Nissan re-launched its marque Datsun with a new hatchback christened ‘Go’. The name is derived from DATGO, the first ever Datsun car that was launched in early 20th century in Japan. The hatchback that has been introduced as a budget car in India will also be marketed in South Africa, Indonesia and Russia. Datsun Go was formally showcased at the Auto Expo, Greater Noida in February 2014 and went on sale a month later, in mid March. It was launched with a starting price of Rs 3.12 lakhs and is chiefly aimed at young and first time buyers. To meet the target of 10 percent share in the Indian car market by 2016, Nissan decided to place its bets on new Datsun Go.
Sharing its platform with Nissan Micra, the Go scores well on ‘price-to-size’ ratio. It measures 3785 mm in length and has a wheelbase of 2450 mm. The height of this hatchback is 1485 mm. It comes with 1.2 litre petrol engine mated to 5 speed manual transmission. The highest power of the motor is 67 bhp at 5000 rpm and it has peak torque of 10.6 kg at 4000 rpm.
This car makes a bold style statement with its trendy design and has several curves on its silhouette. Unlike Nissan partner Renault’s design tactics with its economy brand Dacia, the styling for Datsun is anything but drab. It will not be exaggerating to say that there isn’t a straight line or simple-to-create plain panel when you look at the Go.
The V shaped hood swells out in a smart way and is complemented by an aggressive chin. The lines on the car seemingly ascend and descend from its honeycomb, hexagonal framed grille. Datsun Go’s headlamps are equally detailed with 2 well devised components distinctly noticeable. Moving on to the sides, the prominent beltline that runs from headlamps to the doors and stylistic cuts on door panels draw attention. There is a triangular cladding that merges with the rear window glass and this does away with the appearance of its otherwise fat C-pillar. The styling emphasis at the rear reflects in muscular haunches outlined by a ridge between the tail lamps and the rear doors.
Things get more exciting on stepping inside the cabin. While ample space is a keystone of the new Datsun, it is the way in which this space is planned that is admirable. Even the glass area is big to create a feel of roominess. Placing the gear lever at angle to the dashboard is a smart move and so the gap between the two front seats is filled with a cushion and back rest. This gives a bench look to the sitting area in front though there is hardly any space between the gear lever platform and the cushion joining the seats. The centre part of the front seats is also a bit of a hindrance as the elbow strikes against it every time one shifts to a lower gear. New or inexperienced drivers may also take time to get used to the handbrake with twist-and-pull operation.
The door handles and AC vents are similar to the ones in Nissan Micra. Instrument console and the steering wheel have a somewhat plain look but suit the theme of interiors well. A practical feature that is strongly missed in Datsun Go is the glovebox. In its place you simply get 2 shelves under the dashboard. Door pockets are provided on the front doors. The entertainment set up needs to be purchased as an optional feature and it comprises a mobile docking station with USB charging. So your smartphone is mounted on the dashboard and then plugged into the door speakers. This makes for enjoyable music streaming in the cabin and navigation apps loaded on your phone can also be used.
There is adequate space for three people at rear and this makes Datsun Go practical as a five seater. The 265 litres trunk of this hatchback has a fairly long base and you can also place a large suitcase flat instead of adjusting it vertically.
Datsun Go comes with a host of upgrade options and there are four variants available in India – D, D1, A and T. The base variant D does not get features such as air conditioning, power windows. While the top end variant T may not have those bells and whistles, it does come with entertainment set up, speed sensitive steering wheel, front power windows and body coloured door handles.
Nissan’s hatchback has been launched in four colours – Sky Blue, White, Silver and Ruby Red. It costs between 3.12 and 3.70 lakhs (ex showroom price Delhi) as per the variant chosen. The brand is fairly new for young car buyers in India but by working an organised service network, Datsun can carve a niche for itself in the budget car segment.