What would you call an entry level MPV that incorporates current year features of a luxury car, has practicality built into every sq. cm of the car and has considered all the needs of an Indian consumer? Without much delay, let’s simply call it the Datsun Go+. So much thought and engineering inspiration has gone into this offering, that one could mistake it as desperation from its parent company Nissan to make a mark and leave a ever lasting impression after the recent crash test report has caused a lot of bad press. Well, enough reason to be excited as a consumer who derives complete benefit from the situation. One could say that this is a copy of Maruti when they launched the Ertiga with the same engine (as Swift). But, I urge you to read on and understand overall why the Go+ is a game changer and not just a car with a slightly longer wheelbase! Please note that we have tried to be logical and objective in our review because we need to first understand that the Go+ is going to be playing cheaper than its rivals and creating an all new segment with its introduction.
Right from the first push of the gas pedal at the Dehradun airport until we dropped it back the next day at the same venue, every feature of the Go+ amazed us. The easy handling in every terrain and quick maneuverability in the inclines quite simply deserves applause! We were hoping that the Go+ is just not a longer base car (of the Datsun Go) with extra space at the back. Boy, we were wrong!
Some basic Dimensions of the Go+ are: 3,995 mm in length (Go is 3785mm), 1,635 mm in width (same as Go), 1,490 mm in height (Go is 1490) with a wheelbase of 2,450 mm (same as Go). The ground clearance is 170 mm.
Let’s start with the Exterior. The engineers at Go+ have tried very hard to balance between the curves and a plain vanilla body with the concept of a Hand protecting the car in many of its curves. Though this might not be visible easily, this is the concept behind the design language. The sides of the body have enough curves to talk over merging stylishly well with the curves at the front and back of the car. The additional space at the back means that the vehicle has a larger volume back portion. This has been designed very well and the design very sharply leads to the boot. The body metal used is not very heavy and lends to overall weight reduction of the car. The boot sounds crude when opening/closing but this is not a show stopper.
The Interiors of the car can be classified as roomy, simple and practically designed incorporating some very impressive features. The connected front seat in the front coupled with moving the gear-shift knob and hand break lever to the top, makes it roomier for each of the passengers at the front. The front seats offer unique spinal support and has been proven to decrease stress to the back and as a result driver fatigue. The Mobile docking station enhances the practicality of the car and allows the user to listen to the songs that he/she can carry along on the mobile phone. The interior has a leather grain feel to it. This does (in a subtle way) lifts the interior appeal of the vehicle. The Collapsible 3rd Row seating for instance makes this a 5 + 2 seater. We can safely say that the 2nd row seats are fit for accommodating two average adults with ease and three would be tight squeeze. The 3rd row seating is most suitable for children under 7-8 years and it gives the added flexibility of folding the 3rd row and increasing the boot space. The boot space with the 3rd Row up is 48 litres and with the third row down, the boot space extends to 347 litres. We can add further boot space by folding even the 2nd row! This means a lot of space when needed and enough aid even when you want to move your house!
The engine has been borrowed from the Nissan Micra Active (like the Go itself) but has been fine tuned to take the extra load that the Go+ can accommodate due to the extra space at the back of the car. The engine is agile and reasonably responsive. This has a proven track record and the 1.2L, 3-cylinder, DOHC, 12-valve, transversely mounted petrol motor delivers 67 BHP of power @ 5,000 RPM and 104 Nm of torque @ 4,000 RPM. A 5-speed manual gearbox sends the power to the front wheels. Datsun claims a fuel efficiency of 20.62 kmpl under standard test conditions. Realistically, the car should deliver 14 Kmpl in city drives. At no point, in any terrain did I feel wanting for any more power from the engine. For a vehicle in this segment, there is enough to be happy about from a performance perspective, as there is no compromise in the power delivery.
When it comes to the drive quality, the Datsun engineers have clearly been inspired to bring their Infiniti (the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Nissan) experience. To have engineers to think of a luxury car while designing a car of this segment is itself a huge achievement. The handling of the car is exceptional and I have never felt this comfortable while driving a MPV. Making the power available when you require it has been achieved quite effortlessly it feels. The stability the car achieves in the corners has been achieved by technology inspired from the Infiniti. The vehicle clearly feels lighter than any of its rivals thanks to many weight reducing measures like reduction of rubber lining around the doors and less noise insulation which is not such a bad thing but we could have done better than the current acceptable noise levels. The only unacceptable noise is the closing of the boot. But hey! How many times do you use the boot everyday in any case? Some might think that there needs to be more attention paid to these aspects, but I would argue against it since one should remember that he/she gets what he/she pays for! And for a car in this segment, what Datsun has offered overall is commendable. The other worth noting achievement is a very good turning radius that it achieves. At no point did it feel that I was driving anything bigger than a GO! The Go+ certainly impresses.
Some other notable features of the Go+ are the Intelligent wiper system which adjusts the speed of the wiper based on the speed of the vehicle. The Followme home head lights help the driver in reaching his destination by keeping on after the car has been switched off. The mobile docking station for someone like me clearly states how smart the engineers have been to put all the controls in the hands of the user. How else can a user hear to his/her fav songs on the move? Have a CD cut out for the purpose? And keep multiple CD’s in the dashboard and occupy space? No! Simply connect and listen to your choice of music from your mobile phone while it is still charging!
Overall, for a buyer looking at a very good overall Family Vehicle package and saving on costs without compromising on performance, the Datsun Go+ has to be the first on the list of evaluations! Seldom is the consumer going to see anything falling short of expectations in the Datsun Go+. For people who are practical and understand that the safety features of most cars are not always useful after all, this is the car to please you! All these features for a car in this segment displays the clear intent of the Datsun Engineers to bring the best in class technology from upper segment cars to the Datsun Go+ and make it a winner! With the expected price in the range of 6.5-7 lakhs, the Go+ has all it takes to force the rivals into a serious introspection effort and excite the customer with a lot of value for the money spent. Who says, the first time upgrade from a small compact car is out of reach? Planning on investing on a family car to add to your weekend fun without having to shell out a lot of money? Check out the Datsun Go+ when it launches in January 2015.
Datsun Go+ Pictures: