Datsun Go review, road test
27th Mar 2014 10:17 pm
The Datsun Go hatchback has been launched at an aggressive Rs 3.12 lakh. Our road-test reveals what's on offer on this new budget hatchback.
Nissan has resurrected its brand Datsun, which was phased out in 1981. And for India, the carmaker has positioned the brand at the budget end of the spectrum. Its first car, the made-for-India Go, has just gone on sale. Datsun’s ‘go local’ approach is in sharp contrast to parent brand Nissan, whose range of cars is designed to cater to a global audience.
And while the Nissan range starts with the Micra Active, Datsun will have two hatchbacks occupying the big-volumes space below it. A smaller, even more affordable hatchback is in development, but for now let’s focus our attention on the Go. Clearly Datsun has delivered on its promise of affordable pricing, with the range starting at an incredibly low Rs 3.12 lakh and topping out at Rs 3.69 lakh. When Datsun said the Go would cost less than Rs 4 lakh, we didn’t think it would be so much less!
The Datsun Go may be a car tailor-made for Indian requirements, but that also means it’s not quite built to global standards. So the question is, do you get enough for your money, or does the low price tag come at the expense of performance, refinement and safety?
Fuel efficiency is one area where Datsun has delivered. The Go gave us an impressive 12.8kpl in the city, and 17.9kpl out on the highway. That gives it an overall figure of 15.4kpl. Once again, it’s the Go’s low kerb weight and smart gearing that come into play.
A neat touch worth mentioning here is the Go’s speedometer, which comes with markings of suggested gearshift points to keep the engine at its efficient best, which is around 1,200rpm.
The 35-litre fuel tank is smaller than the Micra’s by six litres, but it’s of similar capacity to other budget hatches like the Wagon R, Alto and Eon.
The Go does not get a conventional audio system with a CD player or even a radio. In its place, the top-spec Go gets what Datsun calls the Mobile Docking Station. It basically lets you connect your phone or music player to the pair of front speakers via Aux-in, also providing a stand to mount it on.
There’s a USB port too but that’s strictly a means to charge your device. Sadly, the sound quality is mediocre. Datsun dealers do offer a regular music system as well as a pair of rear speakers as optional extras.
Were we to judge the Datsun Go relative to similarly sized hatchbacks, it would come across as a tad underwhelming. But you need to compare the Go to similarly priced competition; that’s when you’ll see it as a clever proposition. A spacious cabin and a big boot are two things you’ll rarely find in a budget hatchback, but it’s something you get with the Go. The car’s attractive styling, class-leading performance, ease of use and good fuel economy are also aspects that will interest buyers in the budget segment, the majority of whom are first-time car buyers. That’s not to say the Go doesn’t have its flaws. The ergonomics, for one, leave muchto be desired and there’s some essential kit missing. So there’s clearly a lot of room for improvement.
But, given the Rs 3.69 lakh price tag for the top-spec T version, the Go is hard to beat for affordability. All Datsun needs to do nowis bolster its sales and service network to unlock the true potential of its budget car.