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The ‘first sub-four metre, seven-seater MPV’, the DatsunGo+, and its hatchback cousin, the Datsun Go, get the added practicality of a CVT
Sub-four meter MPVs are the rage these days. With the Renault Triber, the segment is witnessing renewed interest among car buyers. However, it was actually the Datsun Go+ that kickstarted the segment with an eye on buyers looking for added practicality in a compact package. Datsun invited us for the first drive of the CVT variants of the Go+ and its hatchback sibling, Go. Both cars are essentially the same apart from the increase of about 200mm in length and an extra row of seats on the Go+.
A quick glance at the spec sheet told us that the Go and Go+ get the combination of a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder, petrol engine and CVT first seen on the Nissan Micra six years ago that produces 77bhp; a sizeable increase over the 67 horses that the engine paired to the manual transmission produces. The only visual differentiator is the addition of a ‘CVT’ badge on the boot. On, the inside, the only visible change is the CVT shift lever. Once on the go, the characteristics of the drivetrain are felt and sadly, the Go CVT and Go+ CVT fall short of expectations. The CVT is extremely slow to respond and has a pronounced rubber-band effect. Resultantly, the CVT variants are sluggish off the line. To add to that, the CVT units in the two cars are noisy too. Switching to ‘Sport’ mode (activated by pressing a small button on the gear selector) helps matters only slightly with the engine revving to a higher speed. However, you are rewarded for driving around at a leisurely pace with a much quieter engine and transmission. The jerk-free nature of the transmission is a boon though and could very well have prompted Datsun to opt for it instead of an AMT despite the added cost.
The rest of the cars remain the same as the ones launched late last year. The Go and Go+ continue to get features like a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play support and rear parking sensors. The third row of seats in the Go+, however, is strictly usable for kids. On the outside, the cars get 14-inch diamond cut alloy wheels and LED DRLs too.
The ride and handling remain predictable although not very exciting with the suspension doing a good job of ironing out bumps. The steering wheel has a dead zone around centre and the car has loads of body roll.
Squarely aimed at those on the lookout for a sub-four metre car with the convenience of an auto box, the Datsuns will have the distinction of being the most affordable cars with the option of a CVT. However, it remains to be seen if the availability of a CVT is reason enough for buyers to opt for the Go and Go+ over rivals like the Triber.