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Datsun GO And GO+ CVT: First Drive Review

Published On Sep 27, 2019 By Nabeel for Datsun GO

Datsun ups the automatic game in the compact hatchback segment by giving its GO duo a CVT transmission. Reason enough to bring it back into contention?


Despite their generous size and attractive price tags, the Datsun GO and GO+ haven't been able to become the choice of many in the market. While there are many reasons behind it, one of them was the lack of an automatic option. Datsun has now resolved that issue by not just giving it an AMT like the competition, but a more advanced CVT. This is available in the top two variants, giving you the option of a fully specced automatic. Not to mention, the least expensive CVT you can buy in India. Can the added 2-pedal convenience be reason enough for you to take it into consideration?

Looks

  • In terms of looks, there have been no changes to the cars apart from a CVT badge on the boot. The update it received last year did make it look fresher.

  • The 2018 facelift gave it a bigger grille, strong creases on the bonnet and bumpers, refreshed headlamps and LED DRLs. These changes help the front look more imposing. Also, it now adheres to pedestrian crash safety norms. 

  • Not much has changed from the side. The minor changes include body-coloured ORVMs and new 14-inch dual-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels. These are bigger and wider (165/70 R14 Vs 155/70 R13) than the pre-facelift car. At the back, you have a windscreen washer and wiper as well. 

  • To know in detail about the looks of the car, check out the first drive review here

Interiors

  • Like the exterior, nothing inside is new, apart from the gear shifter and the touchscreen. The 2018 facelift gave the cars better plastic quality, refreshed dashboard (all-black in the GO and dual-tone in the GO+) and a more natural handbrake position. These things are still appreciated today. 

  • Now, let's get to the changes. The new CVT gear lever is a nice chunky unit. It looks and feels solid. Sliding through the drive modes is also easy. However, this easy slide often leads to you shifting to the bottom-most Low mode, and then up for Drive. Spending some time with the car would cure this habit. There is also a tiny little button on the shifter which activates Sport mode! More on that later. 

  • Let's talk about the other change - the touchscreen. It is still a 7.0-inch unit but unlike the one which came with the facelift, this is a unit we have already seen in Renault cars like the Kwid. It supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay but lacks finesse both in terms of graphics and smoothness of operation.

  • The in-cabin experience is now a bit quieter thanks to the extra insulation around the engine bay. Other features include a manual AC, 12V socket, power windows with one-touch driver down, follow-me-home headlamps and electrically adjustable ORVMs.

  • But there are a lot of `missing features here. The car should have had a day/night-adjustable IRVM, steering-mounted controls, height-adjustable driver's seat, adjustable steering and lane change indicators.

  • At the back, there is adequate headroom and legroom, but you sit a bit low with the knees pointing upwards, lacking under-thigh support. You could squeeze three average-sized adults as there is decent shoulder room, but only for short journeys. 

  • In the GO+, the third row experience remains tricky. It is best suited for small children, or as additional boot space. Remove the third row and you get a brillant 347 litres of volume. The GO offers 265 litres as standard.

Safety

  • Datsun had worked on improving the structural strength of both the cars, which has added another 150kg of weight. On the features front, you get dual front airbags, ABS (anti-lock brakes) with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), BA (brake assist) and rear parking sensors as standard. The top four variants also get Vehicle Dynamic Control.

Engine and Performance

  • For the CVT, both GO and GO+ have received a power bump. The setup is now borrowed from the Nissan Micra CVT. 

  • The 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol unit now makes 77PS (MT makes 68PS) of power and 104Nm of torque, both at slightly higher rpms. The engine won't let you complain about refinement and with the added insulation, feels quiet as well. 

  • The transmission is well tuned for the cars and makes commutes effortless. Being a CVT, its is ultra smooth and offers a jerk-free ride, unlike the AMT competition.

  • Inside the city, the creep function is powerful and you barely have to prod the throttle. Even when you do, the power comes in very gently and won't surprise you. While overtaking, the ‘rubber-band’ effect is kept well under check and you get fairly clean acceleration. The GO feels more lively than the GO+ in acceleration.

  • By default, the gearbox likes to hold low revs. Push it harder and you will feel a delay in power. If you suddenly go hard on the throttle, there is a slight jerk - almost like a kick-down. This takes you to the right band for faster acceleration. 

  • Switching on Sport mode keeps the engine spinning at a higher rpm. This reduces the rubberband effect and keeps you in the power band. 

  • On the highway, the CVT cruises just below 2,000 rpm between 80-100kmph. This keeps the engine calm and helps with the fuel efficiency. Holding these speeds is also effortless and the same can be done with minimal throttle input. Still, it isn't a fast car and you will have to plan high-speed overtakes. Sport mode helps the case but will take a toll on the efficiency. 

  • Claimed efficiency stands at 20.07kmpl (19.72kmpl for MT) for the GO and 19.41kmpl (19.72kmpl) for the GO+. What's interesting is that while the efficiency has reduced by 0.3kmpl in the GO+, it has actually improved in the GO by a similar margin. Keeping in mind the power bump, this is impressive.

Ride and Handling

  • The suspension setup has been impressive on the cars from the beginning. It takes on speed breakers and undulations with ease, cushioning you well. It’s quick to settle down as well and keeping the ride composed. This is retained at higher speeds as it keeps you away from minor undulations without being too bouncy. 

  • At higher speeds, the GO feels more planted and composed. Even while going through corners, the GO exhibits a lot less body roll than the GO+. However, the feedback from the steering is not confidence-inspiring and sudden lane changes will keep you and occupants a bit nervous. 

  • Both cars feel best suited for city use. The steering is light and allow you to make quick u-turns, and the lack of feedback does not become a bother either.

Verdict

The CVT update has made the GO and the GO+ a lot more competent. They were always looked at as practical commuters and the CVT update just makes them a lot better at it. And even when compared to the competition, the transmission offers a much smoother and jerk-free drive. Not to mention, the added power and impressive claimed efficiency figures seal the deal. 

That said, both the cars still remain shy of features and miss the feel-good factor when compared to rivals like the Wagon R and Tiago. What could work in its favour is the pricing. We expect the T CVT variant to start from Rs 5.9 lakh and the flagship GO+ T(O) CVT to be priced under Rs 6.9 lakh. In that case, the GO duo make a good case for themselves if you are just looking for a hassle-free commuter.

Datsun GO

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
D Petrol (Petrol)Rs. 3.35 Lakh*
A Petrol (Petrol)Rs. 4.21 Lakh*
A Option Petrol (Petrol)Rs. 4.52 Lakh*
T VDC (Petrol)Rs. 5.28 Lakh*
T CVT (Petrol)Rs. 5.94 Lakh*
T Option CVT (Petrol)Rs. 6.18 Lakh*
T Option VDC (Petrol)Rs. 5.53 Lakh*

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