Datsun redi-GO 1.0 – Heavy Traffic Test

We keep reviewing new cars on a regular basis, mostly at idyllic locations away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This time around we thought of testing a compact city car in an apt environment, marked by driving conditions you’ll face on a daily basis. Yes we were in NCR region last week driving the recently launched Datsun redi-GO 1.0 through the thick and chaotic traffic of some busiest roads in the capital region. Read on to see if the redi-Go 1.0 brings in a trace of sense in the midst of bustling city traffic.

What powers it?

The 999cc petrol engine in redi-GO has been developed by the Renault Nissan alliance and is the same engine that is offered on Kwid. It is available in two of the standard trims in the range i.e., T-option & S versions. Apart from this you’ll also find it in the redi-Go 1.0 Gold limited edition introduced recently during the festive season. The engine comes mated with a five-speed manual transmission, and very soon it’ll also be offered with an automatic (AMT) option, scheduled for a launch at 2018 beginning. This engine churns out 67bhp of power at 5500 rpm with peak torque output as 91Nm at 4250 rpm.

Does it turn heads?

Datsun Redi-Go belongs to the family of cars usually referred to as Tall Boy designs. A sharp nose with a large front grille and big headlamps donned by a small bonnet lid gives it a very distinct appearance. It looks tall & compact from outside and the front and rear styling gives it a unique appearance, vastly different from any other small car in the segment. How many likes & dislikes it scores purely on the basis of looks, depends upon the individual taste. But we everytime noticed people turning around to have a second look.

The Inside feel

The black interior theme is a welcome change compared to the dual tone grey theme we saw at the time of redi-GO launch. The cabin is blessed with a generous headroom and legroom for the front seats. A higher seating with wide glass area supports a better all-round visibility for the driver making it a good choice for driving in bumper to bumper or for NCR, I must say ORVM to ORVM kind of maddening traffic. Rear seat is wide enough to accommodate two adults comfortably with just about adequate legroom. Thanks to the large windows and good headroom it doesn’t feel claustrophobic.

A 222 litre of boot space is good enough for taking a redi-Go out for a shopping spree. The space can also accommodate luggage for occasional small intercity travels. The high loading lip though is a bit of a disappointment though as handling heavy luggage can be quite an inconvenience at times.

The offering

The segment where the redi-Go plays has few options to choose from, and you are bound to come across a glaring absence of many talked about features across all cars on offer here. The key reason being that, this segment is characterised by the likes of First Car Buyers and Upgraders from a 2 wheeler to a 4 wheeler. Therefore a lower on road price of the vehicle usually takes precedence over the big bucket list of feature we have become so used to nowadays seeing in car advertisements. Having said so, the version we drove comes standard with an Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Front Power Windows, Car Stereo System with two Front Speakers and Remote Keyless Entry with Central Locking.

Apart from this redi-Go also offers Day Time Running Lamps (DRLs) and a Driver Side Airbag. Both seemed quite redundant for the kind of challenges thrown at us during a week of driving through congested NCR roads. The DRLs may add to the aesthetic appeal of the car, but isn’t really bright enough to work well in Delhi winters. It can’t cut through the fog, nor is visible in daylight, from a distance. Driver Side Airbag is more like a trophy feature, considering you’ll face dozens of painfully slow crowded crossings in your everyday commute, coupled with erratic driving behaviour with bicycles, rickshaws and all sorts of vehicles crawling in from every possible direction.

In addition to this the surface is usually full of loose gravel (barring some portions like the posh Lutyens’ Delhi of course) and it’s even difficult to follow lanes due to bad roads, dug up streets and tapering highways every few kilometres. Looking at the skinny 155 tyres crying for a better grip, an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) could have rather been a more useful feature here.

City Driving 

We weren’t really pleased with redi-GO’s braking abilities and the not-so-smooth clutch, especially while driving through peak traffic hours. It was probably a poorly lubricated clutch cable. While at the same time, compact overall dimensions with small turning radius and an impressive ground clearance are a boon for riding over broken roads, pot holes and irritating speed breakers found in plenty during our test run. The all-round visibility is great and gives you a lot of confidence. Good fuel efficiency further helps sweeten the experience.

Mileage 

The claimed fuel efficiency of 22.5 km/l is what is usually advertised. During our test run, we were happy to get an efficiency of 15kmpl upward despite facing massive traffic jams around Delhi-Gurgaon and Delhi-UP border practically every day. On free runs, it can easily go upto 18-19 km/l in real driving conditions.

Sensible to buy?

If you attempt finding the shortcomings of the car in comparison with other bigger hatchbacks and try focusing on missing features in a Datsun redi-GO, you would end up with a long list. A few of the prominent ones being the absence of day night mirror, internal adjustable ORVMs, rear audio speakers, and so on. However, once you start counting the money you save when compared to the price of other cars offering all these features.. you would certainly be happy. Datsun redi-Go is a practical solution to day-to-day commuting woes, experienced by people in big overcrowded cities that are struggling hard to keep up with the infrastructure requirements.

The Datsun redi-GO 1.0, as of now, is a sensible & practical choice for the daily city commute and the addition of a more powerful engine makes it even more fun to drive.

Author: Aashish Bhardwaj.