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Plus-size, minus the frills

S Muralidhar | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on December 25, 2014

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Spartan interiors The dashboard construction and layout are identical to the GO’s, andquite standard according to the segment, but the finish quality is clean and verypractical. S MURALIDHAR

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The Datsun GO+ is like an elongated version of the small car. Will this be the one to buy for those looking for a weekend people's mover?



Datsun has had a pretty rough run during the last few months, after the high-profile global unveil and launch of the GO - the first car from the brand. The Nissan group pulled out all stops to get Datsun's strategy in place for emerging markets like India, Russia, Indonesia and South Africa. But, the GO has performed poorly here, at least as yet.

That hasn't deterred Datsun from planning the launch of its next model on the same platform - the GO+. Following the planned roadmap for the Datsun brand, means that the GO+, launched earlier this year in Indonesia, will be introduced here within the next two months.

Design

The GO+ is essentially an extension of the GO hatch, with the addition of a third row of seats. The idea is to create an MPV-like cabin and offer the practicality of a van with the footprint of a large hatch. The GO+ is different because of its sub-four-metre length, making it a sort of sub-compact MPV. Of course, the prospect of it being able to leverage the lower tariff for vehicles in the size category, when combined with a sub-1.2-litre petrol engine, will be the part of the pricing plan for Datsun.

In that sense, the GO+ is more like an estate or weekend version of the GO rather than a MPV of the kind that the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga or even the Honda Mobilio have been designed to look like, As a result, the GO+ sports an almost identical front design as the GO. The same large, wraparound headlamps, the same wide, hexagonal bonnet grille and the familiar stance from the front created by the stubby face and the squarish bonnet slab.

There are changes to the rear of the GO+ compared to the smaller sibling. But, viewed straight on, the rear seems to look identical. It is only when you step to the side that you will notice the more pronounced haunches and rear signature line merging into the tail gate. The GO+'s expanded proportions become apparent when you view it from the side. Though both the Datsun siblings have the same wheelbase (2,450mm), the GO+ looks more elongated than it is actually.

But, despite its bigger dimensions, the tail-gate continues to be the same size as the GO's. This makes it seem a bit disproportionate and makes access to the boot narrow. The GO+'s sub-compact proportions, however, means that it can't compete with the larger MPVs in the amount of space it offers at the rear. This also means that with the third row of seats in use, there is nearly no space left for luggage.

The GO+'s side profile reveals some changes like the larger wheel rims, the rear quarter glass for the third row and the longer roofline, which slopes down further towards the rear. There are parts and design elements that have been carried forward from the GO, including the door mirrors.

Cabin

The interior of the GO+ is the same story overall. The cabin is almost identical to the GO's, except for the addition of the third row of seats. The dashboard construction and layout is exactly the same as that of the small car. The choice of colour theme and even the instrument cluster etc., are identical in both the cars. Of course, sharing parts brings obvious cost benefits.

But, one element in the cabin that has been retained in the GO+, which we would have liked to see changed was the quality of seats. They are pretty flat and don't provide enough side support. The second row of seats are better and seem to have thicker backrests. The third row is again the same story as the front. The third row is also laid really low and will make it very inconvenient for adults to use. The twin seats can at best serve as short haul accommodation for kids.

The dashboard layout and the instruments are fairly Spartan in their design and features, like in the GO, but that is similar with all the other vehicles in the segment.

Finish quality is clean and the simple, but very practical with features like the smartphone holder, the raised (on the centre stack) position for the gear stick and the dash-mounted handbrake.

Performance

The GO+ is also offered with the same 1.2-litre petrol engine which the GO features. Generating the same 68PS of peak power, this 3-cylinder engine supposedly also manages to deliver the same 20.62 kmpl of mileage that the GO was rated to deliver. The matching mileage is said to be despite the higher kerb weight of 30 kgs of the GO+. Datsun engineers have, however, worked on the engine mapping to make the torque delivery quicker and at lower rpm levels.

The result is a fairly peppy performance with engine response being eager and linear. The engine does get a bit raucous and the cabin noise levels rises, including road rush, at high speeds of over 60 kmph, though Datsun engineers have supposedly worked on keeping NVH levels low.

The 1,198cc engine has been mated to the same 5-speed manual transmission. Shifts are clean and smooth, and there is a decent power band to exploit within each gear. The steering is really light at slow speeds making it easy to manoeuvre the GO+.

The suspension geometry is largely the same as in the GO, but engineers have stiffened up the suspension a bit for higher loads at the rear.

The GO+ also features the same high response linear dampers (same in the smaller hatch) borrowed from the group's luxury brand - Infiniti. Ride quality is acceptably pliant and sorted. The rear does feel more planted, though a bit of body roll sets in while cornering at higher speeds.

Bottomline

The Datsun GO+ has the potential to be a good complement to the smaller hatch. It can prove to be an option for buyers looking to get a single vehicle that can serve as an economical daily commute car and also be a people's mover during the weekend. With the sub-4-metre advantage, we can expect a killer launch price tag for the GO+.

There is no plan to bring in the diesel engine in the GO+ at the time of launch, Hopefully, it will be offered later in the product cycle. But, Datsun will still need to work hard to gain acceptance amongst buyers who are sceptical or less aware about the brand.

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Published on December 25, 2014
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