The second quarter of the financial year 2019-20 has seen a lot of upheaval in the automotive sector in India. The car sales across segments have dwindled and the market analysts are filling magazine and newspaper columns with articles on the slow-down in the auto sector. However, the well-documented analysis has failed to dampen the spirits of the auto lovers in India.
Japanese car makers Datsun have gone ahead with their ambitious plan for the Indian customers, with auto-transmission upgrades to their GO and GO Plus models, which were launched in 2018.
The new Datsun GO and GO Plus models continue to be powered by a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. However, instead of churning out 67bhp and 104Nm of peak torque, there’s a hike in power of 9bhp. Apart from the five-speed manual gearbox as standard, the new T and T(O) variants will be available in an optional Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
New features have been introduced to the cars adding to the stylish makeover the cars received in October 2018. Significantly, the GO and GO Plus will now be the first cars in their respective segments to offer a CVT gearbox.
The cabin and the features list remain unchanged from the previous versions. But while the GO Plus gets a mix of beige and black interiors, the GO gets an all-black cabin. The 7-inch infotainment system too comes with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and there are cubby holes all around. The cabin is spacious and yes, all those sceptical of the plastic quality used, well, this is an improvement.
The volume control and voice commands with the infotainment system make it convenient to operate when we are on the go. We do, however, feel Datsun could have used this opportunity to add a few more basic features, like a rear defogger and a front passenger grab handle.
The Datsun GO CVT is powerful enough as a whole for an all-rounder that dwells mostly in the city.
The steering, handling, braking and the suspension are all tuned for composed and comfortable driving, making this car well suited for office commuters, elders and anyone living in an urban jungle looking to settle long term with a small car.
At the same time, it raves up well on the highways for your weekend gateways. This is a rare combination.
Especially, because the car is already equipped with almost all the contemporary features, and a style that wouldn’t quickly go out of fashion.
The CVT effect
In a segment that has seen a big rise in the sale of automatic cars, the Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT) is the dominant transmission used in the entry-level hatchback. Datsun India too wanted to cash in on this very trend and that’s why for the first time in this segment, you’ll see the introduction of a CVT. Yes, both the GO and GO Plus will come with a CVT and there’ll be a premium attached to the price too because it will only be available in the top two variants — T and T (O). Expect a hike of about Rs 50,000 over the top-end variant.
The gearshifts are silent and seamless even and it’s great fun to drive in and around the city. But when you’re overtaking and you want more power at your disposal, it doesn’t give you that punch of enthusiasm to push it any further than you already have. Datsun gets a Sports mode too and at the push of the button you expect it to change the way it drives, but it’s just that the lag gets minimised, and the engine revs right up to 5000 rpm.
The Datsun GO Plus was always a good car. With new features and a slight increase in asking price, it’s making an even more appealing case for itself in the segment. Light and nimble in the city, peppy and efficient engine, new safety features — all these make it more compelling with great ride quality.