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Datsun redi-Go review: Cheaper than Kwid

Motor Trend India logo Motor Trend India 14-05-2016
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Introductions please.. Remember that funky concept from Datsun at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo? This is the virtually unchanged production spec version just unveiled. The redi-Go is the answer from Datsun to rival the likes of the Maruti Alto, Hyundai Eon and of course the Renault Kwid. The small car segment holds huge potential and after the Go, this another attempt by Datsun to increase its market share in the Indian market.

How does it look?

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The redi-Go is based on the same CMF-A platform as the Renault Kwid but design wise it shares nothing with its Renault sibling. That has been a conscious direction taken by Renault/Nissan to give different identities to both the cars and it works. While the Kwid goes in for a tough SUVish design, the pure crossover stance of the redi-Go will appeal to the small car buyers in India. However like the Kwid it features a tall stance, short overhangs with a healthy 185mm ground clearance (class best). 

The large headlamps with the Datsun grille plus the LED DRLs (first in class) on the bumper give it an aggressive stance while the strong character lines at the side give it further presence. The rear features large, superbly designed tail- lamps too plus a chrome strip adds a premium touch. In other words unlike the plain jane Go, the heavily sculpted redi-Go is a lot more desirable and possibly the biggest highlight of the car.

What about the interiors?

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Step inside and you will like what you see. Quality and design is an improvement over the earlier Datsun cars with a pleasing dual-tone interior plus do not let the 3429mm length fool you as the cab-forward design makes way for a 2348mm wheelbase which means despite the compact dimensions, it is roomy on the inside. The large windows further accentuate that. At the front you get a SUV like driving position which is something buyers will like and there is good amount of space and comfort despite no seat height adjustment or steering adjustment.

Move to the rear and again it feels nice and airy. Headroom is excellent and the 542mm knee room is best in class. The seat is wide which makes it good enough for two passengers but like other cars in its class, three is a bit of a squeeze. The 222 litres boot space decent too but the loading lip is too high. In terms of storage there are 9 places including storage for two 1-litre bottles.

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As said earlier general fit and finish is an improvement but not quite class best and you do see signs of cost cutting all around especially with a lot of exposed metal plus there is an inherent lightness. Datsun says that there will be accessories to take care of that. There is no touchscreen like the Kwid but it is also not bare-bones like the other Datsun cars. You get a driver airbag, audio system (CD, aux, USB), AC, front power windows, keyless entry. We would have liked internal adjustment for mirrors or even opening the boot from outside.

How is it to drive?

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Like the Kwid there is an 800cc petrol being available with a 5-speed manual standard. Expect the bigger 1.0 petrol plus an AMT option later. For now the 800cc motor provides decent performance as remember the redi-Go is lighter than even the Kwid. Lightness results in better performance and fuel efficiency with the redi-Go claiming a mileage of 25.17 kmpl. But the question is how is it to drive? Start up and there are vibrations filtering through the gearbox but refinement levels are decent. Once up-to speed the vibrations disappear and there is decent torque which make pottering around city speeds quite easy.

The redi-Go is at its best in the city with moderate speeds as here power delivery is smooth and there is not much use in using all the revs as the noise levels build up. The 5-speed manual gearbox is easy to use and so is the extremely light steering which makes driving this car a boon in the city.

The tight turning circle coupled with the raised driving position are big positive points too. We also managed to judge its high-speed manners and here the redi-Go does well though the steering is too light. In the corners the tall-boy design does not bring in huge quantities of roll and body control is overall better than class standards.

Final thoughts?

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It will be launched by June 1st and it would be aggressively priced, which means it might be even lower than the Kwid. Plus Datsun will have finance schemes to encourage the first time car buyers. Datsun also plans to have 300 outlets by the year end which is crucial with such a car. With the redi-Go, Datsun has left no stone unturned and shock pricing, as seen with the Kwid is necessary to lure buyers away from others in the competitive small car space. There are some shortcomings but overall it seems to be a more desirable choice than the Go and promises a lot. It is easily the most desirable and the best car from Datsun yet.

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