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DATSUN REDIGO: BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

The Datsun GO and GO+ were successes in terms of sales figures; the Japanese automakers couldn’t have hoped for a better debut into the Nepalese market. As we were beginning to assume that things were beginning to slow down for Datsun, , they found a second wind and came back to life with the launch of the brand new Datsun Redigo.

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We’ll set things straight right from the get go; the Datsun Redigo isn’t a pretentious luxury vehicle and nor does it claim to be. Datsun has been offering a value for money proposition that is hard to beat and we should go ahead and expect something similar from the Redigo. There are many people who are teetering on the decision of investing in a car or sticking to their trusty commuter motorbikes. This includes a majority of young working professionals for whom such an offer could be very alluring. Surprisingly, this chunk of the market is often undermined, with much of the focus going to those who can easily afford a four wheeler or those who can’t afford to get one and have to stick to a two wheeler.

Maybe that was one of the reasons that, just like the Datsun GO, the Redigo has been receiving plenty of attention. It seems that the strategy Datsun have adopted is working pretty nicely for them. We test drove the Datsun Redigo to see if it really was bang for the buck.

EXTERIOR

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Datsun Redigo pretty much hits the nail on the head in terms of its appearance, especially for the entry level segment it resides in. It has everything that a first time buyer might look for in their first car. In terms of size, it is compact but not so much that it looks like a runt in a traffic jam. In fact it has a tall boy design that is broken up with a plethora of design cues that makes it look far from the generic beginner’s car.

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There are bold character lines that sculpt the body to give it a very appealing styling. One of the character lines runs along the side profile while the other runs from the number plate grazing the underside of the headlamp, onto the window pane and all the way to the tail lamp.Flanking the chrome bordered hexagonal honey combed grille are sharply designed headlights with silver inserts and integrated indicators; the top variant even gets DRLs on the bumpers.

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Wheel arches don’t look too big for the front wheels, something we can’t say goes for the rear wheels. Window panes also get sharp edgy designs that are bordered with black cladding which stood out well with the lime green of the Redigo we were testing.Angular tail lamps also get indicators integrated into them and help in adding a good design element for the rear of the Redigo.

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This here, unlike the GO or GO+ which were very similar to the Nissan Micra, is a brand new offering from Datsun. It is edgy, aggressive, and has a unique design that might just help Datsun establish a separate brand image.

FEATURES AND INTERIOR

What it lacks in creature comforts the Datsun Redi- GO makes up for in space and comfort. The tall boy  design allows even taller passengers to fit comfortably into the cabin. Lumbar support and leg room also score high marks amongst A-segment offerings.

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The dash gets a beige hue, which does not hint at any luxuries; the feature list follows suit. Three knobs on the centre console control the cooling duties of the AC. S tiny audio system with USB, Aux and radio sits atop the center console. There are significantly many compartments for storage.

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The gear shift knob and hand brake lever find more conventional places compared to the earlier offerings of Datsun, but the window control buttons wind up somewhere under the gear shifter. That’s alright if you’re expecting your love interest to graze your arm while reaching for the buttons instigating some impromptu electricity on your date; not so much if you’re driving somewhere with your business acquaintance.

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On the instrument control an analog speedometer tells you how fast you’re going and a digital one displays the engine revs and the running mileage.  In terms of safety, Datsun ensures buyers that they have given special attention to the Reinforced Crash Protection Shell body. The driver seat gets air bags but the passengers have to depend on their reflexes and the seat belt.

PERFORMANCE

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The Datsun Redigo is a certified city slicker. It is at home in the cramped streets of Kathmandu and excels in the urban scene. It has a spritely 800cc engine that Datsun says incorporates Intelligent Spark Automated Technology (I-SAT). This system claims to automatically adjust spark timing in response to fuel quality and power requirement. We’re not exactly sure how that works, but it makes driving the Redigo fun. In its class, the Datsun Redigo holds up its own, but it is by no means an avid overtaking beast.

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Judging by the super responsive steering, this was made with the intention of carving city traffic. Maneuverability is precise and makes it a breeze to drive in the city. However, it doesn’t feel as confident on open highways and curves.  There were times when the power seemed lacking, especially with the AC on. But expecting a car in this segment to pounce uphill while carrying 4 big burly men might have been a little too much. Turn the air conditioning off and it does a mighty good job at that too.

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Run into some unexpected obstruction and the performance augmented brakes bring you to a quick halt. Suspension is designed with the comfort of passengers and it serves in that respect.  Add to this a 185mm ground clearance and the Redi-GO seems ready to take on anything that the cities of Nepal have to throw at it.

VERDICT

Starting at an alluring price of Rs. 13, 99,000 and topping out at Rs. 18, 49,000 it is definitely serves value for money, depending on what value you are looking for. The previous offerings from Datsun were pretty much just redone versions of the Nissan Micra, but the Redi Go starts off from a clean slate. It does have a new rival nipping at its heels, one with which it shares its underpinnings, but they will still be hard pressed to match the price that Datsun is providing.

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What the Datsun Redi-GO offers is great city driving experience, utility within the concrete jungles, great mileage and looks that don’t make it appear to be a generic entry segment automobile. The lack of creature comforts and extravagant features is evident but that price bracket justifies what the Datsun offers. For the entry level segment, the Datsun Redi-GO looks amazing, is great to drive and ticks all the boxes in terms of what it promises. Rest assured, the Datsun Redi-GO is definitely bang for your buck.

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For full specifications and pricing, click here

Video Review of the Datsun Redigo

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