Datsun Redigo First Drive

redigo lake 2

Datsun has been in the Indian market for the past two years, however their products haven’t done as well as Datsun would have hoped. Come June 2016, Datsun will launch their third product, the Redigo in the Indian market. The product will be the cheapest Datsun on sale & will take on the Maruti Alto 800, Hyundai Eon & the Redigo’s sibling, the Renault Kwid. So how exactly does Datsun plan to take on the established players? Read on to know.

redigo twins church

The Redigo will be India’s first urban-cross. Datsun says that their main focus with the Redigo was ground clearance, visibility, space & providing a peppy drive. They say the Redigo should give the owners a Freedom of choice. Well enough about what Datsun says, let’s tell you what we think.

Design

front 34 twins

Datsun has worked really hard to make the Redigo look appealing to the youth, and in our opinion, they have succeeded. Up front you have the familiar Datsun grill & a headlamp cluster that looks like an evolution from the Go. Datsun has added day time running LED’s to the bottom of the bumper to make it the first small hatchback to offer DRLs. The side profile has well sculpted curves & lines that give the car a lot of character, something that most hatchbacks don’t have.

redigo side lake

The Redigo will have a 185 mm ground clearance, making it highest hatchback in the segment. Not only that, it is higher than even the Maruti S Cross & the Hyundai Creta. The rear end  has a nice arched shape to it & the wrap around tail lamp cluster makes the car look nice. There is a small chrome line running along the bottom edge of the boot, which in a bling loving country, will certainly appeal to many. Overall we found the design very well proportioned and smart. The only grouse we have is the finish given to the exhaust tip. The vehicle will be available in 5 colours, the red & green being the most vibrant. Then we have a white, a silver & a grey which is the one we were driving.

redigo rear

rear view twins

Since we are talking about design, we wanted to mention another aspect. Sometime back, the Datsun Go was rated an unsafe car by Global NCAP. Datsun has learnt from their mistake and have provided an improved crumple zone & a reinforced side member, A & B pillar on the Redigo.

Interiors & Ergonomics

redigo dash

Datsun engineers mentioned that a lot of research had gone into the cabin of the Redigo, and it shows. Getting into the car is very easy. Once seated, we found the seating position high improving the visibility upfront. The large glass area not only adds to the visibility but also adds to the feeling of space in the cabin. The exterior mirrors, though only adjustable from the outside have been designed such that there is maximum glass area. This really improves rearward visibility.

Let’s talk about space next. The cabin feels very spacious thanks to its high roofline & large glass areas. Boot space at 222 liters is adequate. One problem though is the high loading lip which could pose as an inconvenience. The rear bench folds flat down if you need the added space.

bootredigo boot 2

Rear seat space is also good. There is enough head room & the front seats have been placed at a height such that it is easy for the rear seat passengers to place their feet below the front seats. There are a lot of cubby holes across the cabin which is good. The front doors have door pockets that can house papers of maps at most.

redigo door

redigo cubby holes 1

redigo cubby holes 2

We found the fit & finish on the interiors top notch. Datsun has really done a good job of providing a soft touch feel to the plastics which certainly makes the interiors feel good. Unlike the touch screen system on the Kwid, the Redigo makes do with a normal music system that has USB & Aux-in. The system also comes with a remote.

redigo system 1

redigo system 2

redigo remote

There is a small display on it which we found a little tough to read in the sunlight. The instrument cluster houses an analogue speedometer & a digital tachometer which are easy to read. The MFD gets a trip meter, Distance-to-empty & a live display of the mileage the car is offering. The top of the line gets front power windows and the switches are located near the gear lever. Like the Kwid, driver’s side airbags will be optional on the top of the line.

redigo dials

redigo airbag

The rear seatbelt isn’t a proper 3-point one unfortunately.

redigo seatbelt

One  more disappointment was the lack of central locking even on the top of the line version. Datsun says that keeping costs low was their main priority while building this car & that if the market demands for more features, there is a lot of flexibility to introduce them at a later stage. For now however you will have to make do with locking individual doors or getting an aftermarket system from the dealer.

The Drive

redigo engine

The Redigo is powered by the same 800 cc engine that does duty on the Kwid. It produces 54 Bhp & 72 Nm. The engine is mated to a 5 speed gearbox. Datsun claims an ARAI fuel economy figure of 25.17 kmpl. The engine, like every 3 cylinder engine has a nice thrum to it when it is revved. Initial response from the engine is very good but that reduces once in third gear from where you will find yourself revving the engine hard to keep a brisk pace. Keeping the AC on also adds load. Datsun claims that 0-100 is done in 15.98 seconds which is damn good. The gearbox has short throws but feels a little notchy initially. It takes a bit getting used to.

The suspension department is where the Redigo shines. Not only is the ride very pliant, but the car also feels very planted in speeds excess of a 100 kmph. Even the handling is very likeable. The car has very minimal body roll. Given that it has a ground clearance of 185 mm, this is commendable. Good amount of grip is also on offer while cornering. It gobbles up all the rough patches, thus offering a very comfortable ride.

On the braking front, we found them effective, but not progressive enough. So you’ll have to go hard on the pedal to get the car to a halt.

Because the Redigo sits so high up, it’ll inspire confidence going over anything. While shooting, we did go over some pretty rough stuff & we came away very impressed by how the car managed the detour off the tarmac. Datsun says that because of the short overhangs, the Redigo has an approach angle of 26.8 degrees, which means it take on a good amount of bad roads & steep inclines.

redigo gc 1

redigo gc2

While we were shooting, we had a Nano owner stop by & have a look of the car. He too was amazed by the space & the ground clearance the car had.

redigo nano owner

The End

Though Datsun is yet to reveal pricing for the car, the indication is that they will price it between Rs 2.50 lakhs & Rs 3.50 lakhs. As a product, the Redigo is a really good car. With an aggressive marketing strategy, the Redigo is generating a lot of attention. But will that translate into sales, only time will tell.

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