With a house full of guests, the family Honda City and Audi Q5 were tied up ferrying relatives, kids and all their paraphernalia. I was left with the keys of our longterm Datsun Go, which wasn’t such a bad thing, given our crazy traffic and fast-vanishing parking spots. A small runabout is just so practical in a city like Mumbai, and the compact Go seemed to fit the bill quite well.
You’ll rarely need to strain the peppy engine; it has a nice, reassuring reserve of power.
From the word ‘go’ (pun intended), the relatively large 1.2-litre engine in this 788kg car feels really responsive and quick. The Go surges ahead with the tiniest flex of my right foot, and it nips and tucks out of gaps in traffic with delightful ease. It’s an incredibly agile car that’s light on its feet, and I have to say this is one of the easiest cars to punt around town. In fact, you’ll seldom put the peppy engine to full use and it has a nice, reassuring reserve of power.
However, in really slow-moving traffic, when you’re crawling in first gear, power delivery is a bit jerky and uneven; you have to modulate the throttle for a smooth ride. The gear lever, placed on the dashboard, isn’t exactly slick, but it doesn’t require much effort either.
What does require effort is the dash-mounted parking brake, which needs a hard yank to be released, sometimes with both hands. Another ergonomic niggle was the non-adjustable steering wheel which is placed too high for my 5ft4in frame.
The compact Go is certainly one of the easiest cars to use around the bustling city.
There are no complaints on outside visibility though. The low dash and tucked-away A-pillars throw up a superb view, making it easy to park and manoeuvre in tight spots. I also discovered that the front bench seat is a great place for my handbag, which is otherwise usually left floating around. I’ve occasionally sat at the back too, and though the seat is really wide and generous, it feels a touch claustrophobic, because the large front bench blocks your view. It also blocks the air flow from the front vents; the air-con takes its time to cool the back.
Sometime back, the light build of the Datsun Go was driven home by a Jaguar, which literally drove into the side of it. The driver of the Jag misjudged his car’s long nose and gave the Go’s door a firm nudge. Only a nudge, yes, but the large dent on the Go’s rear door made it look much worse than that. There’s no getting away from the thin sheet metal the Go is built with, which once again raises a question on the Go’s body structure.
The truth is that most of the Go’s rivals are equally poor when it comes to crash worthiness. And while I didn’t feel vulnerable driving it in the city, I would think twice before I venture out on the highway.
Datsun Go T
Odometer 4,365km Price Rs 4.63 lakh
(on-road, Mumbai) Test economy 15.3kpl (overall) Maintenance costs None
Faults None Previous reports October 2014, December 2014