In 2014, when the Datsun Go and thereby the Go+ were launched, they were seen as viable alternatives to the Maruti Alto and Eeco respectively. The perception though quickly changed as both the cars didn’t meet the customer expectations. Below par features and a hearsay about the service being not up to the mark was being discussed. Then came the crash test reports and the Go and Go+ were quickly relegated to the taxi market. In 2018, Datsun isn’t letting its bread winners waste away and has got facelifted versions on sale. I was in Chennai to drive both the cars and here are my first drive review impressions of the Go and Go+.
Design of new Datsun Go+
Isn’t that something that attracts you to a car in the first place? While the previous vehicles were okay looking, these ones are attractive. There is chrome on the grille and the headlights too have been slightly altered. Datsun has also added LED chrome strips in place of the fog lights for the top trims. These are bright and look very nice. Unlike the units Hyundai uses, the Go and Go+ have their LED strips lit even when the handbrake is pulled. The bumpers at the front and back are new as well. Move to the side and you will notice the wider tyres and the 14-inch alloy wheels. At the back, there is the presence of the washer and wiper as well as parking sensors. The tail lights have been left untouched.
Two new colours that you see here have been introduced as well. The orange colour is exclusive to the Go while the brown is to the Go+.
Interior of new Datsun Go+
I will slip in a little secret. I haven’t driven the Go or Go+ earlier. This is primarily because I didn’t fit in the driver’s seat. Being tall has its perils too, you see. My knee used to brush against the umbrella-styled handbrake and shifting gears used to be a problem. Not anymore. The handbrake has moved its conventional position now. The dashboard gets softer materials than the ones offered before. The meter dials too look fresh now. There is an aluminium border to everything you see inside. This includes the infotainment system, the gear lever casing and more. The upholstery too is new and gets colour coordinated elements based on the exterior palette.
Of prime importance here is a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is both Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto compatible. This is the first time a small car is offering these features though in a few days, there will also be the Santro joining the brigade. The system is decently responsive while visibility in broad daylight is okay as well. The music quality though leaves a lot to be desired and if you’re an audiophile, you may want to upgrade. Access to the USB and aux port is under the gear lever mounting and this can be a bit difficult to access on the go. There are also no physical buttons to control the audio volume.
The ORVMs are electrically adjustable now but there is no auto fold function. The driver gets an auto down window pane while the ones seated at the back too have power windows now. Storage spaces are decent though there is nothing for the second and third row at all. The glovebox is large and can hold multiple objects.
Space at the back of the Go+ is decent but is strictly for those below 5ft 8inches. The third row is best left for kids and in my opinion, one can always fold the bench and add more luggage carrying capacity to the mix. There are no second or third row AC vents. The new Datsun Go+ also doesn’t have an height adjustable driver’s seat, steering adjust or even a day-night mirror.
Safety features of the new Datsun Go+
This was a laughing stock at one point of time. However, not anymore. Datsun offers dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist and rear parking sensors as standard. Follow-me home headlights too are part of the standard package. There is also the speed chime which sets in at 80kmph but thankfully goes away after a couple of beeps. The new Datsun Go+ and the Go though don’t get ISOFIX child seat mounting points. This might be a negative as and when the next round of crash tests happen.
Engine and performance of the new Datsun Go+
There are no changes to the lone petrol engine on offer. It is a 3-cylinder 1.2-litre motor that is capable of producing 68PS/104Nm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed transmission that powers the front wheels. At start-up, the engine has vibrations but not alarmingly so. However, if the front passenger seat is empty, you will notice the seat vibrating. Additionally, there are slight vibrations coming from the steering wheel. The motor is peppy enough and while you can slot third gear at 25kmph, swift overtaking will require a downshift.
The engine has decent NVH characteristics at low speed. However, once you reach Mumbai-Pune expressway speed limits, the engine is quite vocal. Perhaps a bit more of sound insulation could have sorted this out.
The sweet spot of the engine is 80kmph. However, with that irritating beep sound one will not be able to sustain that speed. The solution is to be slightly over this speed chime limit, let’s say around 84kmph. In terms of mileage, after completing around 150km, the on-board trip computer showed an efficiency of 12.3kmpl. This was done with around 60 per cent of highways and the rest with regular Chennai traffic. Datsun claims a mileage of around 19kmpl for both the Go and Go+ variants.
Ride and handling of the new Datsun Go+
The Datsun uses MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. The car has been set up stiffly. This reflects in the way it takes to small potholes and road irregularities. You do get a firm feeling from the surface, however it isn’t overtly done. The 180mm of ground clearance is a boon and no where did I scrape the underbelly with three oversized passengers on board. The steering wheel is a light unit and definitely could have done with some more feedback. Visibility at the rear is compromised in the new Datsun Go+, especially for taller drivers. I found myself constantly adjusting the IRVM.
Both the cars are easy to drive with a light clutch but a rubbery gear lever feeling. The vehicles are quick to change direction. However, crosswinds affect both the cars primarily due to their light weight characteristics. The disc brakes in the front and drums at the rear do a good job of slowing down the car. However, a tad more feel at the pedal would have been welcome.
Verdict of the new Datsun Go+
Earlier, I wouldn’t have recommended the Datsun twins to anyone. Now, I can and will. Both the new Datsun Go+ and Go have become much more desirable. Prices start from Rs 3.83 lakh, around Rs 15,000 lower than before. The range topping model you see here is for Rs 5.69 lakh. All these prices are ex-showroom. The Datsun Go price in India starts from Rs 3.29 lakh and stretch to Rs 4.89 lakh. This is exactly the price range where the new Santro will also slot in. The pair of Datsuns here don’t have an automatic option and neither is there a factory fitted CNG. This may hurt their prospects a bit but then the cars are here to stay. They are in fact more future ready than even Nissan cars which are sold in the country.
Things we like about the new Datsun Go+
Striking looks, well appointed cabin and ease of driving
Things we don’t like about the new Datsun Go+
Lower efficiency, essentials missing and unknown service costs
The Datsun twins will soon be joined by the Go Cross. Based on the same platform, the Go Cross will be an affordable SUV that will take on the Tata Nexon and Ford EcoSport.