We take the facelifted Datsun Go hatch for a 100 km run to find out how well it performs!
The Datsun Go is one car that had learnt an average Indian buyer’s safety consciousness the hard way. The Datsun Go India launch had happened sometime back, marking the brand’s rebirth and had entailing it the carmaker’s high hopes to capture India’s budget hatchback segment. The car, though given a ‘budget hotshot’ tag by the makers, failed to impress the crowds the way it was supposed to, something further worsened by it scoring a much scorned-for zero star Global NCAP safety rating. The days that followed saw Datsun’s hopes drowning to death with the dropping sales of the Go.
What had let the previous gen Go down in a highly budget conscious market like India, despite the car being priced very aggressively? Well, an average Indian buyer would any day appreciate a light price tag, but not at the cost of an evident slump in safety standards and material quality. They care as much about safety and quality as they do about the price.
Datsun now seems to have had their lesson and has now launched the2018 Datsun Go, with hell lotta effort put in to rectify the flaws of the previous model. So how good is the ‘all-new’ Go for a weekend getaway? We head to find out by taking the car out on a 100 km run…
What Is New On The Outside?
The facelift essentially is a cosmetically beefed up Go. The car retains the basic shape and looks of the previous model but with some added flair, thanks to a series of cosmetic upgrades on the exterior. The major styling tweaks on the outside include a more angular and sportier bumper at the front with integrated LED DRLs (only on the top spec trim though),a new mesh for the hexagonal grille that otherwise seems as familiar as it used to be on the original Go, larger 14 inch wheels with 165/70 rubber, (The top end trim even gets a set of gorgeous looking diamond cut alloy wheels), body colored wing mirrors etc. A sporty looking roof rail can also be had but for its poise, as an optional accessory from Datsun’sexclusive range of accessories, as these rails can do no weight lifting!
The rear bumper has also been thoroughly redesigned and now looks fresh and sporty with its new set of lines and the car also gets a chrome lip base of the tailgate. The fully loaded Go also gets a rear wiper that adds to its practicality and convenience. However, there is still no rear defogger on the Go.
With the new set of body lines and the catchy Amber Orange shade on offer, the Go has now become a much more appealing package than before.
The Cabin Story!
The cabin of the new Go does away with the air of cheapness that its predecessor used to have. A lot has changed inside the cabin that now has a shade of black dominating it. The car gets an all-new dashboard and a new front seat layout.
The original Go, if you remember, used to be a 6 seater, hosting a weird looking ‘connected’ front seat. The position and shape of the handbrake and gear liver were so designed in it, as to facilitate a fair ride for the mid-seat occupant. This had hampered the safety and comfort for the front seats much.
However, the 2018 Datsun Go, like every other car in its segment, gets two individual chairs at the front that are designed to offer a fair dose of comfort and support to the occupants. The strange looking pull type hand-brake lever of the old car has given way for a conventional one occupying the space between the chairs as usual.
The fully loaded T(O) variant also gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system from Blaupunkt. The system offers fair touch-response and decent sound quality. Modern connectivity tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all integrated into this system along with conventional USB, and AUX inputs (You may find them under the gear lever). The only thing about this unit that would let your smile disappear at times is that the screen is a tad too reflective. We would also have preferred a physical dial for volume adjustment over the touch controls of this unit.
There have also been a number of minute-yet-significant additions like a proper lid for the glove box, electric adjustment for the ORVMs, power window controls on the driver side etc, thank you Datsun! Missing on the scene are height adjustment for the driver seat and an adjustable steering wheel, casting their inevitable ill effects on the ergonomics, at least for some.
Parts of the dash and the cabin also get textured black inserts that add an air of premiumness to the cabin. Plastic quality inside seems to have had a significant bump from the original Go. The instrument cluster has also been tweaked a fair bit, so as to incorporate a new analogue tachometer.
The new Go offers decent space at the rear too, provided you are not too tall a person. The seat is flat and gets fixed headrests. The car has a large 265-litre boot for carrying all your weekend getaway baggage, but with no parcel shelf!
What’s Under The Hood?
There have been no big mechanical changes in the new Go and the car uses the same 1.2L 3 pot unit as before. The power and torque figures do meet the segment standards and are 68 hp and 104 Nm respectively.
What Is It Like To Drive?
Before we start answering this question, please be informed that the driving position and overall ergonomics of this car might not please all alike, something that would have been greatly made better with the introduction of a tilt adjustable steering wheel or a height adjustable driver seat, both of which are yet to happen.
If you are comfortable with the driver seat position and are OK with the positioning of the gear lever that sits on the dash, the rest of the driving part won’t displease you.
The Go’s engine turns out to be as smart as those of the competition and offers adequate zeal for the city rush. The mill starts out slow and begins to do its job with full vigour once past the 2000 rpm mark. The refinement levels have had a great leap ahead in the New Go. There are still bits of vibrations creeping on to the gear lever while idling and a wee share of engine noise seeping into the cabin, but not even half the amount that the previous model used to have.
The Go is a smooth car to drive at low speeds. But things change once the speedo needle nears 80km/h. Past 80kph, the car gives itself more than ever to crosswinds and one would really not dare to push it any further! This cannot, however, be stated as a reason to not buy the car, as the vehicles in this segment are not built to take such speeds or to hoon the roads. The Go gets a speed buzzer system that warns the driver on exceeding 80kph (Indian law would soon require all the vehicles to have this on board, It’s been known that the new norm would be brought into effect by April 2019).
The brakes aren’t bad but are definitely not too confidence-inspiring in situations calling for hard braking. The steering is very light, thus easing the city-run quite a bit. The suspension is so set up as to provide decent ride quality to all the occupants, where the ‘decency’ is not necessarily a product of soft springs! The 180 mm ground clearance is very apt for our road conditions, a fact that we really got ourselves convinced during the 100 km run.
How Safe Is It?
As mentioned above, Datsun seems to have had their lesson when it comes to occupant safety. The New Go gets all major safety tech like dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, rear parking sensors etc as standard fitment.
Our Take On The Go…
We had a great time living with this car and munched over 100 km with the new Go. Deserving special mentions here are its large boot, powerful AC, and the 180mm ground clearance that helped us munch so many miles with this little hatchback. Datsun claims the Go to have an efficiency of 19.83 kpl and we got more than 18 kpl in our run. The new Datsun Go price starts at Rs. 3.29 lakhs and the top spec T(O) would cost you around Rs 4.89 lakh.
Test Drive Vehicle Provided By: EVM Datsun, Kochi. 09567096666