Datsun Go+ Review
For all those who have been waiting for a BIG family car at not a very BIG price, Datsun has a fresh new offering – the Go+. They made a humble start with Go hatchback and are still very young to be taking competition by its horns.
Bringing back simplicity in design and offering more than others in the segment, the Go+ is more for the weekend seekers. It fits the MPV type with an additional third row seat, which will see more of luggage bags tucked than passengers.
Datsun wants you to think of it as a smart family wagon, which can take care of all your BIG family car needs. They have managed to squeeze an extra seat, give more space and features and almost everything without going generous in length by sticking to the sub-4-meter mandate. How good is it in real? We tell you.
In terms of looks, the Go+ leaves a nicer impression compared to its hatchback version with a better and balanced profile. Datsun has made sure the Go+ looks different and they have achieved the same by giving it a fresh approach rather than just slapping a boot on the compact tail door.
The face has been retained with the pronounced radiator grille which forms the starting point of multiple lines flowing across the body. Large three dimensional headlights along with a well sculpted bonnet give a larger feel. The lines around the grille are treated in chrome in order to make it feel rich.
Even the top end trim gets manually adjustable rear view mirrors. They aren’t body coloured hinting at various cost effective measures undertaken. Like the hatch, this one too gets 155/70 R13 tyres. The main change is however in the new silhouette which gets an extension to accommodate the last row of seat. Must say, it is impressive to see how smartly the additional length has been married to the existing shape. The interim pillars have been blackened. The rear quarter panel gets a nice elongated shape with an only flaw of absence of an opening for air circulation for the third row occupants. The sloping design makes it difficult to have one.
The rear is comparatively neat with extended shoulder lines give it a wider upper track. The rear glass area is small giving just about sufficient visibility to the driver while reversing the car. There is no variant badging on the tail door but just the model name, nice and simple.
The inside feel of the cabin is not premium justifying its affordable price tag. The trims and designs have been kept very basic concentrating more on functionality than aesthetics.
What comes straight from Infiniti, luxury division of Nissan, are spinal support front seats. These seats have individual support points for the pelvis and the chest thus cancelling the stress causing by bending moments. In terms of features, it gets a MDS – Mobile Docking Station mounted on the front dashboard. It looks simple but has its high points considering Indian consumers are fast moving towards smartphones. There is a USB charging slot and an AUX input which can pair with a smartphone and play music, navigate or even take calls depending on the features of the Smartphone.
The driver gets a big three spoke steering wheel which offers adequate grip. The instrumental cluster has an analogue speedometer and a digital tachometer. It also shows information on average fuel consumption, low fuel warning and distance to empty. To help reduce fuel consumption it also comes with a gear shift guide which aids the driver to shift gears at correct engine speeds.
The gear stick has been smartly shifted from the floor to the dashboard. It is very conveniently positioned and is in very easy reach of the driver. The change in position of the gear stick makes the seating very spacious. But on the flip side it keeps touching the knee of taller front passengers.
The base variants will get plain fabric upholstery while the premium variant gets Jacquard fabric upholstery which has a special pattern on it. The seats are bench type and Datsun claims that the front seats have been specially designed to keep the fatigue level low. The rear seats have a flat rear support and can do with some more cushioning. Both row seats come with integrated headrest. The third row seat, which is the main reason for the Go+ to qualify into an MPV is best suited for luggage bags primarily followed by younger beings as it is impossible for an average sized adult to fit in this zone.
Being a Japanese soul, the Go+ gets lot of practical spaces for storing mundane articles. Front door pockets can hold 1.5 litre bottles while the rear doors don’t get similar options. Fold the third row seat and you can free up to 347L of boot space, enough for the weekend.
The Go+ comes with the same three cylinder engine with a displacement of 1198cc which makes 68PS of power and 104Nm of torque and also comes with a 5-speed manual transmission. It is the same engine as seen on the Micra Active except for this one is differently tuned to make it peak at a lower engine speed.
Normally, when a hatchback is given an extra boot its ride and dynamics changes completely and with the Go+, there are host of additions which include an extended roof and more space in the rear row but surprisingly the confidence in ride quality has shifted upwards and proved to be better than the Go.
The three-cylinder unit feels adequately powered. Even under strained conditions, it does not knock or cough unlike other asymmetric engines. We even managed to drive it at 15km/h on 3rd gear on a hilly terrain. It was impressive to see the engine haul the vehicle swiftly. The gear pattern has been divided into two parts for the Go+ according to the general trend in shifting. First two gears offer greater torque which makes them best suited for city conditions while the rest three increase the momentum and continue it focussing on highways.
This one also drives better than its smaller sibling as the suspensions have been tweaked to take on that extra bulk. Sourcing it from their premium luxury brand – Infiniti, the Go+ gets a high response linear damper system, which is quick and highly effective in absorbing uneven undulations with a faster response timing than others in the same segment.
This feature proved its worth when we threw it on harsh roads near Risihikesh, where the harshness was completely disconnected. It also gets long travel suspension in the rear. It may not look appealing from an aesthetic sense but with its length, it breaks the resonance effect of hard road conditions without making the wheels touch the inner fender even on extreme surfaces.
In terms of safety, the larger three-dimensional headlights provide better illumination in width and depth than other cars. It has the best braking timings bringing the vehicle to a complete halt at a lesser time than competition. Datsun also assures that the crumple zones in the Go+ can take great level of impacts. It fulfils all safety requirements as per Indian road standards mentioned by ARAI.
The Go+ is more of a station wagon than an MPV because the last row seats realistically do not qualify to seat occupants. The main challenge that Datsun will face is convincing consumers about the merits of one. Tata Estate, Indigo Marina, Baleno Altura, Corsa Swing and Octavia Combi are some of the many cars which couldn’t do well in India as the concept of a weekend car didn’t exist back then. With the Go+, Datsun can pitch a budget family wagon and create a new segment.
The Go and Go+ still have a long way to go in terms of final finishing as the cost conscious measures seep in every detail of both these cars. The build quality is not the best and even the interiors feel too basic compared to competing models. However, it is just the beginning for the Japanese car major and we hope the future iterations will come in a more acceptable form.