Driven - Mar 2020

Datsun GO CVT Driven

It was just November of last year where Datsun uncovered the facelift and CVT automatic introduction of the Datsun Go. An Undertaking moreover due to the Datsun Go being the vehicle of choice for arguments about safety and how many A-Segment competitors are making vehicles like the Go appear dated and struggling to convince more value-driven consumers. Now given a chance to spend a week with the Go CVT the opportunity to spend a week with one would be a chance at redemption would be through the voice of low running costs. A most importantly better road dynamics that made the genesis of the Go so poorly reception in the pool of public opinion but still a fair contender in the market, nevertheless.

The Datsun Go has come a vast way as a platform, highlighted by the improvements that the facelift aimed to showcase in late 2019. The introduction of the VSC traction Control and the strengthening to the body frame aimed to improve driving characteristics, Car Play and Android Auto connectivity and interior improvements that provided decent progress from the front seat bench and “Twist and Pull” handbrake beginnings. The issue here is the sad understanding that even by budget car standards, the Safety element of cars like the Go rather concerningly, still lack any crash safety ratings and the high road fatalities in a country like ours doesn’t fair well for a smash. The Go has been rather popular in the segment despite its barebones approach to motoring. The spec improvements have brought the vehicle up to date with respects to competitor offerings.

The Cabin is now a better place overall and additions like better-shaped seats, more hard plastics to make the NVH exposure far better overbearing and acceptable build quality overall. The Lack of multi-function steering wheel at this price point makes little sense, and I found myself wishing for audio controls given the Carplay and Andriod Auto user-interface. The USB through with the system is accessed it rather well hidden under the centre console, and provides for endless hours of entertainment with respects to playing “find the port”. Itself is slow to responses and prompts but well enough. The seats are a bit hard, and this is especially the case in the rear, where the cramped legroom is an additional feature to the experience.

What’s the Datsun Go like to drive?

The simple understanding that the A-Segment has always had Automatic variations and this not being a new concept is not the view one should view the GO with but moreover the choice for the CVT and dealing and living with the gearbox. The steering is very light, which makes the tiny dimensions a blast in tight spaces and when parking but sheer pain at all other moments but a liveable offence. The tagline that sells the CVT, “like and Auto but smoother” is genuine and a big part into the effortless shifting experience that the car possesses. Sadly, this doesn’t remove from very evident lack of progress, even when under full throttle and the loud and irritating drone of 5000Rpm+ when trying to do simple tasks like getting up to speed or overtaking. This lack of progress means the relationship with the pedal and how hard you press it is not an accurate depiction of what acceleration is possible even when unladen. The 57kw and 104Nm of torque struggles, when paired with the gearbox as very little rapid progress can be made, gaps in traffic are matched with noisy 3-cylinder attempts and constant failures. Ride quality is nothing to fuss over with the general ability to deal with bumps and rough surfaces ok enough for most. The most considerable enhancement is the greater stability at speed. Where previously would be significantly blown about by wind and the very body-roll inherent nature but a vast improvement over the Go’s of the past, with enough confidence to inspire throwing it into low-speed corners and hanging on as the bodyweight rolls and shifts about.

The summary to the Datsun Go Story must end with the appeal behind a budget car and how it fits into a budget. The Entry point for purchase is rather high at R188 300 for the CVT LUX. This may be the most pressing issue with the Go given the A-segment penny-pinching intent. The higher cost of ownership due to the high 7.5Litre/100 Fuel consumption best achieved, far off the 5.5L claimed. This number was profoundly affected by driving style, and at points, outright thirsty, due to the ramblings of all 57Kw’s trying to break free from the CVT oppression.

Pricing in South Africa

The Datsun Go LUX CVT prices from R188 300 which makes it a high entry point to the A-segment and with better offerings from other manufactures the allure of a brand new car may not be that great with the Datsun and your money should ‘Go’ somewhere else sadly.