First Drive: Datsun redi-GO 1.0L Review — Finally Redi-To-Go?

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Four years ago, Nissan revived the iconic Datsun brand, using the marque to dive headlong into the smaller car segment in India.

While the response to the larger Go and Go+ may not have been up to the Japanese brand's expectations, Datsun's third offering in the Indian market (launched June 1, 2016), the redi-GO created a buzz in the entry-level segment with its quirky looks, high ground clearance and frugal fuel sipping when it entered India last year.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

Now one year down the line, Datsun has given the redi-GO a new heart in the form of a 1.0-litre engine as it aims to keep pace with the Maruti Alto, the Hyundai Eon and its alliance sibling the Renault Kwid.

So, how does the addition of the new 1.0-litre engine change the redi-GO? Is the new Datsun redi-GO a good choice for the first time car buyer?

Design, Features And Safety

Regarding design, the Datsun redi-GO 1.0-litre hasn't changed its muscular, tall boy design. The redi-GO 1.0-litre is almost entirely identical to its 800cc sibling, which is a good thing considering the rather boxy looks of most of its rivals.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The front end retains the large blacked-out honeycomb grille which sports a chrome border. Flanking the grille are the sharp looking headlamps which blend well with the curves and creases on the bonnet and the front bumper. The front bumper also plays host to the LED Daytime Running Lights.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The side profile of the redi-GO continues with the muscular theme, and the 13-inch wheels are shod with 155/80 R13 tyres from Ceat (the 800cc variant uses JK tyres).

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The rear end is where the only exterior differentiator between the 1.0-litre and 800cc variants of the redi-GO can be found, in the form of a '1.0' badge on the lower left edge of the tailgate. The tailgate opens up to give access to a 222-litre boot which is more than adequate for a few small bags.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The interior of the new redi-GO is where the changes can be seen more clearly. Datsun has given the new car a black interior theme though funnily enough the roof liner still is in a shade of beige. The darker theme for the interior looks more modern and helps conceal the panel gaps inside. However, the presence of painted sheet metal inside the cabin is still a major eyesore.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The seat covers on the new redi-GO feature a dual tone theme. The seats themselves are comfortable to sit on and feature a high seating position which gives the driver a good view of the road ahead and also allows for easy ingress and egress. However, the thick A-Pillar creates a big blind spot especially while turning.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The redi-GO offers ample amounts of head and knee room for the average Indian customer, though taller people may find the rear bench a bit of a tight fit.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The rear seat of the Datsun redi-GO can accommodate two adults and a child with ease. However, Datsun's decision to go with static rear seat belts is a reminder of an era we would rather forget.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The music system on the new redi-GO 1.0-litre is not a touchscreen unit unlike the one found on the Kwid and features a disc drive, and supports USB and AUX inputs. However, the lack of Bluetooth connectivity is puzzling considering the limited run redi-GO Sport's music player featured that option.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

Other features on offer include keyless entry and central locking which can be activated from the inside by a button placed next to the centre console. Datsun has also given multiple storage spaces and cubby holes which can store various knick knacks for longer drives. However, the glove box barely manages to hold anything at all.

Safety as in the other cars in this segment takes a back seat with Datsun only offering the top-spec variant of the redi-GO 1.0-litre with a driver's side airbag.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

Engine, Performance and Drive

The new Datsun redi-GO 1.0-litre is powered by the same naturally aspirated 999cc engine found in the Renault Kwid.

The three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine produces 67bhp and 91Nm of torque which at 14bhp and 19Nm more than the 800cc variant is genuinely impressive given that the engine's cubic capacity has only increased by around 200cc.

The redi-GO 1.0-litre returns an ARAI-tested mileage of 22.5kpl which while testing in real world conditionscame up to around 19–20kpl.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The Datsun is still a bit lazy off the line but once the engine revs and gets into its stride the extra grunt is noticeable compared to regular redi-GO. Once it goes past 2,000rpm, the power delivery is smooth, though the engine does get annoyingly loud past 4,000rpm. Tackling steep inclines - the bane of the 800cc redi-GO - still takes a few downshifts.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The light steering combined with the redi-GO's compact size allows the hatchback to feel at home on city roads where it can be manoeuvred and parked with ease. However, at higher speeds on the highway, the light feel of the steering and lack of feedback do not inspire confidence in the driver. The 5-speed manual gearbox works quite well with its short throws but can be a bit notchy at times.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The suspension setup along with the high profile tyres mean that the redi-GO can take small bumps and potholes with ease. The softer suspension setup also means that body roll is noticeable while cornering turns at higher speeds, though not crazy enough to ring the alarm bells.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

The Facts

Tested Variant Datsun redi-GO 1.0L S
Price Est. Rs 3.55 lakh (ex-showroom)
Engine 999cc, 3-cylinder petrol
Gearbox 5-speed manual
Fuel Tank Capacity 28 litres
Mileage 22.5kpl (ARAI)
Power/ torque 68bhp @ 5,500rpm/ 91Nm @ 4,250rpm
Boot Space 222 litres
Tyre Size 155/80 R13
Turning Radius 4.7 metres

Datsun redi-GO vs Rivals

Tech Specs Datsun redi-GO 1.0L Maruti Alto K10 Renault Kwid 1.0-Litre Hyundai Eon 1.0 L
Engine cc 999cc 998cc 999cc 998cc
Power
67bhp 67bhp 67bhp 68bhp
Torque 91Nm 90Nm 91Nm 94Nm
Gearbox 5-speed manual 5-speed manual/AMT 5-speed manual/AMT 5-speed manual
Mileage ARAI 22.50kpl 24.07kpl 23.01 kpl 20.3 kpl
Fuel Tank 28 litres 35 litres 28 litres 32 litres
Ground Clearance 185 mm 160 mm 180 mm 170 mm
Boot Space
222 litres 177 litres 300 litres 215 litres
Tyres 155/80 R13 155/65 R13 155/80 R13 155/65 R13
Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

Verdict

The Datsun redi-GO 1.0-litre sports a new heart which ups its performance game. Datsun expected to keep prices as aggressive as possible and the little redi-GO 1.0-litre with its quirky design, new engine and an impressive amount of room on offer inside is a still a brilliant buy for the first-time car buyer.

Datsun redi-GO 1.0-Litre - First Drive Report

Dennis James Thinks!

The Datsun redi-GO 1.0-litre is a car that offers a different perspective into the most important car segment in India - the entry-level A-Segment - which accounts for a quarter of all cars sold in the country.

With the redi-GO 1.0-litre, Datsun has taken what every Indian small car buyer wants - good looks, spaciousness and good mileage figures - and combined the trio into a car, which if the Japanese company's track record is anything to go by, will be offered at a very affordable price (estimated - Rs 3.4 to 3.6 lakh ex-showroom).

Add in the compelling Datsun Care extended warranty package (Max 5 years/ 50,000km) for around Rs 34,000 (which also includes 24-hour road side assistance) and the redi-GO 1.0-litre becomes very hard to ignore car in its segment.

All in all, the new redi-GO 1.0-litre is a brilliant upgrade to the 800cc variant but Datsun still has a few rough edges to sand out before the hatchback can become the first choice for the everyday Indian migrating from two-wheelers to the world of cars.

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