This writer suffers from a bad memory. Not amnesia, you understand – if I had such a serious illness I would have remembered it. It is more like the condition experts list as CRAFT – Can’t Remember A Flipping Thing.
I can, for instance, not remember the way to places. That makes me the world’s worst navigator. I get lost in the passage of my own house. It is a short passage. In a small house. In a small neighbourhood, the name of which escapes me at the moment. Apparently I was once endowed with something they call “muscle memory”. I cannot remember, but I currently boast neither muscle, nor memory.
Now, at the beginning of last year, I apparently recorded driving impressions about the Datsun Go, and reflected kindly upon said vehicle. I do not recall that but Datsun do, and they gave me another Go to drive in December. This one, they say, differs from its predecessor in that it offers – remarkable for a budget segment car – a continually variable transmission (CVT). Which means the vehicle is always in the correct gear, corresponding with the car’s current engine revolutions, speed and throttle inputs. We shall return to that, if I remember.
First, some basics. The Datsun Go 1.2 Lux CVT comes powered by a normally aspirated three-cylinder, 1 198cc petrol engine, that produces 57 kW of power at 6 000 rpm and 104 Nm of torque at 4 400 rpm. The above goes to the front wheels via the abovementioned CVT. The car is 3 766 mm long, 1 636 mm wide and 1 507 mm high. It sits on 14-inch alloy wheels in 165/70 R14 rubber and, we are happy to report, boasts a full-sized spare wheel.
I kind of liked the Datsun’s looks, but some of my friends hated it. These things are subjective, which is why I would rather suggest you look at the photographs than offer my opinions. Inside, it boasts comfortable seating for four adults, air conditioning, electric windows all round, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto compatibility, plus a USB port.
Safety items – the lack of which was a huge issue when the vehicle was first launched here in 2015 – are now almost as comprehensive as that of any other car in that market sector. Active safety features include ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist, park assist, plus stability control and daytime running lights. Passive systems include airbags for both front occupants and a rear child lock.
Taking to the roads, our first impression was that of tardiness. This is by no means a fast car, with 57kW not enough to cope with the automatic transmission and the vehicle’s mass. This was not a real problem in city traffic, where we drove the Go most of the time, since it would easily keep up with other traffic. On the highway, not so much.
The vehicle did not like to accelerate much after reaching 90 km/h and maintaining 120 km/h needed a heavy right foot. Datsun claim a top speed of over 160 km/h, but we flatly disbelieve that. To get there will require the help of a very long, very steep downhill – something like a mineshaft.
That apart, it did not like brisk cornering, with alarming amounts of body roll. It has light, direct steering and a 9.2 m turning circle that made parking a simple exercise. Despite not trying to save petrol at any point, we managed an average fuel consumption figure of 6.5l/100km during the test.
Which brings us to its obvious intended target market. The automatic Datsun Go will appeal to people who do not wish to put a lot of effort and skill into endeavours behind the steering wheel. They will want the car because you do not have to know how to change gear.
They will not wish to drive it fast. They will want a car that is easy to filter through gaps in the traffic and to park. They will want a car that costs less than R200 000 and is light on fuel. The Go meets those requirements. It will set buyers back R183 300, including a six-year/150 000 km warranty and a year’s worth of insurance. Service intervals are 15 000 km.
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