Just when we thought a line in the sand against new segments had been drawn, Datsun came around and thrown gauntlet of sub-compact MPV. Now given that space credential of compact people movers is already under the scanner especially for 3rd row, we wonder where this sub-4 meter MPV will actually land on.Profession of Datsun Go+ as a genuine 7-seater reeks plenty of skepticism with vehicle measuring only 3995 mm from head to toe. Wheelbase striking 2450 mm on measurement scale doesn’t help to assuage this either and only tends escalateexpanse dubiousness of this new Nissan. So obvious arousal leads to question what Datsun is really banking on to coax the customers’ to take a plunge.We bet that you won’t find answer on spec-sheet as solution is hidden inside the folded crease of price list that ultimately unfold to reveal exceptionally low trading value of Go+. Unequivocally Nissan is gambling on low price of Go+; part of which has been achieved through platform sharing and sub-4 m excise exemption. With price range of Rs 3.79 - Rs 4.61 lakh, Datsun Go+ not only register thumping victory over rivals but also renders hatchback class quite speechless. In fact Datsun Go+ is the most value for money offer that has ever existed in Indian market; a tall claim which Nissan is hoping to translate into big sales. Despite of palpable tension on space front, the overall mood at Datsun is quite upbeat as Go+ now goes on sale in market. For the customer, however, the biggest concern is how good is overall make-up of Datsun Go+? Whether there is something great beyond the low price glare of Go+ or the whole castle is founded on pricing base only? All this and much more as we take new Go+ out on our extensive and strenuous road-test venture.
Styling & Design
The most obvious and catching point of Datsun Go+ is its overall demeanour that could easily pass of as a stretched hatchback. It looks anything but MPV from outside and tacked rear-three quarter profile comes as quite bulky in its appearance. That said, it doesn’t feel out of the synch with overall design though it has its symmetry niggles.
Both front and profile view (up to B-pillar) of Go+ is similar to Go hatchback as the cost is kept low by sharing the platform. This means large hexagonal mesh grille is flanked by angular headlamps remains intact at their familiar place. Bumper is deep, curvaceous and has symmetrical air-dam at its lower end. In profile, a strong shoulder line defines the silhouette which lacks the overall dynamism and built-sophistication.
Dimensionally there hasn’t been any change from what we have already witnessed on Go, save for length part that gets extension due to added third bench. Width, height and even wheelbase of both Go and Go+ is similar in order to drive home the economies of scale. Overall build quality is economical and lacks the reassurance of solid sound that we here on some on the Europeans propositions.
Interiors and Space
So first up, we deal with space which is indeed the most intriguing part of the Go+ offering as it tries to balance out mutually exclusive extremes of space and compactness. And as we suspected, Datsun Go+ is awfully cramped interiors with both 2nd and 3rd row offering only limited amount of expanse. In fact the 3rd bench is a complete jock as even children will grumble sitting at this last row.
Legroom and knee space at 2nd bench is not great either though it is slightly better than horrific experience of 3rd row. We fail to digest the logic of having 3rd bench and believe that most of families will end up using this as trunk room.
At the front, driver and co-driver seat is thankfully quite cavernous and the best place to be in in the whole car. The cabin is quite familiar as it is being copied from Go hatchback and grafted here in Go+. All the cheap bits and basic instrumentation that we abhorred in Go, comes back haunting us again in Go+. In terms of equipment, Go+ is as basic as it can be. The only so-called luxuries here are AC, power steering and front power windows and that’s too only in top end T variant.
The old-school pull handbrake, basic bared instrument cluster and symphony of grey makes Go+ quite a budget offering. Controls lack tactile feel and feels they will break off in case of any mild neglect in handling. Lower variants in Go+ line-up don’t even have power steering so we advise to steer clear of the basic models as they won’t be very comfortable to drive and especially in parking manoeuvres.
Engine & Gearbox
Datsun Go+ features similar 1.2-litre, 3-pot motor powering Go hatchback and producing 68 PS of max power along with 104 Nm of torque. The engine is quite peppy in nature and trolling in the city is quite effortless and easy affair for the Go+. The power doesn’t seem too much though the low-weight and competent rotating force help the car to mask its deficiency at least driving within confinements of halting traffics. Nissan has tuned the engine well for the city driving and it is sure to come handy for most of the city dwellers.
That said, move out of the town and get on a highway and there is immediate realization about lacking high-end of this gasoline engine. Attaining three-digit whack is not an up-hill task however progressing after then, is definitely the one. Once revs rises, the sound starts becoming hoarse with reminder that it is 3-pot motor. Thrashing the motor beyond a point will yield little progress though it is quite enough to unleash all the revolt against peddling foot.
Go+ comes with maiden choice of 5-speed manual transmission that is placed very ergonomically. It is easy to reach up to though this is only good thing about it. In its operation, it lacks finesse, righteousness and feels quite flimsy. Shifts are notchy and require quite an effort for slotting operation. Clutch is quite light that mollifies the whole experience but then brakes, one again, lacks the typical reassuring feel that a car should have come with.
Dynamically Go+ strikes a fine balance between ride and handling as suspension is tuned neutral without any sort of bias in favour of either one. Go+ rides well at speed though slow speed absorption is nothing to write home about. Road grip is also average and an upgrade on tyres front will surely makes things better. Steering is nicely weighted and though it feels light on slow speeds, it has amazing control feel at higher speed.
Handling of the Go+ is surprisingly superior for the MPV standards as it hugs the corners with aplomb. Regular zigzag is not an issue and so ca be said about twisting turns at reasonable speed. Only time we felt Go+ going out of line when we flung it at quite a high speed. Overall Go+ performed better than our expectation on dynamics front.
Priced in rangeof Rs3.79 lakh – Rs 4.61 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), Go+ is an exceptional value for money offering. All the negatives of the Go+ can be neutralized with this price range and this belief is what undergirds Nissan’s confidence in success of Go+. This MPV lacks space, squeeze out on equipment, doesn’t have power punch of rivals and struggle while holding the road, but then all these demerits feel little in front of the price list. After all who on the planet in his right senses could have predicted MPV for Rs 3.79 lakh with even top model stacking below Rs 5 lakh? Datsun Go+ comes with many inherent deficiencies though Nissan has tamed all these niggle with ultra-low pricing of Go+. So much so that even we can’t complain about anything at the end of this road test.
Style & Substance 3/5 Ride & Handling 3/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3/5 Safety & Equipment 2/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for Money 4.5/5