By: Jason Woosey
Kyalami - Datsun is entering the seven-seat miniature-MPV market with its new Go+, and it comes at a price that's going to be irresistible to those seeking a practical people mover on a tight budget.
As the name implies, the newcomer is essentially a stretched version of the existing Go hatchback. It has the same 2450mm wheelbase but the rear section has been lengthened by 210mm to accommodate the two extra seats. There's practically no boot when they're in place, but the rear bench does at least fold to create a 347-litre loading space, which is 82 litres more than you get in the regular hatch.
The Go+ is priced at R134 900, significantly undercutting other seven-seat favourites such as the Honda Mobilio (from R207 000), Suzuki Ertiga (R189 900) and Toyota Avanza (R214 700).
Not big on features
While you certainly get a lot of practicality for the money, achieving the low price means it's not exactly big on luxury or safety features. You do get an air conditioner as well as electric windows for front occupants, manual central locking and power steering. There's no actual radio, but as per the hatch the Go+ does have a mobile phone docking station linked to a pair of front speakers.
Safety kit has been skimped on, with the only notable standard feature being a driver's side airbag. The Go performed poorly in Global NCAP’s crash tests, where it attained a zero-star rating. ABS brakes are not available at this stage, although SA general manager 'Datsun Des' Fenner believes that anti-lock braking will eventually be available, although timing is not known at this stage.
The Go+ shares its 1.2-litre three-cylinder normally aspirated petrol engine with the hatch, with identical outputs of 50kW and 104Nm. Though it is likely to struggle when fully loaded, it must be remembered that the car itself is fairly light, the Go+ tipping the scales at 837kg, just 49kg more than the hatch. Datsun claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.2 litres per 100km.
While the Go+ is expected to appeal to motorists with growing families and rental companies, Datsun is also aiming at small businesses with a Panel Van version.
There’s a Panel Van too
The conversion is carried out locally and the van will be available in October, priced from at R149 900, although it will effectively cost around R131 000 once you've claimed back the 14 percent VAT.
The Panel Van has a 3.43m3 loading area and an official capacity of 542kg. It boasts a flat galvanized steel floor and a wire mesh partition to separate the load are from the cabin and other modifications include dark tinted smash and grab layering on the rear windows and a tailgate that opens higher to make loading easier.