A decade ago, all you expected from an entry-level small car—like Maruti Suzuki Alto—was low sticker price and high fuel-efficiency. Because it was ‘small’, space was neither demanded nor anticipated. Since then, much has changed. Today, small cars offer you features from a segment above (Hyundai Eon), look like an SUV (Renault Kwid) and come with an AMT (Alto AGS). Space, however, still comes at a premium. With the redi-GO, Datsun changed that last year—here was a car that had more cabin space than in a certain compact sedan. But the redi-GO had a small, 799cc petrol engine, and thus was underpowered. On July 26, Datsun will launch a more powerful redi-GO, with a 999cc engine. We drive it in Goa.
Is it a looker?
Datsun calls it the Yukan design (translated from Japanese as ‘brave & bold’). When looked at from the sides, the redi-GO has a forward drooping styling. At the front, the large grille housing the company logo makes it look similar to the Go and Go+. However, the rear tail-light cluster makes the car stand out. Its ground clearance of 185mm gives it a heightened stance. A ‘1.0’ badge at the rear differentiates it from the redi-GO 0.8L.
Is it spacious?
The redi-GO is the most spacious car in its segment. Headroom and legroom is more than that in the Alto, Eon and Kwid, and rear legroom matches that of a compact sedan. In fact, a six-foot-tall man with a turban can comfortably sit, with an inch of headroom to spare. The boot space is 222 litres.
Are there enough cubbyholes?
While there is a large, open space above the lockable glovebox, the glovebox itself is too small to even keep your basic stuff safely. The door pockets, similarly, are too narrow to easily fit a regular-sized file.
Is the cabin modern?
A digital tachometer and drive computer show you instantaneous and average fuel-efficiency, distance to empty and which gear the car is being driven in. There’s an audio system with radio, CD, MP3, USB, Aux-in and front power windows. However, power window switches are located at an inconvenient place—between the front seats.
How good is the AC?
It’s one of the best in its segment. On the dashboard there are four AC vents, and the one right above the audio system—it cannot be closed, unlike other three vents—throws air directly towards rear seating area, making the AC more effective for rear passengers. However, it can be bothersome for the front passenger as its airflow cannot be adjusted.
How does it drive?
The 999cc petrol motor produces a maximum power of 67bhp and a torque of 91Nm. While it is definitely more powerful than the 799cc of the redi-GO 0.8L, the car is not as exciting to drive as, say, the Alto K10 (998cc). Its claimed fuel-efficiency of 22.5kpl is also not the best-in-class (the Alto K10 delivers a claimed 24.07kpl). The five-speed manual gearbox is smooth to operate.
Is it a city slicker?
One of the best things about the car is its urban manoeuvrability—it has a tight turning radius of 4.7 metres, making driving and turning around in narrow lanes very easy.
How safe is it?
Datsun says the redi-GO has a lot of ‘active’ safety features—short braking distance, reinforced crash protection shell, high-strength body shell to absorb impact, a high-mounted stop lamp, and a wide view of the road from the driver’s seat to minimise chances of an accident happening. The car will be launched in two variants—T(O) and S—and the latter will get a driver-side airbag.
What would be its price?
The redi-GO 0.8L T(O) is priced Rs 3.25 lakh and the S is priced Rs 3.4 lakh. For the redi-GO 1.0L, how much more can customers pay for an extra 200cc? We believe the premium shouldn’t be more than Rs 40,000, as is the case with Alto 800 and Alto K10. So, expect a starting price of the redi-GO 1.0L at Rs 3.65 lakh (ex-showroom).
(Pre-bookings for the redi-GO 1.0L started from July 11; its price will be announced on July 26 and deliveries will start immediately afterwards.)