The Renault–Nissan Alliance is a Franco-Japanese strategic partnership between two big names. The companies have been partners since 1999.
Quite recently, their marques have been grabbing the attention of new car buyers. Take the Renault Kwid, for example; the car has emerged as a truly affordable hatchback that is well-accepted in India.
Fast forward to today, Datsun, a brand owned and revived by Nissan in 2013, is a low-cost car brand for countries including India, South Africa, and Russia. Datsun is looking to break into the Indian A-segment with the redi-GO.
The redi-GO is Datsun's entry-level hatchback that is built on the alliance's CMF-A architecture. The Renault Kwid was the first vehicle to be built on this platform.
CMF stands for Common Module Family, and CMF-A covers the smallest and most affordable category of cars.
A point for debate is will the Datsun redi-GO triumph over the most affordable hatchbacks in India, and does it have a great balance between versatility, and stand out sporty look? Let's find out.
Datsun redi-GO Exterior & Interior
The car's sharp look and solid and muscular body make the redi-GO a powerful contender when lined up against the Maruti Alto and Renault Kwid. The "wow" inducing styling of the redi-GO is likely to appeal to young up-and-coming customers looking for an inexpensive, yet good looking hatchback.
Oozing of style, this is among the slickest designs we've come across for entry-level hatchbacks. The redi-GO is compact and small in external size, yet offers decent interior space.
Unfortunately, the redi-GO misses out when it comes to the feel of the interior. The cabin doesn't do justice to the car. The plain interior is dull and lacks storage space. A lot of solid-looking plastic and the exposed metal on the doors and pillars is just disappointing.
Missing the mark on these standard features could prove to be a downer with younger style-conscious buyers. But, Datsun has created a wide range of dealer fit accessories that will allow owners to personalise their drive according to their budget. A clear indication that the redi-GO is built to a price.
If you're not the type to be irked by the look and feel of the interior and instead place priority on space and practicality, the redi-GO's tall boy design scores high points for best-in-class head (1541mm) and knee room (542mm).
Dimensions in mm (Length x Width x Height) Fact Check
|Datsun redi-GO||Maruti Alto||Renault Kwid||Hyundai Eon|
|3429 x 1560 x 1541 ||3395 x 1490 x 1475 ||3679 x 1579 x 1478||3495 x 1550 x 1500 |
*1541mm height, leading to best-in-class headroom.
A useful feature worth mentioning is the highly efficient air conditioning system with a triangle shaped centre air vent (fixed into position) that offers excellent air flow for the passengers seated in the backseat.
Key details of the Datsun redi-GO
|Engine||799 cc 3 cylinder petrol|
|Power / torque||53 bhp / 72 Nm|
|Gearbox||Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive|
|Claimed Mileage||25.17 kmpl (ARAI-rated)|
|Fuel Tank||28 litre|
|Claimed Top Speed||140 kmph|
|Claimed 0 - 100 kmph||15.9 seconds|
|Safety||Driver airbag (top-end model)|
|On Sale||June 2016|
*Mileage obtained during our test drive: 19kmpl.
Performance, Ride, and Handling of the Datsun redi-GO
The highlight — the three-cylinder 799cc petrol engine, which is a bit more energetic compared to the Kwid's dull drive. The redi-GO and Kwid share the standard 53bhp, 799cc engine, and five-speed manual gearbox.
The redi-GO feels a bit quicker than the Kwid, possibly due to the lighter kerb weight (25kgs). The engine too weighs in at just 57kgs; the power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios are impressive.
Since there is less weight to work with, the car pulls effortlessly from low down in the rev range thanks to a decent 72Nm of torque. Post 5000rpm, the engine sounds strained (what more can you expect from an 800cc petrol engine?).
The engine isn't the most refined unit and vibrations are felt through the bodyshell and controls. What's most impressive about the redi-GO is the ride and handling balance, despite its puny 13-inch JK tyres (155 / 80 R13). Overall, there's good grip and a general feeling of composure.
