Nissan revived the Datsun brand after a huge time period and launched the GO entry-level hatchback in India. Unfortunately, the GO did not sell as well as anticipated in the market and recently the vehicle received a lot of flak for performing terribly in the NCAP crash test. Datsun has also developed an MPV based on the GO and with the recent climb in sales that MPVs are witnessing, Datsun seems to be quite optimistic that it will be able to gain decent sales with the GO+. But, the Datsun GO+ competes with some products that have the backing of manufacturers with a huge service network. So how does the GO+ perform? Does it have what it takes to capture the market? A nice drive through Rishikesh, Uttarakhand allows us to test the GO+ and its capabilities. Check On Road Price of GO+
EXTERIOR AND LOOK
The Datsun Go+ is essentially a larger version of the standard Go. And just as with the latter, the Go+’s styling will not really sweep you off your feet. The large hexagonal grille and chunky headlamps go add a sense of sophistication to the car. Just like with the Go, the Go+ looks more expensive than it actually is with its distinctively muscular bonnet lines. The side profile too isn’t disproportionate and a well defined waist line reminds us of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
The rear could have certainly done with a bit more excitement though. A chrome moulding instead of a body coloured one could have easily been incorporated to break up the monotonous tail gate. The extended greenhouse and body structure on the Go+ looks well integrated and reminds us of cars like the first generation Ford Focus Wagon. The small 13-inch wheels though take away most of the hard work that the designers put into the Go+. Not only does the Datsun Go+ look undertyred, the lack of alloy wheels even on the fully loaded version is slightly disappointing. Exchange your old car for GO+
CABIN AND COMFORT
Except the 3rd row, inside of the GO+ is identical to the hatch sibling. The dash and door panels are of ‘greige’ (mix of grey + beige) colour. Though plastic quality is very basic and just above satisfactory, sturdiness of the panels is a point worth mentioning here.We quite liked the black centre console that looks quite finished and smoother than the rest of the dashboard which carries a grainy texture. Quality of the plastic panels is decent & the GO+ uses the Sunnys-shaped door handles (save for the chrome).The GO+ uses an old school ‘stick’ type locking knobs, which might remind you of the car in which u learnt driving, but admiring them is a bit difficult. Central locking is available on the top-end variant only. The roof feels damn flimsy. There’s a lot of crunching & crinkling when you push the lining a few inches before hitting the roof. The sun visors have been carried over from the GO and don’t get vanity mirrors.
The Go+‘s wheelbase is longer than most of our hatchbacks. As a result, there’s ample space in both the rows. What we also liked is the decent shoulder and headroom. Ingress and egress is convenient. Corners of the dashboard slope inward, which is a boon for older drivers who sit first and then swing their legs. Though, an adjustable steering would have made it very comfortable.GO+’s front seats are ‘connected’ to each other – like the HM Ambassador. The driver’s chair is a conventional one, it’s the front passenger’s seat that has an extension to fill the gap. Datsun says that area in-between is useful for placing knick knacks & handbags. But we think –it’s not that thoughtful because in case someone tries to sit there(which we’re sure many would), can be risky.The seats feel offers ample comfort and feels more foamy than cushiony. It gets integrated headrests and the seat cushioning remains thin. Knees of the rear occupant can be felt through the seat, which’s annoying on certain occasions.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
The Datsun GO+ MPV is also powered by the same engine which also does duty on their Go hatchback because Datsun has not yet introduced any other engines in the Indian market yet neither any product. However, it will be interesting to find out whether this three cylinder 1.2 liter engine which returns 68 bhp of peak power and 104 Nm of torque mated to a 5 speed manual transmission will be powerful enough to carry a vehicle with 7 passengers inside it. The 1.2 Liter engine fitted under the hood of the Datsun Go is definitely smooth and refined but after all it is a 3 cylinder engine push it hard and it surely sounds unhappy. Datsun also has plans to introduce an automatic transmission in the near future and a diesel engine which will power both the Go hatch and the Go+ MPV.Beside all this the tiny 13 inch thin tyres and the overall lightweight of the vehicle will contribute towards returning an impressive fuel economy which will definitely impress many in the Indian market specially keeping the soaring petrol prices in mind.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The Datsun GO+ has a really good ride quality and the suspension managed to absorb most bumps very well. The driver as well as the passengers remained quite comfortable on most bad patches of road and the vehicle too remained very composed. At speeds above the ton, the GO+ remains fairly stable but while taking corners or driving a bit quickly through twisties, we did encounter a fair amount of body-roll. In all of these situations, the vehicle did not lose form and never did we feel that it will go out of control. The MPV gets a speed-sensitive electric power steering. The steering is very light and it is devoid of feedback. The lightness comes in useful while driving on crowded roads or while parking and at higher speeds it does weigh up a bit. Handling is quite crisp and this is actually a fun-to-drive car, just let down by a poor choice of tyres. The puny 13-inch Strada tyres offer just average grip and they disappoint big time. It is clear that Nissan is using them just to save costs. An upgrade to 14-inch wheels will really add to the vehicle’s handling characteristics.
Safety is one of the biggest concerns with the Go +. When its younger sibling, the Datsun Go, was put through the Global NCAP crash test, the results were dismal. It scored zero stars and the testing authority claimed that even if the Go were to be tested with airbags, the results would bear no difference. The car’s structure was just so bad. The Go + is similar to the Go in terms of structure and this is where our concerns lie. Datsun had to trade off a features to keep the costs in check and safety seems to have taken the biggest brunt. While the Go + is sold with an optional driver airbag, we highly recommend looking for a safer alternative.
The Datsun GO+ is a compact vehicle with a good engine, great ride and handling and decent fuel economy. It lacks on the safety front and in case of an unfortunate breakdown, it could be hard to locate a Nissan-Datsun service centre. But it is going to be a really cheap 7-seater and could be a great choice for someone who actually wants all those seats and is on a tight budget. For others, who really do not require a 7-seater, there are better options like the Maruti Wagon R and Hyundai i10 available in the market or the Maruti Ertiga and Honda Mobilio if buyers can stretch their budgets. Still, as far as value for money goes, this Datsun is hard to beat.