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Datsun GO+ test drive review

  • Dec 25, 2014
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Datsun Go+ Go Plus

Introduction

Datsun made a re-entry into the Indian car market (and the global too) with the launch of the GO hatchback in March 2014. This budget hatchback was aimed towards first time car buyers and follows the mantra of offering more for less. Nine months after its launch, Datsun managed to sell 12624 units at an average of 1402 per month. These numbers look small on paper but are infact more than what cars like the Tata Nano and Chevrolet Beat manage each month.

Watch the video review here:



Further, when you add these up with Nissan, the company that has been responsible for Datsun’s birth in India, the combined number for Datsun-Nissan makes them among the top nine car manufactures in India.

Datsun Go+ Go Plus

The next or the second product from Datsun is based on this same car and is called the GO+. The ‘+’ sign signifies the extra ‘car’ the customer gets, all 210mm of it. We drove this new compact MPV recently and here’s our quick review of the car.

Exteriors:

The Datsun GO+ is essentially a GO hatchback but with an added body at the rear. In layman terms, it looks identical to its hatchback sibling with the only differentiating factor being the longer body at the back, beyond the rear wheels.

Datsun Go+ Go Plus

Up front, it looks identical to the GO hatchback with the big headlamps and a massive grille dominating this angle. The bumper is neatly designed and has clever matt black inserts instead of fog lamps. Move your eyes to the side and you notice the small 13-inch wheels (with the same Indonesian Strada tyres) that look out of place.

Datsun Go+ Go Plus

The side profile is same as the hatchback till about the C pillar beyond which, the company has worked hard to add extra metal at the back for a 3rd row. The execution is nice and from the rear, this compact MPV looks pretty pleasing. It doesn’t look like an aftermarket job and the rear of the Go+ includes almost identical tail lamps and that hunched boot lid.

Datsun Go+ Go Plus

The height and width of the GO+ is same as the GO hatchback but length wise, it is 210mm longer at just under 4 meters. In flesh the GO+ looks pleasant from all angles and will stand out among the other Rs 3.5 - 4 lakh options in the Indian market.

Datsun Go+ Go Plus

MORE IMAGES OF THE EXTERIORS

[caption id="attachment_15167" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus The GO+ has ample ground clearance of 170mm[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_15166" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus The GO+ looks good in profile - the rear end is executed rather well for a 'budget' vehicle[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_15163" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus Looks big, eh?[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_15153" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus Big headlamps and a massive grille dominate the front part[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_15152" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus The rear looks similar to the GO hatchback's rear[/caption]

Datsun Go+ Go Plus

[caption id="attachment_15145" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus Location: Near Rishikesh[/caption]

Interiors:

The cabin of the GO+ is identical to the GO hatchback and this doesn’t come as a surprise to us. The layout of the fascia, color combination as well as feature list, nothing has been changed and is carried over as such. Open the front door, step inside and you immediately take notice of the ‘connected seats’ – makes you remember the good old Padmini days. As far as space and comfort is concerned, these connected seats do a fine job. There is enough space for two well-built adults and the big windows not only add to the airy feel but also provide good visibility to the front two passengers.

[caption id="attachment_15125" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus interior Interiors identical to the GO hatchback[/caption]

The big steering wheel looks nice and behind it sits the speedometer console that consists of a big analog speedometer with gear markings and a small digital display. This display shows instantaneous and average fuel economy, distance to empty, fuel level, odo reading etc – how many other mid-size hatchbacks offer this?

Datsun Go+ Go Plus interiors

Move your eyes to the central part of the console and you appreciate the minimalistic approach. The cabin is clutter free with simple knobs and buttons – for example the mobile docket station is a low cost and a clever approach to providing both an audio system as well as hands free telephone experience to the user. Sound quality is up there with the best cars in the Rs 4 lakh segment and further, the docket station also allows you to use the phone for navigation.

[caption id="attachment_15133" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus interior Mobile docket station and the air-conditioning unit's controls[/caption]

There are a lot of cubby holes around for storage – right from the open space above the fascia to the open-type glovebox, even the area under the steering wheel has been used cleverly – you can keep you mobile phone and wallet right here. Door pads also have generous bottle holders and finally, we love the positioning of the gear level. What is a bother is the location of the hand brake – if often interferes with the driver’s left knee. Sadly, the GO+ is a feature stripped car with standard features missing even in the top-end T trim level.

