New Delhi: Datsun has entered round three of its offensive in the Indian car market. While the GO hatchback and GO+ compact MPV didn’t win over Indian buyers like Datsun hoped, the redi-GO is on its mark to try and change that. By now, you know that the redi-GO shares a lot of its DNA with the Renault Kwid. Both cars are based on Renault-Nissan’s CMF-A platform and like the Kwid, 98 per cent of the redi-GO’s parts have been locally sourced.
The Kwid is now one of India’s highest selling cars, and that raises the question, does the redi-GO offer the same or even better value? Let’s find out!
There are three things you will notice about the Datsun redi-GO when you first see it:
a) Unlike the Renault Kwid, it looks like a hatchback and not an SUV.
b) Most car makers show us a whacky concept and the production car looks nothing like it. The redi-GO, on the other hand, looks very similar to the concept car that was presented at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo.
c) It is a quirky design and looks different when compared to the other budget hatchbacks available in the market.
The redi-GO measures 3429mm in length, 1560mm in width, 1541mm in height and has a 2430mm wheelbase. This means it is smaller than the Kwid in length and width, but is over 60mm taller and the wheelbase is 8mm larger too. The hatchback has the ideal dimensions for a city car which will make it easy to manoeuvre in choked urban conditions and easy to park as well. Highlights include swept-back headlamps and a narrow front with Datsun’s signature grille and a muscular bonnet. The top-end variant also gets optional daytime running lights on the front bumper, though they look quite dull. The side profile sports a deeply chiselled line running across with flared wheel arches adding some muscle.
At the rear, the taillights are positioned pretty high to be easily visible by other vehicles. You can opt for matt silver skid plates (added extra) along with various other customization options like a spoiler, door visors, roof rails, wheel trims, but surprisingly, alloy wheels aren’t available.
Interior Space, Features and Quality
Not only is the redi-GO taller than the Kwid, but it’s also more spacious than the Maruti Alto. The front seats come with support on the sides, but the fixed headrests are a cost saving measure. You sit tall, but the seat isn’t adjustable. The steering wheel has a nice and sporty shape and the contours offer natural grip. The glass area is generous and you get great overall visibility too.
The dashboard is really interesting and slightly offset. You get a single DIN entertainment system, but unlike the Kwid, it does not feature a touchscreen. You do get a USB port but there’s no Bluetooth connectivity.
Cost cutting is evident as Datsun will price the redi-GO very aggressively, but the compromise is basic plastic quality, a lot of exposed sheet metal and you don’t get central locking either. Talking about storage, the glove box is very small and would be best used for the vehicle’s documents. The dashboard does have open, carved out cubbyholes, though anything kept here will be tossed around on the move. The boot space is 222 litres, which is less than the Kwid (300 litres), but the trade-off is better rear seat space.
Performance, Ride and Handling
The redi-GO gets the same 799cc, three-cylinder petrol engine as the Kwid, along with the same 5-speed manual gearbox. It makes 54PS of power at 5678rpm and 72Nm of torque at 4386rpm. As expected, this engine has been designed to offer good fuel-efficiency and adequate city usability, rather than outright performance. The claimed fuel economy figure is 25.17 kmpl and while the redi-GO may not be fast or exciting, it is an easy car to drive. Gear shifts are light and so is the clutch, making it ideal for the first-time buyer who is moving up from a motorcycle or a scooter.
The hatchback has a good 185mm of ground clearance and while the steering makes it easy to use in-city, the ride quality is great too, even over bad or broken roads. You will, however, need to take on the highways with caution. The steering needs more weight and feel at higher speeds and while the engine is at home at low to medium speeds, highway overtakes will need planning.
What About Safety?
The redi-GO does not get ABS with any variant even as an option, though you do get a driver-side airbag on the top-of-the-line-variant. We hope to see more safety tech being offered with the redi-GO at least as an optional extra.
So should I buy one?
– For the first-time buyer, who is thinking of upgrading to a car from a scooter or motorbike, the Datsun redi-GO offers a lot of value. The car is expected to be priced between Rs 2.5-3.5 lakh and while the attractive pricing gets you a basic entertainment system and not much in terms of features, the car provides a unique exterior design, quirky interior styling, decent space, a light steering and an efficient engine.
– Even if you’re looking for a second car in your garage, the redi-GO makes for a sweet city-runabout. It is THE car to take the scratches, bruises and abuse of our choked urban roads, while your primary vehicle can be saved for special occasions or maybe that weekend highway trip with the family.
Can it prove to be Datsun India’s knight in shining armour? Well, that’s for you to decide. Will you buy the Datsun redi-GO? Let us know through the comments section.