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Datsun Go-ing, Go-ing, Go-ne


THE world is heading towards safety-conscious drivers with many manufacturers striving for zero fatalities in their products by 2020.

Enter Datsun, which seems to have received a welcome return to SA with its latest offering, the Go.

As South Africans, we love our heritage and tend to flock towards what we know. Perhaps this is why Datsun has been welcomed back with open arms. Driving a strong message towards value, Datsun has a lot riding on the Go. Starting at just R89 500 it certainly looks attractive and we, at Autodealer, were fortunate enough to test the Lux Model, which retails for R99 500.

In a price sensitive market, it looks good, but sadly only on a surface level. Datsun has tried its best to keep the cost down and it’s immediately felt inside the cabin and out.

Okay, I know, for under the critical R100 000 mark, you can’t expect much and niceties like aircon and electric windows add some level of comfort. But probably the biggest concern for the Go is the lack of safety features.

Driving the little urban runabout in traffic is rather unsettling. You’re constantly aware of the fact that there are no ABS brakes or airbags to protect you should the need arise. Given the state of our roads and the way people drive, an airbag would be a basic necessity. Furthermore, during my time with the Go I watched the Datsun Go’s Euro NCAP test and the car failed dismally. So much so that fatalities were recorded with speeds of around 60km/h,  earning the car a zero star rating as it literally crumbles on impact like a discarded packet of crisps.

Interestingly, at a time when safety is so high on many automobile manufacturers’ agendas, Datsun has chosen to ignore it completely, offering the Go with nothing more than seatbelts.

I’ll admit it was rather frightening to commute with in rush-hour traffic because I was always fearful that should someone crash into me, I could have been squashed, like a bug!

A rather unsavoury feeling to live with for a week I will admit. But according to Datsun, it did the research and this level of the market would rather have things like a radio over an airbag. So that’s exactly what Datsun offer as optional extras, a CD radio as well as roof racks and a sticker kit.

With talks of a model available some time next year with airbags, I’d maybe save up a little longer and buy that derivative.  At least there are some decent second-hand vehicles under R100 000 with a whole lot more specs and safety features.

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