[caption id="attachment_15127" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus interior Generous space up front[/caption]

At the back, space is identical to the GO hatchback which means if you have a 5’10” driver up front, there is just about enough space for a 6 foot tall person at the back – something that is missing from most cars in the same price band. That said, there is no place at the back in terms of cubby holes, cup holders or bottle holders. Even power windows are missing here but thankfully, the rear windows almost roll down completely flat.

[caption id="attachment_15135" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus interiors 2nd row space with the front seats adjusted for 5'10" passengers[/caption]

Now Datsun is clearly projecting the GO+ as a 5+2 seater and even the officials admit that the last row is not for adults. The 3rd row, as we found out, is best suited for kids and that too for small journeys. Headroom is at a premium but with the last row folded, the GO+ surprises you with a massive boot that can easily swallow couple of big suitcases along with equal number of soft bags and will still have enough space left for other Knick knacks.

[caption id="attachment_15137" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus Last row isnt the best place for passengers![/caption]

Engine and transmission:

The Datsun GO+ gets the same 1.2-litre 3 cylinder petrol engine that powers cars like the GO hatchback, Micra petrol etc. Maximum power and torque remain unchanged as compared to the GO hatchback. At 68PS, this compact MPV puts out the same power as the Wagon R but at 104Nm, torque rating is higher. Infact, being a 1.2-litre unit, there is ample grunt available across the rev range.

Datsun Go+ Go Plus engine

Don’t be fooled by the big size of the GO+ as it weighs in at less than 800kg, something that even other hatchbacks like the Hyundai i10 can’t match. This is a major reason why it feels peppy enough on the move and requires minimal gear changes. The engine is slightly noisy but thankfully, vibrations that are often associated with a 3 cylinder engine are missing here.

[caption id="attachment_15123" align="alignnone" width="1196"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus The GO Plus is a pretty nimble 4000mm long car[/caption]

We drove the car with two people on board and with the air-con running, it proved to be an effortless companion on both flat roads and uphill sections. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox which has identical gear ratios as the smaller hatchback. Due to its placement, the lever falls into the driver’s hand very easily and is a joy to use. Icing on the cake comes in the form of its certified economy which stands at over 20kmpl as per ARAI standards.

Ride and handling:


Datsun GO+ Go Plus

When we drove the GO hatchback in Hyderabad a few months back, we were surprised with the way it handled broken roads and the Plus version is no different. Small wheels end up enabling a lot of suspension travel and the way this compact MPV soaks up undulations is remarkable. We can’t recall of any other car in the price bracket that feels so comfortable over no roads. Further, suspension noise is well damped and even road noise is under control most of the times.
We drove the car in and around Rishikesh and came back equally impressed with the agility of the car. Small wheels are partly responsible for this and the way it filters through traffic is remarkable. Customers upgrading from a small hatchback to the GO+ will surely remain confident while piloting the vehicle in almost all traffic scenarios.

[caption id="attachment_15114" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Datsun Go+ Go Plus The GO plus feels like a much bigger sedan when driven over bad roads[/caption]

The steering wheel of the GO Plus is something that needs a special mention here. It’s light at parking speeds and weighs up beautifully as speeds increase. Ofcourse this car is not meant to be a driver’s weapon on a set of twisties, most owners will appreciate the sensitivity of the steering at various speeds.

Verdict:

Datsun GO+ Go Plus

As a spacious five seater with a massive boot, the GO Plus range, at a starting price point of around Rs 3.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) sounds like a bargain. It reminds me of the age old Tata Indica advert that came with the tagline of ‘More car per car’. Then there is the potent 1.2-litre engine, segment leveling fit and finish and ofcourse a ride and handling combination that most rivals can only dream about.

That said, let’s talk about the other side of the story. Feature list, actually the lack of it, is a big concern. Budget and low cost cars can be feature rich and best examples are cars like the Tata Nano and Hyundai Eon. While the low spec ‘D’ and ‘A’ trim levels can be feature stripped, Datsun could have offered internally adjustable mirrors, keyless entry, day/night rear view mirror, rear cup/bottle holders, rear power windows etc on the top spec T version.

Datsun GO+ Go Plus

Further, if other Rs 4 lakh cars can come with ABS and Airbags as optional kitty on the top versions, why can’t the GO Plus offer these? Being a global brand and one that came under criticism recently (why other companies were spared is a different story all together) , the Plus could have been a great platform for the company to showcase that they care about safety and can provide safety aids in low cost cars.

Here is our video review of the Datsun Go+


All said and done, the reality in our car market is that India still remains a price conscious market and in this regard, the Go Plus offers a lot of bang for your buck. ‘nuff said!
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