By now Datsun is very nearly a household brand, and it isn’t suffering for want of better recall. But visibility has been an issue, as has been the very physical presence and spread in terms of the number of dealerships. Buyer perception has been the other problem since Datsun has been tagged a maker of economy cars. The unflattering Global NCAP safety rating didn’t help either. Despite the rather bland, ‘over-focussed on practicality’ design, the Go and Go+ have had their share of segment buyers. Clearly, though, their sales haven’t met targets.

Folks at Datsun are attempting to change that with the refreshed new Datsun Go and Go+. There is the new emphasis on its being born out of ‘Japanese engineering’. Also Aamir Khan will be promoting the brand hereon. More good news is that the Datsun duo finally get some safety equipment as standard in dual airbags and ABS brakes. Without messing too much with the overall exterior design (that can get very expensive), the Go and Go+ now sport slightly more aggressive looks. And the interior gets some more equipment, features and fresh trim elements that make the cabin feel better to be in.

Refreshed inside-out

The exterior design changes to the face-lifted Datsun Go and Go+ are not extensive, and many of them are only available in the top-trim variant. But there is a definite boost to the appeal of the car even when you look at it from outside. The front and rear fenders are different and it also sees the addition of a simple LED DRL on either end within what look like air scoops. At the rear, the Go gets a chrome garnish adorning the bottom end of the tailgate.The bonnet grille gets a new mesh pattern and finish. The face of the Go and Go+ now gets a touch of aggression. The other neat addition to the 2018 models are the new 14-inch diamond cut alloys that really improve the side profile. The tyres are also new 165/70 profile units.

The cabin of the Go and Go+ was the other problem area. Bland, with fiddly controls and relatively bereft of features, the cabin was a constant reminder of the two cars’ positioning at the low-end of the hatch market. The face-lifted models attempt to mend that image. The quality of the plastics used in the cabin is still not too different, but the colour theme is more pleasing now and it feels better put-together. The cars now also get more features including (depending on the trim variant) a Blaupunkt seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, power windows and even electrical adjustment for the door mirrors. The dashboard panels are mostly new, including the glove-box lid, and the front seats are also new. While the infotainment system’s lack of controls means even volume adjustments have to be done unintuitively by using the screen, on the bright side, it offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. But quality of plastic door panels and speaker integration come into question when they start rattling even at medium volume levels.

The other low-cost car look done away with is the connected front seats, which was meant to allow the front passenger and/or driver to slide out of either of the two doors. The new regular front seats are still high-set and offer no other adjustments other than fore and aft movement. The instrument cluster is also different now and features a conventional tachometer. Over all, roominess and storage space in the Go and Go+ (with the third row of seats) was always good. With the addition of a regular hand brake instead of the dash-mounted pull-type lever in the previous model, there is also a centre console now, which too offers some more storage options.

The refreshed Go and Go+ are offered with the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine that the outgoing model featured. The engine is offered in the same state of tune and generates 68 PS of power and 104 Nm of torque in both the Go and the Go+. This three-pot engine is not lacking in ‘go’ as it is quite peppy in the initial acceleration cycle. There is not much of a top-end though and it still sounds rough. It is still very usable in city driving conditions, but the lower refinement shows in the amount of vibrations on the gear stick during idling. The cable-type five-speed manual gearbox’s shift also continues to be rubbery.

Bottom Line

The new Datsun Go and Go+ look much better than before. The cabin has been rid of the low-cost car vibes and it certainly looks more wholesome now. It is not any different to drive in terms of refinement and dynamics; and the suspension is also still quite stiff. But the best reason to consider the Go and Go+ now is the big jump in safety with the addition of dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist as part of standard equipment across all the models.

Prices for the Datsun Go and Go+ start from ₹3.29 lakh and go up to ₹5.69 lakh (ex-showroom).