Datsun redi-GO 1.0-litre review

The entry-level car segment has always been a favourite in India. Many first-time car buyers prefer compact vehicles because of their ease of driving. However, most cars in the segment look monotonous and unimaginative. Datsun, the affordable arm of Nissan launched the redi-GO in 2016, and then launched a more powerful version of the vehicle earlier this year. We took the new, powerful version of the car for a spin and here’s what we think about it.

Looks different

The redi-GO seems radical and refreshing. Breaking the conventional boxy designs that are prevalent in the segment, the redi-GO offers a curvaceous design. The quirky design of the redi-GO gathers a lot of looks on the road. The tall boy design along with sculpted bumpers and faux skid plate gives it an SUV-ish look that is loved by the Indians. The front bumper gets two strips of LEDs that act as Daytime Running Lamps (DRL).

The profile of the red-GO reveals its sharp, angular design. It gets well-formed creases that run from the bonnet to the boomerang-shaped tail lamps. The wheels get covers which do look like alloys because of the blacked-out rims. The redi-GO gets a chrome stripe at the rear that adds a premium feel.

Overall, the redi-GO looks young that attracts a lot of young buyers. However, it seems identical to the redi-GO 0.8 version except for the tint “1.0” badge on the rear. As many people are opting for the more powerful version, a little more distinction between the two would have been a welcome move.

What about the interiors?

On the inside, the 1.0-litre version gets an all-black treatment, which does feel better and sportier than the 0.8-litre version of the car. It gets silver accents on the AC vents and other parts like centrally located power-window switches, steering wheel and the infotainment system. The silver accents are much more prominent now due to the darker background.

The cabin feels big and airy, thanks to the large glass area. The dashboard is asymmetrical with infotainment system favouring the driver. The dashboard looks clean and uncluttered with minimal buttons and knobs on it. It gets a basic audio system with USB, AUX-in, and CD. There is no Bluetooth connectivity.

The power window switches are located in the middle, just below the big cup holders and there is more space below the handbrake to keep small items. There is no space in the door to keep bottles but one of the cup holders was big enough to accommodate a 1-litre water bottle. Even the seat covers get small pockets to keep the water bottles but only small bottles can be kept there.

The redi-GO 1.0-litre comes with fabric seats but the test car that we got had optional body-colour matching leather covers. The seats feel quite comfortable but because it is a tall car and there is no seat height adjustment, you will feel like sitting quite high but will get used to it.

The instrument panel is a digital-analogue hybrid with a big speedometer and a small LCD that cycles through various information like fuel level, trip meter, distance to empty, instantaneous fuel average and overall fuel average.

The tall boy design can accommodate taller people without much trouble. It is good enough for four people and will get uncomfortable if five people are squeezed into it. There is a boot space of 222 litres, which is good enough to gulp luggage of four people on a weekend trip.

There are spaces which have metal parts exposed that may feel like a cost-cutting measure but painted metal sheets give a contrasting effect to the all-black interiors. It also gets a key which has inbuilt central locking remote. It may look insignificant but looks quite premium.

There is no ABS and airbags even as optional with the redi-GO. It does not play a big role while car buyers make a decision to buy cars in India though.

Engine and drive

The car is powered by the 3-cylinder, 799cc iSAT (Intelligent Spark Automated Technology) engine that produces a maximum power of 67 Bhp at 5,678 rpm and peak torque of 91 Nm at 4,386 Nm. It is the same engine that powers the Kwid 1.0-litre and is quite quick. The redi-GO weighs just 681 kg and the 53 Bhp engine take the power-to-weight ratio to 98 Bhp/ton, which is quite high.

The lightweight of the car can be felt vividly. In the first gear itself, the redi-GO pulls quite strongly. Even in the first gear, you will feel the 67 Bhp working together above 2,500 rpm. The compact size of the car helps it a lot in the heavy city traffic condition. The acceleration is smooth and so are the gear changes. It may feel a bit elastic at first attempt but do get used to it. The gears are short-throw and do not take much effort to be changed. The clutch is light and is a big boon in crawling traffic.

The 91 Nm torque comes in handy while crawling. You can just lift the clutch and it starts moving ahead. The 5-speed manual transmission gets well-thought ratios and one does not need to touch the gear lever often, even in heavy traffic situations.

On the open roads, the redi-GO 1.0-litre can easily cruise at 80-100 km/h mark. At 80 km/h, the engine speed hovers around 2,500 rpm in the fifth gear and it has enough power in reserve to overtake heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

The lightweight steering wheel does not help at all at the high speeds and the 13-inch tyres and lightweight body is not very confidence inducing above 90 km/h. It is best to cruise at around 80 km/h with reserve power to overtake vehicles. Datsun offers a high ground clearance of 185mm, which clears the speed breakers with ease and the car feels much better to drive on the rough surfaces. Even after being so tall, there is minimal body roll.

Even after driving the car enthusiastically in city traffic with the AC on, the mileage was above 18-19 km/l. On the highways, the mileage is ought to get better. Datsun claims a maximum fuel efficiency of 22.5 km/l.

So a good choice?

The redi-GO is priced at Rs. 3.57 lakh and the top-end version goes up to Rs. 3.72 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). With a short turning radius of 4.7m, light steering wheel, light clutch and compact dimensions, the redi-GO is a perfect answer to the urban commuter needs. However, it is priced very close to the Kwid 1.0-litre, which starts at Rs. 4.0 lakh, ex-showroom. The redi-GO feels like the enthusiastic version of the Kwid 1.0 and with the unorthodox looks, it attracts younger buyers too.

If you’re looking for something that will grab a lot of eyes on the road and is a good companion on the urban roads with performance and mileage, the redi-GO 1.0-litre is the answer you’re looking for.