Datsun’s Go(ing) places with plenty of upgrades

2019-05-08 06:01
The revised version of the popular budget car, the Datsun Go, which was launched at the end of last year, also sports a cool new exterior look.                      Photos: Supplied

The revised version of the popular budget car, the Datsun Go, which was launched at the end of last year, also sports a cool new exterior look. Photos: Supplied

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AN upgraded version of the popular budget car, the Datsun Go, was launched at the end of last year with some impressive improvements, of which a safety upgrade is probably the most significant.

Despite the bad press it received at its first launch in South Africa in 2014, regarding its safety, the Go has proved popular among people who would like a new car for under R150K.

And the new safety upgrade should go a long way towards encouraging prospective buyers to give it a longer look when car shopping.

Express on Wheels spent a week test driving a coppery orange coloured Datsun GO, mainly on the urban commute – which its target market would mostly be driving. While I am used to people often walking up to me commenting when I test drive high-end, premium cars, it was quite strange to have a former Datsun Go owner walking up to me, a total stranger waxing lyrical about his first Datsun Go and how this one is even better – while inspecting the new version inside and out.

Apart from the safety upgrades, which are the addition of a second airbag in the front as well as an anti-lock braking system (ABS), a lot has been done to improve the Go’s interior. The one-piece bench seating arrangement at the front has made way for two individual seats separated by the handbrake and cupholders at the bottom.

I like the high positioning of the gear-lever – not only because it makes gear changing so much easier, but it’s also a clever way of freeing up space for cupholders in this compact car.

Talking about gear-changing – this is something you will be doing a quite lot of, especially on the open road when overtaking. It is a city slicker and performs well getting one from A to B. But on the open road, its power, especially when having to overtake, is a bit lacklustre.

But it feels sturdy and offers a solid drive – even on exceptionally windy days. The only niggle on the open road while test-driving was a bit of noise – a whistling sound – coming from the driver’s side-mirror as soon as one wanted to push it to 120km. That said, it was a very windy day.

One of the impressive upgrades to the interior is the all-new touchscreen infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Rear parking sensors and an audible alert when the reverse gear is engaged, is another upgrade – and quite an impressive one for a budget vehicle.

Engine

The engine is the same as that of the previous model – a 1.2-litre three-cylinder motor that produces 50kW and 104Nm. This is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

Datsun claims an average fuel economy figure of 5.2 L/100 km. During the test drive on the urban commute a fuel consumption of 15.3km/l (6.4litre/100km) was achieved. While the engine is a bit noisy when accelerating away, it does quieten down as you move up the gears.The gear action is light and smooth, although I found it, at times, a bit difficult to find first.

It also dealt with the bumps and traffic circles – and potholes – of driving around in Port Elizabeth with ease. It offered an enjoyable ride in comfortable seats. The boot is also more than adequate compared to other cars in its market segment.

Standard specifications

The Go is available in Mid or Lux versions. On all models the list of standard specifications include coloured electric side mirrors, reverse parking sensors, intermittent wipers, central locking, an immobiliser, ABS, driver and passenger airbags, and retractable seatbelts.

Added exterior features in the LUX specification include daytime running lights, a rear wiper with washer and body colour door handles.

Inside, all models have a colour touchscreen audio system, Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity, Bluetooth and USB, a glove box lid, front and rear power windows, electric power steering, electrically adjustable mirrors, redesigned individual seats for the driver and front passenger. The LUX grade models have an independent tachometer and a silver finish on the aircon dial, vent and door handles.

Verdict

Buyers will like the fact that this budget car comes with a lot of bells and whistles, such as the 15-inch rims (it’s pleasing seeing normal size wheels on a budget car), a nice spoiler, LED daytime running lights (on the LUX version), electric windows, rear sensors, and that good looking touchscreen and functional infotainment system which can be coupled with your smart phone.

Models and price

The Datsun GO is offered in a variety of body styles. The GO is a spacious five-seater hatchback and the GO+ is a versatile seven-seater, which is also offered as a panel van.

Datsun GO Mid R149 600

Datsun GO Lux R166 300

Datsun GO+ seven-seater Mid R159 600

Datsun GO+ seven-seater Lux R176 800

Datsun GO+ Panel Van R155 900

The Datsun Go is sold with a three-year/100 000 km warranty and an optional service plan.

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