This is Datsun's third year of operations in India and it still hasn't quite been able to actually put up a product that could shake up the segment in which it is operating. The GO and the GO+ came and went without making much of a mark, but with the Redi-GO, Datsun can think of taking the fight to the likes of Alto, Eon and the Kwid. Datsun says that this is the perfect city slicker. To put their claim to test, we spent some time driving the car in Kolkata and here is what we think of it.
Clearly, the designers have spent a considerable time on the car's lines and looks. The front end is definitely one of best-looking in the segment, with its short bonnet, hexagonal grille and those furrowed, big headlamps. The sculpted bumpers with a faux skid plate at the front along with those DRL strips definitely give a solid road presence to the RediGO. View its profile and you see the sharp, well-defined lines that run along the doors and provide visual relief. At the rear, the chrome lip on the boot and those fat boomerang-shaped tail lamps round up the urban cross 'Yukan' (Japanese for brave & bold) design of the Redi-Go. What impresses us is the fact that the boffins at Datsun were very clear in their head as to what they exactly wanted with the Redi-Go and absolutely nothing was lost in translation.
The cabin is airy and comfortable place to be in. It has a few cubby-holes for storing knick-knacks. The dashboard is a bit of a plain Jane but is uncluttered. The asymmetrical black piece on the dashboard houses the controls for the audio system and the air conditioner. The audio system is a basic unit with provision to play music through USB, Aux-in and a CD. There is hardly anything that strikes out. The pull-type handbrake gives way to the more conventional setup between the seats. The switches for the power windows are near the handbrake and the gear-knob which take time to get used to. The NVH could have been better though. A fair amount of noise seeps through to the cabin which can be an irritant while driving. This is largely due to little or no sound insulation which makes the car sound rather loud after crossing 4,000rpms.
The Instrumentation Panel is a simple affair with an analogue speedometer and a small digital window that reads out other info such as fuel levels, trip meter and so on and so forth. It is the same as on the GO and the GO+. The overall fit and finish inside has definitely gone a notch up when measured against the GO and the GO+, but can still do better when compared to the competition. As far as space is concerned, a family of four can be comfortably accommodated inside. The 'tall-boy' design ensures there is enough headroom even for a 6-foot + passenger. 5 people might be a tight fit, but not impossible. The bootspace is a generous 222 litres and fit in a weekend's worth of luggage for 4 people.
The Datsun Redi-Go is powered by a 799cc iSAT (Intelligent Spark Automated Technology) engine which produces 53bhp@5,678rpm and 72Nm@4,386rpm. Unsurprisingly, the Redi-Go makes use of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's CMF-A platform which also forms the underpinnings of the Renault Kwid. The claimed fuel efficiency is the same as that of the Kwid, at 25.17kmpl. The engine, gearbox and transmission are shared with the Kwid as well. Datsun might also give an AMT option in the redi-GO in a few months' time.
The Redi-GO has a sprightly drive. Slot the gear-shifter into first and the car darts off with urgency. One needs to build up the revs till 2,500rpm for the torque to start kicking in. The gearshifts are not exactly smooth. You will need some time to figure out the responses to the gear inputs. The mid-range on the RediGO is not exactly driver-friendly. Overtaking manouevres need quick downshifts and a sharp prod on the throttle. It has enough power to trundle through the city, but highways runs might not seem that interesting. For example, with the AC fan on '3', and two people inside, the car did feel as if it is out of breath on inclines. But for city runabouts, the engine has enough grunt.
Ride and Handling
The Redi-Go handled the infamous Kolkata traffic pretty well. Its compact dimensions and a fairly decent steering setup have come up well. It gets an adaptive electrical steering which does feel woozy at high speeds, but filtering through city traffic is a breeze. The steering lacks feedback but then, buyers in this segment will not mind that. The brakes too could have done with a little more bite. One needs to anticipate stopping distances well in advance. The suspension is setup keeping comfort for the passengers in mind and that it does, just about. It is not the very best but does the job without any fuss but a tad firmer setup would have worked well in our opinion. The ground clearance though is an impressive 185mm, which rivals some of the SUVs and is definitely best-in-class. This translates into pronounced body roll but again, this is not a car which you want to go corner-carving in, with 13-inch wheels.
Is it safe enough?
Datsun has assured us that the car meets all the regulations and requirements to ply on Indian roads. But then, the Indian automotive safety regulations are among the least stringent in the world. Datsun will offer an airbag on the driver side on the top model. The rest of the trims do not get airbags even as an option. There is no ABS as well.
Datsun offers a variety of customisation options on the rediGO. Some of bits that can be customized include mudflaps, wheel-trims, exhaust finishers etc. One can also get different audio systems installed along with piano black trim finishes and even keyless entry. Yes! That too.
(Datsun redi-GO detail collage)
The final word
We have spent a fair amount of time with the Redi-GO and we can definitely say that Datsun has upped its game with the Redi-GO, be it the bold and catchy design or the clean, clutter-free interiors. Datsun did not quite found the footing in the Indian automotive industry that it had been looking for with the GO and the GO+. But, the Redi-GO has quite the potential for it to become a hot-selling car and turn around the fortunes for Datsun. One of its USPs will definitely be the looks. We got plenty of stares and many a questions while driving on the streets of Kolkata and we had positive answers for most of them. Pricing is a key factor in driving sales for the Redi-GO and Datsun nailed it by undercutting the prices of rivals like Eon, Alto and the Kwid as well. Datsun launched the redi-GO at a starting price of ₹ 2.38 lakh; with the features and performance on offer, it seems like a good proposition.