The Datsun Go+ is honestly an unprecedented car we have ever seen. Touted as an MPV seating seven, it measures same as a compact sedan and costs no more than a budget hatch, this car is an absolute bewilderment! On the face of it, the GO+ appears like a bang for the buck beyond any question and may even stir up the whole budget class of cars in India, where we most often think “more for less” may it be the snacks from a street vendor or even political scams!! Well, it is not that easy to decide here on Datsun Go+. So, here is a short review and buying opinion to help you out.
The Go+ is hard to differentiate from the Go hatch both inside and outside, only that it remains little stretched out in the rear. The simple interiors and grey dash, same as the hatch, is too bland and built to a cost. The stretching exercise in the rear has been so cleverly executed so that the car still sits on the same wheelbase, accommodate same tail lamp units as the Go hatch and the overall length does not exceed 4m bracket for small cars. The flatter tail gate gives it an unpleasant van-like look and the large rear wheel arches with tiny tyres is an eyesore. Certainly the hatch is better-looking.
Let’s come to the 3rd row seating. A simple mechanism allows for the second row to double fold, so that you can crawl in for the last row. It’s a very unpleasant experience to get in, and the cramped seating is something I’ll never ever go back to in my life!! Seriously, the last row is fit only for kids below age of 10 (as Datsun honestly accepts) and don’t ever dare to seat adults there unless you are used to their fury! And considering the rate at which our children grow, the third row will be a persistent problem.
This car has two great plus points – Space and fair drive. The front row is almost like a bench with connected seats, the second-row is quite roomier for a hatch of this price, and with third row folded, you get a decent amount of boot space with large room and access. With both the rows folded, the boot space adds up to 347 litres, larger than any hatch currently on sale in India. Even the second row is bit comfortable than the hatch due to its better reclining position.
The Go+ is reasonably effortless to drive, thanks to its light electric steering, fluffy clutch and dash-mounted gear lever. However, finding a better driving position will be an issue. The 1.2 litre 3-cylinder engine (same as Go hatch but re-calibrated for better output) producing 67bhp is quicker, flexible and responsive. The 5-speed gearbox enables smooth power delivery even at lower speeds, a perfect for city requirements. It drives well on the highway too, but once you cross speeds of 90kmph, the car feels little unsettled with plenty of body roll. The weedy 155/70 R13 tyres aren’t grippy either. Pushing the engine for higher speeds increases noise and harshness, and its better to drive at lower speeds. The road noise creeps so well inside the cabin pointing to its poor insulation.
The Datsun Go+ is offered in 4 trim levels – D, D1, A, and the top-end T. All the levels are absurdly equipped, to the extent that that the D and D1 doesn’t even have an AC (Oh, Gosh!!). Thus, the A model which is priced at Rs.4.15 lakh is the practically lowest version I suggest you to buy. Pay an addition of Rs. 50,000 to get the top T variant, which gets power steering, front power-windows, manual central locking, and a basic 2-speaker audio with only aux-in input. And that’s it. No safety features either. Datsun is said to be working on ABS and a driver-side airbag, but I expect that incorporation will take not less than few months.
# N for Neutral – Should I buy Datsun Go+??
The Datsun Go+ is a fresh take on affordable mobility for large families in the emerging markets, with prime focus on India (where the car is assembled). No doubt, you get a fair bit of car and value for the price you pay. But the extensive cost-cut by Datsun in every-way possible and even stripping off very basic needs of modern times is annoying. The cabin lacks feel-good factor, there is hardly any equipment, nor any safety features after humiliating NCAP report on Go hatch, are something that limits the joy of owning one. Datsun used to be a exciting brand with fantastic cars in an another era I was not born. The Go and Go+ are nothing but embarrassment to the legendary brand. Somewhere the intend and purpose of riving this brand was lost. The high-end Go+ costs just Rs.8000 more than a top trim Maruti WagonR vxi, but the latter is a wholly well buit car with better features including ABS and a driver-side airbag. With better service support and resale value, WagonR would be a better buy. Whether the Go+ will turn the misfortunes of the Go hatch upside down or not, we have to wait and observe.
However, if you start looking at the last row as a place for more luggage, the Datsun Go+ can make more sense, ideal for a city-dwelling family’s weekend worth of luggage.What Datsun actually offers is more of a station-wagon like compact car than a 7-seater MPV. It is more suited for urban uses – day to day short trips and occasional weekend trips. The engine is peppy and efficient, and driving is hassle-free. It is compact, has short turning radius, and so doesn’t warrant extra care while maneuvering at tight spaces. It doesn’t like to push hard on highways either. The features and safety isn’t enough for long trips too. The service network is still confined only to major towns and cities, again favoring city buyers.
Also Read: Datsun Go-Cross Concept – 2016 Auto Expo
For large family with four adults and two children, this car isn’t a good choice, but can consider if they don’t embark too many out-of-city trips. If cabin space is you prime concern, and you happen to be a first-time buyer, look no further than Go+. The top T trim should be the one you should go for, or at least the A variant that comes with AC.
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Photo Credit: Datsun India