Nissan’s low-cost brand Datsun made its global comeback with a lot of hype in India last year. Its first offering — a no-frills small hatchback Go — was supposed to be funky, fuel-efficient and affordable. Something that many budget consumers in India would find appealing. Insufficient sales and service network, uninspiring interiors and a caustic campaign on its safety credentials by global NCAP, however, has resulted in many writing Go’s epitaph within a year of its launch. The brand is now ready with a seven-seater version — Go+. Touted as one of world’s cheapest seven seaters, India could take a liking to it. But will it deliver where Go failed?
The Go+ has the same front face, grille and headlamps as the Go. To keep its cost down, the length of the car has been capped at under 4 metres to qualify for concessional excise duties. The major change from the Go is the stretched rear where the extra row of seating comes into play. Beyond the length though there is not much of a change in design with Datsun going along with similar tail lamp cluster. A wraparound design may have spiced things up a bit.
The Go+ profits from the excellent cabin structure of its small car that squeezed out the most space from a smaller wheelbase. Legroom and headroom at the front
two rows is great and the large glass area gives an airy feel to the cabin. Unfortunately, the third row of seat does not work one bit and is cramped all around.
Fold that third row and you do get decent 237 litres of boot space. The other drawback is the lack of equipment in the car. While the quality of plastic is decent, fit and finish is below par. There are other glaring omissions like the lid in the glovebox or that the ORVMs cannot be adjusted from the inside. And there is no music system as well even at the top-end trim. And we are not even talking about the safety features.
Performance, ride and handling
Go+ does not have a diesel engine and is powered only by a 1.2 litre petrol motor. It develops a measly 68 PS power. The company though has recalibrated the gear ratios given the extra weight and the needs of the vehicle to haul more people and luggage. As a result, the car feels more energetic than what the numbers suggest. It is sluggish and getting to three-digit speeds does take time but it climbs comfortably to city and highway permissible speeds of 80-90 kph. The ride quality is one of the best you can get for a car of this nature and at this price. It tackles bad roads with composure and handles sharp maneuvers reasonably well at high double-digit speeds.
It is clear that Go+ does not wish to compete with the likes of Mobilio or Ertiga. It positions itself as an optional seven seater for the city and more like a station wagon for weekend getaways. Clearly it will not appeal to the rural markets where hauling masses is key. Urban consumers will also be put off by the lack of equipment and safety features. No airbags and ABS even at the top-end trim is again a miss that can prove costly for Datsun. But it is Rs 2-lakh cheaper than the Ertiga and almost Rs 3-lakh cheaper than Mobilio. It isn’t a stylish vehicle but does the job of commuting well without pinching your pocket. At over 20 kpl it will be the most fuel-efficient petrol wagon/van of its type. This one is for somebody who does not like to spend an extra penny on any frill or extravagance.