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Datsun Go Plus by Salil Mehendale

By Salil for Datsun GO Plus

Review by Salil Mehendale

Nissan has been struggling to sell cars in India since its inception here. Then came the management's decision to launch a new low-cost car brand - Datsun - and honestly, it was quite surprising. Nissan intended to cater to entry-level buyers with Datsun; the ones who are either buying a car for the first time, or are daily commuters. The one thing true for such buyers is that they always prefer a brand with an established service network and strong presence across the country, and that, definitely isn't the case with Nissan. That sums up why I was sceptical about its chances of success and also why Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai dominate the entry-level market in India. Nissan, however, looks at it differently and believes that Datsun - with the promise of better build quality in the budget segment - has the potential to become a good alternative to traditional strong players in that space.

Review by Salil Mehendale

The company started its journey with theGO hatchback, which is the most spacious car in its league and goes head-on against the likes of Maruti Alto K10 and Hyundai Eon, but failed to create the buzz the company was hoping for. Datsun has managed to sell only 5,874 units of the GO in the last six months, while Maruti sells as many units of the Alto in a matter of just a few days!

So before GO's first anniversary, Datsun is ready to launch yet another product - GO+. The GO+ will create an all-new segment in India - sub-compact MPV. While it will have the first-mover advantage for the category it represents, I still expect it to face stiff competition from the established hatchback names in that price (Rs. 3.5-5 lakh) bracket. Also, there are two Maruti vans - Omni and Eeco - that are available with optional 7-seat configuration and are priced as low as budget hatchbacks.

Now that you have a fair idea about the positioning and pricing, it is about time I talked about the product and the way it drives.

Review by Salil Mehendale

Now, the most important section of the review, and something that matters the most - performance. Before even sitting on the driving seat, I was unsure if the 1.2-litre, 67bhp engine that powers the GO will be able to do justice to the car that is larger and heavier than the hatchback. However, the 104Nm of torque helps the car pull reasonably well in the mid-range and the engine is tuned to make it slightly more responsive.

The low-end poke could still be more as I felt reluctance from the engine in gaining speed while shifting from second to third while doing 35Kmh. The robust chassis and mildly tuned suspension helps it perform admirably at low-speeds and most irregularities are dealt with confidently, but the damping could be better at high speeds.

Final Verdict by Salil Mehendale

Verdict

If you are looking for a family car that is affordable, spacious and fuel-efficient, the Datsun GO+ might fit your requirements. But the two things that might disappoint you are - noisy cabin and lack of some necessary features like audio system and airbag (even in the top-end variant).

Specifications & Dimensions

Engine - 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol

Transmission - 5-speed manual gearbox

Power - 67bhp @ 5000rpm

Torque - 104Nm @ 4000rpm

Mileage - 20.6Kml (Claimed)

Tyres - 1557013

Length - 3995mm

Width - 1635mm

Height - 1490mm

Wheelbase - 2450mm

Ground clearance - 170mm

Boot space - 347-litres (With third row folded)

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