EXPERT REVIEW: 2019 DATSUN GO/GO+ CVT
This is India’s most affordable automatic cars in India and here is an Expert Review in deatil about DATSUN GO/GO+ CVT.
Japanese brand, Datsun, was revived by Nissan a few years ago on the premise of making it a more affordable stablemate to the parent badge. The idea was to use simple, yet effective, engineering solutions to create a range of cars that would be perfect for first-time car buyers. And it made this eyeing specific large-volume markets where budget cars rule – including India. Well, not all went as planned because between the short time the brand’s revival was planned and the first car reached the road, India and Indians had quickly moved on to become a new kind of audience – one that wanted sophistication, aspiration and convenience.
While it may take some time to break into the aspiration zone, practicality and convenience is something Datsun knows it can bring to the table more quickly. After a mid-life refresh of both the Go and seven-seater Go+ last year, its makers are now going a step further and offering a proper automatic gearbox option on both models to keep it relevant in today’s urban scenario. With the advantage of operating on a base price of cars much smaller, both cars are now poised to become the cheapest or most-affordable (as it likes to call them) automatic cars on Indian roads.
The transmission here is one of the Continuously Variable types or CVT which is very prevalent among Japanese carmakers. Arguably, it is much smoother, more efficient and cheaper to maintain than traditional torque converter or modern dual-clutch transmissions. It is not as engaging to drive as the latter but better than the Automatic Manual Transmissions (AMTs) which have flooded the market and have been lapped up for bringing in automatic car-like convenience at relatively less exorbitant prices than regular automatics. Both the Go and Go+ use similar CVTs. This is the same unit that also is used in the Nissan Micra.
Turn the ignition and it settles into a smooth idling speed without any shudder that usually happens when an engine wakes up. The engine is a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine that churns out 76hp, which is 9bhp more than in the manual version. Torque figure stays at 104bhp. The stick has a simple P-R-N-D-L layout with slots in a sequence. The shift feel itself is a bit hard. The initial tug of the car is a bit sluggish but it gets more seamless as speed builds up. Typically, it goes through the gears rather smoothly. Floor it and you know it isn’t enjoying it much from the way the engine sounds. Also, give it a second to get the shove. As with any CVT this is not meant for urgency but more to keep it easy and comfortable for the driver.
The steering isn’t too light which is great but it is not quite communicative. The heavy steering is good for long-distance driving as your hands don’t feel tired. When parking you may not like it though.
Suspension is set on the softer side and it can get choppy. Fast turns induce noticeable body roll. You will especially notice it on the Go+. But it’s length means, in a straight line, it feels more stable. Cabin noise is a big improvement but it still won’t qualify as the best. In the CVT versions, both cars get added sound deadeners at the front and between the engine bay and the cabin. Strangely, a lot of wind and tyre noise can be heard at the rear.
All CVT models will have Datsun’s Vehicle Dynamic Control programme which can sense when the vehicle loses traction. This, apart from the usual Anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution and brake distribution. Braking is reassuring with discs in front and drums at the rear. This isn’t a very heavy car.
With the refresh last year, both car got more colourful interiors. Go+ goes for a dual-tone dash colour while the Go has an all-black one. The central touchscreen is intuitive and features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The USB and auxillary slot however gets hidden under the gearstick base. While the car is reasonable big, the seats are a size small. At the front, under thigh support is lacking while at the rear the backrest is too short with no provision of a headrest. Legroom is just about adequate too. In the Go+, the third row is suitable for small children but best to fold it and use the added boot space. Go offers a reasonably-sized boot and now you also get a parcel tray at the rear. There are some other good features too such as rain-sensing wipers, reverse parking sensors and follow-me-home headlamps as standard on the CVT versions.
The CVT versions of the Go and Go+ will only be available in the top T variant. VDC will be optional.
DATSUN GO/G+ PRICE
Prices are yet to be announced but Datsun officials hinted at playing the price card well. We expect it to start at Rs 5.2 lakh (ex-showroom) for the Go without VDC. Check the price of this car and variants of this car here. The budget segment of hatchback has been the traditional domain of the big players. Datsun is yet to get a foothold in this. Both the Go and Go+ don’t have the best of cabins yet and has its flaws. But the CVT at this price is a serious feature that Datsun can entice for someone on a budget wanting a convenient city runabout. If you are one of those, click here to find the best deal in your area.