It would be really difficult for any car manufacturer to find a market as complex, diversified, and difficult to demystify as India. From geographical differences to cultural miscellany to linguistic variations to a dozen other things – the customer in this part of the world is just too intricate to define generally. And that’s exactly why you have some really unique things happening here. VW struggles with its products’ positioning, as Skoda, globally considered a relatively ‘lower-spec’ brand is a ‘premium’ nameplate here and is already priced high. Nissan, on the other hand, even after having come up with the high on value Micra Active, feels the need to launch Datsun to deliver cars which are low on cost and high on value. The Datsun Go hatchback is the first product from the resurrected brand which aims at the high volume small car segment, and has the hot selling Alto, Eon and i10 cars of the world within its crosshairs. Here, in this global first Datsun Go review, we’ll try to figure the new elements and features that the Go brings to the table, and see whether it really has to goods to get the rulers of the entry level hatchback segment get worried.
Words and Images: Amit Chhangani
Design and Appearance
Nissan’s prowess in automotive design is absolutely unquestioned, and the brand has been delivering iconic cars generation after generation for ages now. Being an in-house brand, Datsun benefits from Nissan’s expertise in automotive design. Tight lines, squat stance and an athletic, peppy appeal radiate from the Go’s exterior. It’s a well-proportioned, balanced design which doesn’t suffer the visual feebleness of the new Alto 800 or the disproportionate fenders of the Eon.
Good proportions, liberal width, tight lines and an aggressive, diamond shaped hexagonal grille are the hallmarks of the Go’s exterior design. Whether or not someone agrees, that balanced, proportionate sporty exterior is one of Go’s biggest virtues. Look keenly at that diamond shaped black honeycomb mesh grille, and together with the chiseled bonnet merging into that big bumper, it looks like a wolf’s snout, especially when viewed front on.
In a manner reminiscent of the Micra, the frontal shut line of the bonnet doesn’t merge with the radiator grille. The space between the two is filled by the massive plastic bumper instead. The black honeycomb mesh grille on the GO gets the privilege of bearing the big Datsun logo for the first time ever after the brand’s reincarnation. The gap between the bonnet and the bumper is a deliberate design statement, ala Micra and Audi TT – and also works as a flexible space buffer to accommodate minor bumps.
The angular, swept back headlamps are an extremely neat, uncluttered design and appear to be in perfect harmony with the design theme of the car. Blinkers are integrated on the inside of the lamp housings. The flared lower portion of the front bumper, along with the aggressive central air inlet helps lend a bit more purpose to the face.
The athletic proportions of the Go appear even more pronounced in profile. Unlike most of the new tall designs with small bonnets, this one has a conventional long bonnet and a low roofline for a dynamic look. The sharply forward sloping rear windscreen, along with a low roofline, a long bonnet, tight shoulder lines, pronounced haunches and small overhangs endow the Go a lively, energetic character.
We love the way Datsun has added some additional meat to the haunches of this car, mingling neatly with the tail lights. In profile the Go looks like a hunkered down, ready for action hatch. Add a pronounced protruding roof spoiler and a set of roof rails, and the Datsun Go would undoubtedly be the sportiest looking machine in its segment. I somehow get an unappeasable desire to do this car up, and make it look racier, every time I look at it.
The design at the rear is rather simplistic. In keeping with the front theme, the size of the bumper at the rear is quite huge too as compared with other cars in the segment. The wraparound tail-lamps are a simple design – not as striking as the front lights, but not out of place either. The rear hatch door has a high loading lip and bears the Datsun logo in a mildly elevated trough shape chiseled surface just below the rear windscreen. There is also an additional brake light within the rear windscreen to complement the tail-lamps
In all, we don’t have any qualms about the design of the Go, which is easily the sportiest and most well-proportioned looking hatchback within its price segment. If anything, we don’t like the skinny wheels which somewhat distort the otherwise well balanced appearance of this new hatchback. The gap between the big wheel arches and the small 13 inch wheels also looks quite pronounced. Panel gaps are slightly wider than found on more premium vehicles such as the Maruti Suzuki Swift or the Hyundai i20, but they are consistent and quality of the paint is extremely good too.
Parent Nissan has ensured that the first product from the Datsun stable for India is a nice design. The Datsun Go, for the price target should appeal a lot to the customers by virtue of its styling cues.