Datsun Go and Go Plus CVT Review: Affordable ‘Real’ Automatics?
Remember the Datsun Go and Go Plus? These cars got a major update last year and just a year later, Datsun has added automatic transmissions to the lineup. The thing is, in the segment the Datsun Go and Go Plus compete in, its main competitors come with automated manual transmissions or AMTs. Datsun, though, has chosen to drop in a constantly variable transmission or CVT – which is among the smoothest types of automatic gearboxes one can get.
The Quint was recently in Chennai to drive the updated Datsun twins – the five-seat Go and the seven-seat Go Plus equipped with an X-Tronic CVT transmission. This is the same gearbox that goes into the Renault Duster petrol automatic, the Nissan Sunny automatic and Micra automatic among others.
Here's a quick take on what's new with the Datsun Go and Go Plus CVT.
Also Read : Nissan India to raise Datsun GO and GO+ prices
What We Like
- Smooth automatic transmission makes city driving a breeze
- Equipped with additional safety features like traction control (VDC)
- No longer feels like an "entry-level" car
What We Don't Like
- Small things like fixed head restraints and no day-night mirror
- Cramped third row in the Go Plus
- A bit too expensive for "automatic cars" in its segment
The big difference is the gearbox. The X-Tronic CVT (constantly variable transmission) unit on the Datsun Go and Go Plus, is by far the smoothest gearbox in the segment, where the driver isn't likely to feel any jerks or discomfort, especially for city traffic.
We drove both the cars and while the only difference technically is in the length and weight (the Go Plus being longer and slightly heavier), they behaved quite similar in terms of the way the cars drove.
The X-Tronic CVT comes with a Sport mode, activated by a button on the side of the stalk, which changes the way the engine revs match the car's progress. In fact, we found sport mode far more responsive even for city driving as the response was quicker, without much of the "rubber-band" effect, where the engine revs past 5,000 rpm before the car makes progress.
In bumper-to-bumper traffic, the CVT in drive mode is ideal. It just crawls along without much effort. Datsun has worked on the sound damping a bit because the car is silent enough if you stay below 3,500 rpm, which is where most city driving happens.
Steering-feel from the electronic power steering is quite neutral. It's light at city speeds and gets slightly heavier at highway speeds, but still feels light.
For quick overtaking, you could either activate sport mode or modulate your throttle inputs (no point keeping your foot flat out in a CVT as it just screams its lungs out without relevant forward motion). That said, this car is meant to be a leisurely, comfortable commuter, not a pocket rocket.
The 1.2 litre, three-cylinder petrol motor puts out 77PS of power (a bump up from the 68PS it offered earlier) and 104 Nm of torque. It has a good amount of torque that comes in at low rpm, which suits the CVT transmission well. Claimed fuel efficiency is 20.07 kmpl for the Go and 19.41 kmpl for the Go Plus, although our drive was too short for a thorough mileage test.
For times when you need the power to climb a slope, there's also an L or low mode, useful in the hills for climbing ghats or even coming downhill, as it provides decent engine braking.
The Datsun Go and Go Plus were updated with a lot of features last year, and thankfully most are in the safety department. They come with two airbags as standard, ABS and the top-spec also features VDC (vehicle dynamic control or traction control). It also comes with LED daytime running lamps, parking sensors, seatbelt warnings for both front seats, speed warnings and 15-inch alloy wheels.
The top-spec T(O) variant features a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. However, it doesn't feature steering audio controls and its a bit of a struggle finding the USB port (located below the gear console).
What Cars Do They Compare With?
The Datsun Go and Go Plus are rather unique offerings in their segment. As far as competition goes, they compete with the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R and Hyundai Grand i10 on one end and even with the Maruti Suzuki Swift on the other. It also has competition from its cousin the Renault Triber now, which is flexi-seating seven-seat MPV.
What We Think
The Datsun Go and Go Plus fill a need gap in the market for those looking for proper automatic transmission small cars. While all other cars in the segment featuring "automatic" transmissions offer automated manual transmissions (which are much cheaper, but not as smooth), Datsun is looking to offer driving comfort over everything else.
The cars are spacious and fairly well equipped for daily use in city conditions. The Go Plus also offers the luxury of additional boot space and the ability to carry a couple of extra kids at a pinch. However, considering the pricing, it's going to be a tough ask.