We drove the 2018 facelifted versions of the Datsun Go and Go+ in Chennai and came back pleasantly surprised with the subtle changes to the hatch. Both cars are essentially the same apart from the increase of about 200mm of length and an extra row of seats on the Go+. Commendably, Datsun has ensured that the extra row of seats just adds 20kg to the kerb weight of the Go.
Design of the Datsun Go and Go+
The Go and Go+ continue in the same vein as in 2017 when it comes to design with only a few noticeable differences that set them apart. Prominent among them are new 14-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, LED DRLs, a redone front fascia and new paint options(Amber Orange for the Go and Sunshade Brown for the Go+). The new colours are a refreshing change and the Amber Orange in particular stands out. The new cars also get two airbags, ABS, EBD and brake assist as standard across the range along with rear parking sensors.
On the inside, there are a number of changes. The bench like front seat is done way with and a more conventional 2 seat option is now present. The seats offer good support and are wide enough for most frames. However, the unusual positioning of the gear lever as part of the dash board ensured that my knees would foul with the lower part of the dash regularly. The unconventional hand brake lever has also been given a miss in favour of the traditional one. But the biggest change has been to the dashboard. The dashboard now looks a lot more premium and the hexagonal console actually looks rather neat. The only thing that differentiates the Go and Go+ in the front half of the cabin is the use of different colours for the dash(black for Go and white for Go+). Pride of place is reserved for the 7-inch touchscreen display that supports Android Auto and Apple Car Play. In our time with the cars, the infotainment system worked well. Visibility out of the cabin is pretty good and it is easy to settle in to a comfortable driving position. However, certain touches like the exposed metal rod for the seat adjust tell you that there are corners cut in the cabin. The plastic quality is good but there are some hard bits littered all over the cabin. Fit and finish too is irregular in places.
Datsun claims that the car has been strengthened with the addition of more reinforcements in the chassis to comply with newer crash test regulations. That has added a weight of 100kg to the car. Apart from that there are no structural or mechanical changes. The car continues to be powered by the same 1.2-litre mill that produces 74bhp of power and 104Nm of torque. The engine is mated to the familiar 5-speed gearbox from last year’s models.
How is it to drive?
Datsun claims that the cars accelerate from 0-100kmph in 13.3 seconds. But on our drive in Chennai, the motor seemingly lacked grunt and would struggle to pull away cleanly from 2000rpm, possibly due to the added weight. Adding to the problem is the extremely notchy gearbox with gates that are not well-defined. However, a downshift is met with a much better response. Admittedly, the gearbox is at its most comfortable in the mid range and there is simply no point in piling on the revs However once in motion, the engine is barely audible inside the cabin and speeds build up in a linear manner. Ride and handling is predictable although not very exciting. The steering has a dead zone around centre and the car has loads of body roll. The suspension is pliant and irons out bumps and undulations with ease. The braking however is pretty good and there is sufficient feedback through the pedal.
With a starting price of Rs. 3.29 lakh and Rs. 3.83 lakh(ex-showroom) for the Go and the Go+. The cars now make for a compelling buy. Will it take the fight to the more established rivals in the segment? Only time will tell. However, what Datsun has unquestionably done is that it has provided a lot more bang for your buck than any of its rivals.