Datsun Go+ : First Drive Report

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Soon there is going to be a new kid on the block, it’s the Datsun Go+ that aims to target the ever so lucrative MPV space with a different categorization and price.

Yet to be launched, the Datsun Go+ was first showcased during this year’s Indian Auto Expo to interpret the reactions of an end consumer when it came to budgeted MPV. After having studied the market for almost 11 months, the company is referring to the GO+ as a ‘Compact Family Wagon’.

Therefore creating an entirely new segment better known as ‘Compact MPV’ the GO+ is basically a stretched version of the GO hatchback that aims to provide more style, more seats, better power and more practicality. What does this all translate into well, let us find out.

Adding a third row meant that Go+ has an increased length of 3995 mm with an overall width of 1635mm and height measuring 1490mm. In profile this compact MPV does resemble its sibling ‘Go Hatch’, which in the current scheme of things is not out of the ordinary as many of its competitors have also followed a similar route to keep the product cost effective at the end of the day.

Therefore head-on, the Go+ features Datsun’s trademark  “D-cut grille” which is the focal point of the front end followed by elements such as three-dimensional headlights, a sculpted bonnet and a sharp bumper comprising of three air intakes. While the side profile portrays strong shoulder lines that originate from the front to mid - point of the rear doors.  The presence of black finish plastic side view mirrors, body coloured door handles and set of plastic hub caps do make it look good.

The rear quarter is where most of the changes have taken place.  The sloping roofline and bold flick design seamlessly merges into the tailgate making it look more than perfect for a sub-meter MPV. Rest there is a squared off tail gate which provides similar tail lights as the hatch and so is the case with the bumper which pretty straight forward in design. 

Move in and its dual tone interior catches the eye but beyond that there is not much to expect from its cabin. Though Datsun herein claim to have upped the quality of its plastics via soft leather feel grain patterns which does feel reasonably satisfying. Apart from that, up front there is the same three spoke steering wheel available in the hatchback.

So is the case with the instrument cluster with its white and blue appeal comprising of a large speedometer, digital tachometer, gear shift guide and fuel computer. Its centre console comprises of silver accentuated circular air vents right towards the top, below which is entertainment system which comprises of an Aux-in, USB port, volume control and power on off button.

There is no facility of a radio and CD player in this MPV much like its sibling. Controls of both the music system (volume in specific) and air conditioning fan knob do feel a bit rusty. Like in the Go, the placement of the gear stick and handbrake is on the centre console. Towards the left, there is open space to storing in the all important vehicle papers along with cub holders which can be found on the door pockets.

A very old but not so common feature nowadays, the bench seat (60:40 split) is back up front like the hatchback version. Dual in design with fabric upholstery, they feel well supported though it lacks under thy support. While the second row offers decent amount of space (be it head, shoulder & leg room) with good of cushioning in fact the under thy support herein is decent.

The last row which is an addition to this MPV can only be suited for seating children as there is very little leg space and headroom towards the rear. As for luggage space there is only 40 litres available for storage with the third row up, however when folded it leads to 347 litres which is fairly decent for packing in stuff.  To point out, the rear end of the tailgate misses out on its covers which leaves the gate pretty much exposed when looked at from inside the cabin.

On the contrary it does leave a bad taste in terms of onboard experience. As for safety, since this is a budgeted brand, the Go+ only has to offer seats belts for all 3 rows, child lock, engine immobilizer and central locking which too is manual in its case.

Unlike most of its competitors that offer both petrol and diesel options, the Datsun Go+ is only available in a petrol avtar. This is the same mill that provides its services in the GO hatch except that this one has been re-tuned to benefit the increase in size and weight. Thus the Go+ caters to a 3 cylinder 1.2 litre petrol engine that produces a maximum power of 68 ps @ 5,000 rpm with 104 Nm of peak torque @ 4000 rpm. 

To start off proceedings, roll over the key and instantly the engine comes to life which in idle is fairly quite though when pushed hard vibrations can be easily heard inside the cabin. This states that the manufacturer has not paid much attention towards noise dampening as there is sufficient amount of road noise which also reaches the ears of its occupants.

Mated to a 5 speed transmission, in the GO+ the 2nd and 3rd gear are really tall which is convenient for both city and highway use.  Having a turning radius of 4.6 metres, this particular MPV is easy to handle on open as well as congested roads. Its brakes work well courtesy ventilated discs towards the front and drum at the rear.

With a ground clearance of 170mm, the GO+ glides over broken roads and uneven surfaces with utter ease which is pretty impressive on its part. Handing though is something which does cause a bit of concern especially while concerning at high speeds as there is a fair amount of body roll.

Given all its facets the Go+ is a decent attempt on the part of Datsun India to target the 7 seater MPV segment. There is no doubt that in the sub 4 meter category, the manufacturer has tried to open up space for consumers who are looking to buy a cheaper option when it comes to this segment.

Though from a practicality point of view, the third row cannot be really utilized as it is apt only for kids or for folding it down and using the space for storage of luggage. Over looking this aspect, this ‘compact family wagon’ is pretty good to drive both within the city as well as the highway. Available in four different variants (D, D1, A, T) the GO+ is expected to be launched early next year with a pricing of around Rs 4 lakh.

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