Sprint Review: Datsun Go CVT

Faltering economies and a wanderlust virus have wreaked havoc with many people’s wallets so NamWheels takes a good look at another budget vehicle.

You need to know: The Datsun badge was revived a few years ago for parent company Nissan’s ambition of entering the cheap ‘n cheerful market. In what has now become the norm, India helped to develop the Go budget hatchback while also sorting out most of its production. It got off to a rocky start though…

Lack of safety features and shoddy quality were eventually addressed to the point where the Datsun Go has become a regular appearance in southern Africa’s sales charts. It also spawned a host of similarly-built (and priced) rivals so the range was extended with models offering more goodies, attitude or seats.

More info: And now, there’s this automatic version. Don’t get too excited because it uses ye olde dreaded CVT (continually variably transmission). Thanks to its gooey response, it lends a very disconnected feeling to changes in forward momentum. On the upside, all our testers noted that it was better than most contemporary CVT’s and any rival automated-manual (AMT) gearboxes.

Why? Because it’s mated to a fairly spritely 1.2L engine whose 57kW only have to contend with around 900kg. The CVT is only available with “Lux” trim which includes alloy wheels, chromed radiator grill, LED daytime lights, a rear wiper, larger rev counter, digital clock and a big touch-screen nav/ media system.

Watch out for: This is not a premium product but its overall quality is acceptable at this price point. Unless you don’t want to (or can’t) drive an automatic, I would still recommend the manual car for its superior drive train response. Handling leans, literally, towards the old-school comfort but under-steering side.

This derivative also offers vehicle stability control while two airbags, air-con, central locking, rear parking sensors, full-size spare wheel, an immobiliser and anti-lock brakes are standard across the range. Our single emergency stop from 100km/h took 3.1 seconds and 42.68 metres; which is below average.

Why you want one: Price, space, comfort, 180mm of ground clearance, modern connectivity and a semi-decent automatic gearbox.


Engine:1.2 i-3 petrol
Transmission:CVT, FWD
Max. Power:57kW
Max. Torque:104Nm
Avg. cons.:7L/100km (claimed 5)
0-100km/h:14.12 seconds
Top Speed:Claimed 161km/h
List Price:R197,800

Leave a Comment