A little auto goes a long way for Datsun
We were relatively impressed when we drove the all-new Datsun Go! a few months back. We reported that not only was its styling evolution a pleasant step forward, but it also appeared to have moved the nameplate away from the deathtrap status its predecessor had earned itself in local safety tests where, well, it failed to score at all. That status must still be proven, so for now let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for effort made.
Now Datsun has added a CVT transmission to the little critter, which while it shares much of its guts with the Renault Kwid, the Go! uses a CVT rather than the automated manual in the Frenchy. Still powered by the trusty 50kW 104Nm 1.2-litre petrol lump, Go! Lux auto sprinted to a fairly respectable sub-14-second 0-100 on our test strip and they say it returns sips 5.0l/100km — two better than its manual sibling in fact to make up its loss of pace at the pumps.
Look, you can’t expect a cheapie to major in style, so I suppose I can excuse Go! for its engine being noisy — a fact that's exasperated by the old CVT drone. On the road it seems good enough although I found Go! moved about a bit on the freeway at over 100km/h — especially with a prime Cape Southeaster howling along the N1. But it’s definitely not all bad and as autos go, its a decent step ahead of the cheaper Renault's dodgy box of cogs.
Among the most affordable ‘automatics' on the road, the new Go! actually looks like it costs a lot more than it does and it has more than enough spec and extras to get the job done, with power mirrors, reverse parking sensors, intermittent wipers, central locking and an immobiliser too. This flagship version also adds daytime running headlights and a rear wiper washer, so you get quite a cool little new car for not all that much money.
Go also gets a colourful and cool-looking 7” Android Auto and Apple Car Play, Bluetooth and USB-packed infotainment system embedded in the dash, which is quite a boon considering its basement budget status. Is operating system and logic may be heavily outdated, but it is there and does work after all, once you have figured it all out.
Another pleasant surprise was that is Go! steps up three years and fifty thousand kilometres to a most generous new 6-year/150 000km warranty with a a few optional service and maintenance plans and year’s free insurance too. Sounds like a pretty sharp deal to me for among the least expensive autos on the road today, so it should prove most popular for the resurgent and continually improving Datsun brand. — Giordano Lupini
Images: Giordano Lupini
QUICK TEST: Datsun GO Lux auto
Engine: 50kW 104Nm 1198cc petrol I4
Drive: CVT FWD
0-60km/h: 5.32 sec
0-100km/h: 13.97 sec
400m: 18.9 sec @ 117km/h
80-120km/h: 8.77 sec
Fuel: 5.0 l/100km
CO2: 20 g/km
Warranty/Service 6y 150K/Optional
LIST PRICE: R188K