India is one of the fastest growing car markets and majority are first-time buyers. This is one reason why entry-level hatchbacks are selling the most. However, in the A+ segment there aren’t many players except for Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. One needs to have complete localisation to reach this segment and this is what Datsun also targets. Producing localised products designed and catering to the local market and even making them affordable. The GO is the first Datsun to be launched in India and it competes in the A+ segment. We get our hands on this hatchback and find out how good it is.
The first-time car buyer generally looks out for cars that are stylish but at the same time subtle, most of the first-time car buyers refrain from buying sometime that is loud or funky. As this s their first-ever purchase, they do not wish to go wrong with it. Datsun seems to have understood this point well and it has crafted the Go hatch with utter care. Go has a contemporary design with large hexagonal front grille that has a black honeycomb with a chrome surround. The headlamps meld well with this grille as it has sharp edges and is pulled back to the fender, giving it a hawk-eye-like look. The front bumper has intake scoops on both the sides and the crowded hood has prominent stakes on it, with a nose-like formation tapering onto the front grille.
The silhouette of the Go isn’t that funky as it gets more metal than glasshouse area, with a swage line that runs across rising slowly from the head lamp to the tail lamp. It has blacked-out B-pillar and even the ORVMs are black in colour. The rear does add some glam with parallelogram-ish tail lamps and a large rear bumper. The rear glass area is also large enough, improving the visibility, especially while parking. For those looking at not to experiment there are white and silver body colours for the Go, while for the younger audience Datsun has introduced a new sky blue and red colours.
Go is based on the Micra, and hence it retains the same space too. Both of them have the same length and wheelbase. This makes the Datsun Go the most spacious in its segment. To begin with, the front row seats are spacious and the co-driver’s seat is extended filling up the gap between the two seats. Datsun claims this has been added as several car buyers need space to keep their mobile phones, hand bags and other things that they generally carry. This is why the gearknob and the hand brake are moved on to the centre console and there is space between the driver’s seat and co-driver’s to walk out from any side.
The seats have integrated head rests and the there is sufficient space for the rear passengers too. This is probably the most spacious hatchback in its segment. The boot too is large enough as it can gobble luggage of up to 265 litres.
The Datsun Go has a Micra-derived instrument panel. The quality of the materials on the Datsun Go is good quality, with even good quality fit and finish of the plastics. It has circular air-con vents and knobs to control the air temperature. The instrument cluster gets a digital tachometer and it even gets distance to empty, average and current fuel efficiency. The steering wheel doesn’t have any kind of adjustment. The Go is the first vehicle in its segment to get follow me home headlamps and there are some cost cutting measures, as the Datsun Go has a single wiper.
This is the first-time a car gets a mobile docking station. You can mount your smartphone and connect to the system with an aux-cable. There is a USB input to charge your smartphone too. This system has two speakers, and the concept is to provide access to music, maps and calling with your smartphone as the interface. This is a cost effective means, however we wish that instead of an aux-cable, there was Bluetooth connectivity making it easier to pair the phone, without any cables required. This will also make calling simpler.
Engine and Transmisison:
The Datsun Go has the same 1.2-litre engine from the Micra Active. It produces 66bhp of power and 104Nm of torque. This engine has been tuned for better fuel-economy, when you compare it to the Micra, which produces 74bhp from the same engine block. This is the same three-cylinder mill and considering the weight of the vehicle, it has good enough power too.
The NVH levels are fairly low, however the exhaust note on starts is very much two-cylinder like. The engine does get noisy as it inches closer to the red line. It isn’t a sweet note and more of a scream, however this is no struggle from the engine. One downside of this tuning is that the idle engine speed is low or the mountings of our press demonstrator had an issue because our Go had a lot of vibrations at idle. We will get another vehicle and tell you if we face the same issue. The vehicle doesn’t feel it is running out of breath even on the highway. One can cruise easily at 120km/hr. One might have to down for quick overtaking in the city, while on the highway there isn’t much of a struggle. The Go has a top speed of under 170km/hr and it does reach 160 without any struggle. The gearing ratios on the Go are different from that of the Micra and the Micra Active. The first two gears are short and the third is tall. This makes it convenient for driving in the city and even on the highway, also increasing the fuel efficiency. We achieved a figure of 15km/l with city and highway driving.
The Go has been designed for commute from point A to B. It hasn’t been designed to drive on a track. Hence, the suspension set-up of this hatchback is soft. It retains the same underpinnings of the Micra, however the dampeners are changed and the ride quality is pliant even at high speeds. The dampener technology has been picked by from Infiniti, which is Nissan's premium car brand. However, on bad roads the ride is unsettled.
The handling of the Go is good enough for city driving. The Go has some good amount of body roll. However what we can appreciate is the fact that it has a planted ride even at speeds in excess of 120 km/hr, never feels unsettled. The steering wheel of the Datsun Go is extremely light and this makes it easy to drive in the city. The Datsun Go also has the smallest turning radius in its segment.
The Datsun Go is a good product that makes it to the A+ segment. It is the most spacious, powerful and has good quality too. Now, the only concern is there is no ABS even on the top-of-the-line model, even as an option. Other than this, this Datsun Go is the ideal pick in this segment.