Datsun GO, the global car of Nissan Motor Corporation was driven by Auto Components India today in Hyderabad, and the first impressions are good. It has the elements of style and functionality catlysed by mileage that is much sought after by the customers in the entry level segment.

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Datsun originated in Japan as DAT-GO (DAT car) exactly a century ago; DAT derives from the first letters of the family names of three key people who supported the business at that time – Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. The letters also represent the vision of the company for its products namely Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy. In the new avatar the axiom is redefined as Dream, Access and Trust, which Nissan promises to offer customers with the Datsun GO.

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Nissan has christened the new car this way since it is designed for people who want to ‘go’ further in life, fulfilling their dreams and ambitions for a better tomorrow. It is developed with the objective to meet the needs of an expanding group of optimistic Indian customers who seek better value propositions. The very look of the car seems to be in tandem with the intent while the interiors are a tad discouraging, perhaps due to cost constraints, typical of any car in this segment.

As far as the style element is concerned, the crease flowing from the bonnet confluence at the diamond shaped grille gells well with the headlamps, giving the car a distinct, stylish and modern look. The wheelbase is 2,450 mm with overall length 3,785 mm, height 1,485 mm, width 1,635 mm and a ground clearance of 170 mm. The exterior is not ably supported by the tyre size – 155 / 70R13. A major missing convenience is the independent lock for the tailgate; it can only be opened by releasing the lever near the driver seat.

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The height helps in better driving position as the visibility to the driver is improved- perhaps closer to a compact SUV. While the cockpit is split into three distinct zones featuring leather feel grain patterns and contrasting colours, the plastics and three-spoke steering are basic, as it is for any vehicle in this segment. Dual colouring (white and blue) for the speedometer, the combination meter incorporating a digital tachometer, and gear shift guide, are noticeable. The company claims that use of the gear shift guide will help reduce fuel consumption. The gear shift lever and parking brake handle mounted in the centre console is a signature design for the Datsun GO. Though innovative, the position of the gear shift lever is a bit high and may become inconvenient for tall people. But for those with average height, it is ergonomically efficient. Removing these controls from the floor enables easy ingress and egress to both driver and co-passengers from either side. This is a welcome option as it facilitates the driver’s exit from the car passenger side if there is no access on his side; this is increasingly becoming a necessity in most cities in the country today. It also helps Nissan connect both the front seats, to store a small bag or camera.

Datsun GO has a longer effective cabin, the feel enhanced by slimmer seats. Weighing 796 kg, the car is lighter and powered by a 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine. The engine responds well even at higher speeds. Pressed hard to touch 170 kmph (the dial is calibrated only up to 180 kmph) at 4,200 rpm, the vehicle is stable and the steering weighs enough to boost driver confidence. The only negative point is the air-cutting noise inside the cabin, due to the inadequate or no sound absorbing cladding. However, it is not something that cannot be handled by the pads. Nevertheless, this is not a disadvantage since the automobile is designed as a family car. The responsive nature of the engine, mating with a five-speed gearbox, comes in handy in all traffic conditions. The special clutch supports the driver to handle traffic on congested roads with ease; the writer experienced this in the small lanes at Golconda Fort in Hyderabad.

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Absence of ceiling mounted grab handles inside the cabin on the passenger side is the biggest minus point, as there is nothing to hold on to during a panicky situation. Front seats, though slim, are comfortable because of a unique design. Also, there could have been a plastic grip for the seat adjusters. When asked about this, company officials said they did not see any utility value as passengers seldom use it. All in all, it is a nice car to drive. 

by T Murrali

Read detailed report in TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION section in the April Issue

 

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