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Datsun redi-GO First Drive - All You Need To Know

Datsun Redi GO
Based on Yukan design which means Brave and bold in Japanese

In India, the small car buyer is the pickiest among all, as he wants the most bang for his hard-earned buck when buying his first car. The monthly sales figure of Alto shows how substantial this market is and the success of Renault Kwid shows that a new automaker can also dig into this market and take a significant share of the pie.

Now Datsun, who is known for its value for money products, enters into this market with their all-new offering - the redi-GO. They claim to provide the customers with a car that will have the lowest price tag in the segment with the promise of the lowest cost of ownership too. We got the chance to drive the redi-GO in the beautiful city of Kolkata and here are the first impressions.

Competition Check

Styling & Build quality

Datsun Redi GO
Looks are very fresh and appealing

When you first look at the redi-GO, you will notice that it is a tall car with overall appeal and a striking design. The front has a hexagonal chrome grill with a chrome plated Datsun badge in the centre. The grill has a honeycomb pattern surrounded by sweptback headlamps which gives it a very urban flair. The large bulging bumper has DRLs (Daytime Running Lights) which are a first in the segment (shuts down when headlights are ON) and a black bash plate (green colour one has faux aluminium) sits in the lower centre.

Moving to the sides, there is a prominent character line that continues between the two wheel-arches. The rear of the car is rather quirky and lifted high which gives the tyres a very skinny look. The chrome band running across the boot lid gives it a premium touch. Overall the build quality of the exterior is at par with the competition, though one may not feel the same about the interiors of the car where cost-saving measures are apparent.

Datsun Redi GO
Redi-GO is a tall boy while Kwid is a mini SUV

In terms of the overall design, it has a completely different approach from the Kwid which has a mini-SUV like rugged look but is built on the same CMF-A platform. It is narrower and taller than the Kwid and there is no question about the fact that it looks much more premium and a step above the Alto 800.

Interiors and space

Step inside and you will be greeted by class leading space. The glass area is huge which adds to the airy feel. The tall boy stance means you slide into the cabin and not hunch into it. You get a very commanding view of the road ahead with nice chunky steering that adds to the confidence. The instrument cluster is clear and houses a small MID (Multi Information Display) which shows engine rpm, instantaneous fuel economy, trip, odometer and a digital fuel gauge.

Datsun Redi GO
The cabin is airy and the dashboard looks the best in Datsun family
There is a series of cubbyholes running across the lower part of the dashboard which has 3 glove boxes to store your stuff. The dashboard layout looks minimalistic with basic goodies like a remote-controlled CD player, AUX, USB and analogue controls of A/C. 

Datsun has given a rear AC vent to cool the occupants at the back and it blows out 50% of the total air. There are 2 bottle holders and controls for power windows in front of the gear knob which isn't ergonomically convenient. The boot space is adequate at 222-litres and it is much smaller than Kwid at 300-litres but larger than both Eon and Alto 800 at 215-litres and 177-litres respectively.

Engine and Performance

Twist the ignition key, rev slightly and you will know the engine isn't silky smooth and the 3 cylinder aluminium construction becomes apparent. We found the clutch too close and high to our liking but it is very light and coupled with a positive shifting gearbox the redi-GO shouldn't be a pain in city traffic. 

What may bother you is that when pushed hard for an overtake, you will find that the midrange is dull and the car gets going only after the 3500 rpm mark. However, it becomes too vocal in that range. Datsun is claiming best-in-class acceleration figures of 15.98 seconds to 100 kmph from its 799cc motor but only a proper test will confirm it, which seems unlikely.

Datsun Redi GO

The 799cc motor produces identical figures as the Kwid, 54 PS of max power and 72 Nm of max torque but it seems to be tuned more towards efficiency and not performance. On the highway, it feels quite at home around 90-95 kmph. But for an overtake, down-shifting is required. This car will primarily be used in the city so it feels decently powered and the claimed efficiency of 25.17 kmpl ensures that it will be light on the pockets too. 

Comfort, Handling and Ride quality

These are the best attributes of the redi-GO. As mentioned earlier, it has class-leading space inside and even the rear legroom and headroom is commendable for a car in this segment. Width isn't the strong point of redi-GO and 3 persons in the back seat is a tight squeeze. The seats themselves are supportive but they do not hold the driver firmly as they are very wide. The rear bench has good under thigh support though.

What's worth mentioning is the air-conditioning of redi-GO. It is one of the best units we have encountered in this segment and it chilled the cabin quickly despite the 45 degrees Celsius temperature outside.

Datsun Redi GO
Great ground clearance of 185mm
In terms of handling, the steering is very light for city use and does weigh up as the speeds climb. But, it is not well weighted and doesn't provide any feedback. What more than makes up for it is the ride and handling package. The suspension is slightly firm but pliant and gives the car a flat ride when going fast so the body roll is well controlled despite having a tall boy stance, both adding up the confidence factor. 

Another plus is the best-in-class ground clearance of 185mm. It encounters big potholes with ease and even at a small test track provided by Datsun, it managed to pass very tall speed breakers without much fuss. The braking feels wooden and lacks bite but this car comes to a halt fairly quickly aided by its lightweight. All in all, it is one of the better cars in terms of comfort & ride quality and feels like a car from a segment above than where it is currently pitted against.

Features & Safety

Datsun Redi GO
Single driver side airbag

In terms of safety, the car is not adequately equipped. Only the top end variant comes with a driver airbag but there is no ABS even as an option. In terms of features, only the front doors have power windows and none get bottle holders. The car gets a cool backlit logo embossed at the door sill which screams for attention as soon as you open the doors.

Datsun Redi GO
Backlit redi-GO logo looks cool

Even the top end variant is sparsely equipped to keep the cost down. Talking of cost cutting, there are some areas where it is evident. As in the Kwid, the wheel rims are bolted with just 3 bolts. The rear occupants have static seat belts so they keep hanging all the time. There are many sheet metal parts exposed in the door pockets and even at the C pillar which may be a design element but doesn't provide the car with a quality feel. 

Datsun Redi GO
Exposed sheet metal is polarising- some find it a design element


The redi-GO seems like a very competitive product and feeling the heat, Maruti Suzuki has launched a facelift version of the Alto as I write this article. What remains to be seen, is whether the Indian market would accept the Redi GO as they accepted its own cousin Kwid after its launch in June. Surely, as a product, Datsun has a winner in its hand. 


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