especially in the rear. Three adults can travel in reasonable comfort in the rear, when compared to the constricted space of the competition.

Performance

The Datsun Go is available only in a petrol version and we at CarDekho.com believe Datsun should have offered a diesel version too, to stand ahead of the competition.

The Datsun Go is powered by an 1198 cc, 3-cylinder petrol engine that puts out 67 bhp of maximum power at 5000 rpm and 104 Nm of maximum torque at 4000 rpm. It is the same unit that powers the Micra Active. The engine is the biggest in the segment in terms of size and also has the best-in-class power and performance.

The budget cut comes out right from the moment you turn on the engine. The engine shudders evidently even in idle and the NVH levels are better not looked upon at all, as there is no evidence of sound proofing at all. But once you get going, the engine becomes smoother. The engine is good to clock triple digit speeds but as the speeds rise, so does the noise, typical of a three cylinder unit.

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Datsun GO Hyundai EON Renault KWID Maruti Alto K10
Power 67.06bhp@5000rpm 68.05bhp@6200rpm 67bhp@5500rpm 67.1bhp@6000rpm
Torque (Nm) 104Nm@4000rpm 94.14Nm@3500rpm 91Nm@4250rpm 90Nm@3500rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1198 998 999 998
Transmission Manual Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 150 Kmph 140 Kmph 155.8 kmph 145 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 13.3 Seconds 15 Seconds 13.90 Seconds 13.3 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) - - - 742kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 20.63kmpl 20.3kmpl 23.01kmpl 24.07kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 742kg - - 90.43126684636117 bhp/ton

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

The safety is where the Datsun Go came under lots of fire but the company is now offering the driver side airbag as on option on the top variant.

Safety Comparison

Datsun GO Renault KWID Hyundai EON Maruti Alto K10
Airbags close righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
ABS close close close close
EBD close close close close

Variants

  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
GO D Engine Immobilizer, Child Lock, Follow-Me-Home Headlamps, 3.35 Lakh*
GO T [ In adition to D ] Power Steering, Central Locking, Front Power Windows, [ Variant D price ] + 85,997 =  4.21 Lakh*

Datsun Go is available in three variants - D, A and T.

The D is the most basic variant and comes with halogen headlamps, high mounted stop lamp, silver finish radiator grille, wheel cap, speed sensitive wipers, connected front seats, plain seat upholstery, speaker grille, MID, follow-me-home headlamps, remote fuel lid and tailgate opener, engine immobiliser and heater.

The mid-variant A gives you chrome finish radiator grille, body colour bumper, passenger side ORVM, designed seat upholstery, door map pockets, AC, speed sensitive power steering.

Top-end T adds full wheel cover, body coloured door handle, optional silver finish for steering wheel, front power windows, mobile docking station with Aux-in support, front speakers, manual central locking and optional driver side airbag.

Datsun GO similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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