Datsun Go! That’s what Datsun’s first small hatchback is called and we can only say that’s the way to go Datsun! Here’s welcoming the brand back to the world in the 21st century after 32 years and with a small car that looks cute, is pretty spacious and here’s the trump card – it will take the Maruti Alto, Hyundai Eon and Maruti Wagon-R head on with its pricing.
The Datsun Go will be officially on Indian roads in early 2014 at a price point under Rs. 4 lakh. If industry buzz is anything to go by, the base variant could start at just over Rs. 3 lakh, and with the kit it’s got to offer it definitely has all the makings of a winner. As far as first impressions go, it sure has the looks going for it. And the name, Go, is taken from the first Datsun car ever built. Also read: Nissan to revive Datsun brand in India.
New age styling, spacious interiors
The car was unveiled by Nissan Motor Co. President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. This car will be built in India with 100% localization, which is what will keep costs low. It will also be made for South Africa, Russia and Indonesia, where it holds good potential.
As far as styling goes, the car has all the right design cues, without actually looking like it’s saving on costs unless you look closely (but we weren’t allowed to get too close). The grille will be a trademark Datsun grille – and is kind of hexagonal in styling with the Datsun logo in the centre. It will likely be the focal point for all Datsun cars (two more to come). The car sports a single windshield wiper (like the Etios & Liva) and the dashboard looks vaguely related to the Nissan Micra. The car is based on the B-platform (the previous generation Micra platform) but suitably altered to new-age styling. It runs on 155/70 R13 tyres (same size as a Hyundai Santro’s tyres).
The car measures 3785 mm in length, 1635 mm in width and 1485 in height – which is almost dimensionally similar to the Nissan Micra, although the Go is slightly longer. Wheelbase at 2450 mm is identical to the Nissan Micra. The boot looks spacious as well and we wouldn’t be off the mark in guessing that it could hold about 250 litres of luggage.
The interiors are unique, as it has a full-bench front seat (remember the earlier Ambassador and Premier seats?) but with proper seating only for two and two seat belts only. The rear seat is also a bench, so even though this is a proper five-seater car, don’t be surprised to see three abreast in front as well (perhaps not legally). The gear lever and handbrake are mounted on the dashboard. The instrument cluster looks simple with a single speedometer dial and a digital readout. There is no glove box in this car. It just gets a shelf to store stuff. The outside mirrors are not body coloured and only manually adjustable. The door locks are the old-school pin type and with lift-type door handles. These are the apparent areas of cost cutting.
All the Datsun Go cars will come with a mobile-phone dock and charging point, allowing you to integrate your smartphone with the car. There is no music system as such and your mobile phone becomes the music system by directly integrating with the car’s speakers through an Aux / USB connection, and simple on-off, bass-treble and volume controls. The car also comes with two power windows. Also read: New car brands and what’s happening to them
Parts sharing across the Datsun-Nissan-Renault family
The Datsun Go will be made in Chennai with nearly 100% localization. The engine is a 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol motor with a five-speed manual transmission. It is the same engine that powers the new Micra Active developing about 68 bhp of power going to the front wheels. Datsun claims the car is very light and hence it will be very fuel efficient as well.
Also it will share spares and components with other cars in the Renault-Nissan alliance, which will make it fairly cost competitive when it comes to spares. For the moment, it’s likely to piggyback on the Renault-Nissan dealer network, but a call on dealerships and service would be taken closer to launch in March-April 2014.
What we think
The Datsun Go is being positioned as a first car for families who’ve never owned a car before and given that it is coming into a very crowded, volume-driven market, it does have a tough task ahead in trying to break the dominance of Maruti and Hyundai in this space. Still, the brand is looking to get a 10% market share overall in the passenger car space by 2016 end along with Nissan, from the current 1.2% that Nissan has now. With the intended pricing and with plans for an adequate service infrastructure in place, Datsun could be off to a good start. Also read: Premium hatchback or entry level sedan?
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Also see Datsun Go official video clip:
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