Indiaís popular budget hatchback segment recently witnessed much excitement with the return of Datsun as a budget brand. The carmaker unveiled its first car, the Go, in Delhi. It was a great value-for-money offering with plenty of space and stylish looks. Now the brand has taken the wraps off its latest car, a seven-seat compact MPV called the Go+.
The Go+ has been built using basically the same components as the Go, which will help Datsun share parts and keep costs low. The MPV even uses the same wheelbase as the Go hatchback, which is a bit of a surprise. It is, however, longer overall, so there is more space for the additional row of passengers. In fact, the Go+ MPV is pretty much identical to the hatchback all the way till the rear wheel, which again helps keep expenses in check.
What will also help Datsun keep the costs down is the fact that that this car is less than four metres long, at 3995 mm. This means Datsun can avail of the tax break provided to small cars that are shorter than four metres. Datsun has even used the same rear hatch and the same tail-lights on the Go+ as the hatchback, further reducing spending.
The mini-MPVís styling is also not very conventionally van-like and Nissan has given the car a unique personality with the roof dropping down towards the rear. The strong shoulder line is carried all the way to the rear, and there are other aggressive details too.
On the inside, the dashboard is, you guessed it, carried over from the Go, with the gear-lever sticking out of the dash and the bench-type front seats. Incredibly, the second row seat also appears to be identical to that of the hatch, and unusually, doesnít split to allow access to the last row. We assume it would need to be flipped or completely flattened to allow passengers to clamber into the rear.
The third row is, of course, all-new and appears to be set low. And being a sub-four-metre MPV, space is not expected to be impressive. There are no head restraints for the third row either and the seat belts are pretty basic. But the Go+ could prove to be flexible, as the as last row can be flattened completely into the floor, allowing decent boot space and luggage carrying capacity when it is not in use.
Under the hood of the Go+ will be the same 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol motor that will power the Go hatchback. The carmaker has declared no plans of introducing a diesel option.
Datsun has already aroused a lot of interest with the Go, and the Go+, with its stylish looks and seven-seat layout in a sub-four-metre format, seems set on a similar course. Of course, the price will be the real decisive factor on how this compact MPV will be received here. Considering that Datsun has said that most of its core products in India will be under the R4-lakh mark, we can expect an affordable real world price tag of just around R5 lakh for this MPV. And that will be simply amazing.
Heard of Datsun?
Strictly speaking, Datsun is not a Ďnewí brand, but instead was the name Nissan used for its cars when they were exported outside Japan until 1986. So if you find the name familiar, that is why.
Now the brand is being brought back as a range of very appealing, but budget models that will be more affordable than similarly sized Nissan offerings. Itís a brand targeted at developing nations with a rapidly growing middle class that desires stylish yet affordable vehicles, so itís no surprise that Datsunís global launch happened in India.
* It is identical to the Go hatch up to the rear wheels.
* Wheelbase is the same; length has been added at the rear.
* At 3995 mm in length, it still qualifies for sub-4m tax breaks.
* Middle, rear seats donít split; they just flip down.
* Will use the same 1.2-litre petrol engine; no diesel planned.
Engine size: 1.2 (P)
Price: Rs 5 lakh* (ex-showroom)
Power: 72 bhp*
Gearbox 5-speed: manual
Tyres: 155/70 R13
Wheelbase: 2450 mm