Driven: Datsun's slicked-up Go with CVT gearbox

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Nov 28, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG - According to the team at Datsun SA, the new CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) versions of the Datsun GO and GO+ have it all - from smoother gear changes, less noise and fewer emissions to all-round better driving.

Why CVT instead of traditional torque converter automatic? They say CVT, thanks to its infinitely variable nature for different driving situations, allows for seamless “gear shifting” and offers better power delivery and improved fuel economy when compared to traditional transmissions.

Hide Kuwayama - recently appointed head of Datsun for South Africa - is confident the new CVT versions of the Datsun GO and GO+ will prove a major disruptor for South Africa’s entry-level vehicle segment.

Half a decade on

First launched in the country back in 2014, the Datsun GO and GO+ have over the last five years established themselves as the vehicles of choice for those looking for a well-priced, reliable new set of wheels.

“Our new CVT versions of the Datsun GO and GO+ represent a completely new experience for progressive, self-driven young drivers who’re looking for best-in-class technology,” says Kuwayama, “It also comes fully equipped with a number of exciting new upgrades aimed at providing our customers with the ultimate in safety and comfort.”

The GO received heavy criticism for its lack of refinement and shortage of comfort and safety features when initially launched in South Africa; however Datsun has improved the model offering on an ongoing basis, adding anti-lock brakes and you can even get it with things like Apple Carplay to ensure your hands are always on the steering wheel. The latest GO infotainment system comes with a 18cm touchscreen and has Android Auto compatibility.

Decent safety kit

All new Datsun GO and GO+ CVT vehicles comes standard with traction control as well as two airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist.

In addition, all new CVT models have been fitted with a stability control system, called VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control). VDC safety technology monitors various parameters - like wheel speed, steering wheel position and lateral acceleration - using on-board sensors. This information is further used to provide ESC (Electronic Stability Control). Really great stuff for its class.

What you get

If you need something to run around the city in, the GO might work well. Its 1.2-litre three-pot petrol engine, although naturally-aspirated, is easy-revving and smoother than the turbo offering in Nissan’s own Micra. Driven realistically you can expect it to sip unleaded at a rate of 5l/100km in a combined cycle. Power is rated at 57kW while torque peaks at 104Nm, which is enough to feel plucky even at Gauteng altitude.

While the GO is an entry-level player in the market, it’s not spartan inside, coming with a Drive Computer that gives you access to information such as average fuel consumption and Instantaneous fuel consumption. You also get speed-sensitive electric power steering, electrically-operated mirrors and a “Door Open” notifier.

Unlike the recently introduced Renault Kwid that is built on an Alliance (Renault/Nissan/Mercedes) platform, the GO is built on Nissan’s small-car platform, used for the Micra, so it’s a bit more robust and a little larger than what you’ll get from the French. It’s large enough to transport four adults in relative comfort across cities.


To ensure you have peace of mind for as long as possible from their side, Datsun gives you a whopping six-year/150000km warranty on the new GO. You can also add a service plan or a maintenance plan at dealer level.

Service intervals are every 15000km or annually, whichever comes first.

Pricing starts at R184 200 for the CVT GO while the CVT GO+ will set you back R194 800.


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