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The MPV market in India is strong and demand has continuously been on the rise, which led Datsun to launch the GO+ MPV in the Indian market. It was in 2015 that the Datsun GO+ was first launched and three years later, a facelifted version has been launched in the Indian market.
The facelift boasts of several feature additions and many more improvements. We drive the new MPV to find out how much of a difference it has made.
Design And Styling:
Datsun claims the new design is dynamic solid and stylish. However, ‘refreshing' is the word that first comes to mind when one thinks of the design attributes of the new Datsun GO+. Up front, the new Datsun GO+ sports several changes including a redesigned headlamp, grille and bumper.
The headlamp is now longer and sharper than it was before, and the new grille is larger and sports a chrome bezel around it. The bumper has a sportier design with recesses for the LED daytime running lights to be fitted. When viewed from the side, the Datsun GO+ vaguely remains the same as the old model, and this is majorly because of the silhouette.
The Datsun GO+ comes with newly designed, diamond-cut 14-inch alloy wheels on the top-spec variant that makes the MPV look premium, and that is an added bonus especially at this price point. The base variant though would come with steel rims and a plastic wheel cap.
The Datsun GO+ now also comes with roof rails that gives it a more rugged look and creates an illusion of it being larger in size. At the rear is a tail-lamp that looks very similar to that on the previous model and a redesigned bumper.
The redesigned bumper has plastic inserts at both ends and it makes the Datsun GO+ look very sporty. A chrome strip above the registration number plate adds a premium touch to the MPV.
Datsun is marketing the new Datsun GO and GO+ with the hashtag #ExperienceChange and it certainly feels very different compared to the previous model. A majority of the changes and feature additions have happened on the inside of the car.
For starters, as the door is opened, the interiors of the car now feel more welcoming. The pre-facelift car had boring and bland interiors that were single-tone grey in colour. The new Datsun GO+ comes with dual-tone interiors with quite a few nice touches.
The entire dashboard is new in design and is now more ergonomic and feels premium as there are soft-touch plastics everywhere. The steering wheel feels more premium as it is also clad in dual-tone colours that go well with the dashboard.
Taking central place on the dashboard is the new 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment system is one of the premium features that make the Datsun so lucrative at this price point.
We connected our Android devices to the Blaupunkt system using Bluetooth and then using Android Auto and both worked perfectly fine without any issues. The system also supports AUX and USB inputs.
The input slots though are hidden away under the gear lever ahead of the handbrake. Datsun has done away with the conventional circular air-conditioning vents above the infotainment system and has gone with more premium looking and feeling rectangular air vents.
The circular vents are present on both ends of the dashboard. A constant grouse with the older model was the placement of the handbrake lever in the dashboard as it constantly fouled with the driver's left knee.
It has now been replaced by a conventional floor-mounted handbrake lever, which looks much better and is not irritating most of the time. Fit and finish of the dashboard though could have been better as there are several rough edges to it though these rough edges are out of sight most of the time.
Faux carbon-fibre trim panels have been used in several spots to make the interiors more attractive. The seats too are dual-tone in colour and feel much better than the fabric seats used in the outgoing model. The stitching and contouring of the seats almost feel like a dream at this price point.
The van-like bench seat that could seat three-abreast including the driver has now been replaced by conventional seats. The middle row feels comfortable and the seating is upright. The grouse with the seats though would come from those seated in the third row.
The third row seat does not see an improvement in leg room as it still is fixed directly to the floor, leaving those seated there in an uncomfortable position even during short rides. The third row is best left folded all the time as it opens up a lot of room for luggage.
Engine And Performance:
Datsun is offering just one engine option for the GO and GO+ — A 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. The naturally-aspirated engine comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. With a maximum power output of 68bhp and a peak torque output of 104Nm, it isn't exactly a powerhouse. However, it produces enough juice to get the job done.
The Datsun GO+ was not intended to be a performance car and the engine is tuned to be fuel efficient. The 1.2-litre motor refuses to be hastened even though the throttle pedal is pinned to the floor. However, if one is lighter on the throttle, it returns decent fuel-efficiency figures.
Datsun claims a mileage of 19km/l for the Datsun GO+, but in real-world conditions, the Datsun GO+ does 15 kilometres to the litre. The clutch pedal is slightly on the heavier side only in bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions is otherwise not very evident.
The 5-speed gearbox is easy to operate but does not allow the driver to shift gears quick enough. It is notchy to operate.
Ride And Handling:
The Datsun GO+ is tall and has a long body which is not the perfect combination to get sporty handling characteristics, but the Datsun GO+ was not designed to be sporty. The MPV was intended to carry people and luggage around in reasonable comfort and that, it does very well.
The NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) levels have drastically come down compared to the older model. Wind noise has been cut down but tyre noise does make its way into the cabin. The ride is comfortable and the suspension absorbs bumps and potholes well enough to give the first and second row occupants a comfortable ride.
The same cannot be said for the third row occupants though, who are most likely to be children. We did take the car up to 120km/h on the highway, and we can safely say that the Datsun GO+ has decent highway mannerisms.
It has a best-in-class ground clearance of 180mm that makes things a lot easier on Indian road conditions, especially in rural areas. The short turning radius of 4.6m further improves driveability on Indian road conditions, especially in tight spaces.
Stephen Neil Thinks!
The MPV segment in India is quite a lucrative space for an automobile manufacturer to be in. The Toyota Innova continues to be the best-selling MPV in the market, but is targeted at premium buyers.
There is also the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, and a facelifted version of it will be released very soon. Mahindra also launched the Marazzo in the Indian market
However, despite there being a few MPVs that are selling very well and loaded to the gills, there is a void that only the Datsun Go+ can fill. The Datsun GO+ is the only MPV in the Indian market that one can buy on a budget. The fully-loaded top-spec Datsun GO+ costs as much as the base variant of the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.
It retails at a starting price of Rs 3.83 lakh, and that makes it very affordable. The Datsun GO+ is the most value-for-money MPV in the market, and now with its premium features and new additions, it feels better to drive.
Want a family car that can take five people with loads of luggage and has premium features but all on a budget? The Datsun GO+ is your answer.