First Drive in the new Datsun GO

Never have I been so disappointed in a manufacturer as I was when the Datsun GO was launched in 2014. Ok, that’s a lie, I was also annoyed with Renault when the Kwid hit our roads. Gone are the days when it was common practice to sell a car with no safety features. Sure, my first Citi Golf had no airbags and certainly no ABS, but manufacturers now know better. There are also far more accidents on our roads than ever before. I felt it took advantage of people who were on tight budgets. A sort of, “We can give you a brand new car, but if someone drives in to you, well, you will more than likely not survive…but hey, it’s cheap and cheerful and it is all you can afford, so you can’t be too fussy.”


BUT now, the new Datsun GO has arrived and I want to shout WOOOHOOOO! Because not only does it have ABS, but it also has a driver and a passenger airbag. Even with the massive amount of sales the Datsun has enjoyed, this manufacturer heard our calls for more safety features. I am really thrilled to be writing this review. I avoided the previous Datsun GO like the plague, but now, I would be happy to recommend this new one to anyone who has almost zero budget but wants a new car.

With a starting price of R144 500 it’s a bloody steal. And you don’t even have to opt for the top of the range GO LUX which goes for R165 500. The MID trim level has all you need. The list includes things like all-round electric windows, a 7-inch Touch screen audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth with USB port, electrically adjustable steering wheel, reverse parking sensors, immobiliser, keyless entry and the safety features I already mentioned. Are you also asking, “WTF?” I know, right? That is a crazy amount of spec! The LUX model adds daytime running lights, rear wiper with washer, 14-inch alloys instead of steel wheels, and the interior is dotted with silver finishes. Either way, you’re getting great value for money.

Datsun Go

It’s still powered by a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engine and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. You’re looking at 50 kW of power and 104 N.m of torque with a claimed fuel consumption of just 5.2L/100 km. Robot to robot, it’s nippy, but what is interesting is that once you are cruising on the highway (which takes a little bit of effort to get there) and you start hitting 4 000 rpm, it is like the Datsun GO just wants to, well go! It has an extra bit of oomph left in it which makes for a pleasant cruising experience.


The front and rear bumpers have been redesigned and the front features a D-cut Honeycomb grille. The reverse parking sensors are a new feature as are the 14-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights. Inside the dashboard has seen a redesign and there is no longer the weird Love Seat thing happening at the front, but rather two individual seats. Some of the standard features above, such as Android Auto, Apple Car Play and front and rear electric windows are also new.


One must expect some imperfection when it comes to a car with such a low-price range, but it isn’t what you might think. Some of these ‘annoyances’ of mine have nothing to do with it being a budget buy, but more to do with it not being thought through. For example, the USB port sits under the gear lever console (although, I must mentioned that I do love the positioning of the gear lever), so you must almost lie across the front seats to see it in order to plug something in. I tried to navigate this through feel, but I failed, so bum in air I was, trying to find the darn thing. Another issue is the review mirror, I am not sure if the designer of this mirror wears coke bottles as prescription glasses, but yislaaik, you can’t tell whether a car is 100m behind you or a kilometre. It is better than the previous model, so I have been told, but I could not look in the review mirror without feeling like I was going to hurl.

The last issue I have is with the back-board tray parcel, every time you put something in the boot you have to manually lift it up and then that is where it stays. You will only realise again when you are comfortably sitting in the driver’s seat and look in to the fuzzy review mirror only to see total blackness. This is something you might get used to, but in one day my driving partner and I did it more than four times and hurled profanities at the board every time. These are all minor issues though when you consider the whole picture.


A part from those minor glitches, the new Datsun GO has seen a major improvement and I hope that those who had once turned their backs on it due to the lack of safety features, will now consider it as a good choice. We are still to find out the Safety Rating, but for now, I think we owe Datsun a round of applause for coming to the party and realising that selling deathtraps to the poor is just not on. Yay for ABS and airbags! GO DATSUN GO!


(If five seats just aren’t enough for, check out the Datsun GO+ which offers seven seats.)

Datsun GO Mid Spec:                    R144 500

Datsun GO Lux Spec:                    R165 500

Datsun GO+ 7-seater Mid:             R154 200

Datsun GO+ 7-seater Lux:             R175 900

Datsun GO+ Panel Van:                R155 200

Datsun Go

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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