2018 Datsun Go And Go Plus First Drive Review: Improved And Matured

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The facelifted Datsun Go and Go Plus have a raft of improvements made; read on to find out whether the changes make any difference

Datsun brand was revived by parent Nissan in June 2013 targetting emerging markets with affordable cars after nearly three decades of hibernation. With India being a core part of its business, Datsun began its operations with the Go hatchback back in March 2014 before introducing its MPV sibling, the Go Plus in January 2015.

Having taken full circle and consistently launching special editions over the past years, the Go pair has been treated with respective facelifts. The Japanese brand debuted the updated versions in Indonesia in May 2018, and since then their arrival into India was eagerly awaited due to the welcoming changes onboard.

With both models made their way into the country adorning 28 new features and 100 modifications as Datsun claimed, we took them for spin in Chennai and here our first impressions are scribed:

2018 Datsun Go And Go Plus Design:

The major attracting bits on the facelifts can be found on the outside as Datsun incorporated similar changes on the Go and Go Plus to maintain their uniformity as family bound models. However, it is easy to observe the hatchback getting the better of its fellow MPV, as revisions represent enhanced sportiness in its design.

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The Go Plus, on the other hand, is not shabby either and more crucially its rather uninspiring exterior has now become more appealing and upmarket than ever before. In short, the visual tweaks have made the Go duo more dynamic as the black bumper housing is brand new incorporating vertically positioned LED Daytime Running Lights in the high-end variants.

The restyled air dam is wider and the upright larger ‘Yukan’ hexagon grille assembly possesses new blades with chrome surrounds. The new follow-me-home headlamps have been carried over from the Datsun Cross sold in ASEAN markets while the rear end did not get much changes except for the addition of new washer and wiper, and chrome lining at the edge of the boot opener in the Go.

The design of the side profile remains identical to the outgoing model and the top-spec trims get a set of 14-inch dual-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels wrapped in MRF rubber. Another new addition is the electrically adjustable wing mirrors but it does not feature integrated turn indicators as Datsun opted to position them conventionally just above the wheel arches on either side.

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The Amber Orange colour on Go and Sunstone Brown on the Go Plus are new paint schemes that brought a refreshing vibe into the facelifts. The Go Plus test vehicle we drove had chrome garnished horizontal strip on the boot and an updated rear bumper with faux air vents while the roof rails can be ticked off from the accessories list. Instead of the aforementioned chrome highlights, the entry- and mid-level variants get silver finishes in particular.

2018 Datsun Go and Go Plus Interior and Features:

The exterior enhancements largely go well with the improvements made inside the cabin. As an overall package, Datsun wanted to up the premium status of the Go and Go Plus, and they have done a fair job in achieving the desired results. The hatchback and seven-seater MPV have noticeable changes in comparison in the design scheme of things.

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The 2018 Go comes with a single-tone all-black interior with silver highlights and carbon-fibre like touches adding boldness to the hatchback. Complementing the black interior is orange stitching for seats with Go branding and floor mats. In the Go Plus, the revised dash is finished in black and beige theme with no fancy floor mats, and the improved seats carried along the same appeal with silver coloured fabric upholstery.

The significant inclusion to the lineup is the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system positioned centrally in the updated piano black console with silver accents all around. It allows for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity and below which the rotary dials control AC functions.

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The middle horizontal AC vents are placed atop the dashboard, flanked by the round-shaped units on either end. They get silver surrounds as in the gear lever console, inside door handles and steering wheel. The floor console offers two cup holders at the front and a space for one-litre water bottle at the rear in all the variants.

The new instrument cluster boasts analogue rev counter in top-end variants and the odometer has updated design with 3D graphical blue ring. The digital MID gives you information regarding trip, distance travelled, instant fuel economy, digital clock and average fuel economy among others.

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The deep glove box has a usable storage space while the central locking can only be done manually. Due to the low window line and good positioning of the dashboard with short front end, the road visibility is appreciable.

The steering wheel could not be adjusted to suit different driving styles and the AC cooling does not spread immediately across the cabin, and it works better with recirculation turned on. I personally preferred the size of the ORVMs to be a little bigger.

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Datsun has worked hard to improve the interior quality with decent success for an affordable hatchback.

2018 Datsun Go and Go Plus Comfort And Convenience:

Firstly, Datsun endorsed a lot about the new capacitive touchscreen and I must say it is intuitive as well as responsive. The Bluetooth connectivity time is ideal and the touch functionalities are quick and clearly displayed in the icons. Enabling Apple CarPlay, Google Maps, voice recognition, HD playback and Android Auto connectivity among others, the new entertainment system is indeed a welcoming addition.

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The dual front speaker setup offered in the top-spec T grade is not very impressive and you would have to figure out for some time where the USB and Aux-in ports are, as they are tucked underneath. The cockpit does not feel cramped and the seats described as “anti-fatigue” are good enough to hold you in comfy for periodic long journeys.

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Having similar height of 1,507 mm, the headroom on both the Go and Go Plus for a six feet guy like me is ample. However, the Go Plus provides better knee room and thigh support as it is longer than hatch sibling by 207 mm. It is important to note that the Go pair shares similar wheelbase of 2,450 mm as before.

2018 Datsun Go and Go Plus Engine, Performance and Mileage:

Datsun has been using the 1.2-litre three-cylinder HR12 DE petrol engine for well over four years and no changes are made in the mechanical department. The naturally-aspirated, DOHC, fuel-injected motor is good enough to produce 68 PS at 5,000 rpm and 104 Nm of peak torque at 4,000 rpm.

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The powertrain is connected to a five-speed manual transmission in both models and despite the weight and other obvious structural differences, the hatchback and MPV are claimed to return 19.83 kmpl. I could not get to an exact mileage figure as the test drive vehicles were brand new but in my opinion, an average of 17-18 kmpl is possible when driven sanely.

The engine felt smooth and refined to a certain degree as before. When accelerating harder, it does give a good note but the NHV levels could have been improved as it’s easy for surrounding air to get into the cabin. The gear shifts were not clunky but you do have to work your way to change gears.

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The powertrain ensures adequate performance for regular urban driving in the lower gears and you can cruise along between 60 and 80 kmph without much hassle. The vibrations on speeds above 80 kmph are negligible but in the rev range of up to 2,000 rpm you do get some clattering when accelerator pedal is not given a full bang.

2018 Datsun Go and Go Plus Ride, Handling and Comfort:

Getting in and out of the Go duo is easy due to the extending door opening and five adults can be seated in the hatchback. The Go Plus’ second row has tumble function while the third row can be folded to liberate more boot space. The MPV enables 347 litres of bootspace when the third row is folded while the hatchback accommodates only 265 litres of volume for luggage storage.

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In the MPV, majority of the adults will find it difficult to sit squatted in the third row but it is a comfortable space to be for a couple of children in your average family outing. The Go is easily the best handling machine of the two, as it is a proper small hatchback.

The steering wheel on both the models is light. Even though it is responsive, the feedback is a certain bit inadequate. The Go is engaging to ride in comparison as it has lower kerb weight of around 40 kg and it absorbs bumps and potholes reasonably well with 180 mm ground clearance courtesy of the suspension that Datsun calls as “Ride Control Advanced Suspension”.

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The McPherson struts at front and coil springs at the rear provide a rather relaxed setup, aided by telescopic shock absorbers. The MPV has a decently committed ride in the highways and the same can be attributed to the hatchback but the lack of power is obvious. Since it is a naturally aspirated engine, the power delivery is linear for most parts but on higher gears, you sort of run out on performance.

In the jammed-up traffic situations, the lower gears does come in handy as the Go hatchback can be maneuvered with less effort. But the same cannot be said for Go Plus as it’s longer and heavier than the hatch.2018 Datsun GO Review, 2018 Datsun GO Plus Review56

The pedals have the light feel to them and they did not hurt the knees in rolling traffic. The Go was also certain of hitting zero to 100 kmph in claimed time of 13.3 seconds.

2018 Datsun Go and Go Plus Safety Features:

Across all the five grades, Datsun sells dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, BA, reverse-parking sensors as standard. The front disc and rear drum brakes work in tandem assisted by ABS to give confidence for the driver while rolling to a stop and braking in hurry.

While reaching 80 kmph, the speed alert function kicks in and starts to beep and by 120 kmph it continues to beep along, as the top speed appears to have been only around 120 kmph and the odo hesitates to pull south beyond that mark.

2018 Datsun Go and Go Plus Price and Review Verdict:

The updated Go and Go Plus are available in five colour choices and get standard 2 year/ unlimited km warranty that can be extended up to 5 years. One of the biggest advantages of the Go duo is their pricing as before, as the hatchback retails for Rs. 3.29 lakh and Rs. 3.83 lakh (ex-showroom) is quoted for the MPV.

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The changes introduced on the facelifts have done a pretty good job in accentuating the premium appeal of both Go and Go Plus, and the seven-inch touchscreen with revised centre console, dashboard and instrument cluster exemplify Datsun’s commitment to modernize its portfolio.

The Go hatchback’s decent ride quality over the Go Plus makes it the best pick for me despite being a five-seater. However, the Go Plus with its seven-seats and MPV capabilities is unrivalled in its segment and is the only choice for customers wanting to own a hauler for big families unless they think Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is a little expensive.

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The facelifts are not in any range a revolution to topple the big guns but the improvements will be appreciated by customers in my opinion and for Datsun, it is a much-needed victory on its own!

2018 Datsun Go And Go Plus Images