Datsun has been in the Indian market for over three years now but has not tasted much success both with the Go or the Go+. It is now making a third attempt but this time in the extremely volume heavy A-segment where it will fight the seemingly untouchable Maruti Suzuki Alto 800. Their gladiator in the arena this time is the Redi-GO. Showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo as a concept car, this production version has not strayed too far from the former and may finally be the answer to Datsun’s volume woes.
We drove the Redigo in the City of Joy a.k.a Kolkata. It is one of India’s oldest metropolitan areas and currently fighting the battle of small roads and many cars; the seemingly perfect combat arena for Datsun’s new hatchback to show us its capabilities.
When you exist in a part of the market where price is king, then you have to get innovative in your pursuit to get the attention of the buyer. This has resulted in some small but rather funky looking vehicles. The Redigo is certainly a decent example of this train of thought as it does manage to stand out thanks to the sharp lines and high stance. This is their first vehicle to sport their Yukan design philosophy.
Its face is dominated by the blue logo and chrome hexagonal Datsun grille whose edges point outwards and into the creases that run under the scythe shaped headlamps. Since our car was a top-spec model, it also gets tiny LED DRLs which sit above a contrast coloured pseudo bash plate element.
The side is a typical Japanese hatchback thanks to the egg-shaped silhouette, flared wheel arches and flat roof. However, what does manage to stand out is the forward leaning stance and wide crease that run from the front door and merge with the tail lamps in the rear.
If the side and face piqued your attention then the rear should have you staring in full concentration. There are multiple elements and all in various colours making this quite a visual. Noticeable elements include the silver bash plate, chrome strip at the base of the boot lid and the boomerang shaped tail lamps.
First things first, the cabin has now moved to a conventional setup as compared to the quirky design of the Go and the Go+. Gone are the three-seater front setup, twist and pull and handbrake and minimalistic dashboard. What you get instead is a conventional handbrake, 2-DIN music system with a digital display.
The whole interior has been trimmed out in hard wearing grey plastics. As a cost saving measure, a lot of bits of plastic trim have been left out and this is visible in the front and rear doors and boot section.
The cabin is tall, narrow and the seats are high which means that despite the tallboy design a six-footer like me sits high and closer to the roof than I would have been comfortable with. The front seats have a small sliding rail and this combined with the odd positioning of one of the storage spaces on the driver’s side makes for a narrow space on the right hand side.
However, the view in the front and around the sides is quite good thanks to the high seating and forward sloping design. The rear seat is realistically good for two adults despite the additional seat base space.
The 220-litre boot is much smaller as compared to that of the Kwid but can hold about three pieces of airline-sized luggage. It can also be expanded by folding down or completely removing the rear seatback.
On the features front, the car that we drove gets front power windows, music system with AUX and USB and an AC which has a large central vent designed to blow air towards passengers at the rear. Datsun has left out central locking from the feature list which is surprising considering that this is now an expected feature in all cars sold today. In terms of practicality and storage, you get nine storage spaces in front but none at the back. There is a driver’s side airbag as well as a seat belt for the middle seat in the second row.
The Redigo is underpinned by the same CMF-A platform as its French sibling the Renault Kwid. So it gets the same engine and underpinnings. The engine in this case is the 800cc three-cylinder petrol mill that produces 54bhp and 72Nm of torque with power going to the front wheels via a five-speed manual.
Twist the key and the engine comes to life with an unbalanced thrum typical of small three-pot petrol engines. You feel the vibrations quite heavily when the car is idling but it smoothens out once you get moving. The light clutch action and relatively smooth gear shifts make this an easy car to drive around at low speeds which, in effect, translates to easy usage in city driving conditions. There are flat spots when you accelerate from low speeds and this means you will be rowing between gears more often than you would like to. Datsun has pegged the Redigo’s fuel efficiency at 25.17kmpl which is similar to that of the Renault Kwid.
The Redigo has from the outset been designed as a city car so much so that even the company calls it an urban cross. This meant most of our test drive took place in an urban area.
It has been fitted with high profile tyres and has a 185mm ground clearance. This mean you clear most speed breakers and pot holes without losing too much momentum. We were not impressed by the brakes as they felt wooden and non-progressive in terms of bite and feel.
At low speeds the Redigo is a breeze to drive. The overly assisted steering, while devoid of any feedback, makes for easy manoeuvrability at low speeds. This is further assisted by the car’s small footprint. Equally impressive is the low speed ride which is pliant and absorbs most bumps and imperfections with ease.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||54 @ 5678|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||72 @ 4388|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||28|
|Tyre size||155/80 R13|
|2-DIN music system||Yes|
|Detachable rear seat back||Yes|
|185mm ground clearence||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||47 @ 6000||37 @ 5500||54 @ 5678|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||69 @ 3500||51 @ 4000||72 @ 4388|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||35||24||28|
|Tyre size||145 / 80 R12||135/70 R12 Front||155/80 R13|
|135/ 65 R12 Rear|
The A-segment is a tough nut to crack, mostly in part due to the existence and massive success of the Alto. Taking on something this far ahead requires a unique approach which in this case is the appearance of the car. Its sharp design and bright colour palette means it will turn quite a few heads where ever you go.
Datsun says that it will price the car in the range of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh which will make it more expensive than the Tata Nano but on par with the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and its sibling the Renault Kwid. The French automaker’s hatchback has been a major success for it and hopefully this car will bring Datsun the volumes it has been searching for since its relaunch in 2013.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane