Datsun hasn’t had the greatest sales run in India. The Go was their first attempt at cracking the Indian entry-car market, and even though the car was fun to drive, a few crucial missteps cost them the traction they needed to gain in order to compete in this cut-throat segment. The issues largely concerned features and quality — Indian entry-level buyers appreciate the more apparent and tangible elements in their cars, and that happened to be the Go and the Go Plus’s weakest point.
With their third product in India, Datsun decided it was wisest to hop on the crossover train that most of the A-segment seems to be galloping towards — which brings us to the curiously labelled ‘urban-cross’ that is the Datsun Redi-Go. There’s no trace of the blandness their previous designs were accused of possessing.
The Redi-Go is an unusual yet compelling looking car with sharp, backslash-ey angles, giving it a dynamic stance. Unlike cars like the Renault Kwid, the Redi-Go isn’t festooned with plastic cladding and faux-skid plates to enhance its crossover attributes. Instead, you get segment topping ground clearance of 185mm and, well, that’s pretty much it. It’s a fairly practical design, with short overhangs, a tall driving position and slender A-Pillars, which offer great visibility.
What we like
Tall stance; pricing; visibility
What we don’t
Refinement levels; lack of power
The interiors are still reminiscent of the Go, which sits one segment above the Redi-Go. But there are a few major upgrades here — for starters, the dash-mounted handbrake has been put in the more conventional spot, and the monotony of grey plastic is broken by silver accents and a piano-black centre console which now has a CD player with AUX and USB inputs. The cabin is sufficiently airy for a car in this price range, with plenty of cubby holes here and there to stow away small gadgets and essential paperwork. The overall interior quality isn’t the best in the segment, but it does appear to be a more intelligent design.
Thanks to the Renault- Nissan alliance, the Redi-Go shares a lot of components with the Renault Kwid, currently the face of the A-segment crossover brigade. Predictably enough, there’s a small, 800cc, three-cylinder unit which puts out 54 bhp. Suffice it to say that there are no afterburners on this thing, but the power levels are sufficient for its segment. Traces of power begin to dissipate toward the mid-range, but it’s fine for city driving. That said, the car feels struggles on steep inclines. Sure, you experience a few vibrations as the revs climb, but it’s tolerable once you slot into higher gears. Ride quality seems supple, as long as you aren’t going too fast, especially over deep craters, which is when things become noticeably jarring.
The Redi-Go is a tall, distinctive looking hatch with a highly alluring price tag of Rs 2.49 lakh (Exshowroom, Mumbai), making it considerably cheaper than its chief rivals, the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon. It’s not quite as refined as its rivals, but it has the basic architecture of a frugal and utterly practical entry-level hatchback in place. Tall proportions and good visibility have always been popular in this segment, and all of this combined with the price make the Redi- Go a pretty decent value proposition.