2021 Datsun redi-Go facelift road test review
Having launched in May 2020, smack in the middle of the last COVID19 wave and just before the Nissan Magnite started hogging headlines, we've finally got our hands on the facelifted Datsun redi-Go. While it remains mechanically the same, there have been substantial changes made to the face and on the inside. Do these improvements make the smallest Datsun a better entry-level hatchback?
2021 Datsun redi-Go exterior
The most apparent change is the new Datsun family look to the front. The dominating element is the large, chrome-bracketed grille that extends right down to the bumpers. Also new is the L-shaped DRLs in the bumpers and the small fog lamps. These are quite striking when viewed head-on, and like the Magnite, give the redi-Go a distinct light signature that catches the eye quite easily. But with no sheet metal changes, the overall effect isn't as cohesive as on the Magnite.
While the well-defined lines on the bodywork are quite mature for a car in this segment, they seem to be at odds with the sharp face. The 14-inch steel wheels are new too, having gone up a size, and get quite a nicely detailed dual-tone wheel cover which liven things up to an extent. Changes to the rear are far more minimal, with a new LED highlight for the taillamps.
2021 Datsun redi-Go interior, space, features
The pre-facelift redi-Go's interior was criticized for its very apparent cost-cutting measures and rectifying this seems to have been the focus for this update. So the slightly awkward, asymmetrical dash has been ditched for this far more contemporary one. The horizontal theme with the rectangular vents and centre console brings the redi-Go up to speed with the rest of the pack. The different materials used like the brushed effect plastic in the middle and the gloss black inserts around the centre stack have lent this space a more premium look. The cloth inserts on the door pads and the new seat fabric add a richer touch too. It is commendable that Datsun has brought differing textures and finishes to a car at this price point but the quality and fit of the plastics still leave something to be desired.
Datsun has also changed the door cards to not leave any exposed sheet metal with more plastic cladding around the previously exposed C-pillar panels too. This has brought it up to speed with rivals but the immense practicality that this CMF-A platform provides doesn't seem to have been fully utilized. The storage spaces on the centre console and the new slot above the glovebox are large but can't hold items securely and the door cards can only hold wallets or phones. Boots space is also at a significant deficit to the Kwid at 222l. Although, rear-seat passengers get full-sized bottle holders and you can full fold down the rear seatback to free up a significant amount of luggage space, the high boot lip notwithstanding.
Space at the rear seat is par for the course in this segment, so two passengers will be comfortable on most journeys. The high 187mm ground clearance also makes ingress and egress easy enough. The rear seats come with a basic flat cushioning but there is a surprisingly long squab that offers a good amount of under-thigh support. This can, however, make taller adults feel shortchanged on legroom. The tall roof and large glasshouse make for an airy space to be in, but the rising window sill can make children feel hemmed in, the rear windows that don't full roll down don't help with this either. The lack of a substantial headrest here is another concern but the Datsun's rivals are no better.
A positive is that some of the glaring feature omissions of the pre-facelift hatchback have been taken care of. So you get this fairly crisp 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. There is now a rear-view camera on the top trims, a passenger airbag and the mirror adjustments are now internal. Even the instrument cluster has been revamped, it features an easy to read speedo and a small digital tachometer and a trip computer.
2021 Datsun redi-Go engine, gearbox, driving impressions
On the move, things are a mixed bag. You sit quite high up and there is a good view out, so shorter drivers won't complain about the missing height adjustment. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with its 68PS and 91 Nm is fairly easy to get used to. It's not the best in the segment when it comes to refinement or responsiveness, but is generally quite easy to use with its reasonable low-end grunt and fairly alert throttle pedal. Maintaining highway speeds is more of a challenge of course, with the higher gears tuned more towards efficiency than performance and there not being lively turbocharged mid-range torque. This is unlikely to bother most owners of this city-focused hatch but the long throws and rubbery feel from the gear shifter can sometimes hamper progress.
As its tall and narrow shape suggests, the redi-go is at its best in jampacked city roads. Its small footprint lets you make quick progress through traffic, despite the slightly hefty steering feel. We would have liked a more supple ride though. The soft suspension can't seem to isolate you from bumps as well as some other cars on the CMF-A platform although the 70-profile tyres lend this trait a soft edge. This also doesn't inspire much confidence at highway speeds where the shape and high ground clearance make it quite susceptible to crosswinds. The slow steering response is also more apparent here, which seems to heighten this sense further. The redi-Go's brakes though are easily the best in the segment, they have a progressive feel from the pedal and the hatchback tracks straight through panic stops.
2021 Datsun redi-Go price, verdict
With this facelift, the Datsun redi-Go is a far more complete product, impressing with its linear motor, a striking face and a much more competitive feature list. But rivals in this segment have moved on expectations, offering most of the Datsun's attributes but with a touch more finesse at almost identical prices. Priced at Rs 5.61 lakh for this T(O) manual, we think Datsun India could have priced the redi-Go to undercut its closest rivals, this would have added much more value to the changes made.
2021 Datsun redi-Go real-world mileage, performance
City fuel efficiency - 16.72 kmpl
Highway fuel efficiency - 20.92 kmpl
Overall - 17.77 kmpl
0 to 100 kmph - 15.1s
30-50 kmph(3rd) - 4.6s
50-70 kmph(4th) - 6.2s
60-80 kmph(5th) - 8.6s
100 - 0 kmph - 40.9m, 3.2s
Images by Sumit Gaikwad
Starts Rs 2.83 Lakhs
Starts Rs 5.59 Lakhs