Weekend test: Datsun Go Automatic

A go for the new Datsun GO CVT?

Looking at a price point below the R190k mark and opting for an automatic hatchback, will always be a head scratcher. Especially if you are thinking of buying new…

Datsun has a rich history in South Africa and since its relaunch and the release of the Datsun Go range in 2014, the manufacturer has steadily been growing in the country. The significant reason for this is the rise in first-time buyers as well as individuals, who are rather willing to choose a new vehicle and not a pre-owned.

South Africa has also seen a rise in demand for vehicles with an automated gearbox, and as we all know, this includes a price increase. Providing a safe, practical, economic and easy to use vehicle in this bracket, is therefore a daunting task.

We recently attended the new Datsun GO CVT launch in Johannesburg and shortly thereafter, we took on a second stint for a weekend within the same area.

Opinions about the Datsun GO, or any entry level vehicles these days are polarized, and as we know, this market segment gets a great deal of criticism.

The fact, however stands; purchasing a car (especially with an automated gearbox) at this price level, will not give you the best experience or the best ever 0-100km/h time. In fact, it is generally accepted that these cars are purchased for general urban use, rather than the long, fast and open roads.

The same can be said for the new Datsun GO CVT. Taking it from the airport to our destination (about 31 km away), served as a welcoming test as to what this car will generally be used for. Yes, the CVT and engine power struggled to keep the general speed up longer hills, but the CVT did stand perform well in other areas.

Generally, automated gearboxes in this segment seem to struggle, rendering overtaking ineffective. Secondly, it also increases the consumption of drugs for motion sickness as the gearboxes tend to not completely do what they were designed for.

The CVT gearbox may have its problems, yet does prove to be relatively stable under (simulated) gear changes. Putting your right foot flat in the GO CVT, does bring a high-strung ring to the ears, but at least does not send you to the chiropractor with neck spasms (as in many of the competitors).

The Datsun GO CVT is not meant for high-strung 140km/h (plus) endeavours. Rather, its 1.2 liter (three cylinder, 57kW and 104 Nm) engine is designed for the tight and twisty avenues of the urban jungle; a challenge in which the GO CVT has certainly improved.

Secondly, upgraded safety (including dual front airbags and ABS with EBD), fuel efficiency (just above the 5 liter per 100km mark) and luggage space of 264 litres, does improve the overall package.

The new Go CVT was certainly developed with the young buyer in mind. Added features such as a 7” infotainment screen (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), as well as rear parking sensors and follow-me-home headlights, firmly shapes the GO CVT as a young and dynamic car.

In conclusion, our opinion might change, once we tested the Datsun GO CVT along the coast. Should you be in the market for a small sedan, with ample space, good fuel efficiency and a general good automated gearbox (within the price range), the GO CVT do provide a valuable option.

The Datsun brand has steadily grown since its relaunch and we firmly believe that the CVT will provide it with exponential growth furthermore. A price tag of R184 200 (including a 6 year/150 000km warranty) as well as a 1-year free insurance mix, should provide most new car owners with a valuable option.

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