It was in July last year that the Datsun GO was unveiled and ever since then there has been a buzz surrounding this small car. This is the first new car of Datsun for the 21st century and finally we have driven it in Hyderabad.
However before we get into that let us take a brief look into the Datsun brand and the philosophy behind this car. For starters Datsun is the third brand of Nissan and it originated in Japan as DAT-GO (the DAT-car) in 1914. The GO marks the return of the Datsun brand and this new five-door, front-wheel drive hatchback is the start of a number of products that we have already seen.
Production of the GO has started at the Oragadam Plant near Chennai and after spending some time in the GO it is clear how well it has been moulded to our tastes. In short after driving it we are impressed. Read on to know why..
Datsun GO Exteriors
Right from the time when it was first unveiled I was impressed with the styling of the GO. Here is a small car saying that small does not have to be asthetically challenged. The Datsun GO is a pleasant looking hatch that will please all and it has presence. There are is no bad angle on this car and unlike some of its competition it does not look boxy or overstyled. It's just right.
Based on the Nissan Micra the GO is also longer and has more presence than its immediate rivals. The dimensions indicate that- 3785mm length, 1635mm width, 1485mm height, 2450mm wheelbase. In comparison the Maruti Celerio has a length of 3600mm, width of 1600mm and height of 1560mm.
The front of the car is the most attractive part with the chrome surround Datsun grille and the sharp headlamps which blend well with the character of the car. The side profile again is simple but well executed and pleasant looking. The rear styling is dominated by large tail-lamps. The Datsun GO has four colour options and when it comes to build quality it is upto class standards. The 13 inch wheels with 155/70 section tyres though look a bit lost in the wheel arches.
In the flesh away from the glitz of the launch floor it actually looks better than in pictures and simply looks like it belongs to a segment above with a myraid of design details thrown in. Suffice to say it is damn sight better than some of its rivals namely the Alto 800.
Datsun GO Interior space and features
Step inside and again you are impressed by the intelligent use of colours and clever packaging. Lots of beige is used which obviously as you know light colours make the cabin seem airy which is a plus point for sure. The design is simple and has well-laid out controls.
The GO gets an open glovebox which is basically a space under the dash. However it is filled with various storage places to put your mobile and the bottle holders in the front doors are also convinient.
The intsrument cluster is a basic one (with gear shift indicator, digital tachometer and fuel ecomputer) and the GO features fixed headrests. Other details include a three spoke steering wheel and to free up space the GO also has a dash mounted gearlever and an unique handbrake.
The last bit is important because this helps the GO unleash a trick up its sleeve. There are connected front seats which frees up space in the middle to put things.
Datsun says this space is not for the third passenger instead its for storage. Space is actually better than some of its rivals with good headroom. The rear seat can accomodate three passengers. Plus since I am not exactly small with 6ft tall, another passenger who is as tall as me can sit behind. The 265 litres boot space is also impressive gobbling up all of our camera equipment.
The Datsun Go has a mobile docking station with USB charging, AUX cable where your smartphone is paired and it slots in the mobile/i-pod holder as well. Cool. There is no conventional audio system with CD/radio but you can get it as an accessory. So basically a lot of functions of your smartphone like navigation, USB charger, radio music player can be all accessed.
Other than basic features like front power windows (driver cannot adjust power window of passenger), power steering, AC it also has follow me home headlamp, distance to empty, average fuel economy, gear shift indicator, two speakers, accessory socket, speed sensitive wipers, accessory socket along with the basic features discussed above however the GO lacks ABS, airbags and also does without adjusting the outside rear view mirror from the inside.
Datsun GO Engine
As you know the Datsun GO comes with a 1.2 three cylinder petrol engine with 67 bhp and a five-speed manual gearbox. This engine is similar to the one used in the Nissan Micra Active but tuned for better fuel economy. First impressions are positive and you do not have use the gearbox all the time to actually go anywhere. There is sufficient amount of torque available (104 Nm) which helps giving a smooth driving experience.
In traffic its easy to drive and you do not need to constantly downshift which is a bonus and light throttle inputs results in swift progress. Out on the open roads and the Datsun Go again impressed with its high speed manners. It feels stable and does the job without breaking into a sweat. In terms of numbers it does 0-100 km/h in 13.3 seconds.
The 5-speed manual gearbox is reasonably slick and the clutch is light.
Datsun GO Fuel Economy
The Datsun GO delivers 20.6 kmpl which is a good and on par with its class. In our tests where there were constant visits to the redline, heavy traffic and also flat out acceleration tests, it managed 15 kmpl. The fuel tank size is 35 litres.
Datsun GO ride and handling, brakes
The steering of the GO feels light and direct which makes tackling traffic quite easy and its equally at ease handling high speeds. The steering is perfect and gives you confidence as you are piling on speed but more than that its useability in the city is what really shines.
The ride is much better than any of its rivals plus the refinement is decent. In the city the ride is good with only the really sharp potholes unsettling it. During our handling tests it also did well though there is some roll around corners but all is taken in its stride but the small tyres are a factor. The GO does not have ABS but the braking performance is decent and hard braking does not result in the GO losing direction.
Datsun GO Price and Conclusion
Overall we are impressed with the Datsun GO as it does the basics so well. It looks attractive, is spacious and drives well. A lot of thought has gone into this car which shows. Yes there is cost cutting done but nothing is there that you can call a deal-breaker.
The icing on the cake is that the GO would come with two-year/unlimited km warranty (class best) plus with a price-tag of Rs 3.12 lakh starting for for the base variant GO, this is just fantastic value for money. Bookings are being taken for the GO for Rs 11,000 with deliveries starting from end of March. Now Datsun has to make sure it has the dealership reach for a car like this to rival the likes of Maruti. Overall this is a serious threat to the other hatches. Rivals watch out!
LENGTH: 3,785mm WIDTH: 1,635mm HEIGHT: 1,485mm WHEELBASE: 2,450mm
Engine: 1198 cc 3 cylinder petrol engine, 67 bhp, 104 Nm of torque
Ground Clearance : 170mm
Minimum Turning Radius : 4.6m
Luggage Capacity : 265l
Fuel Tank Capacity : 35
Tyres : 155/70R13
Words and Photography- Somnath Chatterjee