If you really enjoy driving, then you wouldn’t enjoy it; but if you are more practical and want a decently priced car to carry you in relative comfort, you could certainly consider it, says Cyrus Dhabhar.
Datsun in India started out on a rocky footing with the Go and Go+, but now it’s back with its third offering for India, the all new redi-GO.
The new redi-GO is an important car for the Japanese manufacturer and we spent two days behind the wheel to find out what it’s really like to drive one.
Let’s start with its funky body. An upright or tall-boy stance combined with some pretty cool styling elements make the Datsun redi-GO a head-turner on Indian streets.
It has a set of large bulging headlamps that go well with the trademark Datsun grille. The front bumper is well crafted with a lot of slots and vents, and you could get an added skid plate set-up that can be painted silver or left unpainted.
You also get a set of daytime running lights in the front which, in our opinion, are quite useless.
The redi-GO’s best design feature, though, is the side styling line that runs across the bottom half of the car and then swings upwards to meet the tail lamps and boot-lid.
The tail lamps themselves, though, could have been designed and placed better, although the boot-lid does make up for it a little by having a chrome styling feature and a good curve in general. The redi-GO does not come with alloy wheels, which is disappointing.
Move to the insides and what you get is a bare basic dashboard which is finished in a boring grey. It does have a lot of contours, though, that make it look interesting, especially as it gets a gloss black central panel.
The infotainment system is pretty basic as it gets only a USB and auxiliary input. Bluetooth has been given a miss and this will surely put off a few customers.
Datsun cars have always been high on space and the redi-GO too is quite roomy in the rear compared to the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Alto, since there is a good amount of headspace and knee room.
That said, three people sitting next to each other may get uncomfortable as the redi-GO is just not wide enough. The actual seats themselves are quite flat and wide, and offer good under-thigh and lumbar support.
Front seats are comfortable enough for your daily commute, but taller drivers might find the seating cramped as the seat does not go back as much as it should. Boot space, though, is quite sufficient and you can easily store a weekend’s worth of luggage in it without any fuss.
The redi-GO gets an 800cc or 0.8-litre engine from the Kwid, making 53PS of peak power and 72Nm of peak torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox and returns an impressive 21.17kmpl fuel efficiency figure.
The new redi-GO, however, is not an exciting car to drive. Low end power is missing and you really have to rev it hard to make it perform to your satisfaction. But it does suit the easygoing driver really well.
If you just want a car to take you from point A to point B in a relaxed manner, the redi-GO would be perfect for you as it has a soft and easy-to-use clutch and a smooth gearshift. NVH levels are bearable and, although it is not as quiet as the likes of the Alto, it isn’t as bad as something like the Tata Nano.
Now, as we mentioned earlier, the redi-GO and the Kwid have a lot in common. In fact, both cars share the same CMF-A platform. But the redi-GO has a completely different suspension set-up, which is aimed more at comfort than handling.
In fact, ride comfort is one of the best points of the new redi-GO. Take it over a set of harsh bumps and the car reacts quite well. We can safely say that this new Datsun is one of the most comfortable cars we have driven in a long time.
Now, although the redi-GO handles a lot better than the Go and the Go+, the steering feedback is still very vague and the car hates being thrown into corners with gusto. The steering also showcases very poor returnability, especially while taking a U-turn.
Another area where we found the Datsun redi-GO to be underwhelming are the brakes. There is almost no initial bite and you have to push the pedal down quite a bit further, which in turn makes the brakes come on a lot stronger than you would like.
The car does not get ABS on any of the models, but the top-of-the-line variant does get airbags as standard.
So, to wrap it all up, the Datsun redi-GO is a mixed bag. It is quite funky to look at, very easy to drive, and has a really comfortable ride quality but, at the same time, it has substandard interiors, is not very powerful and doesn’t brake or handle well.
At a price point of Rs 250,000-350,000, though, it is likely to attract a whole bunch of first-time buyers who are upgrading from a scooter or a motorbike.
Would we advise you to buy one? Well, if you really enjoy driving, then you wouldn’t enjoy it; but if you are more practical and want a decently priced car to carry you in relative comfort, you could certainly consider it.
Photograph: Eshan Shetty/ CarDekho.com
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