We drove the Datsun Go CVT and Go+ CVT in Chennai and here is what we have observed in our first drive review
Datsun India broke into the scenes with much anticipation back in 2014 as the brand was revived for emerging markets as a low-cost alternative to Nissan after nearly three decades. With India at the primary focus, the Datsun marque was re-born here before expanding its reach to countries like Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
The Go and its MPV sibling, the Go+, have been at the forefront of Datsun’s lineup. The entry-level hatchback attained good reception from the buyers before the Redi-Go entered in mid-2015 in a much lower price bracket. With four years into the lifecycle, the Japanese manufacturer gave a comprehensive update to the Go duo in October 2018 with exterior changes and a revised interior with more premium equipment like seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Within a year since the updated models arrived, Datsun is all prepared to expand the Go and Go+ lineup with the addition of CVT. The company will position the Go CVT and Go+ CVT aggressively as they are set to become the cheapest CVT offerings in the country. In short, Datsun is introducing the Go and Go+ CVTs just as Nissan did with the Micra XL CVT in a competitive manner to give them an edge over rivals.
We got to drive the CVTs a few days ago in Chennai to give you a profound look into what has been cooking under the bonnet:
Datsun Go CVT and Go+ CVT Exterior
Firstly, the exterior of the Datsun Go and Go+ CVTs remains identical to their manual counterpart except for the addition of the rear spoiler. The chrome detailing on the hexagonal front grille, sharp follow-me-home headlamps, 14-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels (only in the T (O) trim), vertically positioned LED Daytime Running Lights, silver roof rails, body-coloured bumpers, wing mirrors and handles are part of the package.
All the premium exterior details mentioned above are present for a year now and they do help in enhancing the design quotient of the Go and Go+ as they are offered in the top-spec T grade.
With a compact profile, the hatchback does look sportier among the two. The structural integrity has been improved in the duo courtesy of the stringent side crash and pedestrian protection standards. Another addition is the standard speed sensing auto door lock across the range.
Datsun Go CVT and Go+ CVT Interior
It goes without saying that the overall dimensions of both the models stay similar to the rest of the range. The same trend continues on the inside as the Go hatchback adorns black fabric seat upholstery, carbon-fibre like inserts, black instrument panel, tinted glass, four power windows, silver accented steering wheel, inside door handles and AC vents, and piano-black finish to the centre console.
The Go+, on the other hand, has its two-tone interior with a pale white finish to the dashboard that looks more appealing than that of the all-black theme carried by the hatchback. The triple-pod analogue instrument cluster with digital MID gives necessary information to the driver but the main attraction is the seven-inch capacitive touchscreen infotainment with Google maps, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, voice recognition and HD playback.
The touchscreen does lack the intuitiveness but it has a clean interface nevertheless. The Datsun Go and Go+ CVTs get a host of safety features including standard central locking, immobiliser, keyless entry, reversing assist, dual airbags, speed warning, Brake Assist, front seatbelt reminder, ABD with EBD and the segment-first VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control).
Datsun Go CVT and Go+ CVT Engine, Performance and Dynamics
The tried-and-tested 1.2-litre HR12 DE naturally-aspirated DOHC petrol engine continues under the bonnet developing 77 PS at 6,000 rpm and 104 Nm at 4,400 rpm – 9 PS more than MT. It has higher claimed mileage as well at in the Go at 20.07 kmpl and 19.41 in Go+. The availability of the CVT does change the driving characteristics of both the models.
Datsun says the CVT ensures smoother shift, lower engine noise, better hill drive and control, no lag while acceleration compared to the regular AMTs. In our time of driving the cars both on the highway and congested traffic conditions you always end up in at Chennai we certainly are impressed by a few factors.
The VDC does help in improving the confidence of the driver to approach high speeds with the CVT transmission and coupled with the Sport Mode, it does get engaging in open road scenarios but not too much.
Moreover, the convenience factor the CVT brings in is second to none and it is tailor-made for comforting through jam-packed traffic. In contrary to the conventional AMT, it is certain that you would not find the automatic gearbox shifting through gears when you get going and press the throttle pedal but the immediacy in throttle can lead to the engine climbing up the rpm to adjust itself and smoothen out due to the nature of the transmission.
During that period, you will be in a position to either jump on the throttle more or retaliate and settle back without making overtaking manoeuvres. With no change in suspension and brake setups, the Go CVT and Go+ CVT do behave like their manual counterparts and it’s a positive sign. The braking is intuitive while the suspension is not too firm and can come in handy during longer drives.
Datsun Go CVT and Go+ CVT Verdict
The Datsun Go CVT and Go+ CVT will be positioned as the most affordable of such kind when they go on sale in the coming days. They will be offered in the fully loaded T and T (O) variants and we expect the prices to be around Rs. 5.4 lakh and Rs. 6.3 lakh for Go and Go+ respectively.
Due to their affordability, they sit in the realms of some of the top-selling AMTs. It begs the question of whether the CVT can overcome the high popularity of the AMT or not? The convenience factor the CVT brings in will attract customers and the mileage figures won’t be a deal-breaker either.