The Datsun GO was the first car released by the Japanese automaker Nissan under the Datsun brand since it was discontinued in 1986. Named after the “Dat-GO”, Datsun’s first car launched in the early 20th century, the GO & GO+ is available in developing markets such as India, South Africa, and Indonesia. It is based on the same Nissan V platform as the Micra/ March. The GO & GO+ (estate 7-seater car) was launched in the already crowded affordable hatchback segment way back in late 2014. The twins per se had little advantage in terms of features over the competition and hence it failed to impress the masses and target audience. Come 2018, Datsun decided to give its products the much-needed overhaul and load it with features and refreshed look. Let’s find out whether the added features would attract the hatchback buyers and will the latest offerings translate into sales.
Exterior & Design
The overall design of the GO and GO+ largely remains the same as the older cars. Most significant change in the front of the GO & GO+ is the redesigned front bumper which is now sharper and edgier than the outgoing model adding a lot of glamour. It now gets LED DRL’s though only on the top end T(O) variant but it still gives the car some character. The DRL’s are vertically placed, nice and bright and are accentuated by black carbon-fiber looking plastics. The chrome surrounded trapezoidal front now gets a newly designed grille, again very different from the preceding model. Headlamp cluster largely remains the same with normal halogen bulbs and turn signal indicators integrated into the housing.
Coming to the side the most significant change you’ll notice is the large dual-tone diamond cut 14-inch wheels which now comes shod with bigger 165/70 tyres. The older car was seriously under tyred and came with smaller 13-inch rims which made the car look like it skipped the leg days. Datsun becomes the first car maker in the segment to load the cars with alloy wheels. Rear also remains the same with the typical Nissan like up-swept rear windshield with fresh styled rear wipers.
A chrome strip runs across the tail-gate which gives the car a refreshed look. The bumper which again is completely redesigned gets thick black carbon-fiber strip which runs right underneath the number plate holder, thence continuing and complementing the overall edgier design language. The roof of the car now gets the roof-rails which give the car a cross-hatched look, but it’s not a crossover and the company is not promoting it as one.
The GO+ is exactly the same as the GO in terms of design. Everything from the hexagonal grille, the V in the bonnet to the wrap-around headlights with metal inserts and the windscreen are the same. Changes on the estate car like Datsun GO+ from the hatchback start past the rear door. The roof-line swoops down and the belt-line arcs up to provide a nice effect, and the shoulder looks quite stylish. The hatch at the rear is a fresh design with a slimmer rear windscreen. Where Datsun has really done well is in limiting this mini-MPV’s length to less than four meters, which helps the buyer with tax-cut benefits.
Interiors & Safety
One thing that the older Datsun twins miserably failed at was the safety and interiors. It had scored a ZERO in the NCAP safety rating in 2014, which was enough to put off potential buyers to cancel out the GO & GO+ from their buying list. Datsun with its 2018 GO & GO+ seemed to have fixed that issue and added a few more with providing driver and passenger airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist as a part of the standard equipment list. It also gets immobilizer, central locking, and rear parking assist sensors on the safety equipment list. The outside rear-view is now electrically adjustable across all variants (except the base D variant).
There’s a sea of changes on the inside when compared to the outgoing model. Firstly the 2018 GO & GO+ gets an all-new dashboard with a proper glove box door and the handbrake lever which is now placed where it should’ve ideally been. The instrument cluster now gets an analog tachometer and the new look is refreshing, rest of it more or less remains the same. The overall use of plastics and fit-finish now is far far upmarket and The highlight of the 2018 GO & GO+ update is that it now gets a super responsive 7-inch multi-touch Blaupunkt infotainment system.
It also supports Android AUTO & Apple CarPlay which is a plain awesome in our opinion. The only downside is the all touch functionality and the omission of any physical switches makes it slightly difficult to increase or decrease the volume on the go until you get used to it. Not to forget the USB and the 3.5mm audio-in is hidden and placed under the gear lever which makes it difficult to access. The front passengers now get individual proper seats unlike the not so comfortable ‘connected’ seats which the outgoing model had. The seats are well cushioned and comfortable, the under-thigh support could’ve been slightly better. The headrests remain fixed just like on the older model for the entire front and rear passengers. The rear passengers get a bench type seating arrangement which can seat three average-sized adults comfortably.
The GO+ get an extra third row of seats which in our opinion is best suited for small children aged up to 5-years or the seats can be folded down and used as a big storage area. Getting in and out of the third-row seat is an exercise in itself as the second row just folds down one-step and doesn’t tumble away making way for the third-row. All said and done the 2018 GO & GO+ is leaps and bounds ahead of the preceding model.
Engine, Transmission & Drive
The 2018 Datsun GO & GO+ gets the same old naturally aspirated three-cylinder 1.2l engine which pushes out 68PS at 5000RPM and churns out 104NM of torque at 4000RPM. Its mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gear-box. On the go, the cars never felt under-powered, the engine is peppy throughout the rev-range thanks to the evenly spread out torque. The gearshifts could’ve been better as we had to put some efforts when down-shifting. We managed to clock a top whack of 140 kph on the speedo with ease and both the Datsuns felt rock steady. The cars remained stable throughout our spirited session, it was only when we had to make some high-speed maneuvers that’s when the cars got a little wobbly.
But thanks to the ABS with EBD and brake-assist we were able to bring the car back to sane speeds in no time. The automatic transmission is still not on offer, in the future Datsun might provide automatic transmission as an option. The Chennai traffic was enough to make our blood boil but the powerful aircon kept us and our heads cool. The suspension is slightly on the stiffer side but when the going gets tough the GO & GO+ gets tougher and tackles most surfaces with aplomb. Adding to its rough surface tackling prowess is the 180mm segment best of ground clearance. Not even once did the GO & GO+ scraped its underbody on the mountainous speed-breakers thrown at it. All in all a massive improvement over the older model when it comes to ride quality and handling characteristics.
Datsun seems to have fixed all the shortcomings it had with the older GO & GO+ models. Especially when it comes to safety, it’s a massive step ahead. All that went against the older cars is now its strongest points of the 2018 GO & GO+. Datsun is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to its dealer network and service centers. The company has learned from its mistakes and is taking all the right steps in the right direction to fix that. Beginning with a starting price of just Rs.3.29 lakhs for GO and Rs.3.83 lakhs for the GO+, a 5-years warranty, standard airbags across all variants, ABS with EBD and then some add loads of glitter to the overall package. Now with the right marketing strategy and the right people who are working tirelessly towards making the products better, we think that the company is back on the right track.