The ground clearance is remarkable and best-in-class at 185mm. Road shock and noise isolation are not up to the mark and the suspension do not soak up bumps. The high SUV-like ground clearance causes a bit of body roll at the corners.
Having said that, bear in mind, this is a cut-rate hatchback.
Important Technical Specifications of the Datsun redi-Go
|Tech Specs||Datsun redi-GO||Maruti Alto||Renault Kwid||Hyundai Eon|
|Engine cc||799 cc||796 cc||799 cc||814 cc|
|Power ||53 bhp||47 bhp||53 bhp||55 bhp|
|Torque||72 Nm||69 Nm ||72 Nm ||75 Nm |
|Gearbox||5 gears||5 gears||5 gears||5 gears|
|Mileage ARAI||25.17 kmpl||22.74 kmpl||25.17 kmpl||21.1 kmpl|
|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||145/80 R12||155/80 R13||145/80 R12|
*Safety in all the cars are bare minimum; no airbags or ABS for standard variants.
Concerning drivability, the car is incredibly manoeuvrable and nimble to drive around town thanks to the light and quick steering. But at higher speeds, the redi-GO is a tad twitchy. We also noticed that the manual box required a bit of an effort to find the right gears.
The upright seating offers a high driving position and you can't slouch. Long highway journeys are something you really, really need to consider.
Most entry-level hatchback cars are confined to the city limits, and buyers will be paying less attention to this and more on practicality.
Braking, on the other hand, is acceptable, but the pedal feel is spongy. The lightly-sprung clutch pedal leads to leg aches for those over six feet tall.
Overall, the redi-GO is an energetic 800cc car that is best to drive between 2000 – 4000rpm.
Datsun redi-GO warranty, pros, and cons
|Warranty||Datsun redi-GO||Maruti Alto||Renault Kwid||Hyundai Eon|
|Years / kms||June launch||2 yr / 40,000 kms||2 yr / 40,000 kms||2 yr / Unlimited|
+ Attractive design
+ High driving position
+ Quick and light steering
+ 0-100kph acceleration
+ Tall boy design & headroom
+Airy cabin and large windows
+ Best-in-class ground clearance
+ Good turning radius (4.73 metres)
+ Fixed air conditioning central vent
+ Spacious and comfortable seating
- Size of glove box
- Slim door pockets
- Lack of bottle holders
- Single wiper mechanism
- Lightly-sprung clutch pedal
- No Anti-glare inside rear view mirror
- Exposed metal on the doors and pillars
- Feel of the interior compared to its rivals
- Placement of the power window switches
- Lack of power while taking on inclines (800cc)
Final verdict of the Datsun redi-GO
The A-segment accounts for about 25% of new car sales in India, which is expected to grow and make the country the world's fourth-largest market over the next few years. The redi-GO is entering the Indian market at a time when competition is at its highest with likes of the Maruti Alto and Renault Kwid.
While the fit and finish are questionable, the stylised exterior puts the redi-GO back in the running in the entry-level hatch sector.
If the pricing is way lower than the Renault Kwid and Maruti Alto, then, Datsun, has a breakthrough car for India, which is visually strong, practical, and decent to drive.
It's a shame that Datsun took its time to roll out the redi-GO for India. The delay might hurt the sales as Maruti has been the way of life for many Indians since the early 80s. The new entrant, the Renault Kwid, has been disrupting the segment and inspiring Indians to drive the change ever since its launch in 2015.
Jobo Kuruvilla Thinks!
Datsun pins its hope on the redi-GO to disrupt the class order. #ISAYYES to Datsun's confidence; however, considering the competition, it's possibly a tough ride ahead.
Datsun Fact Check
– Founded: 1931
– Defunct: 1986 – 2013
– Re-launched in New Delhi, India: 2013
Current Datsun Models Sold in India (as of May 2016)